Security is an essential consideration for any business nowadays. Even when moving to a cloud-based provider like Microsoft Azure, ensuring that the security controls that you have in place are effective and useful for your business is vital.
With so many ways for data to be breached and for organisations to become victims of vicious attacks, investment in security is an investment into your organisation’s future and longevity. That’s why ensuring that you’re educated on the best ways to protect your company is vital.
In this article, we’re going to go over the best security practices for your organisation, to ensure that your Azure infrastructure has the best security precautions in place.
Use Multifactor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that uses multiple authentication factors to allow access to a system. Instead of relying on a single factor — a password, for example — an MFA system will ensure that your identity is verified using multiple methods. MFA is used regularly throughout the world nowadays, with email or SMS-based authentication methods to ensure that a new device is legitimate being a security feature on every single site.
However, using a more advanced identity authentication system like Azure Active Directory gives you access to more advanced methods of authentication such as:
• Authenticator apps
• Hardware tokens
Use the Principle of Least Privilege
There’s no point in giving access to your organisation’s most critical data and systems to people that don’t need it. After all, this creates a massive vulnerability - having a system that’s open to access without security considerations can be dangerous.
The best way to ensure that this isn’t the case is to employ the ‘Principle of Least Privilege’ throughout your organisation. This ensures that everyone only has access to the lowest level of security clearance that they need to complete the tasks that they need to complete — with higher clearance levels being strictly for those who need access to them.
This ensures that higher-level data isn’t going to be breached within your organisation, while also not being too restrictive and stopping employees from being able to complete the work that they need to do.
Encrypt Critical Data
Encryption is a key way of securing data. After all, data is one of the most important resources in the world — encryption simply puts a lock on that data.
This technology is everywhere — all modern browsers use encryption, and so do most modern messaging services. However, an organisation with massively valuable data will have to take more steps to protect their organisation-wide data, rather than just simply data being transmitted.
An encryption tool like Azure Data Encryption will be able to do this — it will turn the data into indecipherable data, that can only be unencrypted using a passkey. This passkey will only be given to trusted people within your organisation, nulling any chance of a data breach from outside or within.
Create a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan
In the case of a catastrophe, having a backup, as well as a disaster recovery plan, is vital in ensuring that your infrastructure will be back up and running with minimal downtime.
A backup will give your system a restoration point to which you can revert, meaning that, while some data will be lost, everything can be easily restored. A disaster recovery plan is an infrastructural set of actions and procedures to be followed in case of the worst. Ensuring that both of these are in place is vital, as they will be key in ensuring that your organisation is covered in the event of a disaster.
Ensuring that you have a good access management system in place to ensure that no intruders or malicious actors gain access to your organisation is another key way to make sure your company is protected.
Being able to remotely manage access to specific teams, projects, and parts of your organisation means that you can ensure everyone only has access to the specific parts of your organisation that they need. Using Azure’s identity and access management features helps you limit unauthorised access completely.
Implement Security Controls
Many different types of security controls can help you keep your organisation safe from external threats over time. Azure has a lot of different tools that can help facilitate this, including:
• Azure Firewall: Azure Firewall is an intelligent network firewall that keeps threats away from your Azure databases and system. It denies traffic to and alerts the administrator of any malicious IP addresses and domains trying to gain access to your network — all in real time.
• Azure Monitor Alerts: Azure Monitor Alerts will send real-time alerts based on specific rules that you set, meaning that you’ll always be alert about potential threats to your organisation.
• Azure Defender: Azure Defender will be able to ensure that your Azure workloads are protected against threats.
Keep Workload Patches Up to Date
Sometimes, exploits will inevitably arise within any piece of digital infrastructure or software. Developers are constantly patching out exploits and vulnerabilities, to ensure that no organisations are crippled by these inevitable faults. This is why installing patches as soon as they become available and keeping them up to date regularly is so important — it’s your first line of defence against these kinds of exploits and is vital.
How We Can Help
Ensuring that security remains a top priority throughout your organisation is critical, as is educating yourself and your team on the threats you can face — and how to solve them. These practices are a good baseline to ensure that your security basics are covered.
Advanced are offering a Strategy and Governance workshop run by subject experts in line with the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF), which will help ensure a successful transition to the cloud, providing personalised recommendations and guidance.
If you’re looking for a helping hand, reach out to us today. Our expert team is here to help and will be able to ensure that the correct practices are in place for your organisation’s benefit.