How To Leverage Azure Policy for Best Practice Compliance

No matter what kind of business you run, you’ll have to follow some official compliances. Whether they’re governmental or professional, you’ll need a way to track these compliances in a way that doesn’t slow down your everyday work output. Fortunately, you can efficiently do this through automation such as Microsoft Azure. We’re here today to show you how to leverage Azure policy for best practice compliance within your company.

Choose Which Compliances To Automate

Even though it would be best to simply automate everything, you need to start small if you’ve never used cloud services before. You’ll need to take the time to evaluate which compliances are worth automating. Aspects such as how much time you’ll need to spend checking them manually and how vital it is for your company to follow the rules are two of the most critical elements to consider. Still, plenty of other things will influence your decision. Once you get one set of compliances up and running, doing the rest over time will be easier.

If you currently use one of the other popular compliance software tools, Microsoft Azure’s security and compliance system makes moving your data over very easy. Azure is set up to evaluate your current infrastructure, compare it to its own best practices, and make changes accordingly. It also helps with all of the following steps we’re about to go over.

Set Up Individual Data Protection

It should go without saying that the best strategy for how to leverage Azure policy for best practice compliance doesn’t end with automating it and letting it do its thing in the background. You also have to set up multiple layers of protection to keep that data safe. Compliance checks are not things you want unauthorized personnel to be messing with.

It’s always good to start with an outer layer of protection, and Azure offers that through the Azure Firewall. It will automatically detect where a traffic source originated from and block it immediately if it came from an untrusted location. If a hacker gets past that, the data they get to will still be encrypted, whether through BitLocker for Windows or DM-Crypt for Linux. Your data will still be safe from anyone who manages to break through the surface.

Fortunately, if there is a breach, Azure’s Security Center will be able to autonomously manage and handle it as well as any other red flags that might pop up. It can also recognize patterns and suggest ways to prevent specific threats in the future.

Of course, not all dangers are external. You also have to make sure the security threat doesn’t come from within. That’s why it’s wise to require access keys for all employees who might need access to your most critical data. In Azure, this location is known as the Key Vault. It’s the most secure place for info such as passwords, certificates, and other company secrets. Not even Microsoft itself is allowed inside this part of Azure.

Accurately Measure and Record Results

However, none of this security for your compliances means much if you’re not tracking it effectively. Even though this process is automated, you need to have a way to check in on it to make sure everything is running smoothly. A system is only as good as its weakest link, so if there’s a problem, you need to know about it.

Having detailed records of all the examples of your company following compliances isn’t entirely necessary, but you still need to track the number of policies you have as well as the amount of objects inspected. As you add newer procedures, the chances of violations will likely go up. If you don’t have accurate numbers to represent those changes, it’ll look worse for your company during its transition period. Once you get all of that settled, though, it’ll be easier to focus more on the violations themselves in terms of severity and how old they are.

Create a Method To Handle Violations

Obviously, you don’t want a bunch of old violations blocking up your system, so you’ll need to figure out some methods for dealing with them. Most compliance violations will be minor infractions, so setting up a simple warning system will be sufficient enough for those. For larger violations, you’ll need to determine which course of action will be best for your company.

It would be best to integrate your method with the ticketing system your company already uses. That way, everyone is already used to the system, and it doesn’t take up more of Azure’s resources. Luckily, Azure has been set up to easily combine its efforts with most of the other programs that exist. However, be sure to create an appeal system, because mistakes happen in both directions. You don’t want people to feel hopeless or ignore the system entirely if they feel unfairly charged.

Start a Checks and Balances System

Any system, whether done manually or automatically, needs to have a checks and balances structure to ensure fairness. An appeals system for wrongful violation notices is just a start. You also need a team that performs compliance checks, another that can identify glaring problems and potential issues, and a group that will ensure everything is running smoothly.

Tracking compliances is a continuous job, not something that gets done once a year. So to make sure everything remains fair, you need systems such as this that routinely run throughout the year. Plus, you must make sure you don’t try to do it all yourself. That will take up a lot of your time, and it ruins the whole idea of checks and balances. You need other people to oversee your work to ensure no one person is trying to cheat the system.

The key thing to remember about all of this is that it won’t happen overnight. Setting up a thorough organization of your company’s compliances that you’ve leveraged out with Microsoft Azure is not an easy process. It takes time and patience, but once you get everything in place, things will run a lot more smoothly for your company in this department.

How To Leverage Azure Policy for Best Practice Compliance

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