This month we have awesome updates from Azure bicep team that I am happy to share with all of you (Azure community, Deployment Automation, Resource management and Governance geeks 🙂
The following list are August month updates:
Bicep Linter, Snippets, Scaffolding
Right click build
Deployment Stack updates
Bicep roadmap plans (v0.5 and eventually v1.0)
OCI Artifact standardizations
Module registry functionality
Module Reference Syntax
Parameter Improvement options
Bicep Linter updates
The yellow squiggly lines indicate the Linter violations and complains where best practices are violated. Like, password param should not be checked into the code repository. Another one is using string concat function instead of string interpolation.
Right click build
The right click build on bicep file is a new convince feature that was also added on new build.
You can also use a shortcut keys Ctrl+Shift+B as an alternative way to build your JSON files from bicep files.
This feature also arrived on a v0.4.6 build that provides required-properties to be auto populated to speed up your Azure resource coding. It is derived from a resources swagger spec and auto-populated for you. Yay!
New Code Snippets
You will love to discover that bunch of new snippets has been added.
Just type res- and you will scroll over all those starter boilplet code. Just imagine how much time you will be saving. It is Huge!!!
Bicep Roadmap annoncements
Well, Bicep team annonced that next build will bring the v0.5 and they do target v1.0 by th end of the year. What does it mean is – there will be no API level breaking changes starting from the version v1.0.
What is Next?
Keep tuned for upcoming v0.5 version. The Module registry updates and syntax updates on OCI Artifacts are going to be next Huge things, as they will add into the maturity of this AWESOME tool in Azure!
This week a new service – Fusion Detection for Ransomware has been announced. These Fusion detections correlate alerts that are potentially associated with ransomware activities that are observed at defense evasion and execution stages during a specific timeframe.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware attack is a type of attack that involves using specific types of malicious software or malware to make a network or system inaccessible for the purpose of extortion – ‘ransom’.
There is no doubt that ransomware attacks have taken a massive turn in being the top priority as a threat to many organizations. A recent report released by PurpleSec revealed that the estimated cost of ransomware attacks was $20 billion in 2020 and with downtime increasing by over 200% and the cost being 23x higher than 2019.
Preventing such attacks in the first place would be the ideal solution but with the new trend of ‘ransomware as a service’ and human operated ransomware, the scope and the sophistication of attacks are increasing – attackers are using slow and stealth techniques to compromise network, which makes it harder to detect them in the first place.
In order to help your analyst quickly understand the possible attack, Fusion provides you with a complete picture for the suspicious activities happened on the same device/host by correlating signals from Microsoft products as well as signals in network and cloud. Supported data connectors include:
”With Fusion detection for ransomware that captures malicious activities at the defense evasion and execution stages of an attack, it gives security analysts an opportunity to quickly understand the suspicious activities happened around the same timeframe on the common entities, connect the dots and take immediate actions to disrupt the attack.”
Microsoft is commited to release new multistage attack scenarios detected by Fusion in Azure Sentinel. You could keep an eye on there Azure Sentinel Fusion page and get latest updates there 🙂
Stay tuned for more Azure automation & Security related posts.
There might be some technical knowledge gaps when we start to learn a new cloud service or its features. One way to minimize it – is to study for a certification exam or read a book that has a more holistic approach into the technology.
Well, while not all of you might agree with this approach of reading the book, certain books can open a completely new perspective into your vision. Of course, there is a risk that over-time, the cloud services described in the book might be phased out, merged or re-named (like, Azure Data Warehouse service got evolution into Azure Synapse Analytics) into some other services.
In addition, hands-on learning is the recommended approach to master your knowledge and get technical depth into the subject matter area.
Anyway, no matter what approach works best for you, the “Azure Strategy and Implementation Guide 4th Edition” is an essential handbook to cloud transformation with Azure that you don’t want to miss out on.
As it is a common case in technology, there are many different scenarios for running your workloads on Azure to meet your company’s business needs. This book puts renewed emphasis on the importance of using design principles and how crucial planning is – when moving resources to Azure.
The authors of the book use the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework, and recommend to adopting best practices to improve the quality of your workloads in the cloud.
That said, let’s have a look into the chapters:
✔️ Introduction to Azure ✔️ Automation and governance in Azure ✔️ Modernizing with hybrid cloud and multicloud ✔️ Cloud migration: Planning, implementation, and best practices ✔️ Enabling secure, remote work with Microsoft Azure AD and WVD ✔️ Security fundamentals to help protect against cybercrime ✔️ Offers, support, resources, and tips to optimize cost in Azure
I hope those listing sparkled your interest to read the book. Well, without any overdue check the download link and put it on your device.
Hopefully, you could get solid Azure cloud understanding from this book and lighten-up your cloud transformation journey.
How to get your Azure & Data Fundamentals (AZ-900 + DP-900) ⁉🤔
(Attention: you could get a free training + Azure exam voucher by the end of this article)
Microsoft Azure is one of the fastest growing cloud solution providers in the world. It has an “Azure Fundamentals” certification – an entry level cloud certification. Candidates for this exam (AZ-900) should have foundational knowledge of cloud services and how those services are provided with Microsoft Azure.
Azure Fundamentals exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, core Azure services, Azure pricing, SLA, and lifecycle, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust.
Are you excited to start your Azure study?
Check these absolutely free resources below and get ready for this exam then 🙂
Microsoft Virtual training events (check below 👇👇👇)
Well, next step will be the exam registration, that has a $99 cost in the USA. You could take this exam online, proctored through Pearson VUE or other exam providers.
I have a good news for you – for limited time, Microsoft generously provides complementary exam vouchers for its virtual event attendees. Thank you Microsoft for empowering people on their #cloudjourney!
