Azure security best practices

Azure Security Best Practices

In this Azure article, we will discuss the checklist for Azure security best practices.

Azure security best practices

There are some Microsoft Azure security best practices that need to be followed in the case of Azure security while designing, deploying, and managing your cloud applications.

Use multi-factor authentication

  • It is always recommended to use multi-factor authentication. This provides strong authentication with several checks phone calls, SMS, and mobile application notification. 
  • Since this multi-factor authentication mechanism undergoes multiple stages of security aspects the risk of a cyber attack will be less always.
  • Also, multi-factor authentication requires the users to present a minimum of two separate forms of authentication before he or she gets access.

Dedicated workstations

  • It is recommended to use dedicated workstations.
  • Dedicated workstations provide an operating system that is dedicated to sensitive tasks and which protects against external attacks. Using separate workstations provides high protection against phishing attacks and operating system vulnerabilities.

Minimize administrator access and admin accounts

Better to minimize the number of admin accounts and administrator access. That helps you for the confidentiality and integrity of your data.

The more the number of admin accounts and administrator access, the risk of cyberattacks, phishing attacks is more.

Disable RDP/SSH Access to VM

You can connect your virtual machines using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and secure shell (SSH) protocol. This way you can able to manage your virtual machines from remote locations.

The risk of using these protocols over the internet will help the attackers access your virtual machines and the other machines in your network.

Use Azure virtual network appliances

You should deploy Azure virtual network appliances in your network that provide you with Application ControlVulnerability managementAntivirusFirewallingNetwork-based anomaly detectionIntrusion detection, etc.

Azure network security appliances can deliver you better security.

Minimize the use of password-based authentication

It is always better to minimize the use of password-based authentication. Password-based authentications are a very weak way of authentication. There is a chance that by mistake you will share your credentials with others which will create a huge risk for you and for the Organization.

Instead, you can use Azure AD integrated authentication. You can use single sign-on authentication using Windows credentialsFederate AD domain with Azure AD and you can use Integrated Windows authentication.

There are some cases where you might not able to avoid the usage of passwords in that case store user passwords and application secrets in Azure Key Vault and manage access through the Key Vault access policies.

Below are a few best practices for using Key Vault.

  •  You should give access to users, groups, and applications at a particular scope.
  • You should store your certificates in the Key Vault. You can set appropriate access policies for the key vault so that you will come to know who is accessing the certificate.

Separation of Duties

You should implement separation of duties, For example

  • You should use different accounts for the development environment, test environment, and production environment.
  • Instead of assigning permission to individual users, it’s better to create roles. Roles can be database roles or server roles.
  • You should always make sure to have an Audit trail for all security-related stuff and you should always encrypt the data while storing it in the database which will restrict the DBA and DB owners from viewing the actual data.

Manage with secure workstations

  • When you have sensitive data, accounts, and tasks, you should keep those in secure workstations (Privileged Access Workstations).
  • Privileged Access Workstations are the workstations that provide a dedicated operating system for sensitive tasks that is protected from Internet attacks and locked down workstations designed to provide high security for sensitive accounts and tasks.
  •  You should enforce security policies across all devices that are used to consume data.
  • If You want to secure email, documents, and sensitive data that you want to share outside of your organization, you can use Azure Information Protection which is a cloud-based solution that helps the organization to secure email, documents, and sensitive data.

Implement a centralized security management system

  • You can use Azure Security Center which is a centralized security management system that continuously monitors the security status of your Azure resources.
  • This also provides an analysis of the configuration of the infrastructure, such as the network configuration and the use of virtual appliances.
  • It helps configure network security groups (NSG) and the set of rules to control traffic to the virtual machines (VM).
  • This system will check if any system updates are missing, It will deploy those updates.
  • One more important thing is, that this system will fix the issue of the operating system if in case it finds any.

Virtual disks and disk storage Encryption

  • You can use Azure Disk Encryption which helps Administrators encrypt the Windows and Linux VM disks. This helps to eliminate the risks of data theft by moving the disk.
  • Azure Disk Encryption is integrated internally with Key Vault to manage encryption keys. 
  • You can protect the data at rest with the help of the Azure storage services encryption.

Final Thoughts

In this Azure article, we discussed the checklist for Azure security best practices. Thanks for reading this article !!!