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Microsoft Previews Azure Active Directory Audit Capabilities

Microsoft added some auditing and reporting capabilities to its Azure cloud computing service this week.

Azure Active Directory now has previews of four new reports. The reports include Audit, Password Reset Activity, Password Reset Registration Activity and Group Activity.

The previews of the new reports can be accessed now. It's unclear when product rollout occurs, but the Audit report will be "available for free" because of its importance to organizations, according to Microsoft's Azure Active Directory announcement.

The Audit report tracks more than 30 events, such as changes to roles, password changes, and the adding or removing of licenses. Information displayed in the Audit report includes "action, timestamp, the user/application that performed the action, and the user/application on which the action was performed," according to the announcement. Details get tracked for 30 days, but Microsoft is considering expanding that period. It's also looking at a way for the information to be shared with specific users who are not global administrators.

The two Password Reset reports track the frequency of password resets by end users, specifically within the last month, as well as the method used, such as via a mobile device or e-mail. Uses can also determine if the password reset method was registered, which is needed to use Azure's password reset function, according to Microsoft's explanation.

The Group Activity report shows changes to Groups, such as the addition or deletion of members. It tracks changes over the last 30 days.

All of these Azure Active Directory reports can be downloaded as comma-separated values files, which will display up to 75,000 rows of data.

Microsoft also announced auditing improvements to Azure SQL Database this week. The Auditing function is now available through the Azure portal. Previously, it had just been available in the Azure portal preview. PowerShell also can be used to audit Azure SQL Database. Examples of what can be audited include data access, schema changes, data changes, security exceptions and grant/revoke permissions. The new capability is just available with the Basic, Standard or Premium subscription plans for Azure SQL Database.

Also this week, Microsoft released a preview of a "Support Site Extension" for Azure Websites. The extension provides diagnostics for troubleshooting Web sites hosted on Azure Websites. Site failures can be viewed within 30 seconds using the extension. Problems with apps can be analyzed, too, if an organization has either a Basic or Standard subscription to Azure Websites.

Microsoft also released Azure PowerShell 0.8.9 this month. Azure PowerShell is used to deploy, automate and manage Azure workloads, according to Microsoft's description.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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