Azure SQL Database Security Best Practices

The implementation of top Azure database security practices can act as an effective method to secure your operations on the cloud. Check out the following Azure SQL Database Security best practices and start implementing to secure your Azure SQL database.

Microsoft Azure is undoubtedly one of the prominent public cloud vendors in the existing market. However, the most common concern of all cloud computing platforms is security. The shared responsibility model provides the most generic foundation for cloud security, and Azure follows the same.

Also Read: Simple Steps to Create a Database using Azure Portal

Therefore, cloud vendors, as well as cloud users, are responsible for Azure cloud security. The following discussion would dive into a brief illustration of Azure SQL services and the Azure SQL database security best practices.

Azure SQL Database

The foremost aspect of Azure database security is to understand it perfectly. Azure SQL Database provides a completely managed database service offered by Azure. It provides support for the operation of SQL databases in Azure, irrespective of the software installation or hardware configuration. Azure SQL Database provides the following features,

  • Automatic performance tuning on the basis of artificial intelligence
  • Capabilities for retaining backup for longer periods of time
  • Scalability and higher availability of resources
  • Geo-replication of databases to ensure failover to support data loss safeguards and disaster recovery processes

The prominent areas of focus in the recommended Azure SQL database security best practices are as follows,

  • Ensuring that you address data privacy standards and comply with regulatory requirements
  • Detecting and responding to the potential threats
  • Establishing restrictions on access to database alongside strengthening security permissions
  • Monitoring different modifications across different databases for ensuring data privacy and integrity

Azure SQL Database Security Best Practices

Based on the above-mentioned principles, you can define the primary objectives of your Azure Database security infrastructure. Here are the important best practices that you can follow for ensuring the security of your databases on Azure.

  • Implementation of Encryption Protocols

The foremost entry among the Azure database security best practices is the implementation of encryption protocols. It is vital to ensure the encryption of data-in-transit as well as at-rest. You would find the in-built “Always Encrypted” feature built-in Azure’s SQL Database that can help in preventing unwanted exposure of data in memory or during use.

The feature holds encryption keys from the database engine, thereby ensuring access privileges only to data owners. The method could also prevent cloud admins and database administrators from accessing protected data. To ensure better protection, the feature can be used in unison with other encryption protocols such as TLS and TDE.

The combination of these approaches for encryption can prevent access to highly sensitive data for reducing performance downtime and the implementation of safeguards across different data.

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  • Periodic Evaluation of Databases

The periodic evaluation of databases is also another prominent best practice in Azure database security. Periodic audits of databases could help in monitoring database activity, maintenance of regulatory compliance, and identification of vulnerabilities in accessing permissions or configurations. In addition, you have to focus on your data usage and the compliance standards applicable to your data.

The evaluation of databases depends on continuous tracking and logging database events. The most basic approach for tracking and logging database events is the use of SQL Database Auditing. The feature helps in tracking events and writing logs to a specific Azure Log Analytics workspace or the Azure Storage account. It is vital to reflect on the use of Azure SQL Database Vulnerability Assessment service for database auditing.

The service provides help for scanning potential vulnerabilities through the identification of potential vulnerabilities through comparison of settings to best practices. As a result, it can help you find out the misconfigurations, excessive permissions at database and server levels, and unprotected data. With the identification of these issues, you can immediately find notifications, thereby indicating the urgency of modifications according to best practice configurations.

  • Implementation of Threat Protection

The importance of implementing threat protections is also one of the Azure SQL Database security best practices. The highly efficient approach for safeguard databases in Azure refers to enabling SQL Advanced Data Security (ADS). The package of tools in Azure SQL ADS includes vulnerability assessments, classification capabilities, data discovery, and advanced threat detection capabilities.

SQL ADS can help in effective management and monitoring of database and the services from a singular dashboard. You can utilize this package alongside particular SQL servers or managed instances across the servers and instances. With a subscription to Azure Security Center Standard tier, you can explore the functionalities of threat protection alongside implementing it across all services.

  • Create Data Inventories

Another critical best practice for Azure’s SQL database security is data inventorying. The creation of data inventory helps in ensuring proper implementation of safeguards alongside ensuring focus on significantly valuable assets. SQL Information Protection service provides the desired functionality for automatically discovering and ensuring the classification of data.

Azure SQL database security best practices suggest a prominent emphasis on data monitoring for efficient security infrastructures. Using the SQL Information Protection service can help in tagging data with classifications that are used during the implementation of policies and for the purposes of querying.

So, you have to consider the example of explicitly auditing and safeguarding searches, including sensitive data as the functionalities in Azure’s SQL Database security.

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  • Identity Verification

Implementation of security tools such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) could provide a reliable authentication method. The authentication meter should follow the specifications for allowing users to ensure verification through various methods ensuring their identity.

The common method followed for multi-factor authentication includes sending a code to a mobile device alongside requiring a password or a fingerprint. The importance of multi-factor authentication as one of the crucial Azure SQL database security best practices becomes clearly evident.

As a result, it can ensure a reduction of the possibilities of vulnerabilities that can lead to database access with compromised credentials. Users should always activate multi-factor authentication in Azure Active Directory (AD) for utilizing interactive authentication and conditional access.

As a result, it can establish strict controls for situations when users can ensure abilities for accessing resources. So, if you are implementing federated AD services, then you can implement the activation of controls for all the users.

  • Notification Mechanisms

Escalation alerts are also one of the prominent Azure SQL database security best practices. Users have to ensure database monitoring for higher severity issues to ensure malware infection, suspicious login attempts, and configuration of alerts, malware infection, data exfiltration, and faster data deletion.

The alerts can help in ensuring better awareness of security teams regarding the rise of issues occurring as the events happen. In addition, it can also ensure that there are no incidents that go unnoticed. For example, you can utilize an intelligent alert system such as OnPage for ensuring that security and IT staff could receive high-priority alerts.

OnPage could also ensure persistent, eight-hour intrusive alerts for ensuring that the right person receives the notification. As a result, the incident response becomes faster.

Also Check: Simple Steps to Migrate to Azure SQL Database

Are You Ready to Implement Azure SQL Security?

Therefore, as you notice above the prominent Azure SQL database security best practices, you can find some notable themes. For example, threat protection, identity authentication, and threat notification. In addition to these recommended best practices, you can also find out more about Azure SQL database security in official Microsoft documentation.

Azure SQL documentation can help you understand its architecture well and identify different sources of vulnerabilities. In the long run, Azure SQL security would be a prominent requirement in the career of IT professionals. The attention on threat detection and strengthening the cloud security infrastructure can ensure better safeguards for Azure’s SQL database.

Start learning more about Azure SQL security and implement the best practices!

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