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Secure Azure Architecture: Best Practices for High Performance Security

With digital transformation accelerating, organizations are rapidly moving workloads to the cloud. Azure has become a preferred destination due to its security capabilities, global scale, and hybrid cloud options. But realizing the full benefits of the cloud requires proper planning and architecture.

In this post, we outline key techniques for building secure, high-performance architectures on Azure. Follow these cybersecurity best practices to protect your critical assets.

Secure Azure Architecture: Best Practices for High Performance Security Photo Related to IT Work & Cloud Security for Businesses

Make this your top priority

Microsegmentation with Azure NSGs

Microsegmentation is a top priority for strengthening cloud security postures. With Azure Network Security Groups (NSGs), you can divide your architecture into isolated segments.

Apply NSGs at both the subnet and individual VM level. This granular zoning limits lateral movement across your environment if a breach occurs. Microsegmentation also allows enforcing traffic rules between application tiers like web, app, and data.

Focus NSGs on core ingress and egress filtering. Then complement them with centrally managed firewall policies for deep traffic inspection.

Secure Azure Architecture: Best Practices for High Performance Security Photo Related to IT Work & Cloud Security for Businesses

Take control

Send Flow Logs to Azure Sentinel for Analysis

Gain visibility into all IP traffic flows within Azure VNets by enabling NSG flow logging. Send these logs to Azure Sentinel to correlate events, detect anomalies, and trigger alerts.

Azure Sentinel uses integrated threat intelligence to quickly identify suspected malicious behaviors. Flow log analysis can detect compromised credentials, reconnaissance, and command & control actions by an attacker.

Deploy Azure Firewall in Key VNet Hubs

Azure Firewall is a cloud-native, highly scalable firewall-as-a-service. Its central deployment in key VNet hubs allows efficiently filtering traffic across multiple segments and workloads.

Key advantages over virtual network appliances (NVAs) include high availability, dynamic scalability, DevOps-friendly management, and lower total cost of ownership.

Securely Interconnect On-Premises Networks

When interconnecting on-premises datacenters to Azure via ExpressRoute or VPN, carefully limit route propagation to prevent overexposure. Additionally, deploy Azure Firewall in boundary VNets to filter all ingress and egress traffic.

This allows applying consistent network security and logging policies to all cloud traffic. Use firewall rules to restrict lateral movement between on-prem and cloud.

Adopt a Hub & Spoke Model with Azure Virtual WAN

For organizations with distributed infrastructure, embrace a hub & spoke model using Azure Virtual WAN (vWAN). vWAN creates a unified networking and security fabric to easily connect remote sites, regional hubs, on-prem, and cloud.

Centrally define and enforce security policies like web filtering, intrusion detection, and next-gen firewalls. vWAN simplifies cloud adoption across complex, hybrid environments.

The Wrap

A layered defense model using microsegmentation, proactive monitoring, cloud firewalls, and controlled network routing gives robust protection for Azure environments. Prioritize these security architecture best practices as you optimize workloads for the cloud.

With cyber threats rapidly evolving, a hardened network security posture is essential. Follow these guidelines to help safeguard your organization as you embrace cloud opportunities.

Everything You Need to Know About Azure

Learn more today

What are the benefits of microsegmentation in Azure?

Microsegmentation allows you to divide your Azure environment into isolated security zones. This limits lateral movement if a breach occurs. It also lets you tightly control traffic flows between application tiers. Overall, microsegmentation improves security posture.

How can I gain visibility into network traffic on Azure?

Enable NSG flow logging to capture details about all IP traffic within Azure VNets. Send these flow logs to Azure Sentinel for real-time monitoring, anomaly detection, and threat hunting powered by built-in intelligence.

 

When should I use Azure Firewall vs. a Network Virtual Appliance?

Azure Firewall is fully managed, easy to scale dynamically, and cost effective. But NVAs allow leveraging existing on-prem firewall policies. Evaluate requirements like feature set, operations overhead, and budget.

What's the best way to interconnect my on-prem network to Azure?

Use ExpressRoute or VPN for secure dedicated connectivity. Carefully limit route propagation to avoid overexposure. Also deploy Azure Firewall in boundary VNets to consistently filter all ingress and egress traffic.

 

How does Azure Virtual WAN improve my network security?

Azure Virtual WAN enables centralized networking and security policies across complex hybrid environments. Easily connect regions, branches, and cloud with optimized routing and built-in support for Azure Firewall.

 

What are the top benefits of the hub & spoke model on Azure?

The hub & spoke model simplifies management, enhances security, and allows consistent policy enforcement. Resources connect to centralized hubs for connecting to on-prem or other spokes. Hubs can host security services like firewalls.

 

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