Describe security and compliance concepts and methodologies
Describe the Zero-Trust methodology
Zero Trust assumes everything is on an open and untrusted network, even resources behind the firewalls of the corporate network. The Zero Trust model operates on the principle of “trust no one, verify everything.”
Attackers’ ability to bypass conventional access controls is ending any illusion that traditional security strategies are sufficient. By no longer trusting the integrity of the corporate network, security is strengthened.
In practice, this means that we no longer assume that a password is sufficient to validate a user so we add multi-factor authentication to provide additional checks. Instead of granting access to all devices on the corporate network, users are allowed access only to the specific applications or data that they need.
Zero Trust guiding principles
The Zero Trust model has three principles which guide and underpin how security is implemented. These are: verify explicitly, least privilege access, and assume breach.
Verify explicitly. Always authenticate and authorize based on the available data points, including user identity, location, device, service or workload, data classification, and anomalies.
Least privileged access. Limit user access with just-in-time and just-enough access (JIT/JEA), risk-based adaptive policies, and data protection to protect both data and productivity.
Assume breach. Segment access by network, user, devices, and application. Use encryption to protect data, and use analytics to get visibility, detect threats, and improve your security.
Six foundational pillars
In the Zero Trust model, all elements work together to provide end-to-end security. These six elements are the foundational pillars of the Zero Trust model:
Identities may be users, services, or devices. When an identity attempts to access a resource, it must be verified with strong authentication, and follow least privilege access principles.
Devices create a large attack surface as data flows from devices to on-premises workloads and the cloud. Monitoring devices for health and compliance is an important aspect of security.
Applications are the way that data is consumed. This includes discovering all applications being used, sometimes called Shadow IT because not all applications are managed centrally. This pillar also includes managing permissions and access.
Data should be classified, labeled, and encrypted based on its attributes. Security efforts are ultimately about protecting data, and ensuring it remains safe when it leaves devices, applications, infrastructure, and networks that the organization controls.
Infrastructure, whether on-premises or cloud based, represents a threat vector. To improve security, you assess for version, configuration, and JIT access, and use telemetry to detect attacks and anomalies. This allows you to automatically block or flag risky behavior and take protective actions.
Networks should be segmented, including deeper in-network micro segmentation. Also, real-time threat protection, end-to-end encryption, monitoring, and analytics should be employed.
These six foundational pillars work together with the Zero Trust model to enforce organization security policies.
Refer to An introduction to the Zero Trust methodology for a video recap on the pillars of the Zero Trust model.
Describe the shared responsibility model
The shared responsibility model identifies which security tasks are handled by the cloud provider, and which security tasks are handled by you, the customer.
In organizations running only on-premises hardware and software, the organization is 100 percent responsible for implementing security and compliance. With cloud-based services, that responsibility is shared between the customer and the cloud provider.
The responsibilities vary depending on where the workload is hosted:
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
On-premises datacenter (On-prem)
The shared responsibility model makes responsibilities clear. When organizations move data to the cloud, some responsibilities transfer to the cloud provider and some to the customer organization.
The following diagram illustrates the areas of responsibility between the customer and the cloud provider, according to where data is held.
In an on-premises datacenter, you have responsibility for everything from physical security to encrypting sensitive data.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Of all cloud services, IaaS requires the most management by the cloud customer. With IaaS, you're using the cloud provider’s computing infrastructure. The cloud customer isn't responsible for the physical components, such as computers and the network, or the physical security of the datacenter. However, the cloud customer still has responsibility for software components such as operating systems, network controls, applications, and protecting data.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides an environment for building, testing, and deploying software applications. The goal of PaaS is to help you create an application quickly without managing the underlying infrastructure. With PaaS, the cloud provider manages the hardware and operating systems, and the customer is responsible for applications and data.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is hosted and managed by the cloud provider, for the customer. It's usually licensed through a monthly or annual subscription. Microsoft 365, Skype, and Dynamics 365 are all examples of SaaS software. SaaS requires the least amount of management by the cloud customer. The cloud provider is responsible for managing everything except data, devices, accounts, and identities.
For all cloud deployment types you, the cloud customer, own your data and identities. You're responsible for protecting the security of your data and identities, and on-premises resources.
