Cloud Compliance and Security

This “Cloud One” product offering from Trend Micro looks very promising. In this day and age of explosive cloud service growth, monitoring of cloud services for infrastructure, security and compliance is essential.

What does it do? Cloud One does the following and more:

Run continuous scans against hundreds of industry best practice checks, including SOC2, ISO 27001, NIST, CIS, GDPR, PCI DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, AWS and Azure Well-Architected Frameworks, and CIS Microsoft Azure Foundations Security Benchmark.

Cloud One – Conformity | Trend Micro

Microsoft Azure Advisor

Microsoft Azure Advisor is a super useful tool to help administrators obtain pertinent recommendations for improvement of services. It is used in order to work towards obtaining best practices. Azure will occasionally prompt administrators upon log in, but to get to it manually, simply type in “advisor” on the home screen search.

The categories focus on cost, security, reliability (aka, high availability), operational excellence, and performance. In a perfect world, we would always see all these wonderful green check marks, as below. Admittedly my ever-changing Azure account is currently limited, so the green was easy in this case. It is normally not unusual to see low, medium and high level recommendations, with descriptions of their impact on services.

Microsoft Training and Certifications Overview Poster

This new online Microsoft poster is an excellent overview of all the certifications available with Microsoft in 2019-2020 and beyond. In my opinion, it is really laid out nicely and I appreciate their clarity with the top level 4 categories:

Apps and Infrastructure; Data and AI; Modern Workplace; Business Application

I personally am focused on the “Apps and Infrastructure”, as that is more in line with my Systems Administration background. But honestly all four areas are very interesting. I have already completed AZ-900 and am now focusing on the Azure Administrator – the below is only a snippet of the entire poster, which lays out possible career paths for all levels of Windows IT pros.

Microsoft Certification Poster condensed URL:

Http://aka.ms/TrainCertPoster

Kubernetes, or K8s

I did not know about the short hand reference to Kubernetes: “K8s”. I am studying to take the Microsoft Azure Administrator certification exam and came across this little fun fact on the Microsoft “Learn” web site, which I am using to prepare. It has great modules for both conceptual and hands-on lab learning. But I must admit, K8s is a new one to me!

Cloud Billing and Surprise Costs

When you are studying for Azure Cloud exams and working off the Microsoft Learn website, then realize your personal Azure account is GROWING

Shocked at the Bill!
Azure All Resources

The reality is that the bulk of these costs is covered, given that the Learn site utilizes sandboxes for on-hands learning. But there were a few situations where using a regular Azure account was required. Also, for the purposes of learning and certification exam preparation, these resources can simply be deleted.

Of course, it is always best to monitor costs. The Azure Management section provides for helpful cost analysis, budget monitoring and optimization tools.

Microsoft 365 Zero Standing Access with Customer Lockbox

I am studying for one of the Microsoft 365 Certifications. I am using the free “Microsoft Learn”* offerings or paths. They are excellent. I already went through the “Azure Fundamentals” and passed that exam. But now I want to work on some Microsoft 365 or “M365” certification [Office 365, but with EMS – “Enterprise Mobility and Security”].

In Unit 5 of the Compliance Module, Microsoft points out that the most dangerous attack vector is compromised credentials. One way to fight this is with “Zero Standing Access”: it is a “users don’t get permissions by default” approach to data access within their Office 365 space. If they need access, there is a request process available. This needs to be set up accordingly. I absolutely love this.

M365 Zero Standing Access
Zero Standing Access

They also apply this concept to their Data Centers, by way of “Lockbox Workflow”. The point is that not everyone and anyone can simply open a file, or (in the case of a Microsoft Data Center) walk on into a tenant space and ‘look around’. They have safeguards to stop that and help customers get more organized around the matter of access and data security. IT and Auditors especially love this.

M365 Customer Lockbox
Lockbox

* Microsoft Docs, Microsoft Learn