Azure Landing Zone – Integration of Governance for Enterprise-scale Security and Compliance7 min read

The more business-oriented part of CAF addresses strategy and planning, which are frequently conducted independently by a variety of firms. The problems frequently revolve around how to operationalize the cloud platform, or how to implement the “Ready,” “Adopt,” “Govern,” and “Manage” phases. It is necessary to develop concrete “guardrails” and governance standards for how the cloud should be utilised – who may do what and how. For instance, how to build, what services may be supplied, how expenses are handled, are all security concerns addressed adequately, and so forth.

While there is no one implementation standard, we at Platingnum have extensive hands-on expertise with the Enterprise Scale Architecture and Azure Landing Zones.

Numerous businesses see that their traditional IT governance procedures are incapable of adapting to the more dynamic environment of a public cloud and are thus asking themselves, “How can we meet the governance requirements for public cloud inside our organisation”?

If you’re wondering the same thing, this blog provides an overview of Azure cloud governance, security, and compliance.

This article describes encryption and key management, assists in governance planning, defines security monitoring and auditing, and assists in platform security planning.

Encryption and Key Management

Using encryption to protect data privacy, ensure compliance, and maintain data residency in Microsoft Azure is a critical element in the process. It’s also one of the most pressing security problems for many businesses nowadays, as well. 

Data Encryption at-rest

Encryption is the process of securely encoding data in order to safeguard its secrecy. The Azure Encryption at Rest designs leverage symmetric encryption to rapidly encrypt and decode huge quantities of data, following a straightforward conceptual model:

  • Data is encrypted as it is written to storage using the asymmetric encryption key.
  • The same encryption key is used to decode data when it is prepared for memory access.
  • Data can be partitioned and assigned unique keys for each partition.
  • Keys should be safely stored with access control and audit standards based on identification. Outside-of-secure-location data encryption keys are encrypted using a key-encryption key stored in a safe place.

Azure Key Vault

The placement of the encryption keys and their access control are critical components of the encryption at rest scheme. The keys must be very secure but controllable by authorised users and accessible to authorised services. Azure Key Vault is the recommended key storage option for Azure services, as it provides a consistent administration experience across services. Keys are kept and maintained in key vaults, and people or services can be granted access to a key vault. Azure Key Vault enables the generation of customer-managed encryption keys or the import of customer-managed encryption keys for usage in customer-managed encryption key scenarios.

Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory accounts can be granted permissions to utilise the keys stored in Azure Key Vault, either to manage them or to use them for Encryption at Rest encryption and decryption.

Data Encryption in transit

Protecting data in transit is a critical component of any data protection strategy. Due to the fact that data is being sent across several sites, Platingnum usually recommends that you always utilise SSL/TLS protocols when exchanging data between them. In some cases, you may choose to use a VPN to completely isolate the communication route between your on-premises and cloud infrastructures.

Consider suitable protections such as HTTPS or VPN for data moving between your on-premises system and Azure. Use Azure VPN Gateway to transport encrypted communication between an Azure virtual network and an on-premises site over the public internet.

Planning for Cloud Governance

Governance enables you to retain control over your Azure applications and resources through procedures and processes. Azure Policy is critical for ensuring business technical estates are secure and compliant. It is capable of enforcing critical management and security standards throughout the Azure platform’s services. Additionally, it may be used to complement Azure’s role-based access control, which restricts the tasks that authorised users can perform.

Cloud governance, in a nutshell, is a collection of carefully established rules and regulations used by organisations that operate in a cloud environment to improve data security, manage risks, and keep operations operating smoothly. The cloud’s ease is a wonderful thing for businesses and consumers alike. However, it also implies that employees may create their own systems and send them to the cloud with a single click (or the swipe of a finger). Sometimes, even within the same organisation, systems do not always play well together.

Cloud governance enables the appropriate planning, consideration, and management of asset deployment, system integration, data security, and other elements of cloud computing. It is very dynamic, as cloud systems can be built and managed by many departments within an organisation, rely on third-party providers, and undergo daily changes.

Cloud governance initiatives guarantee that this dynamic environment complies with business rules, security best practises, and regulatory requirements.

Audit Policy and Security Monitoring

Compliance audits should be conducted on a regular basis using well-defined methods. Knowing if your cloud services adhere to government- or industry-mandated standards (such as GDPR) is critical in today’s globalised environment. This involves continuous engagement of the cloud governance team and interested business and IT stakeholders in reviewing and updating policies, as well as ensuring policy compliance via various procedures. Additionally, several continuous monitoring and enforcement procedures may be automated or enhanced with technology to decrease governance overhead and enable quicker reaction to policy deviations. Continuous monitoring and assessment of your workload in Azure improves its overall security and compliance.

A business must have visibility into the activities occurring inside its technical cloud estate. A scalable framework’s security monitoring and audit logging of Azure platform services are critical.

Internal and External Audits

Compliance is critical for a variety of reasons. Auditing security-related actions performed by IT employees and detecting any unresolved compliance concerns should be included in continuous monitoring and enforcement processes. The audit produces a report for the cloud strategy team and each cloud adoption team to convey the overall level of policy adherence. Additionally, the report is archived for auditing and legal purposes. Failure to adhere to regulatory requirements may result in fines and penalties.

Azure Security Center

With improved visibility and control over the security of your Azure resources, Security Center enables you to avoid, detect, and respond to attacks. It integrates security monitoring and policy management across your Azure subscriptions, assists in detecting risks that would go unreported otherwise, and integrates with a diverse ecosystem of security solutions.

Additionally, Security Center assists with security operations by offering a centralised dashboard that displays actionable warnings and suggestions. Often, you can resolve issues within the Security Center interface with a single click.

Azure Security Benchmark

Utilizing security benchmarks can assist you in securing cloud installations more rapidly. Benchmark recommendations from your cloud service provider provide a starting point for configuring particular security settings in your environment, allowing you to rapidly mitigate risk to your company.

Implementation of Azure Security benchmarks

  • Plan: Design your Azure Security Benchmark implementation by studying the guidelines for enterprise controls and service-specific baselines. This will help you plan your control architecture and how it aligns with industry standards.
  • Monitor: Utilize the Azure Security Center regulatory compliance dashboard to monitor your compliance with Azure Security Benchmark status (and other control sets).
  • Establish Guardrails: With Azure Blueprints and Azure Policy, create guardrails to automate safe setups and enforce compliance with the Azure Security Benchmark (and other standards in your company).

Streamline your Cloud Workloads with Azure Security, Governance, and Compliance

Evaluate the security posture of all your cloud resources, including servers, storage, SQL, networks, apps, and workloads running on Azure, on-premises, or in other clouds. Through the use of rules and automation, Platingnum enables you to quickly install and configure Security Center in large-scale settings. Rapidly detect risks, expedite threat research, and assist in automating remediation using AI and automation. Empower your team to prioritise business objectives regardless of how the threat landscape develops.

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