What is entitlement management and how it can help?

Hello Cloud Marathoner’s,

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:

βœ”οΈ Delegate management of resources from high privileged account to managers
βœ”οΈ Govern access for users in your organization
βœ”οΈ Govern access for users outside your organization
βœ”οΈ Automate and simplify day-2-day management
βœ”οΈ 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.

A user request for access package (set of resources) to start doing work assignments

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.

Fᴏʟʟᴏᴑ ᴍᴇ 🎯 α΄€Ι΄α΄… become α΄€ #cloudmarathoner β›…πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ – 𝐋𝐄𝐓’𝐒 π‚πŽπππ„π‚π“ πŸ‘

#microsoftazure
#AzureAD
#identitygovernance
#accessmanagement
#secureaccess
#bestpractices
#continuouslearning

Enabling protection of multi-cloud environments from one central?

Hello Cloud Marathoners,

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 (AWS + GCP) and here are the key services that enable it:

βœ”οΈ Azure defender for Servers
βœ”οΈ Azure Security Center
βœ”οΈ Azure Defender for SQL

First, we will start withΒ  Azure Defender for Servers.
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.)

Second important service 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, 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. 

Looking for more references?

Check out a “Protecting multi-cloud environments with Azure Security Center” blog post on Microsoft blog post.

Fᴏʟʟᴏᴑ ᴍᴇ 🎯 α΄€Ι΄α΄… become α΄€ #cloudmarathoner β›…πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ
#SharingIsCaring❀️️

What is MCAS and why would you need it?

Hello cloud marathoners,

The MCAS (Microsoft Cloud App Security) πŸ›‘οΈπŸ” – 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.

Here is a high level architecture diagram from Microsoft docs.

What are the main benefits of this cloud service?

Here are the main three benefits ot brings alone:
βœ”οΈ Discovery & Manage your apps
βœ”οΈ Govern access to apps and resources
βœ”οΈ Check compliance on your cloud apps

Check out this detailed level architecture ofΒ #appsecurityΒ inΒ Microsoft Azure β„’Β πŸ‘

MCAS – Microsoft Cloud App Security.


What are the main use cases for your business?

βœ”οΈ Shadow IT Discovery & Control
βœ”οΈ Secure Access
βœ”οΈ Security Poster Management
βœ”οΈ Threat Protection
βœ”οΈ Information Protection
βœ”οΈ User & Entity Behavioral Analytics

Another beauty of above architecture lies in a fact that you could easily integrate this model with third party SaaS apps, all listed on a diagram.

Thank you Matt Soseman for bringing this diagram  #SharingIsCaring❀️️

Fᴏʟʟᴏᴑ ᴍᴇ 🎯 α΄€Ι΄α΄… become α΄€Β #cloudmarathonerΒ β›…πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ – 𝐋𝐄𝐓’𝐒 π‚πŽπππ„π‚π“ πŸ‘

#microsoftazure
#MCAS#securitymanagement
#OAuth#secureaccess #appsec
#threatprotection
#securityengineering
#bestpractices
#continuouslearning

New four services added to “Azure free services” catalog

Hi Cloud Marathoner friends!

Who would resist to learn Azure cloud and utilize free services that have been annnces this month?

Yes, you have read this correct, there are 4 more servics added to exisiting 25+ always free and 12 months set of free products, up to the monthly limits. 

Those services are listed on the infographic:

βœ”οΈ Azure Key Vault
βœ”οΈ Azure Database for PostreSQL
βœ”οΈ Azure Media Services
βœ”οΈ Azure Database for MySQL

Have you used these new services in your labs or projects yet?
If not, that is okay. Here is the brief description what you can do with these services listed above:

Azure Key Vault – helps teams to securely store and manage sensitive information such as keys, passwords, certificates, etc., in a centralized storage which are safeguarded by industry-standard algorithms, key lengths, and even hardware security modules.

Azure Database for PostreSQL – with Azure you can run your  PostgreSQL Server workloads in a hosted virtual machine infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or as a hosted platform as a service (PaaS). The PaaS option has multiple deployment choices, each with multiple service tiers that you can use with Azure Database for PostreSQL.

Azure Database for MySQL – take the model tha we described above and apply it to MySQL. That how simple it is..

Azure Media Services – lets you deliver any media, on virtually any device, to anywhere in the world using the cloud. The collection of services provide encoding, live or on-demand streaming, content protection and indexing for video and audio content.

Which products are free for 12 months?

These products are free for 12 months, up to the monthly limits. Availability is based on resource and region.

