Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management solution, Azure Active Directory, provides a secure way to control user accounts, passwords, device authentication and more. But just like any technology, there are risks if you’re not vigilant about who has access. That’s why Azure Active Directory reviews are essential for cyber security.
Safeguard your company’s data with regular access reviews. Learn more about this simple yet powerful tactic to secure your technology from cyber threats.
What is Azure Active Directory?
Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (AD) is a cloud identity management service that allows administrators to provide users access to their company’s resources, protecting corporate data from unauthorized access. Administrators can choose which data stays in the cloud, who can manage or use the data, as well as which services, applications and users can have access.
AD also has the ability to provide single sign-on (SSO), which eliminates the need to enter passwords multiple times to access cloud applications. With this service, organizations can centrally control user identities across multiple applications, devices, and browsers.
Access Reviews Are Vital for Cyber Security
Audits are the best way to make sure everyone has the right permissions for every aspect of their job, at any given time. Keep in mind there will be situations where these permissions might need to shift, such as when:
- A new employee is hired.
- An employee switches to a new role or position.
- An employee leaves the company.
- An external tool stops supporting an important feature.
- A team or department has a new role or responsibility.
Periodic Azure Active Directory reviews ensure that the appropriate change has been made to your permissions and allow you to rectify any issues before they lead to a security breach that requires disaster recovery.
Types of Azure AD Permissions
When you complete an audit, you will need to get approval from group leaders and administrators to ensure that the right people have permission for their areas. Azure AD has more than 80 pre-built role types, for example:
- Global Administrator can manage all aspects of Azure AD and Microsoft services that use Azure AD identities.
- Network Administrator can manage network locations and review enterprise network design insights for Microsoft 365 applications.
- User Administrator can manage all aspects of users and groups, including resetting passwords for limited admins.
- Security Administrator can read security information and reports, and manages configuration in Azure AD and Office 365.
- Application Administrator can create and manage all aspects of app registrations and enterprise apps.
- Password Administrator can reset passwords for non-administrators and Password Administrators.
- Billing Administrator can perform common billing-related tasks like updating payment information.
- Compliance Administrator can read and manage compliance configuration and reports in Azure AD and Microsoft 365.
- Teams Administrator can manage the Microsoft Teams service.
Doing regular access reviews in Azure AD will keep your admin permissions up to date, creating another layer of security. As cyber threats continue to grow, it’s critical to pay close attention to who and what has access to your data and systems.
When You Should Do Azure Active Directory Reviews
Now that you understand the importance of monitoring access, let’s look at when you should conduct Azure Active Directory reviews. Make it easier to manage your access permissions by doing a review when:
- There are too many users in privileged roles. Perform Azure AD reviews whenever there are large numbers of user accounts with administrative rights. The exact number of accounts that constitute “too many” varies by organization, but it should be a small percentage of your total staff. If it looks like you have too many people with administrator access, find out why they’re allowed to administer the system. Remove anyone who doesn’t need access anymore or shouldn’t have had it from the beginning.
- A group will be used for a new purpose. If you have a group that will be synced to Azure AD, or if you plan to enable an application for a group, you should ask the group owner to check the group’s membership prior to the group being used in a different way. This helps to prevent inadvertent access to sensitive information.
- You need to verify business-critical data access. Certain resources, like business-critical data, may require group members to regularly reconfirm access for compliance purposes, as well as provide a reason why they need continued access.
- It’s time to manage your policy’s exception list. There are certain situations that might require you to make exceptions to your access policy. Performing access reviews allow you to manage your exception list and provide proof that it’s regularly checked.
- You want to confirm guest access. Whenever guests have access to business-sensitive content, the group owner should confirm that the guests still have a legitimate business need for access.
You can schedule recurring Azure Active Directory reviews in the platform, such as weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. The reviewers will be notified at the start of each review, and they can even approve or deny access with the help of smart recommendations.
Secure Your Tech with Azure Active Directory Support
Azure Active Directory is an important part of any organization’s cyber security checklist. It provides granular control over user accounts, groups, devices and applications. When your people have the permissions they need and your corporate data is secure, there’s less chance of breaches and misuse.
The good news is that Internos is here to support your tech needs. As Miami’s premier IT services company, we’ll set up and manage your Azure Active Directory reviews and train your team on how to use them effectively.
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