I hope everyone getting a chance to enjoy the summer and spend some time with loved once.
That said – Azure Bicep team does not seem slowing down, and I love it! New features and capabilities have been added to Azure Bicep product v0.4 version, and we will review those innovations on this post.
What is Azure Bicep?
Azure Bicep is a domain-specific language (DSL) that significantly simplifies the Azure resource authoring. It makes representation of your Azure digital estate concise with clean syntax by adding reliable type safety and code-reuse.
A typical Azure Bicep language code for an Azure storage account declaration will look as simple as the following code below – which basically explains why Bicep is called a DSL.
Why would you need it?
There are number of benefits in using Infrastructure-as-Code approach. Azure Bicep might be the right tool for you to use for Azure deployments, especially if you are trying to modernize and simplify the Azure deployment process.
Let’s look into scenarious where Bicep is the right tool to use:
✔️ Want to use language native to Azure? ✔️ Looking for fully integrated templates withing Azure platform? ✔️ Looking for fully supported product with Microsoft? ✔️ Don’t want to keep or worry about your resource state information ✔️ Looking to modernize and easy transition from JSON
Well, if your response is YES for above statements/questions then Bicep will be right tool for your solution.
New additions to Azure Bicep in version 0.4
There are numbers of enhancement and features has been added from this release. Let’s look at main Highlights of these features below:
✅ Linter MVP – The Bicep linter will inspect your code and catch a customizable set of authoring best practices. ✅ Deprecated parameter modifiers removed – Strip out deprecated parameter modifier syntax ✅ New code snippets – Suggestion with new code snippets added ✅ Bug fixes – Number of bug fixes added, thanks to community support ✅ Bicep Playground fixes – Playground doesn’t load after breaking change. ✅ Documentation and examples update ✅ Support for List method call on Azure resource references ✅ Support for JSON literal string conversion ✅ Support for using local json templates as modules ✅ Support for object body completion snippets
What is next?
There are still number of milestones in-front of Bicep team, as the versioning # of Bicep project indicates. That said, starting from Bicep version 0.3 you can get an official Microsoft support.
Below is the sneak-pick preview on what is cooking for v0.5 – which is expected to be out sometimes around August month this year.
We are continuing our cloud learning journey with Azure services today. Last year Azure Active Directory has introduced many useful features and we will talk about one of them that simplifies the identity governance.
“An Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) entitlement management is an identity governance feature that enables organizations to manage identity and access lifecycle at scale, by automating access request workflows, access assignments, reviews, and expiration. ” – Microsoft Azure AD Identity Governance
Entitlement management example with one catalog and two access packages
How can entitlement management help?
There are several ways how you could leverage these features for your Azure resource management activities. The easiest one to get started with is the delegation options:
✔️ Delegate management of resources from high privileged account to managers ✔️ Govern access for users in your organization ✔️ Govern access for users outside your organization ✔️ Automate and simplify day-2-day management ✔️ View and report on resource assignments and access packages
Let’s consider following two common scenarios:
First Scenario: As administrator you want to delegate access governance from IT administrators to users who aren’t administrators. Check out the Video clip for step-by-step guidance.
Second Scenario: You would like to create an automated request process for your users to enable them request for an access package (set of Azure resources and accesses rights) to do their job.
The request process of access packages can be simply understood by a help of a following sample infographic.
When I should use access packages?
It is not a silver bullet, so access packages do not replace other mechanisms for access assignment. However, following use-cases are most appropriate in situations where you would consider them:
Employees need time-limited access for a particular task. For example, you might use group-based licensing and a dynamic group to ensure all employees have an Exchange Online mailbox, and then use access packages for situations in which employees need additional access, such as to read departmental resources from another department.
Access that requires the approval of an employee’s manager or other designated individuals.
Departments wish to manage their own access policies for their resources without IT involvement.
Two or more organizations are collaborating on a project, and as a result, multiple users from one organization will need to be brought in via Azure AD B2B to access another organization’s resources.
Thank you for reading till this point. Stay tuned for more Cloud Security and Administration related posts.
Hybrid-cloud security and protection of digital estate across cloud is very hot topic. But there are very few tools that can cover all different clouds, even though there are myriad of third party and cloud native tools to achieve this mission.
Thus, I have compiled my takeaways on perspective from the latest Microsoft Security blog post and wanted to share back set of tools on Microsoft Azure that could help you achieve management of security poster across clouds.
Microsoft’s Azure security and management tools extend protection to your multi-cloud estate (including other CSPs like AWS, GCP, IBM, etc.)
The followings are the key services that enable it:
✔️ Azure defender for Servers ✔️Azure Security Center ✔️Azure Defender for SQL
Let’s start with the Azure Defender for Servers. What is the Azure Defender for Servers ?
Well, this service leverages Azure Arc to simplify the on-boarding and security of virtual machines running in AWS, GCP, and hybrid clouds.
The Azure Arc projects non-Azure resources into Azure native objects that can be managed and secured with Azure capabilities (Secure Score, Compliance Reporting, Azure Policy, Azure Defender, asset management, etc.)
Next important service visualized on a diagram is Azure Security Center. Well, what is Azure Security Center?
This service provides a unified multi-cloud view of security posture by integrating AWS Security Hub and GCP Security Command Center detected misconfigurations and findings in Secure Score and Regulatory Compliance Experience.
And finally, let’s review the Azure Defender for SQL.
This managed service constantly monitors your SQL servers for threats, whether they are hosted on-premises, in multi-cloud deployments on Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and in virtual machines on Azure.
The MCAS (Microsoft Cloud App Security) 🛡️🔐 – helps to identify and combat cyberthreats across all your cloud services. This is a cloud access security broker (CASB) that provides multifunction visibility, control over data travel, and sophisticated analytics.