Check out the details about each of these services on Microsoft Azure’s website.

Fᴏʟʟᴏᴑ ᴍᴇ 🎯 α΄€Ι΄α΄… become α΄€Β #cloudmarathonerΒ β›…πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸƒβ€β™€οΈ – 𝐋𝐄𝐓’𝐒 π‚πŽπππ„π‚π“ πŸ‘

#microsoftazureΒ 
#freeΒ #cloudservicesΒ 
#cloudskillsΒ 
#continuouslearning

What are the Microsoft Azure’s Multi-Cloud and Cross-Platform Capabilities?

Hello cloud marathoners,

There are many security and multi-cloud capability services under Microsoft Azure umbrella of services. In this post, I will reference the Microsoft documentation to clarify those capabilities on high-level.
I hope this post will clarify intent and purpose of these capabilities for you.

Important: Please zoom into a infographic – as it is of a high quality and can be very informative in understanding the article.

Microsoft’s cross-platform or cloud security starts with endpoints and cloud visibility and controls: namely Endpoint management and Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) that provides insight across your multi-cloud and on-premises datacenter estate as well as Cloud Workload Protection capabilities

Next are the SIEM and XDR Strategy – where Microsoft provides integrated capabilities for the Security Operations / SOC to get the broad and deep visibility needed to rapidly detect, hunt for, and respond/recover to threats across clouds and platforms.

The following capability on the infographic is – Infrastructure Extended Detection and Response (XDR). These capabilities are provided through set of services, namely Azure Defender, Azure Arc, Microsoft 365 Defender with number of features combined under the suit of services.

Next set of capabilities are Identity Enablement and Security – where Azure Active Directory provides comprehensive solutions, including Zero Trust access control that explicitly verifies trustworthiness of devices (via XDR) and users via native UEBA, Threat Intelligence and analytics.

And finally, Information Protection capabilities – utilize the Microsoft Information Protection and Azure Purview services that provide a full lifecycle approach to discovering, classifying, protecting, and monitoring structured and unstructured data as your organization generates and leverages more data. These capabilities provide insights to drive mission completion and competitive advantage.

What would be your approach?
Please, share in the comments section πŸ‘
#SharingIsCaring❀️️

Important: Please zoom into the infographic – as it is of a high quality and can be very informative in understanding this article.

#microsoftazure
#multicloud
#crossplatform
#endpointmanagement
#SOC
#securityengineering
#identityaccessmanagement

Azure IoT Specialty exam certification Tips + Study Guide

Hello cloud marathoners,

Two weeks ago, I was able to clear the Azure specialty exam – “Azure IoT Developer” and get certified. More importantly, this was a good opportunity to learn about IoT technologies and services in Azure platform.

What is IoT?

An “Internet of Things” (IoT) device is typically made up of a circuit board with sensors attached that use WiFi to connect to the internet. Here are some examples of IoT devices and use cases:

  • A pressure sensor on a remote oil pump.
  • Temperature and humidity sensors in an air-conditioning unit.
  • An accelerometer in an elevator.
  • Presence sensors in a room.

The Azure Internet of Things (IoT) is a collection of Microsoft-managed cloud services that connect, monitor, and control billions of IoT assets. In simpler terms, an IoT solution is made up of one or more IoT devices that communicate with one or more back-end services hosted in the cloud.

Check out the following short video, if you never hear about applications of Internet of Things (aka, IoT).

Is there a comprehesive study guide to follow?

The short answer is YES!

As always start with simple and straight forward Microsoft Learn modules on IoT learning path. But that is not the only resource that i have used.

I personally found it very useful to check the Microsoft Tech community blog posts. The IoT sub-section has many tricks and trips and recommendations. Thus, check the following post that has very good information on exam resources:

AZ-220 IoT Developer Certification Study Guide – is an awesome post from Microsoft employee Paul DeCarlo. By following this post I got many answers on the following questions:

  • How do I know which topics to focus on, what skills does the AZ-220 exam measure?
  • Where can I learn how to apply the concepts measured on the AZ-220 exam in a practical / hands-on manner?
  • I prefer to learn at my leisure with video content, are there any resources that cover the materials in the official docs and Microsoft Learn that I can watch?
  •  Any thoughts on paid courses / practice exams, are there any recommendations?

Where can I get Azure IoT Samples in C# ?

I have used the following GitHub repo in order to get hands-on expereince with Azure IoT. Azure IoT Samples for C# (.NET)

What is next?

Check this awesome IoT Event Learning Path.

