Originally published October, 2019. Updated October, 2021.
At the beginning of a teaser for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker you hear “we’ve passed on all we know.” We could pass on all our theories and ideas about Star Wars but should probably stick to what we know best: ways you can defend and grow your business using Microsoft Azure security services.
There are so many capabilities, it is hard to know where to start. But, we make it our business to know. Consider our team your “Microsoft Azure Jedi Masters.” We asked a few of these masters to share their Microsoft Azure knowledge and favorite features. Check out their responses and tips for businesses that want to maximize their Azure ROI.
6 Tips for Leveraging Microsoft Azure Services and Features to Manage Network Security and Grow Your Business
1. Reserved Site Recovery
Deb Wiker, VP Sales, likes recovered site recovery because it “ensures a proper disaster recovery solution for critical data.” Site recovery replicates your workloads and, during an outage at your primary location, you failover to a secondary site. When the outage is over, you return to your primary location. Throughout, you seamlessly access business applications.
Scalability is a popular reason organizations move to the cloud. “It allows customers to ramp up and down based on their cyclical business,” Joe Piccolino, Director of Strategic Accounts in Pittsburgh, explained when asked why his favorite feature is scalability. He added that businesses “no longer need to make a large capital purchase for something that they only need for a few months.”
With versatility like that, it’s little wonder that scalability is also a favorite attribute for George Hammerschmidt, Executive Vice President and COO at Nortec. “Commercially you only have to buy what you need,” Hammerschmidt said. “Then you can turn it off when you don’t need it anymore. You can scale cost to match usage as opposed to buying a server and licensing and hoping you use some of it.”
3. Cloud-Based Data Center
President and CEO Andrew Grose’s top recommended aspect also relates to scalability, along with business uptime and cost savings. When you use Microsoft Azure security management, you access a network of over 100 highly secure global locations. Moving to the cloud “reduces the cost of servers, real estate, cooling, power and maintenance of a private data center,” Grose specified.
4. Secure Score
Microsoft developed Secure Score so organizations can quickly prioritize which actions they need take to managed their IT security. The clear-cut instructions and ability for businesses to improve security are why Secure Score is Technical Services Manager Darren Holdren’s top pick for services Microsoft Azure offers. “It provides an analytical view of your environment, points out what needs to change and provides a link with instructions on how to fix it,” Holdren explained.
5. Network Security 101: Multifactor Authentication
Nortec VP Professional Services Kevin Wills touts Azure’s security features as well, often recommending Multifactor Authentication (MFA). Wills endorses MFA because of how easily it improves security. “It’s a checkbox to turn it on, and you massively improve security,” he shared. “When MFA is turned on, you’ll be asked to enter a unique code or authenticator during the login process. This keeps malicious actors (storm troopers) out of accounts even if they have your credentials.”
6. AI-powered protection
As Senior Consultant Gregory Smith pointed out, there is a broad range of advanced security capabilities in Azure security management, like Threat Protection or Threat Analytics which use Artificial Intelligence.
“The most exciting thing about these to me is that they are features that can be enabled almost silently, with little impact on end-users, and yet they bring truly substantial gains in security posture,” Smith said. “These are tried and proven effective approaches that scale well and don’t get disabled because they’re intrusive. They just work.”
What’s the Best Way to Defend Your Business? Azure Security
The Force is strong in Azure and all businesses should leverage the preventive and protective capabilities included in the platform. We asked our Jedi Masters to share tips and best practices to get you started.
6 IT security tips our team shared:
Leverage Azure for your identity management to greatly improve your network security posture.
- Deb Wiker, VP Sales
Don’t ignore Azure servers
Actively manage your Azure servers. Monitor them, patch them regularly and review your reports consistently. If you are not using them, get rid of them.
- Andrew Grose, President and CEO
Don’t take a chance with backups
Allow Nortec to manage the backups properly! This is a job that always gets put on the backburner when done internally. Data security starts with reliable backups.
- Joe Piccolino, Director of Strategic Accounts (Pittsburgh)
Keep score to manage your security
Review your Secure Score monthly as this will point out any changes that affect the security of your environment. Additionally, Microsoft is constantly updating which may introduce new services in Secure Score to help increase your score and keep your data more secure.
- Darren Holdren, Technical Services Manager
Turn on multi-factor authentication right now!
Even though everybody knows they should do it, we find adoption of multifactor authentication, or better yet, conditional access (security that only allows access to data based on a need-to-access basis) is not being deployed broadly. If you don’t use MFA, you are probably entitled to it, at least at the basic level, with your current Microsoft solutions. Turn it on! If you need help with that, reach out to us; we are happy to help.
- Gregory Smith, Senior Consultant and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Registered Practioner
Don’t leave managing security in the wrong hands.
Contact Nortec for a Security Assessment today.