Microsoft Azure: Configuring access controls for your Azure resources

Updated on
January 13, 2023

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Access controls are a key component of security, and are used to determine who is allowed to access which resources within your Azure subscription. In this technical reference guide, we will walk through the process of configuring access controls for your Azure resources.

Prerequisites

Before configuring access controls for your Azure resources, you will need to have the following:

  1. An Azure subscription that you have access to as an administrator.
  2. A list of the resources that you want to control access to, including virtual machines, storage accounts, and databases.
  3. A list of the users and groups who should have access to these resources, along with the permissions that they should have.

Step 1: Define your access control policies

Before you can configure access controls for your Azure resources, you need to define your access control policies. This involves deciding which users and groups should have access to which resources, and what actions they should be allowed to perform within those resources.

To define your access control policies, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the Azure resources that you want to control access to. This may include virtual machines, storage accounts, and databases.
  2. Determine which users and groups should have access to these resources, and what permissions they should have. For example, you may want to grant certain users read-only access to certain resources, while granting others full read-write access.
  3. Document your access control policies in a clear and concise manner, so that they are easy to understand and follow.

Step 2: Configure access controls in Azure

Once you have defined your access control policies, you can configure the access controls for your Azure resources. There are several ways to do this, depending on the resources that you are controlling access to and the type of access that you want to grant.

Here are a few examples of how you can configure access controls in Azure:

  • To control access to specific virtual machines, you can use Azure role-based access control (RBAC) to assign roles to users and groups. RBAC allows you to define the actions that users can perform within your Azure subscription, and assign those roles to specific users and groups. To configure RBAC, go to the "Azure Active Directory" service, select "Role assignments" in the navigation menu and create new role assignment.
  • To control access to specific storage accounts, you can use Azure storage access control (SAC) to assign permissions to users and groups. SAC allows you to define the actions that users can perform on your storage account, and assign those permissions to specific users and groups. To configure SAC, go to the "Storage account" service, select the storage account you want to configure and navigate to the "Access control (IAM)" tab.
  • To control access to specific Azure SQL databases, you can use Azure Active Directory Authentication for Azure SQL Database. This allows you to control who can access the database and what actions they are allowed to perform, using Azure AD identities. To configure this go to the "Azure SQL" service and navigate to the "Active Directory admin" under the "Security" tab of the Azure SQL database you want to control access to.

Step 3: Test and verify your access controls

Once you have configured the access controls for your Azure resources, it is important to test and verify that they are working as intended. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Azure subscription as a user with the appropriate permissions.
  2. Attempt to access the resources that you have configured access controls for.
  3. Verify that you are able to access the resources as expected, based on the permissions that you have been granted.

If you encounter any issues with your access controls, you may need to adjust your access control policies and reconfigure the access controls in Azure accordingly.

Step 4: Monitor and review access controls

To ensure the continued effectiveness of your access controls, it is important to regularly monitor and review them. This will allow you to identify and address any issues or discrepancies in a timely manner.

To monitor and review your access controls, follow these steps:

  1. Regularly review your access control policies to ensure that they are still relevant and appropriate.
  2. Use Azure Activity Logs to monitor for any suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  3. Periodically test and verify your access controls to ensure that they are working as intended.
  4. Update your access control policies and configurations as needed to keep them up to date and effective.

By following these steps, you can effectively configure and maintain access controls for your Azure resources, helping to ensure the security and integrity of your data and systems. Keep in mind that the configuration and setup steps may vary depending on the Azure resources you are trying to protect and your specific organization requirements.