How Financial Services can address security challenges with Microsoft Azure

February 7, 2020, MOQdigital

Microsoft, azure

Blog- FSI Security with Azure

Financial services organizations hold the keys to some very expensive vaults. If an attacker manages to directly breach a bank or other financial services company, they may be able to drain customers’ bank accounts or gain access to damaging identity information – addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and more.

Because of this, financial services companies exhibit an understandable reluctance to use computing resources that are outside of their direct control. Over 60 percent of financial services companies have cloud strategies that are only barely in the planning stage, and almost 20 percent say that they are planning to use private cloud resources only.

This may sound prudent, but by giving up the public cloud, the financial services industry is also giving up a profound level of scalability and flexibility. Here’s how Microsoft Azure gives financial services companies the security tools they need to access the public cloud with confidence.

Azure Key Vault Provides Compliant Encryption

If you’re a financial services company storing cardholder data, then you are subject to the PCI-DSS rules on data storage. Under PCI-DSS, all stored cardholder data must be protected, and protection means encryption. Unfortunately, applying an encryption strategy to your stored data is harder than it sounds – only 41 percent of companies say that they consistently apply an encryption strategy across their entire organizations. The good news, however, is that Azure makes encryption easy.

Using Azure Key Vault, companies can deploy a consistent encryption architecture almost by default, one that specifically complies with PCI-DSS requirements. Administrators can perform centralized key management and deployment without the hassle of using separate key management software – providing increased security while doing less work.

Multi-factor Authentication Secures Against Credential Theft

When deployed correctly, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the most secure possible guarantee against credential theft. The technology can prevent up to 100 percent of targeted attacks – which is why it is so mystifying that adoption is relatively low. Only 57 percent of companies have successfully deployed MFA, even though it is 100 percent effective.

Azure strives to make MFA simple to use and easy to deploy. With granular deployment options that support use of MFA with text messages, applications for generating one-time passwords, and even external security keys or biometrics, you’ll be able to boost MFA adoption across your entire company.

Endpoint Security – Beyond the Azure Cloud

Up to now, we’ve talked about passive security methods such as encryption and authentication – how will Azure respond when more active measures such as malware enter the mix? The good news is that Azure Security Center works to protect the health of your servers, VMs, and computers. Security Center works with assets both inside of Azure and those that are on premises, mitigating and alerting on intrusion attempts throughout your organization and integrating with your existing solutions.

Spend Less Time Resetting Passwords

Companies spend eleven hours per person per year resetting passwords, a cost to productivity that can add up to millions of dollars for a large corporation. Clearly a better password management tool is required. Fortunately, Azure Active Directory adds a self-service password reset feature, allowing users to securely retrieve their credentials without pestering the helpdesk or the IT admin.

Azure Active Directory also supports other password conveniences, such as Single Sign On (SSO). This is useful because it allows a user to memorize just a single secure password, as opposed to one password for each service in the organization. This discourages insecure practices such as reusing passwords or writing down multiple passwords on various post-it notes.

Sentinel for Threat Intelligence

SIEM tools – security information and event management – are one of the most effective tools that you can add to your cybersecurity arsenal, and Azure comes with one bundled right in. 76 percent of cybersecurity professionals says that SIEM tools reduce and mitigate cyberattacks.

With Azure’s Sentinel SIEM tool, you get an unprecedented clarity of vision across a vast cloud environment, plus on-premises assets and even multiple clouds. You aren’t stuck monitoring all of this data – Sentinel does it for you with AI-powered analytics and behavioral detection. Once the platform detects a threat, you can zoom in on the suspicious activity and automatically remediate threats or roll back malicious activities.

Financial Services Companies use MOQDigital to Actualize Azure Protections

If you’re a financial services IT professional, you have a great deal of responsibility already. Although Azure has a lot of security features you can use, migrating to the cloud and using those features is no small task. At MOQDigital,  we have ample experience implementing and configuring generations of Microsoft hardware, software, and infrastructure – and we can help make sure that your organization doesn’t stumble as it takes its first steps into the cloud.

Contact MOQDigital today for more information.