Azure Cloud, DevOps

A Guide on Azure DevOps Security

Microsoft Azure DevOps is a cloud-based computing solution that offers a set of tools to carry out software development projects. It drives faster and more responsive software development by uniting processes, teams, and technologies – thus contributing to the development of a fast-evolving SDLC (software development lifecycle). This robust SDLC is capable of addressing user requests, technological issues, and market demand.

In essence, Azure DevOps caters to developers and DevOps teams specifically, weaving the software delivery and operations teams in organization tightly. However, security is the topmost concern when working with an enormous amount of data and information and using cloud-based solutions like Azure DevOps.

Gartner outlines that, by 2025, 99% of security failures related to the cloud will result from customers’ faults. This is suggestive of the fact that cloud service users, including DevOps teams, can mitigate risks by focusing on certain parameters that can be controlled.

Importance of Securing Azure DevOps Services

With Azure DevOps growing steadily, many teams are working hard to speed up the security of their platforms are warding off any bottlenecks in the pipeline. The one-size-fits-all formula is certainly not applicable here. 

Favorably, Microsoft ensures cloud security. The onus of maintaining the security of cloud infrastructure rests on Microsoft. It investigates various security aspects like networking, storage, and computing that enable cloud workloads. In addition, Microsoft also manages security configuration for all managed services such as Cosmos DB, Azure Kubernetes, Azure SQL, etc. However, since Microsoft operates under the shared responsibility model, there are certain aspects that business can (and should) take care of.

Azure DevOps Services Security Checklist

Microsoft Azure DevOps provides end-to-end capabilities to build software, from planning to deployment. A number of security controls and concepts are employed to ensure projects are private, secure, and available. 

Authentication & Access

Robust security of IT infrastructure begins with authentication and access control. Azure DevOps leverages Azure Active Directory (AD), and Microsoft accounts for authentication.

Whether you will create policies for individual users or integrate an AD domain within Azure AD depends on the complexity and size of the organization. Today, Azure DevOps provides two primary interconnected ways to control and govern users’ access:

  • Permission Management: It either permits or denies access to particular features. You may set it at different levels for objects within a platform, like pipelines, repositories, and area paths. When users are added to security groups, they immediately inherit permissions from the group. Similarly, if a collection or project is created, it automatically sets a default security group with all default permissions. Custom security groups may be created with defined permissions.  
  • Access Level Management: Azure DevOps access levels allow or disallow access to the features of the platform. Supported access levels include Basic – with access to most of the features of the platform; Stakeholder – provides limited access suitable only for users requiring limited features of the platform; Visual Studio Subscriber – allocated to users with Visual Studio subscription.

Visibility Control

You can alter the visibility of projects – i.e., change it from public visibility to private visibility and vice versa. Users not signed into the organization will have read-only access to public projects. Likewise, users signed in are granted access to private projects and can make permitted changes. The visibility of Azure DevOps projects can be controlled in two ways – using project settings and organizational settings.

Project Repositories

Azure DevOps also allows users to authorize policies safeguarding project branches and repositories from any breach or tampering. To protect repositories, you can set branch and repository policies and permissions and disable forking.

Audit Logs Review

Azure  also makes everything in audit logs available for 90 days. With this, you can check for suspicious activities or anomalies affecting the security of the platform. Whenever a user makes any change to the artifact, audit events get recorded. For instance, when a policy or permission is modified or accessing feature is changed, or resources are created or removed, the platform maintains a log of the same.

Web Application Firewall (WAF) Implementation

Web Application Firewall protects the deployment of Azure DevOps Services. When configured, it filters, tracks, and blocks malicious web-based traffic. WAF applies a set of rules to inspect the traffic of Azure DevOps and detect anomalies. This further prevents intruders from resorting to various attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

Wrapping Up

To secure the Azure DevOps services environment, you must control access and visibility, protect repositories from any kind of tampering, and follow the other outlined necessary steps. A large part of ensuring Azure DevOps security involves realizing ways to implement the principles correctly. Favorably, Microsoft ensures cloud security along with access control, threat detection, and policy creation.

All in all, with the above-outlined practices, you can mitigate risks in instances of Azure DevOps and drill down further. At zCon, we assist organizations in reinforcing Azure DevOps security. Get in touch to learn more.

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