10 Azure Best Practices Your Organization Should Implement This Year

Posted by Gary Utley on December 12, 2019

azure best practices, azure benefits, Azure expert MSP ProgramScalable and robust, Microsoft Azure has a lot to offer any organization. But because Azure is so complex and in-depth, there are a lot of things that are easy to miss. If your organization isn't digging deep into improving its Microsoft Azure use, there may be some best practices that aren't being followed. Here's a list of some of the most popular Microsoft Azure best practices, and an explanation of what makes them so important.

1. Give conditional access to your organization's resources.

Today's best secured networks operate on a Zero Trust premise. Conditional access reduces the amount of exposure that your organization has. Network location, identity, device, and other factors should be used to determine whether access is granted. By securing a network in this way, you can make sure that data isn't being accessed by individuals that shouldn't be accessing them.

2. Segment your subnets both logically and sparingly.

Don't make broad subnet groups and make sure to reserve subnets logically. By taking more control over your subnets, you can reduce the chances of harmful traffic passing between them. Rules with broader ranges can easily be exploited, and network access controls should be instituted between subnets in order to better contain potential security issues. 

3. Use secure management workstations to protect your most sensitive information.

Secure management workstations will improve endpoint protection, reducing your potential attack surface by limiting the access to your data to specific locations. Privileged access workstations are a dedicated operating system architecture which is more secure than others, and thereby inherently protects the system and its assets. 

4. Choose and integrate your open-source and third-party solutions carefully.

Often, a breach doesn't occur because of the Azure system itself. Instead, a breach occurs through third-party solutions. An Azure expert MSP program can review the products that you're interested in using to determine whether they are safe to use. If any issues do occur, the issues can be mitigated as quickly as possible.

5. Leverage the Azure Advisor.

The Azure Advisor is a one-stop shop for all of Azure's best practices. There are many Azure best practices that you might not be aware of, or Azure benefits that you may not be utilizing. The Azure Advisor will give you detailed information on what you should and shouldn't do in Azure, making your job a little easier. The Azure Advisor can even look at your current utilization of Azure and determine ways that you can improve.

6. Start using Azure blueprints.

Using blueprints and templates can make it easier to manage your Azure system. Templates and blueprints make it possible to reuse code and to maintain a single, consolidated code base, which ultimately leads to reduced development time and reduced risk. By using blueprints, you can update individual artifacts, assign them to environments, and update them to different versions as needed.

7. Use tags to organize your Azure resources.

Tags are a fast and easy way to manage your Azure resources, but you need to have consistency regarding the processes that you use to name and organize these resources. You can interact with tags directly in Azure CLI 2.0, and you can use these tags to improve upon the speed and efficiency of your Azure use and management.

8. Always think about the future when developing your architecture.

A cloud-based system is inherently scalable, and it's important to preserve the scalability of your system. Identify bottlenecks within the system early and load-test the system when there are major changes, to identify potential scalability issues in the future. Auto scaling can help manage unexpected waves of traffic, deploying additional resources as needed.

9. Assume that the system will fail.

Rather than systems being designed to be failure proof, they instead need to be designed so that they will fail elegantly. Most systems are going to fail eventually, regardless of reason, and they need to be able to react to and recover from these failures safely. If you assume that a system will fail, it will not be devastating if and when it does so.

10. Enable your monitoring and your logs.

For your Azure site, you should make sure that you enable monitoring and logs, and review your monitoring and your logs frequently. A managed services provider can help monitor your system, to determine whether there could be any issues or risks. Monitoring is only one of the services that an Azure expert MSP program will provide, but it's one of the most important ones. 

A Managed Services Provider Can Help

There are a lot of best practices when it comes to the Azure environment, as the Azure environment is an extremely complex one. If you want to take advantage of all the benefits of Azure without having to invest a significant amount of time and money to it, you may want to consider an MSP.

An MSP is going to be able to deploy Azure for you, and can walk you through the ways to best take advantage of Azure benefits. MSPs have the experience needed to take full advantage of Azure, and to make sure that you aren't missing anything important in your deployment that could either lead to security risk or increased inefficiencies. 

Whether you want to get started with Azure or you want to make better use of your existing service, contact the experts at CWPS, now Red River.

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