How to Conduct a Cloud Security Assessment for Azure

3 mins to read

Cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure offer incredible benefits in terms of cost savings, efficiency, and performance. But migrating to the cloud also poses a significant amount of risk. In fact, in a recent study, 81 percent of enterprises agreed that cloud security is a top challenge, with 75 percent saying that governance, a lack of resources, and compliance are also problematic.

That being the case, it’s important to update your organization’s security strategy to make sure you have the key supporting elements in place before migrating to a public cloud platform like Azure. During this process, one of the first things you should do is conduct a cloud security risk assessment.

By doing so, you can eliminate potential conflicts before they occur and provide greater control over your most sensitive assets. At the same time, you can provide a secure framework that enables you to scale your cloud footprint in a way that is safe and compliant.

Keep reading to learn what an Azure cloud security assessment entails and how to go about the process to secure your public cloud footprint. 

What is an Azure cloud security assessment?

As the name suggests, an Azure cloud security assessment involves testing your cloud infrastructure to discover data and identify risks along with their potential impact and the likelihood that they will occur.

Cloud security assessments aren’t unique to Azure and as a best practice, you should analyze security across all your platforms on a regular basis.

Types of cloud security assessments for Azure 

As you begin fortifying your cloud footprint, it helps to break down your Azure security assessments into different categories. The main categories are visibility, identity, data, and compliance — which we’ll explore in this section.

Visibility assessment

Ideally, you should have deep visibility across your entire Azure environment. Businesses often run into trouble because they can’t keep track of their assets. Once you lose visibility into your data, it becomes impossible to protect it.

A visibility assessment helps you gain a more transparent view of your cloud resources. Once you have full visibility, it becomes much easier to identify risks. During a visibility assessment, the goal is to inventory all person and non-person identities, data, compute resources, and policies that run in your cloud. 

Keep in mind that cloud environments are always changing. As such, it’s necessary to have a solution that offers real-time monitoring and updates over a centralized dashboard.

Identity assessment

Person and non-person identities are top attack vectors in the public cloud. Unfortunately, most companies are failing to protect them. According to Gartner, by 2023, 75% of cloud security failures will stem from the improper management of identities, access, and privileges. 

Performing regular assessments can help you avoid identity threats. During this process, security teams should map and monitor every trust relationship, inherited permission, and policy across all organizational entities. 

It’s important to review your environment thoroughly and identify privilege escalation risks, excessive permissions, and separation of duty risks across roles, compute instances, and accounts. Upon completion, you should have much greater insights into toxic combinations, dormant identities, and duties.  

Data risk assessment 

All data in the public cloud faces the chance of exposure. During a data risk assessment, security teams review all stores and rights for anyone or anything that can potentially access your data. 

It’s also necessary to review structure and unstructured data stores, to discover crown jewel data, that which is highly sensitive. By conducting this assessment, you can work towards achieving a least privilege access policy and track data movement more effectively across your enterprise.

Configuration assessment

Data and identities can change over time. For example, data can migrate across storage locations. Person and non-person identities can also inherit different permissions, increasing risk and exposure. 

As such, your team should conduct regular configuration assessments for all data and identities to ensure compliance. Doing so can regularly provide a security baseline and give you the ability to identify and remediate issues like cloud misconfigurations and drift when they occur.

Streamline cloud security assessments with Sonrai Dig

Most security teams lack the bandwidth to manually conduct security assessments — especially in large, fast-moving organizations with distributed environments. 

The best way to streamline cloud security assessments is to use a dedicated cloud security platform like Sonrai Dig. With the help of Sonrai Dig, you can achieve continuous security monitoring across all your cloud environments — including Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform. Sonrai Dig provides ongoing security and vulnerability assessments that span across all identities, resources, services, stores, and networks. Tackle CIEM, CSPM, Cloud DLP and Automation solutions all in one-product.

If your business is moving forward with Azure, consider seeing Dig in action.