Security Advisor

Microsoft Previews Azure Security Center

The new cloud security suite can also be used in on-premises environments and in Amazon's cloud.

Microsoft on Wednesday released a public preview of its new security monitoring and policy management tools for Azure.

Microsoft's goal with Azure Security Center is to limit the occurrence of corporate breaches and, if an incursion does occur, to cut down on the time it takes to detect a threat.  The new solution was first announced last month by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Government Cloud Forum in Washington D.C.

Azure Security Center offers IT a three-pronged approach to protect data and resources spread across all facets of Microsoft's cloud. The first part includes preventative tools. Organizations can monitor active Azure resources, deploy custom-defined policies based on corporate requirements and deploy services from Microsoft or its partners.

Next, the detection portion of the tool uses a mix of global threat intelligence sources and machine learning analytics to analyze and monitor data being stored in Azure.

Finally, the response feature of Azure Security Center provides IT with an up-to-the-minute threat alert status, with higher-priority threats being displayed first. It also provides in-depth information on the attack and which specific resources may be compromised, along with suggested actions to take to stop the current attack and how to avoid similar incidents.

Bringing more value to the suite of Azure security tools is the fact that Azure Security Center can be deployed not only for use with Microsoft's cloud, but also for in on-premises environments and even for other clouds, including Amazon Web Services.

"We recognize that it's not just us building these technologies, but we also need to interoperate in a heterogeneous environment," said Nadella back in November when announcing the security suite. "So that's something that's first class in how we deal with identity, how we deal with device management, data protection. Those are all keys to our design."

Those looking to get started with Azure Security Center will need to have an active subscription to Microsoft Azure and access it through the Microsoft Azure portal. Along with the release of the preview, Microsoft has also published a few guides for using the service, including a beginner's guide to deploying Azure Security Center and how to set custom policies.

Microsoft has not indicated how long the public preview will run, nor when to expect the final release.  

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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