In today’s sophisticated threat environment, security is a major concern consideration for anyone adopting the cloud. Organizations hold the ultimate responsibility for securing the cloud and need to adopt security solutions, enact best practices and set policies that will keep their data safe. Microsoft also understands the part they play in security and has powerful built-in features such as encryption and access management tools. Before deploying Azure in the cloud, organizations need to audit their security strategies to ensure they extend to the cloud environment.
Azure’s Security Features
Even before their 2015 $1 billion investment in security, Microsoft’s design of the Azure platform was guided by a revolutionary “security first” approach. Azure's defense-in-depth strategy assumes that security breaches will occur and uses multiple, overlapping controls to prevent damage. In addition, Azure is back by Microsoft’s global incident response team to mitigate the effects of any attack.
Azure integrates a wide range of encryption for data in motion and at rest. Customers moving large data stores can also ship data to an Azure data center by hard disks encrypted using BitLocker technology.
For secure access to cloud applications, Azure Active Directory provides enterprises with a comprehensive cloud-based identity and access management solution and provides easy integrations between cloud and on-premise authentication infrastructures. IT managers can use the Azure Active Directory to simplify user and group management, integrated with security controls.
Incorporating Azure into Your Security Environment
Security in the cloud is a shared responsibility, and while Azure has strong security features, organizations need to understand how their data will be properly secured, whether in the cloud or on-premise — which requires advanced planning before an Azure deployment.
Key Steps to a Secure Azure Deployment
- Azure Account setup and management: Using Azure Active Directory for user accounts will provide centralized account management infrastructure to enhance security. Role-based access control (RBAC) limits access based on user’s job responsibilities and more granular access controls are available to create custom roles that will further limit access privileges.
Added steps to secure privileged accounts such as multifactor authentication, using tokens or biometrics in addition to passwords, as well as restricting access based on network location prevents an attacker from gaining access to an account by stealing a password.
- Network security: In a cloud environment you don’t have direct physical access to the network but you can implement controls using virtualized technologies. With the Windows Azure Virtual Network, IT administrators can create separate tiers on virtual machines based on the sensitivity of the information that’s being processed, stored and transmitted.
This essentially means you can build your own, virtual data center in the cloud and create secure and encrypted links, via virtual private networks, between the cloud and on-premise data centers.
- Other security tools: It’s important to extend your security practices to the cloud by implementing intrusion prevention technology, system configuration procedures, patch management policies, malware protection and so on. For the tightest protection, implement new tools that are designed to work specifically with Azure.
As a Microsoft Gold Certified and Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider partner, OneNeck can help you architect, deploy and manage your Azure cloud solution. Our team will support your environments 24/7, from initial design to ongoing management of your Azure infrastructure, allowing your organization to focus the right people and resources on your strategic business initiatives — all while increasing efficiency and overall productivity.
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