10 Best Practices for Microsoft Azure AD Security: An In-Depth Guide
Every day, the world of cybersecurity becomes more complicated. Platforms like Microsoft Azure AD Security focus on making security manageable—yet, ultimately, any infrastructure is only as secure as its weakest link. While you can (and should) constantly update yourself on new security resources, tools, and models, it goes without saying that sometimes you need to take shortcuts to improve your security realistically. Best practices will help you shore up your security without getting into the minutiae each time.
When securing your Microsoft Azure Active Directory (AD), these best practices will help you get the best bang for your buck and the best security with the minimum administrative outlay. So, let’s dig a little deeper into Microsoft Azure Security.
1. Start by configuring your Azure Cloud Security for automatic syncing
One of the most important aspects of keeping your Azure AD tenant healthy and clean is ensuring that your on-premises AD is in good shape. By configuring Azure AD Connect for automatic syncing, you can maintain a consistent state between the two platforms, saving you time and headaches. Many casual issues are introduced because platforms aren’t synced properly or (most commonly) because one platform is much more secure than another. The weakest link is always going to be the biggest issue.
2. Set up multi-factor authentication, single-sign-on, or passwordless authentication
There are a few different ways to set up authentication in Azure AD, but we recommend using multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), or passwordless authentication. MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to verify their identity with a second factor, like a code from their mobile device. SSO allows users to sign in once and access all their applications, which can be a major time-saver. Passwordless authentication eliminates the need for passwords altogether—instead, users can authenticate with their fingerprint, iris scan, or a PIN code.
3. Use Microsoft Azure Security’s Privileged Identity Management to control admin access
Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM) is a great way to control administrator access and minimize the risk of accidental or malicious changes. PIM allows you to assign just-in-time (JIT) and time-bound administrative roles so that admins only have the permissions they need when they need them.
4. Create and enforce strong passwords for all accounts
One of the most basic—but often overlooked—security measures is to enforce strong passwords for all accounts. Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. You can also use Azure AD Password Protection to secure your passwords and prevent common ones from being used.
5. Don’t forget about guest users–restrict their access as needed
Guest users are often given too much access, which can be a security risk. Review the permissions of your guest users regularly and restrict their access as needed. The reality is that today, your employees will need to share files. They will need to connect with people outside the purview of your administrative ecosystem. Restrict access as much as possible and remove access when it’s no longer relevant.
6. Keep an eye on your Azure AD logs
Schedule a time to review your Azure AD logs. This will help you identify any abnormal activity and take steps to remediate it. You can also set up Azure Monitor Logs to collect, analyze, and act on data collected from your Azure resources. Automate monitoring and connect the most important metrics to your dashboard.
7. Use Azure AD Conditional Access Policies to restrict access to only approved devices and apps
Zero-trust or low-trust policies are the best way to keep things secure. By using Azure AD Conditional Access Policies, you can restrict access to only approved devices and apps. This adds an extra layer of security and ensures that only authorized users can access your data. Regularly audit your security permissions to ensure that access creep hasn’t occurred.
8. Educate your users about phishing and other social engineering attacks
Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and users are often the weak link in the security chain. Educate your users about phishing attacks and how to spot them. Teach them to be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. And remind them never to click on links or attachments from unknown senders.
9. Keep your Azure AD Connect installation up to date
Azure AD Connect is a tool that allows you to sync your on-premises Active Directory with Azure AD. It’s an important part of your security infrastructure, so it’s important to keep it up to date. Check for new versions of Azure AD Connect regularly and install them as soon as they’re available.
10. Build policies, not just systems, for mobile device management
A mobile device management (MDM) system is a great way to manage and secure mobile devices. But it’s important to remember that MDM is just one part of the equation. You also need to have policies that govern how devices are used and what data they can access. Without both, your security posture will weaken as employees seek to complete their work—and circumvent your security standards.
Regarding Microsoft Azure Active Directory security, following best practices can help you stay ahead of the curve. But don’t forget that best practices serve as general rules or frameworks intended to make the overall management of your security posture and security ecosystem easier. No system can be secured through “best practices” alone; you need a thorough understanding of modern threat landscapes.
Axiad can help improve your Microsoft Azure security by providing a complete, single-sign-on authentication solution. Establish zero-trust policies, improve your user experience, and restrict access as desired. Azure Cloud Security is already robust out-of-the-box but can be vastly improved through the right security and authentication management.