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Azure CSPM: A Comprehensive Guide 101

Most enterprise IT environments now revolve around cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure. Over 70% of enterprises experience a cloud-related breach, although most businesses use it in some capacity and worry about its security. This blog will look at some of Azure CSPM’s concerns, benefits, and best practices. Table of Contents: What is Azure CSPM? Microsoft’s […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

August 14, 2023 | 4 min read

Most enterprise IT environments now revolve around cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure. Over 70% of enterprises experience a cloud-related breach, although most businesses use it in some capacity and worry about its security.

This blog will look at some of Azure CSPM’s concerns, benefits, and best practices.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Azure CSPM?
  2. Concerns of Azure CSPM
  3. Azure CSPM Best Practices
  4. Benefits of Azure CSPM
  5. What are the Azure CSPM Tools?
  6. Conclusion

What is Azure CSPM?

Microsoft’s Azure cloud service supports Windows and Linux operating systems. Applications housed in Microsoft-managed data centers are created, tested, deployed, and managed using it. It uses various programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases, and devices and provides SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services. 

Azure provides various cloud security choices that may be customized to meet a company’s needs, implementation, and service model. These include of monitoring, access control, data encryption for data in transit, and data encryption for data at rest.

Concerns of Azure CSPM

Here are some of the Azure CSPM challenges you might face:

Misconfigurations

Misconfigurations of cloud infrastructure are distinct from those of on-premise systems. Azure misconfiguration can take many different shapes. However, most of the time, these errors do not indeed prevent your cloud environment from operating. The public cloud is rife with misconfiguration problems. Therefore, it’s crucial to go through your data with a fine-tooth comb and put best practice standards to mitigate these misconfigurations at scale. 

  • Incorrectly configured SQL or blob encryption
  • Failure to use MFA widely
  • Remaining security groups
  • Preserving unrestricted outbound access
  • A storage space that’s online and accessible
  • Privileged users do not use multiple-factor authentication

Setting up storage

Storage configuration should be set up correctly when creating an Azure cloud environment. It is pretty simple to assume the wrong thing or quickly glance over a situation that appears fine on the surface. Many default settings create security gaps. For instance, Azure’s default option grants access to storage from anywhere, a severe security vulnerability if left in place. It’s critical to comprehend the vocabulary of the platform you’re using and accept best practices in order to prevent misconfigurations. Still, CSPM can also assist you in recognizing and averting these frequent mistakes.

Credential and Key Management

Credentials in Microsoft Azure are more than just administrator passwords. When configuring a cloud environment, you’ll deal with various credentials, such as API and encryption keys. Common credential setting mistakes include failing to employ server-side encryption for secret keys or failing to rotate keys as recommended (every 90 days).

Many cloud providers provide credential management systems; however, an organization must use these systems to avoid vulnerabilities in this area and monitor employee compliance with security best practices for key management, passwords, and other fundamentals.

Azure CSPM Best Practices

Cloud computing technology and related security measures have advanced significantly in the past ten years. While CSPM traditionally focused on compliance, modern solutions delve deeper into cloud infrastructure to give enterprises not just benchmarks but also a comprehensive picture. These tools try to be proactive by spotting weaknesses and suggesting ways to fix them. Some solutions have, however, advanced further than others. 

The following three main factors should be taken into account when choosing an Azure Cloud Security Posture Management tool:

  • Make use of automation’s power. In Azure, managing CSPM manually is hard, especially for large enterprises. Cloud environments are strong because of their dynamic nature, but that power also necessitates dynamic tools. The only secure method to manage the agility and limitless scalability of cloud infrastructure is through automation; therefore, look for a CSPM solution that can give your business additional resources and proactive risk identification and mitigation. 
  • Look for Global Visibility. To have a secure cloud environment, gaining that transparency is essential. A comprehensive perspective of your “cloud sprawl” is quite beneficial. In addition to enabling visibility, CSPMs will identify any weaknesses that attackers may discover and show you how your assets interact, indicating pathways and dependencies.
  • Search for Context Rather Than Clutter. Many of the standard cloud security systems’ noise detracts from the crucial things, such alarms that must be handled immediately. The right CSPM may provide you with a dozen alerts, but each one will be weighted appropriately and have a clear path for remediation so that you can act without getting overwhelmed.

Benefits of Azure CSPM

Aside from assisting enterprises in finding vulnerabilities, Azure CSPM provides a number of benefits to companies shifting to or growing their Azure cloud or multi-cloud initiatives, such as:

  • Risk assessment: Using Azure CSPM, your company may evaluate your networks’ security before problems arise and obtain visibility into potential problem areas, such as policies granting users excessive access. 
  • Continuous Monitoring: The CSPM toolset offers continuous monitoring of the cloud environment rather than a one-time setup analysis, helping to identify policy violations and other concerns in real-time.
  • Help with compliance: Setting up cloud monitoring is necessary to ensure compliance with several laws, including HIPAA standards. Additionally, CSPM can assist your business in staying on top of internal governance standards like ISO 27001. 

What are the Azure CSPM Tools?

Here are some of the tools you can use for Azure CSPM:

#1 PingSafe

PingSafe is a popular cloud security platform that is well-versed in attack strategy. PingSafe provides enterprises of all sizes and industry sectors with lightning-fast speed and scale to change cloud security and eliminate any uncovered and exploitable vulnerabilities. It also offers Azure CSPM

Key Features:

  • Flagging security defaults – Continuous visibility on the security posture of new or existing cloud services and highlight security gaps and best practices
  • Perform IaC deployment/configuration checks against CIS benchmark, PCI-DSS, etc.
  • Report hard-coded secrets etc.. from the env variables of automation accounts, serverless apps & various PaaS offerings
  • Identify cloud resources/assets with known CVEs (Intelligence gathered from 10+ sources with exhaustive coverage)
  • Ability to verify the validity of detected secrets as and when required
  • Ability to blacklist secrets for which monitoring is not required (Backend driven, not exposed to customer)
  • Real-time detection of cloud credentials leakage like IAM keys, Cloud SQL, Service accounts, etc, on any public repositories.

#2 Microsoft Defender

A multi-cloud security program is called Microsoft Defender for Cloud. It delivers native cloud security posture management (CSPM) capabilities for Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud environments and supports threat protection across numerous platforms. Azure Arc can be used in hybrid environments to connect workloads not hosted on Azure.

Key Features:

  • Visualize and proactively enhance your security position. 
  • Obtain the mapping of compliance benchmarks to sector standards. 
  • Assisting in the malware and other threat protection of workloads. 
  • Scan effectively using an agent-based or agent-less technique. 
  • Streamline security posture visibility for DevOps.

Conclusion

In this article, we read all about Azure CSPM, its benefits, challenges, best practices, and the tools you can use.