Data Security in the Cloud: A Guide to Azure Managed Services Best Practices

Data Security in the Cloud: A Guide to Azure Managed Services Best Practices

Data security is the primary requirement for any business that considers shifting the business operations paradigm into the realm of the cloud. With the global giants building this technology and going all in on it, the way businesses function and operate has completely been disrupted. 

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Securing data in the cloud is becoming more complex by the year. Experts are forecasting that the global cloud security market is expected to reach $12.64 billion by the end of this year. Each day, more companies migrate their workloads to the cloud. Even though protocols are in place, security challenges are still on the rise.

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In fact, ‘data loss and leakage’ is the biggest cloud security concern for 64% of respondents in 2021, followed by ‘data privacy and confidentiality’ at 62%, and ‘accidental exposure of credentials’ at 46%.

Azure is by far the most advanced and the leader in this space. In this article, let’s understand how Azure establishes data security and manages to implement it on a vast scale while remaining accessible and user-friendly. By using Azure managed services, you have the best security technology at your disposal that ensures that your valuable data is secure.

Take a look at some best practices that can be implemented to secure your data in the cloud.

The Best Practices for Microsoft Azure Security

  1. Virtual Machine and Workload Protection
  • Incorporating MFA – (multi-factor authentication) can significantly reduce the threat to credentials. 
  • Using complex passwords will reduce brute force attacks on the password.  
  • Follow the patching process for the workloads without which it is vulnerable to breach. By doing so, the operating system and applications will stay up to date. 
  • Limit workload access with NGS and Azure firewalls. 
  1. Azure Security Center 
  • With the standards set as a benchmark, using the Azure security center dashboard will allow you to analyze your compliance status and the steps necessary to follow so that you can ensure full compliance. 
  • Configure the network security groups on Azure to control the traffic. 
  • Enable web application firewall to protect web applications from threats.  
  • Security centers can provide you with anti-malware software to spot and remove malware. 
  1. Alerts for active log monitoring 
  • Create alerts for changes that took place due to deletion or any modification in the Network security group (NSG)
  • Changes were spotted in the SQL server firewall rule. 
  • Modifications occurred in policy assignments, security solutions, and policy.  
  1. Data storage security 
  • Operating systems and disk drives can be secured using Azure disk encryption. For Linux, encrypts via DM Crypt, and for Windows via BitLocker.
  • Secure transfer and file encryption must be configured in your storage account, wherein the shared access signatures must be limited to access only for a restricted time. 
  1. Cloud-native IAM service 
  • With role-based access control, use the Microsoft Entra ID to give granular access to the resources. 
  • With the zero trust approach, tackle the access assigning role. Doing so will allow restricted permission for the activities. This would disallow the attackers from having broader access, even when the credentials are not strong.  
  1. Incorporating layered security 
  • It creates a security layer on different layers of the architecture. Layers on application, operating system, network, and access control.  
  • It avoids a single point of failure, and even if one layer fails, it prevents the next one from failing.  
  • Protect the network from Azure firewalls, DDoS protection, and network security groups.  Use the certificates and encryption for security, the data in transit, and data in rest for the data layer. Prevent application level layer with WAFs (web application firewalls) and API management. 
  • Identify threats with Microsoft Sentinel,  Microsoft Defender for cloud, and Azure advanced threat protection. 
  1. Data security and encryption 
  • Find the sensitive data stored or transmitted in the infrastructure and take measures to secure it. 
  • For the data at rest, use modern securing methods to encrypt the data, and the data in transit must also be encrypted. 
  • Keep the disaster plan sought out. It will help you in the predicted situation of ransomware. 
  • Manage all your keys, certificates, and secrets using Azure Key Vault Manager.  Ensure that the sensitive data can only be made by hardened workstations.  
  • Implement Azure information protection controls and collaborate securely, as it can make security a lot easier with those efforts.  

The Wrap

By using Azure Advisor to get personalized recommendations, Azure Monitor for analysis, and Azure Security Center to protect your cloud workloads, there’s a sense of no worry. You’re only required to manage what you’re good at and let Azure manage services for what it’s great at. You can remain confident in your business operations by utilizing the repertoire of tools. You never have to think about the what-ifs but rather use the simple diagnostics and security tools that Azure-managed services offer you to monitor, and remain proactive and diligent concerning cloud data security. 

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