Azure Security Services: Securing Ops, Apps, Storage & More
What Are Azure Security Services?
Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure created by Microsoft for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. As such, security is a key concern for organizations using Azure.
In this article, we will explore the various security services that Azure offers to help organizations protect their data, applications, and infrastructure from cyber threats and data breaches.
These services include tools for managing user identities and access to resources, monitoring and logging activity, detecting and responding to security incidents, and securing networks and storage. They can also be used to meet compliance requirements and improve an organization's overall security posture.
Azure Security Operations Services
Azure provides several security services designed to help organizations detect and respond to cyber threats, monitor the performance and availability of their Azure resources, and optimize their security posture.
Microsoft Sentinel is a cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to help organizations detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats in real-time. Sentinel collects and analyzes data from multiple sources, including Azure, Office 365, and third-party security solutions, to provide a comprehensive view of an organization's security posture.
Microsoft Defender for Cloud
Microsoft Defender for Cloud is a cloud-based security solution that helps protect Azure workloads from cyber threats. It provides real-time protection against malware, ransomware, and other threats, as well as the ability to help detect security incidents. Defender for Cloud integrates with Sentinel and other Azure security tools to provide a comprehensive security solution.
Azure Monitor is a monitoring and logging service that helps organizations track the performance and availability of their Azure resources. It provides alerts, metrics, and logs for various Azure services, including virtual machines, databases, and networking resources. Azure Monitor can be used to identify and troubleshoot issues, as well as to monitor security-related events.
Azure Advisor is a tool that helps organizations optimize their Azure resources and improve their security posture. It provides recommendations on how to improve the performance, security, and availability of Azure resources based on best practices and industry standards. Advisor can also be used to identify potential security issues and provide guidance on how to mitigate them.
Azure Security Applications Services
Azure provides security services that can help organizations secure their web and mobile applications, manage user identities and access to resources, and ensure secure communication between clients and servers.
Web application firewall (WAF)
Azure provides a web application firewall (WAF) that helps protect web applications from common web vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). The WAF is integrated with Azure Application Gateway, which is a layer 7 load balancer that routes traffic to web applications.
Azure App Service Security Features
Azure App Service is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering that enables developers to build, deploy, and manage web, mobile, and API applications. It includes a range of security features, including SSL/TLS certificates, which provide secure communication between clients and servers, and Azure AD integration, which enables users to authenticate using their Azure AD credentials.
Identity and Access Management
Azure provides a range of tools and services for managing user identities and access to resources, including Azure Active Directory (AD), which is a cloud-based identity and access management service. Azure AD enables organizations to manage user identities, access to applications and resources, and security policies from a single platform. It also provides single sign-on (SSO) capabilities, which allow users to access multiple applications with a single set of credentials.
Azure Storage Security Services
Azure provides several security services designed to help organizations secure their data in Azure Storage, monitor the activity of their storage accounts, and ensure the secure transmission of data over networks.
Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is a system for managing access to Azure resources. It enables organizations to control which users have access to specific resources and perform specific actions on those resources. RBAC uses roles to define what actions a user can perform on a resource, and assignments to grant a user access to a specific role.
Azure Storage analytics is a feature that provides logging and metrics for Azure Storage. It enables organizations to track the activity of their storage accounts and diagnose issues, as well as monitor the performance and availability of their storage resources. Storage analytics can be used to identify and troubleshoot issues, as well as to monitor security-related events.
Encryption at Rest and in Transit
Encryption in transit is a mechanism for protecting data as it travels across a network. Azure Storage lets you protect data by using:
- Transport-level encryption such as HTTPS when sending data to and from Azure Storage.
- Wire encryption such as SMB 3.0 encryption for Azure file shares.
- Client-side encryption, which encrypts data before sending it to storage and decrypts data after sending it from storage.
In addition, Azure Storage supports encryption of data at rest:
- Storage Service Encryption enables storage services to automatically encrypt data as it is written to storage.
- Client-side Encryption provides encryption at rest within client applications.
- Azure Disk Encryption for Linux VMs or Windows VMs lets you encrypt operating systems and data disks used by Azure virtual machines.
Azure Networking Security Services
Azure provides the following security services that can help secure Azure virtual networks, improve the availability and performance of their applications, and access Azure resources over private network connections.
Azure Firewall is a cloud-based network security service that helps protect Azure virtual networks from cyber threats. It provides stateful inspection of traffic, as well as the ability to apply network security rules to traffic entering or leaving a virtual network. Azure Firewall is a fully managed service that can be deployed quickly and easily.
Azure Traffic Manager is a cloud-based load balancing service that enables organizations to distribute traffic across multiple Azure resources or endpoints. It helps improve the availability and performance of applications by routing traffic to the best performing or closest endpoint. Traffic Manager can be used to load balance traffic across Azure regions, as well as to manage traffic to on-premises resources.
Azure Private Link
Azure Private Link is a service that enables organizations to securely access Azure PaaS services, such as Azure Storage and Azure SQL Database, over a private network connection. It helps organizations meet their compliance and security requirements by eliminating the need to access these services over the public internet.
Azure Private Endpoints are network interfaces that enable organizations to access Azure resources over a private network connection. Private Endpoints provide a secure connection to Azure resources, such as virtual machines and storage accounts, from within a virtual network or on-premises network.
Related content: Read our guide to Azure security best practices
Azure Security Services with BlueVoyant
Organizations worldwide rely on BlueVoyant’s Azure expertise and our managed detection and response (MDR) for Microsoft's SIEM Plus XDR strategy, which combines Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Microsoft 365 Defender, and Microsoft Sentinel into one.
There are many benefits to combining Azure with Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Microsoft 365 Defender, and Microsoft Sentinel:
- Reduce the number of alerts and security incidents
- Respond faster to sophisticated threats
- Eradicate threats before they do harm
- Achieve a higher security posture with fewer resources
- Maximize Microsoft security product investments and security capabilities (Microsoft 365 Defender, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A5, F5, G5)
Implementing Azure and a centralized and intelligent SIEM Plus XDR strategy, managing and monitoring Microsoft Sentinel, optimizing and maintaining efficient security log ingestion, and operating a 24 x 7 SOC staffed with cybersecurity experts is expensive and complex. Many organizations have opted to use BlueVoyant MDR instead of implementing a DIY (do-it-yourself) plan.
Co-sponsored with Microsoft, this newly updated guide provides pragmatic advice on what's needed to onboard Microsoft Sentinel successfully. Employ best practices to support a stable, cost-effective, and operationally effective implementation of Microsoft’s cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) platform.