Knowing your shared security responsibility in Microsoft Azure and avoiding misconfigurations

Trend Micro is excited to launch new Trend Micro Cloud One™ – Conformity capabilities that will strengthen protection for Azure resources.

As with any launch, there is a lot of new information, so we decided to sit down with one of the founders of Conformity, Mike Rahmati. Mike is a technologist at heart, with a proven track record of success in the development of software systems that are resilient to failure and grow and scale dynamically through cloud, open-source, agile, and lean disciplines. In the interview, we picked Mike’s brain on how these new capabilities can help customers prevent or easily remediate misconfigurations on Azure. Let’s dive in.

What are the common business problems that customers encounter when building on or moving their applications to Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

The common problem is there are a lot of tools and cloud services out there. Organizations are looking for tool consolidation and visibility into their cloud environment. Shadow IT and business units spinning up their own cloud accounts is a real challenge for IT organizations to keep on top of. Compliance, security, and governance controls are not necessarily top of mind for business units that are innovating at incredible speeds. That is why it is so powerful to have a tool that can provide visibility into your cloud environment and show where you are potentially vulnerable from a security and compliance perspective.

Common misconfigurations on AWS are an open Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or a misconfigured IAM policy. What is the equivalent for Microsoft?

The common misconfigurations are actually quite similar to what we’ve seen with AWS. During the product preview phase, we’ve seen customers with many of the same kinds of misconfiguration issues as we’ve seen with AWS. For example, Microsoft Azure Blobs Storage is the equivalent to Amazon S3 – that is a common source of misconfigurations. We have observed misconfiguration in two main areas: Firewall and Web Application Firewall (WAF),which is equivalent to AWS WAF. The Firewall is similar to networking configuration in AWS, which provides inbound protection for non-HTTP protocols and network related protection for all ports and protocols. It is important to note that this is based on the 100 best practices and 15 services we currently support for Azure and growing, whereas, for AWS, we have over 600 best practices in total, with over 70 controls with auto-remediation.

Can you tell me about the CIS Microsoft Azure Foundation Security Benchmark?

We are thrilled to support the CIS Microsoft Azure Foundation Security Benchmark. The CIS Microsoft Azure Foundations Benchmark includes automated checks and remediation recommendations for the following: Identity and Access Management, Security Center, Storage Accounts, Database Services, Logging and Monitoring, Networking, Virtual Machines, and App Service. There are over 100 best practices in this framework and we have rules built to check for all of those best practices to ensure cloud builders are avoiding risk in their Azure environments.

Can you tell me a little bit about the Microsoft Shared Responsibility Model?

In terms of shared responsibility model, it’s is very similar to AWS. The security OF the cloud is a Microsoft responsibility, but the security IN the cloud is the customers responsibility. Microsoft’s ecosystem is growing rapidly, and there are a lot of services that you need to know in order to configure them properly. With Conformity, customers only need to know how to properly configure the core services, according to best practices, and then we can help you take it to the next level.

Can you give an example of how the shared responsibility model is used?

Yes. Imagine you have a Microsoft Azure Blob Storage that includes sensitive data. Then, by accident, someone makes it public. The customer might not be able to afford an hour, two hours, or even days to close that security gap.

In just a few minutes, Conformity will alert you to your risk status, provide remediation recommendations, and for our AWS checks give you the ability to set up auto-remediation. Auto-remediation can be very helpful, as it can close the gap in near-real time for customers.

What are next steps for our readers?

I’d say that whether your cloud exploration is just taking shape, you’re midway through a migration, or you’re already running complex workloads in the cloud, we can help. You can gain full visibility of your infrastructure with continuous cloud security and compliance posture management. We can do the heavy lifting so you can focus on innovating and growing. Also, you can ask anyone from our team to set you up with a complimentary cloud health check. Our cloud engineers are happy to provide an AWS and/or Azure assessment to see if you are building a secure, compliant, and reliable cloud infrastructure. You can find out your risk level in just 10-minutes.

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Do you see value in building a security culture that is shifted left?

Yes, we have done this for our customers using AWS and it has been very successful. The more we talk about shifting security left the better, and I think that’s where we help customers build a security culture. Every cloud customer is struggling with implementing earlier on in the development cycle and they need tools. Conformity is a tool for customers which is DevOps or DevSecOps friendly and helps them build a security culture that is shifted left.

We help customers shift security left by integrating the Conformity API into their CI/CD pipeline. The product also has preventative controls, which our API and template scanners provide. The idea is we help customers shift security left to identify those misconfigurations early on, even before they’re actually deployed into their environments.

We also help them scan their infrastructure-as-code templates before being deployed into the cloud. Customers need a tool to bake into their CI/CD pipeline. Shifting left doesn’t simply mean having a reporting tool, but rather a tool that allows them to shift security left. That’s where our product, Conformity, can help.

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