How Microsoft Approaches Compliance in Azure
Discover how Microsoft Azure organizes its compliance offerings, which tools it provides to help teams achieve compliance, and more
When businesses look to bring their cloud-native applications to life, many turn to cloud service platforms like Microsoft Azure to provide the tools and structures they need. Before you choose a platform, it’s vital to understand how it approaches the necessary compliance requirements your application must adhere to and which tools it provides to facilitate that compliance. The following provides an overview of compliance in Azure, along with the certifications it can help your organization achieve.
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How Microsoft Organizes Compliance in Azure
Microsoft Azure takes several steps to optimize compliance for its clients and provides numerous tools and services to enable businesses to meet their compliance obligations while maximizing their security stance.
Microsoft uses data replication across servers within the same geographic region to boost data resiliency but will not replicate data outside a client’s chosen region.
Microsoft Azure further groups compliance offerings based on four segments: Globally Applicable, US Government, Industry Specific, and Region/Country specific. Each service included within Microsoft Azure does not necessarily adhere to all compliance requirements found in these four categories, so it’s crucial to understand the service coverage you need to minimize non-compliance.
Tools That Improve Compliance in Azure
Microsoft Azure provides the following tools to help speed up time to compliance at scale:
- Azure Blueprints groups policies, access controls, and other templatized configurations within a single blueprint definition, enabling teams to streamline compliant development environment creation. Azure Blueprints also provides built-in sample templates which adhere to the most common compliance certifications.
- Microsoft Defender for Cloud protects multi-cloud and hybrid environments with continuous security assessment, providing centralized insights into your security posture across the CI/CD pipeline and the rest of your cloud environment.
- Azure Policy enables real-time policy enforcement through guardrails, which will automatically govern current and future resources and remediate non-compliant resources.
- Microsoft Purview Compliance Manager provides an assortment of ready-to-use templates that are fully customizable, enabling organizations to map compliance controls to their specific requirements. It also provides continuous assessment of control status, as well as a risk-based score to ensure businesses rapidly spot and remediate deficiencies.
- Azure Information Protection secures incoming and outgoing information — such as email and sensitive documents — to prevent malware and other forms of intrusion. Configure policies which will automatically flag data based on sensitivity, and monitor activity or revoke access with powerful logging and reporting tools.
- Azure Advisor offers security and policy recommendations based on current system configurations and best practices. Azure Advisor also evaluates your configurations and security posture and provides an overall score, offering insight into ways you can remediate blind spots and fix configuration errors.
By using a combination of these tools, organizations implementing Microsoft Azure can ensure their development environments, processes, and deployment pipelines adhere to national and global compliance requirements at scale, including HIPAA, HITRUST, PCI DSS, GDPR, and SOC 2. SOC 2, in particular, is a crucial step for any business looking to increase its security posture and stay competitive in today’s market. To learn more about what SOC 2 compliance looks like and how to maximize your chances of a successful audit, download our free SOC 2 Compliance Checklist today.
Azure Compliance Certifications
Microsoft provides documentation on its website to help organizations find which compliance offerings align with their needs. Each section provides an overview of each compliance category and details how Azure can help organizations meet those requirements.
The following list is a sample of the compliance offerings Microsoft Azure can accommodate. If Microsoft Azure is missing a specific compliance certification that your business needs, you may need to investigate alternative platforms, such as AWS or Google Cloud.
- ISO: The International Organisation for Standardization provides a number of compliance standards, including 9001 (standards for quality management), 22301 (business continuity management), 27001 (information risk management), and more. Azure has received certifications for numerous ISO standards, with each page listing which cloud services these certifications apply.
- SOC: The System and Organization Controls come in three forms and include finance reporting (SOC 1), data security (SOC 2), and internal control reports (SOC 3). Azure undergoes regular audits for SOC 1 and SOC 2 and provides a publicly available SOC 3 attestation report.
- FedRAMP: The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is a standardized assessment program that government agencies must adhere to when developing and maintaining their own cloud computing services. Azure and Azure Government have received the FedRAMP High Provisional Authorization to Operate from the Joint Authorization Board.
- StateRAMP: Like FedRAMP, StateRAMP provides a similar program for state and local government agencies to develop and maintain their own cloud computing services. Azure and Azure Government have achieved the StateRAMP Authorized Security Status — High Impact Level rating.
- HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 governs how hospitals, providers, and other healthcare-related businesses manage and store patient records to protect their privacy. While there is no official certification process for HIPAA, Azure maps to several security frameworks that apply to HIPAA requirements.
- HITRUST: This organization provides a security framework to enable healthcare organizations to maximize their security posture, combining existing frameworks, such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and others, into a single stringent certification process. Microsoft Azure is one of the first hyper-scale cloud services platforms to receive HITRUST certification.
Meet Azure Compliance Standards With DuploCloud
Developing and deploying cloud-native applications while maintaining compliance and security standards is a juggling act — if any element falters, your entire product can become non-compliant. It is crucial to monitor your provisioned environments and CI/CD pipelines for errors and catch them before they enter production.
That’s where DuploCloud comes in. It’s a DevOps automation platform that allows teams to seamlessly provision cloud-native infrastructure, with built-in security and compliance checks and active monitoring mapped to the PCI DSS framework. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with the most widely used cloud computing platforms, including Microsoft Azure. Ready to learn how DuploCloud can improve compliant provisioning times by a factor of ten? Contact us today.