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How Azure Helps Organizations Protect Against Ransomware Attacks

Discover the powerful security tools in the Microsoft Azure family and how they help keep you safe from ransomware attacks.

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    Today’s businesses are up against an increasingly organized and sophisticated attacker ecosystem. For example, human-operated attacks exploit vulnerable services and network configuration weaknesses to deploy ransomware payloads, exfiltrate data, and steal credentials. And those threat actors move FAST.

    When there’s gaps in your security solution or you’ve got silos standing in the way of end-to-end visibility, ransomware can wreak a ton of havoc before you’re even aware there’s been a breach.

    Moving to Azure is one of the most effective ways to protect your business from ransomware – making it easy to manage your entire threat surface in one central location and leverage AI and machine learning to control and secure every asset in your network.

    Below, we’ll look at some security standouts in the Azure family and how they help keep you safe from ransomware attacks.

    Azure Native Solutions

    All 200+ Azure solutions are embedded with native security protections, along with dashboards, automations, and custom controls, and tons of built-in intelligence that make it easy to detect, respond to, and recover from cyber threats. Here are a few highlights.

    • Built-in security & management. Visibility is everything when it comes to risk management. See, when businesses are able to detect anomalies, vulnerabilities, and breaches in real-time, they can take action faster and mitigate potential damage. Azure solutions include built-in analytics and controls that provide total observability and reinforce policies and compliance requirements.
    • Multi-factor and passwordless authentication. Simple security measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and single sign-on (SSO) go a long way when it comes to defending against identity-based ransomware attacks. In fact, Microsoft estimates that these basic protections are effective against about 98% of attacks. Azure allows admins to quickly set up MFA, SSO, and passwordless authentication, minimizing risk to Azure resources and the integrations, apps, and devices linked to your account.
    • Azure Firewall. Azure Firewall protects against common attack vectors like phishing emails and drive-by downloads. It automatically detects threats in unencrypted traffic and uses TLS inspection to ID incoming attacks in encrypted traffic. Its intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS) uses signatures to monitor activity, block attempted attacks, and generate alerts.
    • Azure DDoS Protection. Azure DDoS Protection safeguards apps and resources from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. It continuously monitors traffic patterns and analyzes them against the thresholds outlined in your DDoS policy, while adaptive threat intelligence automatically IDs and responds to attacks.

    Microsoft Defender for Azure Cloud

    Microsoft Defender for Cloud is a unified security system that protects hybrid and multi-cloud environments from ransomware attacks with built-in extended detection and response (XDR) capabilities, continuous monitoring, and prioritized alerts. Inside you’ll find:

    Microsoft Defender Security Posture
    Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/defender-for-cloud/secure-score-security-controls

    You can click the score for more details re: which resources need attention. Below, you can see the score breakdown for one specific subscription. You can then navigate to Microsoft Defender for Cloud’s Recommendations page to learn how to remediate those issues.

    • Threat protection alerts. Defender for Cloud includes advanced behavioral analytics, machine learning, plus insights from Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph – which work together to identify ransomware attacks, zero-day exploits, and other threats. The platform continuously monitors all databases, networks, servers, and cloud services, scanning for incoming attacks and tracking post-breach activities.Additionally, Defender offers interactive tools and contextual insights to help users streamline the investigation process.
    • Policy management. Defender for Cloud allows you manage security policies across hybrid workloads in one central location. Inside the Compliance Center you can add and store custom security policies based on which conditions you’d like to control (and how), then add them to new subscriptions upon installation.
    Microsoft Defender Compliance Center Security Policy
    Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/defender-for-cloud/update-regulatory-compliance-packages
    • Automate & orchestrate security workflows. Integration with Azure Logic Apps allows users to quickly automate workflows that address common security threats. You’ll also have the option to create playbooks for specific actions like triggering automated incident responses, routing alerts to a specific person, or enforcing compliance.

    Microsoft Sentinel

    Microsoft Sentinel is a cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) solution that uses built-in intelligence to detect, investigate, and respond to threats across your entire threat surface ASAP. It uses built-in connectors to capture raw data from all users, apps, devices, and servers running on-prem or in any cloud environment.

    Key capabilities include:

    • Advanced analytics. Sentinel’s built-in AI analyzes data points across all connected sources against historical data to correlate alerts into incidents. The platform will then look for patterns and signals that point toward known and unknown threats, and will send out alerts when action is required.
    • Threat hunting. Sentinel includes hunting search-and-query tools built on the MITRE framework that allow you to proactively search for security threats lurking in your data before the system triggers an alert.
    • Investigation. Sentinel allows you to investigate specific incidents by searching for a specific case or scrolling through the incidents page and from there, leverage its built-in graph to investigate threats with AI. This allows you to identify suspicious behavior at scale, find the root cause of an attack, and understand the scope and impact of malware across your system.

    Below, you’ll see a list of exploration queries for deepening your search based on what you’re trying to learn.

    Microsoft Sentinel Screenshot
    Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sentinel/investigate-cases
    • Notebooks. Microsoft Sentinel notebooks allow you to do more with your Sentinel data like work with Python ML features or create custom visualizations.
    • Security automation & orchestration. Microsoft Sentinel also allows you to automate controls and threat responses with its user-friendly playbooks tool. There you’ll be able to set custom rules and actions, as well as run plays on-demand.

    Final Thoughts

    Microsoft Azure Cloud solutions allow organizations to embrace a proactive, holistic approach to dealing with the rising threat of ransomware. But, it can be challenging to figure out what kinds of protections you’ll actually need.

    Velosio’s Microsoft experts can help you identify which solutions can best protect your business from ransomware attacks, mitigate risks, and boost productivity and performance. To learn more about your organization’s security posture, complete the free security score investment. Or — contact an expert to learn more about Velosio’s full range of services for Azure Cloud.

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