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How to Automate Cybersecurity Guardrails in Azure?

Azure is a cloud service platform developed by Microsoft and is primarily used to build, test, and deploy applications. To make the cloud services more secure, Microsoft allows you to take advantage of custom-built policies to set guardrails in your applications. Here, we have discussed how to automate cybersecurity guardrails in Azure.

What are Guardrails?

According to experts at https://sonraisecurity.com/education/aws-azure-google-cloud-security-iam/, guardrails are automations that watch your deployments, find deviations from baselines, and automatically remediate issues.

Adopting a Zero-Trust Architecture

Most enterprise customers are adopting zero-trust architecture. The Zero-Trust model teaches us never to trust anyone. In a zero-trust model, every access request is strongly authenticated, inspected for anomalies, and authorized within policy constraints before granting access. This helps reduce cyber threats to a great extent.

Using the Zero-Trust Model for Faster Configuration of Azure

The Azure blueprint allows application developers to create hardened environments through automation. It also allows the central IT to set right guardrails in place. This helps the DevOps team to move fast while protecting the IT assets. The Azure Blueprint helps implement foundational elements of the zero-trust models.

Compute Service Infrastructure and Permissions

Policies and permissions mainly govern the security of the cloud platform. Automating guardrails refers to establishing custom-based roles in Azure that provides separation of duties and least privileges. The custom roles are created specifically to manage risks.

  • The Azure/Compute/Admin role manages medium to high-risk operations. This custom role handles image management and creates and deletes virtual machines.
  • The Azure/Compute/Operator role can manage low to medium risk operations. It mostly runs commands.
  • The Azure/Compute/Metadata role helps view virtual machine configurations only.

How to Automate Guardrails for Your Azure Platform?

The guardrails used on different cloud platforms differ in terms of capabilities and structure. You can take different approaches to build guardrails to secure your platform.

Define the Problem

If you want the technical solution to work flawlessly, you need to define the problem well. When configuring or setting up guardrails, you need to ensure it works as a solution and not as a blocker.

For example, when you want to stop all Internet-facing port 22 access, the real outcome you want is to restrict the known corporate IPs and not want the guardrail to expose Internet-facing admin servers to open the Internet. The trick lies in an accurate description of the problem for the guardrail to provide the expected outcome.

Set the Scope

Most organizations use multiple cloud accounts. The first thing you need to see is how broad the guardrail you want to secure a cloud platform. You will be required to provide some technical specifications. For example, if you run multiple Azure accounts, you need to manage the necessary IAM privileges from where you run the cloud services.

Build the Deployment Model

You need to focus on a lot of technical specifications when deploying guardrails on your Azure platform. You can go for a serverless approach, which will need containers to run the services. If you are looking for an enterprise-class mode, you need to have centralized and localized guardrails.

Define Filters

Filters allow you to tune guardrails for project needs. Basic filters work on a simple resource tag. Complex filters might need a combination of ‘exclude’ and ‘include’ rules for greater flexibility.

Determine Triggers

There are two types of triggers – event-based triggers and time-based assessments. Azure supports a rich range of trigger options that can be used to automate guardrails.

Perform Analysis

The guardrail performs analysis based on information collected. The combination of the scope and filters helps the guardrail make a decision.

Take Actions

Based on the analysis and filters, you can fully automate remediation through guardrails. Actions can follow different paths based on the condition of the situation.

According to the experts at https://sonraisecurity.com/education/aws-azure-google-cloud-security-iam/, Automation is critical in strengthening cloud security platforms like Microsoft Azure. Automating guardrails improves response and task completion time and frees human labor from complicated and mundane tasks of monitoring the cloud environment.


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