Protiviti / SharePoint Blog

SharePoint Blog

May 30
What else can we do with Azure?

The world has been working with the MS cloud extensively for the last 8 years It seems like we almost have it mastered. Still, there are important nuances and connections that are not readily apparent without looking deeply into the documentation.

For our team, we use SharePoint Online so often that it is easy to forget there are at least 3 other key components to the cloud. Azure being one of the most important.
 

You can get to the Azure dashboard by using your O365 admin link from office.com

 

Often, Azure is a distant entitty that rarely gets looked at after the initial rollout. Let's take a look at why we should be looking at the health and functionality of Azure at least on a monthly basis.

First, lets be sure we are all on the same url: https://aad.portal.azure.com/#blade/Microsoft_AAD_IAM/ActiveDirectoryMenuBlade/Audit

So, what is the role of Azure? Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Virtual machines
  • Virtual applications
  • User Import from Active Directory
  • Password syncrhonization
  • Multi-Factor enforcement
  • App usage statistics
  • User synchronization with O365 and SharePoint Online
  • Conditional Access
  • Risky sign ins
  • Azure Auditing

As we can see, there is a lot going on at the Azure location. Everything from importing users, to controlling how and where users can access your tenant.  Some interesting points come up here such as:

  1. If we want to have advanced user logins with dual factor authentication we need to look into multi-factor authentication based in Azure

  2. If we have an issue where some users from Active Directory are not synchronizing to O365 and/or SharePoint then we need to look in the Azure AD Connect functionality.

  3. If we want to have advanced control and management of how users sign in then we need to look at Azure and ADFS

  4. If we want to control where and how users log into our tenant then we need to look into Azure Conditional Access.

  5. If we want to understand any actions taken related to security, external access etc. Then Azure will be a key source of information.

Granted some of these option have an additional cost, but the functionality currently availble through Azure in the cloud is similar to having your own on-premises Data Center with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hardware appliances not to mention the administrators to support those appliances. At the very least, we encourage all users paying for Azure / O365 to take advantage of those features which are free just because you are a paying tenant.

Hopefully this post will help start filling in the details as to how Azure fits into your overall security and functionality roadmap. If you would like more details and guidance reach out to the Protiviti ECM team. We would be happy to work through those topics that are most important to your organization.

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