Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform published by Microsoft, has spent the last decade providing essential services to businesses all over the world. With the Microsoft branding, and no major security issues in the news, it seems like a secure way to store your company’s data, collaborate with your team, and more.
But is Azure as secure as it seems?
Getting Additional Protection
All respectable cloud platforms have some security measures built into their infrastructure. Most modern tech companies distribute and encrypt your data across multiple data centers around the world, shielding it from both attacks and natural disasters, and there are usually a ton of settings and options you can use to increase your security further.
Even so, these may not be enough to keep your organization secure. Investing in additional Azure Cloud Security could complement and enhance these features; with the right set of cloud security tools, you can actively visualize and monitor your security across the platform and across the organization. You can also more precisely control your security configurations, and protect against a wider range of vulnerabilities and attacks.
How Microsoft Keeps Your Data Secure
So what steps is Microsoft taking to keep your data secure?
Microsoft outlines three important measures it takes to keep your data safe in its data centers:
- Network infrastructure. First, Microsoft networks and customer networks are isolated to improve performance, and are segregated to reduce the possibility of an attack. Data in Azure is always encrypted while in transit, with a few rare exceptions. There are also built-in measures to protect against some of the most common types of cyberattacks, like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which could render your data impossible to access.
- Hardware and firmware. Microsoft also invests heavily in the firmware and hardware of its data centers. Recently, the company announced Project Cerberus—a microcontroller that protects against malicious updates and unauthorized access. Additionally, Microsoft employs confidential computing, which allows them to segregate execution and data from underlying operating systems and operators. Access to data is also tightly controlled.
- Testing and monitoring. Currently, there are more than 3,500 cybersecurity experts working for Microsoft, available at all times. Microsoft simulates attacks with “attack teams” and “defense teams” meant to test the limits of its infrastructure on a regular basis. When vulnerabilities are found, they’re noted and repaired.
However, it’s important to note that these measures are exclusively meant to protect your data en route to Microsoft’s data centers, and within those data centers. It’s not going to protect your data within your own network, nor is it able to protect you if someone else gets access to one of your team member’s login credentials.
Maintaining Internal Security
You can depend on Microsoft Azure to have your back when it comes to protecting their data centers, but it’s still your responsibility to maintain good internal security practices.
For example, if one of your employees accidentally falls for a phishing scam, or if they volunteer their login credentials to someone practicing social engineering, someone could gain immediate access to your account—and all your data.
You can improve your Microsoft Azure security with the following measures:
- Review and understand the security settings in your account. There are some security measures enabled by default, but others that you’ll have to proactively manage. Make sure you understand the administrative controls available to you, and modify them to suit your organization’s needs.
- Enable stronger account security. All the encryption in the world can’t help you if someone gets an employee’s login information and uses it. You can fight back by forcing your employees to choose strong passwords, and by enabling two-factor authentication, which forces employees to validate their identity in multiple discrete ways.
- Invest in additional security software. If you want to protect your internal network, and gain a better understanding of your security within Azure, you’ll need additional security software to do it. Be sure to review your options carefully and invest in the tools that make sense.
- Educate employees. Human errors are responsible for the majority of data breaches in major organizations. Part of your responsibility is educating every employee on the potential security threats that exist, and how to avoid them. This also means recruiting employees for ongoing training and development to keep them educated when new types of threats emerge.
So just how secure is Microsoft Azure? It’s very secure in certain respects; your data will probably never be lost or compromised in one of Microsoft’s robust data centers. However, there are hundreds of possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your organization that a cybercriminal could exploit. It’s up to you and your security department to protect against any and all threats to your organization.