It is designed for Solution Architects, Business Decision Makers, and Development teams that are interested in building IoT Solutions with Azure Services. The content is comprised of 5 video based modules that approach topics ranging from IoT device connectivity, IoT data communication strategies, use of artificial intelligence at the edge, data processing considerations for IoT data, and IoT solutioning based on the Azure IoT reference architecture.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this post till this point.

Please, feel free to share your experience, as i am planning to keep this post up to date with your valuable contributions going forward. #keeplearning

Error on Bicep module – on Azure CLI (2.22.0) for Windows 10

If you are seeing “fromisoformat” error while running az bicep version or any other az bicep command – you are not alone πŸ™‚

Check this open issue reported on GitHub by community member – https://github.com/Azure/azure-cli/issues/17718


After updating to the latest Azure CLI (2.22.0) for Windows 10, I am now seeing the same error as others have reported:

Any command such as “az bicep version” is producing the following error:

The command failed with an unexpected error.
Here is the traceback and detailed error:
type object 'datetime.datetime' has no attribute 'fromisoformat'
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\knack/cli.py", line 231, in invoke
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/core/commands/init.py", line 657, in execute
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/core/commands/init.py", line 720, in _run_jobs_serially
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/core/commands/init.py", line 691, in _run_job
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/core/commands/init.py", line 328, in call
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/core/init.py", line 807, in default_command_handler
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/command_modules/resource/custom.py", line 3294, in build_bicep_file
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/command_modules/resource/_bicep.py", line 63, in run_bicep_command
File "D:\a\1\s\build_scripts\windows\artifacts\cli\Lib\site-packages\azure/cli/command_modules/resource/_bicep.py", line 152, in _load_bicep_version_check_result_from_cache
AttributeError: type object 'datetime.datetime' has no attribute 'fromisoformat'

Is there a temp workaround?

One of the workarounds is to uninstalled Azure CLI 2.22.0 , and then install the prior version 2.21.0. You could confirm 2.21.0 version is working for you by running the same command.

Hope this will be helpful for you, as i faced with this issue hours before my demo to #GlobalAzure 2021 😐

Are you ready to start your Bicep transformation journey in Azure?

Hello friends,

I am getting ready bits and pieces of the presentation and demo code for the #GlobalAzure 2021 event.

This is going to be my second year in a row, presenting at this global event, and I am pumped to contribute with two new sessions this year.

Feel free to check out the details of each session and links here .

Session banner for upcoming presentation on Global Azure 2021

WHY bother to transfrom your exising Azure ARM templates into Bicep?

  • Easy to understand and maintain code for your Azure infrastructure
  • Day zero support for all resource types & API versions
  • Nice transparent abstractionΒ for the underlying platform
  • Awesome Tooling – VS Code extension for Bicep
  • Deep integration with other Azure Services
  • Preflight validation – both Bicep/ARM does preflight validation on entire template
  • Provides high level of confidence that your code is ‘syntactically valid’ before deploying
  • Support – starting from v.03, Bicep is 100% supported by Microsoft Support Plans

This time, I am looking forward to share level 200 talk and demos, where we will ALL deep dive into challenges of transforming exisiting ARM templates into Azure Bicep.

We will inspect the ARM JSON decompiler, which comes with Azure Bicep and how to make it work your way.

Stay tunes, i hope to see you all during the event!

Transfrom your Azure ARM into Bicep during the Global Azure 2021

Global Azure 2021 event in mid-April.

Hello eveyone,
I am very happy to share exciting news with all of you.

Few days ago, i have receieved an email confirming acceptance of my both Azure sessions for the Global Azure 2021 event. I am truely trilled to present on April 16th and 17th following two sesions for eveyone live:

I am looking forward for your participiation, and tune in to learn about latest developments in Microsoft Azure.

In my first session i will share the following new session with you.

Abstract of the presentation as is:

Infrastructure as a Code (IaC) is important strategy to manage your digital estate in any cloud environment. Simplifying management of your infrastructure while re-using code is even better. In Microsoft Azure, we have ARM (Azure Resource Manager) templates that could declaratively define your cloud project infrastructure.

However, it is not easy to author ARM JSON templates and maintain them when your project grows and requires changes. In this demo heavy session, we will introduce the Azure Bicep language and demonstrate how it simplifies authoring ARM templates for your Azure infrastructure. We will author a manageable, readable, and modularized Azure infrastructure code, while using familiar tools.

TheCloudMarathoner πŸ™‚

Please let me know, what topics are you interested in?