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What Kind of Controls are Needed for Good Cloud Security With Azure Active Directory?

As practically everything migrates to the cloud, cybersecurity has quickly become a top priority worthy of attention from the SMB owners and corporate executives alike. But protecting critical data isn’t the same as it was a decade ago. Things were simpler then, when simply protecting the perimeter was good enough. Today you have to assume zero trust and protect your network perimeter as well as inside the perimeter, and every device, account and executable within it. So is good cloud security with Azure Active Directory possible for small business owners? Certainly; they may just need some expert help.

Cyber attacks have now become incredibly more complex, with the number of breaches showing no sign of slowing down . In order to protect critical data in the cloud, security teams have had to work hard to keep up. One area where they’ve had a particularly hard go of it lately is the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

In 2017, for example, a 300% rise in cyber attacks on Azure users raised alarms throughout the security world. And in August 2019, millions of users were left open to attack because a common flaw in common remote desktop access protocols. A first timer trying to setup and use Azure Active Directory for small business IT security simply lacks the knowledge and know how that comes with years of hands on experience. That is why outsourcing IT management today is the smart strategy.  In any event, this post covers some areas to review when using Azure to control cloud accounts and user access.

A Complex Threat Environment Requires Multi-Layered Protection in Azure

Cyber criminals are now using multiple attack vectors in automated attack campaigns that rely on common vulnerabilities. In the Azure environment, security leaders can build multiple layers of protection against the exploits that leverage those common security gaps. Here, we’ll focus on securing Azure Active Directory (AD), the command and control center for your Azure hybrid cloud environment. Following are security best practices for shoring up security in Azure AD.

1. Monitor and Track Logons
Visibility into access control in Azure AD is key – not just for security but for compliance as well. Be sure you’re collecting and monitoring the complete sign-in logs for admin users. It’s good to know about the failed attempts but it can be helpful to monitor successful attempts to access the AD platform, too.

2. Keep Track of User Account Changes
Suspicious activity in hybrid cloud environment can be spotted if you keep careful tabs on what changes are being made in your directory service – which is this case is AD. Visibility into when new user accounts are created or deleted (or even modified) will help protect against malicious activity.

3. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for Users
For all users, two-step verification is highly recommended. Administrators and other privileged users are not excluded from this recommendation since a compromise with their accounts can be especially damaging. With MFA, you have several options and the best ones to choose will depend on the particulars of your business.

4. Shield Your Azure Account Against Employee Turnover
When employees leave the organization, one security risk is the credentials they leave behind. There’s an even greater vulnerability if those former users were authorized to access Active Directory center while they worked for your organization. Leaders often use group membership accounts in AD to help ensure that the right to access AD isn’t granted to someone who shouldn’t have it. To secure that process, it’s a good idea to track any changes made to your Azure AD group memberships.

Work With Our Toronto Cloud Services Consultants

Microsoft Azure AD is the gatekeeper for securing your company’s digital assets. Keeping close tabs on what’s happening within AD will play a major role in keeping your organization safe in the cloud. Configuring your account, managing controls, and maintaining constant monitoring can be a lot for a small business. TUCU in Toronto offers Azure AD security solutions to help you secure your data and stay safe in the era of the cloud.

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