When most companies start using Azure, they normally ask the question ,“Is our data safe in Azure?” This is a very important question, but another question that is rarely asked is “How can Azure increase our security?”
Microsoft has invested billions of dollars into Azure to ensure that it is physically secure, from earthquakes to security checks on everyone entering a datacenter. They have replication systems to ensure your data is copied to other datacenters, just in case something does take a datacenter offline, as well as redundant power and network links, so a cut cable will not cause an outage.
This is all great, but they are some of the reasons why you would invest in a cloud platform anyway. So, what else can Microsoft bring to the table?
Azure AD is perhaps the best authentication you can use, and it is monitored constantly for attacks. If you sync your on-premise AD using Azure AD Connect, you can enable Single Sign On (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), self-service password resets, and Conditional Access. Conditional Access will only allow users access if they meet a series of conditions, such as IP Range, the device the user is using, and the application they are using, making it even harder for an unauthorized person to access any data. All these features that will increase your security posture greatly.
Azure Security Center (ASC) is an obvious advantage, with ASC providing continuous security assessments for all your Azure systems, with actionable recommendations. Just in time, virtual machine access is also provided, so management ports are blocked until you need them, which reduces your exposure to brute force and other attacks. Microsoft’s global threat intelligence and advanced analytics are also used to alert you about any possible attacks and post-breach activities. Oh, did I forget to say that you can add your on-premise systems, both Windows and Linux, to ASC so that the whole hybrid system is protected?
Want to protect the whole system even more? Azure Advanced Threat Protection goes even deeper by using a network parsing engine on your Domain Controllers to analyze multiple protocols, like Kerberos, DNS, RPC, etc., so it can detect reconnaissance attempts, lateral movement by an attacker, and domain dominance attacks. This type of system is typically out of the reach for most small and medium size companies, and even then, it takes a highly trained team to analyze the data and determine if an attack has happened. Azure does all of this for you with a dashboard showing you a clear view of Who, What, When, and How, so that you can respond as needed.
And we haven’t even gotten into how Office 365 can help you secure your emails and documents, or the huge security improvements in Windows Server and Clients, which, when combined, creates a very secure system for every company, regardless of size.