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Cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure have become the heart of most enterprise IT environments. Despite the fact that most organizations use the cloud in some capacity and are concerned about cloud security, over 70% of organizations experienced a cloud-related breach. Our blog covers some of the cloud’s most common security posture issues and the right Azure Cloud Security Posture Management solutions to fix these risks.
Potential Concerns in Azure
Misconfiguring cloud infrastructure differs from traditional on-prem misconfigurations, where we often expect the result to be a non-working product. In Azure, misconfiguration can happen in many forms, but typically these oversights do not actually stop the function of your cloud environment. These less obvious misconfigurations leave your business at greater risk of data breaches and exploitations than the ones of yesteryear.
According to a report, the average enterprise has 14 misconfigured Azure or AWS services (usually both) running simultaneously, which translates to 2,269 security incidents per month. Many misconfiguration issues happen in the public cloud, so it’s important to dive through your blobs with a fine-toothed comb and implement best practice policies to mitigate these misconfigurations at scale.
Common Azure misconfigurations include:
- Misconfigured encryption for blobs or SQL
- Failure to apply MFA at scale
- Unused security groups
- Keeping outbound access unrestricted
- A storage account accessible from the Internet
- Lack of multi-factor authentication for privileged users
- Blob storage with anonymous read access
- Unrestricted access to Azure AD management portal
- Configure the public IP address as Basic SKU
- Improperly configured Network Security Groups (e.g., trying to apply NSG and ACL on the same VM, failing to associate pre-configured security groups with launches, relying on default security groups, misunderstanding how NSG works across subnets and VMS, etc.)
To note, these are just ten common misconfigurations. You can download a complete Azure cloud security checklist if you want to prevent more misconfigurations. You must implement world-class policies and meet specific cloud infrastructure requirements to operate safely in cloud environments. Azure CSPM can help.
If you’re setting up an Azure cloud environment, properly configuring storage should be a top concern. It is extremely easy to make an incorrect assumption or skim over a setting that looks okay when taken at face value. However, many default settings actually leave room for vulnerabilities. For example, in Azure, the default setting gives access to storage from anywhere – a major security flaw if left as is. To avoid misconfigurations, it’s important that you understand the terminology of the platform you’re using and the established best practices, but CSPM can also help you identify these common errors and avoid them.
Credential and Key Management
In Microsoft Azure, credentials represent more than administrative passwords. You’ll deal with many credentials when setting up a cloud environment, including API keys and encryption keys. Some of the common errors associated with credentials configuration include failure to use server-side encryption for secret keys or not rotating keys like you’re supposed to (every 90 days.)
In many cases, cloud providers offer management systems for credentials, but avoiding vulnerabilities in this area requires an organization to both use these systems and to follow up and ensure employees follow best practices associated with key management, passwords, and other security fundamentals.
Identity and Access Management (IAM)
Identify and Access Management, or IAM, is a fundamental part of cloud configuration but one of the most overlooked security aspects, especially for organizations that migrate from legacy systems. CSPM is programmed to look for many mistakes often made when setting up permissive access to hosts, containers, applications, and other resources in the cloud.
Organizations have often migrated to cloud hosts, and left legacy ports and protocols enabled, but often without reason. FTP and Telnet, for instance, can open a big backdoor for hackers and put your cloud environment at risk, which is why the second set of eyes—like that of a CSPM tool—can be a lifesaver in a cloud setup.
In a more general sense, organizations often fail to consider password best practices, multi-factor authentication, role-based access, and the principle of least privilege (POLP.) Not only can CSPM tools remind you of these settings, but they can make recommendations for utilizing them in a manner that’s actionable and appropriate.
Benefits of Using Azure Cloud Security Posture Management
Aside from helping organizations discover vulnerabilities, Azure CSPM offers a handful of advantages to businesses who are moving to or expanding their Azure cloud or multi-cloud efforts, like:
Risk Assessment: Using Azure CSPM, your organization can assess just how secure your networks are in advance of issues and gain visibility into areas of concern, like policies that give users too many permissions.
Continuous Monitoring: Since the CSPM toolset runs continuously, rather than being a sort of one-time setup analysis, they offer continuous monitoring of the cloud environment, helping to flag policy violations and other concerns in real-time.
Compliance Assistance: Being compliant with many regulations requires you to set up cloud monitoring, including HIPAA laws. CSPM can also help your organization stay ahead of internal governance requirements, like ISO 27001.
Recommendations: Beyond identifying problems, many CSPMs will give you insights and recommendations to help you take action and fix issues without the need to bring in more tools and vendors.
As you can see, the right Cloud Security Posture Management tool suite can prove extremely beneficial for your company–not just as you move to the cloud, but as you maintain and expand upon your cloud infrastructure in the future.
Best Practices for Azure Cloud Security Posture Management
Cloud technology and associated security tools have come a long way in the last decade. Traditionally, CSPM centered around compliance, whereas today’s solutions go deeper into cloud infrastructure to offer organizations not just benchmarks but a holistic view. These tools seek to be proactive by identifying vulnerabilities and recommending handling them. Still, some solutions have come further than others.
When picking an Azure Cloud Security Posture Management tool, here are three primary aspects to consider:
Leverage The Power of Automation. Manually handling CSPM is simply impossible in Azure, especially for large organizations. Cloud environments are dynamic, making them powerful, but also that power requires dynamic tools. Utilizing automation is the only way to handle the agility and endless scalability of cloud infrastructure in a secure manner, so seek a CSPM solution that can bring new assets and proactive risk discovery and mitigation to your organization.
Seek Out Holistic Visibility. A holistic view of your “cloud sprawl” is incredibly valuable, and achieving that transparency is crucial in having a secure cloud environment. Aside from seeing all of your assets, CSPMs that introduce visibility will show you how these assets interact, highlighting paths and dependencies and any vulnerabilities that attackers may find in them.
Look for Context Instead of Clutter. The noise that comes with many of the traditional cloud security tools distracts from what’s important, including alerts that must be addressed promptly. The right CSPM might give you a dozen alerts, but they’ll be weighted accordingly, and each one will have a clear path for remediation so that you can take action instead of becoming overwhelmed.
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