The way how organizations categorize/handle classified information can vary significantly. Where it can go from about 6 categories towards a more “limited” set of 3 to 4 categories. Where you see that some government organizations have even tried to reduce this in an effort to make it more accessible.
So for today, we’ll be looking at how we can handle sensitive/classified information in Azure. And to ensure you that you Azure implementations can facilitate sensitive data.
Side Story : Security should be like a roundabout
Though I don’t remember which conference talk it was… One visual has always stuck with me when talking about security. Imagine security like road infrastructure. Having a complex situation might be needed at times, though it will increase the risk that the drivers (~users) will make mistakes.
Continue reading “Traffic Light Protocol alike Security Reference Architecture for Azure”
Today’s post will cover three more advanced topics that I’ve seen surfacing on a regular basis ;
- Transferring a Subscription versus Changing the Directory of a Subscription
- Moving resources between subscriptions with different AAD (Azure Active Directory tenants
- Understanding the relationships between components when leveraging an Enterprise Agreement (EA)
- Various advanced scenarios on how AAD in intertwined between subscriptions & the EA
Transfer vs Change Directory
Apparently there is a bit of confusion between the “Transfer” and the “Change Directory” buttons for a subscription ;
In essence ;
Transfer Subscription = Change the Owner AND Change the Directory
What does that mean?
- If you want to transfer the billing of a subscription, you do a “Transfer“.
(Do note: Transferring a subscription will also change the directory to the one linked to the new owner. If this is a different one, then you’ll be linked to a new AAD Tenant.)
- If you do not want to transfer the billing, and just change the directory, you do a “Change directory“.
(Do note: Changing a directory will not remove the account owner. And (s)he’ll still have owner rights on it! Also be aware that all rights set linked to the previous tenant will disappear. So you’ll have to reinstate IAM. For which you can easily leverage management groups...)
Continue reading “Azure Subscription Management – Beyond the 101… aka The Advanced Topics”
A few days ago the “Azure Management Groups” got into Public Preview. The pitch as mentioned to the docs ;
You can build a flexible structure of management groups and subscriptions to organize your resources into a hierarchy for unified policy and access management.
During the current preview, policies aren’t yet part of the preview. Though they will be included later on. So for the moment you can use them to setup a unified access management structure for your governance.
Taking a peek
So let’s take a look at how it looks?
Continue reading “Taking a peek at the Azure Management Groups”
When moving to the cloud, one cannot imagine this without some kind of network integration. Taking a look at “Infrastructure-as-a-Service”, there are several common patterns that are utilized by enterprises. Today we’ll discuss these patterns…
Update – June 2018
Despite that this post isn’t even a year old, I’ll be updating it with the new guidance that come from the introduction of the standard LB. Here we advise to use a single legged deployment.
Typical Network Maturity Models
Embarking on a cloud journey? You’ll typically go through the following patterns depending on your “maturity level” in working with the cloud ;
- “Island” : The first approach is typically “the island”. The VMs reside in a VNET that is not connected/integrated with any other networks, except for (maybe) the internet.
- “Hybrid Connection” : The first step towards integration is creating a hybrid connection. Here you want to access “On Premises” resources, though the mass of the resources on Azure do not justify the investment into a “Network Virtual Appliance” (AKA Firewall). Two flavours typically arise here;
- “Forced Tunneling” : Here you set up a “UDR” (User Defined Route, AKA Static Route), where you force all traffic to go back to the “On Premises” network.
- “Azure = Internet Zone” : Here you assume that the Azure zone is does what it needs to do to protect its resources Though you’ll protect your “On Prem” zone by considering the Azure VNET as being “the bad internet”.
- “Single VNET with DMZ” : One step beyond “forced tunneling”, is moving towards the typical DMZ-alike pattern, where you setup a HA-pair of “Network Virtual Appliances” and segregate network zones.
- “Hub & Spoke”-model : Growing even further, you’ll have multiple subscriptions. Setting up “NVAs” on all of those can be quite expensive. In terms of governance, this also a nice model, where you can consolidate all network integration into a segregated subscription/vnet.
The advantage of these patterns is that you can evolve into another pattern without breaking anything in terms of design.
Continue reading “Azure Networking : Blueprint patterns for enterprises”
During the weekend I saw the following tweet passing by …
Apparently, a hosting company (allegedly) got all their data wiped by an ex-admin. Now I can imagine people thinking that this is something that is part of the territory when it boils down to cloud. So I wanted to write a blog post entailing what you do to set up a governance structure in Azure. Here I’m aware that the above tweet is more related to the security aspect of governance, it’s a part of it nevertheless.
Let’s get started on our scope… IT Governance can cover a lot of ground. In essence, the goal is to assure that the investment in IT generates business value and the risks that are associated with IT projects are mitigated. Though I found that CIO.com has a nice definition on it ;
Simply put, it’s putting structure around how organizations align IT strategy with business strategy, ensuring that companies stay on track to achieve their strategies and goals, and implementing good ways to measure IT’s performance. It makes sure that all stakeholders’ interests are taken into account and that processes provide measurable results. An IT governance framework should answer some key questions, such as how the IT department is functioning overall, what key metrics management needs and what return IT is giving back to the business from the investment it’s making.
So let’s take a look at how we can put an enterprise-grade structure around the management of Azure!
TL;DR = Azure Enterprise Scaffold
For those who want to skip the post below… When talking about governance in Azure, the best place that summarizes it the following page in our documentation ; “The Azure Enterprise Scaffold“.
Continue reading “Azure : IT Governance in the cloud”
In my last post I talked about the possibility to manage “Azure Resource Manager Policies” via the portal. Where the policy is a good location to view the policies, this is not the area you want to be managing your policies! In today’s post, we’ll look how we can automate these things. This to ensure that all policies are effective towards their scope and remain that way. Once your subscriptions grows, you can have way too many resources & resource groups at your hands. Setting up things manually is not the way to go…
Microsoft Azure Enterprise Scaffold
How to do governance in Azure is a very common questions. So if you have found yourself asking questions in regards to that topic, do not feel strange! One of the prime resources I can recommend in this area is the “Microsoft Azure Enterprise Scaffold” ;
The scaffold is based on practices we have gathered from many engagements with clients of various sizes. Those clients range from small organizations developing solutions in the cloud to Fortune 500 enterprises and independent software vendors who are migrating and developing solutions in the cloud. The enterprise scaffold is “purpose-built” to be flexible to support both traditional IT workloads and agile workloads; such as, developers creating software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications based on Azure capabilities.
Continue reading “Azure Governance – Policy Automation”
Ever wondered if you can put policies on the deployment of resources in Azure? Yes you can via “Resource Policies“.
This used to be only possible via JSON deployments like the following ;
"description": "The list of locations that can be specified when deploying resources",
"displayName": "Allowed locations"
"displayName": "Allowed locations",
"description": "This policy enables you to restrict the locations your organization can specify when deploying resources.",
The good news is that the preview portal shows a public preview shows that this feature will be available via the portal!
Continue reading “Azure Governance – Policies in public preview on the portal”