July 11, 2024
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Azure Security: Best practices checklist to plan your security measures

In today’s world, businesses need robust security measures more than ever to protect consumers’ data. This is why they are taking advantage of the best technologies and tools, such as blockchain, which has gained traction in relation to digital assets like Bitcoin. While crypto enthusiasts are keeping an eye on btc price prediction, developers and businesses are taking advantage of everything that blockchain has to offer, including reduced costs, improved speed and efficiency, as well as enhanced security. But besides the blockchain, businesses are leveraging another innovative solution: Microsoft Azure, a cloud platform transforming how companies run applications and host data. 

However, despite Azure's robust infrastructure, it’s worth noting that cloud security can still face some challenges because cloud services are often a target for cyber criminals. Therefore, it’s paramount for businesses to implement the best practices and guarantee the security of the data in the cloud, and this is what we will discuss in this blog. 

A look at Azure Security and its fundamental principles

Azure is an infrastructure provider and a cloud platform selling computing resources to organizations and individuals. It maintains many data centers that Microsoft manages. Microsoft Azure has a variety of offerings, ranging from IaaS to SaaS, providing companies with the flexibility to carefully select what they’d like to run on the platform, and it’s a useful starting point if you want to invest in the security of your business and avoid a data breach. Azure Security Center integrates with different tools, including Azure Cloud App Security, Azure Policy, and Azure Monitor Logs, therefore covering essential areas of cloud security. 

Essentially, Azure functions as a shared responsibility model – while Microsoft is responsible for the infrastructure of the cloud environment, those using Azure services must maintain the security of everything they run in the cloud. Let’s say you spin up a server on which you add an insecure forum script, and a cyber attacker exploits it. In such a situation, Microsoft isn’t responsible for the consequences because you’re in charge of what runs on the server. 

Using Azure provides you with numerous benefits, from secure data centers and infrastructure and encryption for enhanced data privacy to minimal business disruptions and advanced threat detection, to name just a few.

Best practices to ensure the security of your Azure deployments 

Provide training for your team

Suppose you’re shifting from an on-premise deployment to cloud security. In that case, training your employees is paramount because Azure is about context-based security, and your team must understand how the whole concept works. It’s critical to train your team members to collaborate and understand the evolving threat vectors and to maintain the baked-in security configurations for cloud services  - this is imperative because misconfigurations are often one of the biggest reasons platforms are prone to attacks. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t target this training only to your security team but to everyone who will use Azure resources.

Constantly maintain your Azure security posture 

Attack patterns emerge daily in the cloud, so it’s paramount to maintain your Azure security posture through ongoing monitoring to prevent misconfigurations and data breaches that could be hard to detect otherwise. To this end, consider using tools such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud, as it will give you visibility into the Azure cloud security posture. Besides this, consider implementing a process that will help remediate identified vulnerabilities. Remember, security is everyone’s responsibility, so be sure to empower your team to contribute to the process. 

Leverage Azure’s security controls

If you have a hard time deciding how to implement a detailed Azure security strategy, start by taking advantage of the built-in security controls as a first line of protection against attacks. Azure provides features like native firewalls, threat detection, DDoS protection, and network security, which you can fine-tune to meet your unique needs. If you think this might help, consider expanding your current firewall capabilities to Azure in the first adoption phase – for instance, suppose you have portable licenses; you can move the on-premises devices of your network to Azure.

Integrate identity access management 

Identity access management or IAM solutions are at the core of cloud security, and if you don’t have them in place, an attacker could easily compromise admin credentials. Azure’s IAM service is Microsoft Entra ID, which can be used with role-based access control to provide granular access to Azure resources. We recommend sticking to the least privilege principle and the zero-trust approach when giving access permissions through RBAC to ensure attackers won’t gain broader access even if they steal the user’s credentials. For an extra security layer, consider taking advantage of MFA, and if that’s not sufficient, take things to the next level through context-aware access control, which allows you to assign administrative access to a user for a particular activity within a specific time frame ( once the time frame ends, admin access expires as well). 

Implement a layered security approach

Layered security, or defense-in-depth, is all about opting for detailed security controls at various levels of your architecture, such as the operating system layer, the network layer, the application layer, and the access control layer. Why implement a layered security approach? Well, it can potentially eliminate a single point of failure, which means that although security measures at one level might fail, the attack vector will be prevented at the following layer. For network security, be sure to leverage multiple services like Azure Firewall, DDoS protection, and network security groups. Use encryption and certificates for the data layer, select the right processes for code review and testing, and consider web application firewalls and API management for the application layer. Finally, make the most of Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Microsoft Sentinel, and Azure Advanced Threat Protection for detecting and preventing threats.

The bottom line

Data breaches affect small and larger businesses alike to the same extent, requiring your company to have a robust security plan to prevent disruptions. That’s where cloud solutions like Azure come into play, enabling businesses to fully protect their data and applications by implementing the best practices. Remember, prevention is always better regarding your data security, so commit today to implementing your Azure security plan. 

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Last Updated 1 week ago

About the Author

Communication Square drives your firm to digital horizons. With a digital footprint across the globe, we are trusted to provide cloud users with ready solutions to help manage, migrate, and protect their data.

Communication Square LLC

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