Essentials of Azure Security for a Robust and Reliable Transition to the Cloud

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The transition to a cloud-based technology landscape from on-prem applications and data storage models is essential to digital transformation. However, the biggest barrier in shifting to the cloud is the deliberation on data security, when using a public Cloud platform.

Microsoft Azure, the most widely used Cloud platform, has a keen emphasis on security controls, with a 1B+ USD investment in security R&D and 3,500 cyber security experts. The security model is built on Machine Learning, Behavioral Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence capabilities to constantly monitor and update the current security features.

The Zero Trust Model 

The primary aspect of security in the Azure Cloud platform is the Zero Trust model. This model authenticates user access across all endpoints, data, applications, infrastructure, and network components and gives the required authorization based on a conditional access allotment. Supported by multi-factor authentication, the Zero Trust model ensures that users only get access to the required sections of the Azure Cloud deployment, as with just-in-time (JIT) and just-enough-access (JEA).

The model also verifies end-to-end encryption with built-in analytics that give complete visibility across the platform. It includes an advanced threat detection system with an automated process to address security issues. The Zero Trust model enables users to have secure access to the Azure platform, anytime and on any device, and is well poised to meet the requirements of the hybrid workplace.

Let’s look at the various built-in security measures that Azure has in place to safeguard your identity, networking, data, and applications.

Azure Firewall

The Azure Firewall provides robust threat protection from a wide range of security exploits with a constantly updated intelligent threat detection system that denies access from malicious websites and IP addresses. The Azure Firewall is offered in two editions-Standard and Premium. The premium version of the firewall includes Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS), which constantly looks at access parameters and filters out malicious byte sequences. It has a database of more than 58,000 signatures across 50+ categories, which are updated in real-time to detect the latest the security threats, such as Malware, Phishing, and Trojan attacks.

Azure Front Door

The Azure Front Door is a CDN service that includes security provisions for web application protection in the Azure Cloud. It safeguards the applications from common security exploits such as SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), giving fast and secure access to users accessing the hosted web applications. The Front Door allows IP Blocking, geography-based access, and HTTP filtering based on components such as the header, URL, and query string.

Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) in Azure

The Azure RBAC is an access monitoring system built on the Azure Resource Manager. It offers easy usage regulations to safeguard access to the Azure resources by using roles as outlined below.

  • Security Principal: Security Principal is the user, group, service principal, or managed identity seeking access for specific tasks.
  • Role Definition: A Role denotes the actions that a security principal can perform, be it read, write, or delete the Azure resources. The role is defined as being one of-Owner, Contributor, or a Reader.
  • Scope: Scope is the collection of resources that the access needs. It allows a granular approach to users and roles by limiting access as per the requirement. A scope can be further divided into management group, resource group, subscription, or a resource.
Microsoft Defender for Cloud

The Microsoft Defender for Cloud is a Cloud Security Posture Management and workload protection solution. It is one of the most critical security applications, providing unified security management by identifying vulnerable spots in the cloud configuration.

The solution offers advanced threat protection for hybrid and cloud-based workloads. It also ensures regulatory compliance with set standards, which are in tune with the Azure Cloud’s vast geographic distribution of data centers.

Azure Policy Center

The Azure Policy Center ensures compliance with organizational policies with a granular view of the entire environment from an integrated compliance dashboard. It ensures better control and security through aggregated compliance enforcement for existing resources and automates the process for new resources. This gives a comprehensive governance mechanism that controls all the required parameters for a secure deployment.

Azure Purview-For Unified Governance

The Azure Purview-now called Microsoft Purview facilitates easy Governance and management of on-prem, cloud, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) data. It provides a unified data map that helps in automated data discovery, handling sensitive data, selective data sharing, and the creation of easy access policies.

The Azure Purview can access metadata from single or hybrid data sources, classify them and label them for consistent sharing between other Microsoft applications such as SQL Server, M365, and Power BI. It can also easily integrate data systems and catalogs using the Apache Atlas APIs.

  • Along with the above key elements, the Azure platform also offers the below features to ensure the complete security of workloads.
  • Azure Application Gateway protects you from common vulnerabilities across the web and has a built-in firewall.
  • Azure Key Vault protects cryptographic keys used in Cloud Apps and services.
  • Azure Attestation solution validates Trusted Execution Environments (TTEs) from set policies and standards, configured as per the Governance needs.
  • For unstructured data, the Microsoft Azure Confidential Ledger enables secure storage and is backed by cryptographic encryption with a Blockchain storage structure.
  • The Azure DDOS protection safeguards workloads from common malicious attempts such as DDOS to ensure complete uptime.
Azure Security Center

The Azure Security Center enables unified security management for hybrid workloads, with a wide range of tools to track and manage the entire Azure deployment. It enables the prevention, detection, and remediating of security threats by using configurable security policies that are specific to an organization. The Azure Security Center also provides security recommendations for the deployment and gives real-time alerts on security breaches. It integrates with Power BI to give a complete visualization of the entire environment, allowing administrators to get enhanced insights into the security structure.

The above features provide comprehensive security and Governance solutions to secure your Azure Cloud deployments. Backed by the integration of Microsoft security standards, the Azure Cloud gives you the perfect advantage in having well-defined and all-encompassing security provisions that ensure data security and privacy.