In summary, responsibilities always retained by the customer organization include:
Information and data
Devices (mobile and PCs)
Accounts and identities
The benefit of the shared responsibility model is that organizations are clear about their responsibilities, and those of the cloud provider.
Describe defense in depth
Defense in depth uses a layered approach to security, rather than relying on a single perimeter. A defense in-depth strategy uses a series of mechanisms to slow the advance of an attack. Each layer provides protection so that, if one layer is breached, a subsequent layer will prevent an attacker getting unauthorized access to data.
Example layers of security might include:
Physical security such as limiting access to a datacenter to only authorized personnel.
Identity and access security controls, such as multi-factor authentication or condition-based access, to control access to infrastructure and change control.
Perimeter security including distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection to filter large-scale attacks before they can cause a denial of service for users.
Network security, such as network segmentation and network access controls, to limit communication between resources.
Compute layer security such as securing access to virtual machines either on-premises or in the cloud by closing certain ports.
Application layer security to ensure applications are secure and free of security vulnerabilities.
Data layer security including controls to manage access to business and customer data and encryption to protect data.
Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability (CIA)
Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, or CIA, is a way to think about security trade-offs. This isn't a Microsoft model, but is common to all security professionals.
Confidentiality refers to the need to keep confidential sensitive data such as customer information, passwords, or financial data. You can encrypt data to keep it confidential, but then you also need to keep the encryption keys confidential. Confidentiality is the most visible part of security; we can clearly see need for sensitive data, keys, passwords, and other secrets to be kept confidential.
Integrity refers to keeping data or messages correct. When you send an email message, you want to be sure that the message received is the same as the message you sent. When you store data in a database, you want to be sure that the data you retrieve is the same as the data you stored. Encrypting data keeps it confidential, but you must then be able to decrypt it so that it's the same as before it was encrypted. Integrity is about having confidence that data hasn't been tampered with or altered.
Availability refers to making data available to those who need it. It's important to the organization to keep customer data secure, but at the same time it must also be available to employees who deal with customers. While it might be more secure to store the data in an encrypted format, employees need access to decrypted data.
While all sides of the CIA model are important, they also represent trade-offs that need to be made.
Describe common threats
There are different types of security threats. Some aim to steal data, some aim to extort money, and others to disrupt normal operations, such as a denial of service attack. This topic looks at some of the common threats.
A data breach is when data is stolen, and this includes personal data. Personal data means any information related to an individual that can be used to identify them directly or indirectly.
Common security threats that can result in a breach of personal data include phishing, spear phishing, tech support scams, SQL injection, and malware designed to steal passwords or bank details.
A dictionary attack is a type of identity attack where a hacker attempts to steal an identity by trying a large number of known passwords. Each password is automatically tested against a known username. Dictionary attacks are also known as brute force attacks.
Malware is the term used to describe malicious applications and code that can cause damage and disrupt normal use of devices. Malware can give attackers unauthorized access, which allows them to use system resources, lock you out of your computer, and ask for ransom.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files and folders, preventing access to important files. Ransomware attempts to extort money from victims, usually in the form of cryptocurrencies, in exchange for the decryption key.
Cybercriminals that distribute malware are often motivated by money and will use infected computers to launch attacks, obtain banking credentials, collect information that can be sold, sell access to computing resources, or extort payment from victims.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack attempts to exhaust an application's resources, making the application unavailable to legitimate users. DDoS attacks can be targeted at any endpoint that is publicly reachable through the internet.
Other common threats include coin miners, rootkits, trojans, worms, and exploits and exploit kits. Rootkits intercept and change standard operating system processes. After a rootkit infects a device, you can’t trust any information that the device reports about itself.
Trojans are a common type of malware which can’t spread on their own. This means they either have to be downloaded manually or another malware needs to download and install them. Trojans often use the same file names as real and legitimate apps so it's easy to accidentally download a trojan thinking that it is legitimate.
A worm is a type of malware that can copy itself and often spreads through a network by exploiting security vulnerabilities. It can spread through email attachments, text messages, file-sharing programs, social networking sites, network shares, removable drives, and software vulnerabilities.
Exploits take advantage of vulnerabilities in software. A vulnerability is a weakness in your software that malware uses to get onto your device. Malware exploits these vulnerabilities to bypass your computer's security safeguards and infect your device.
These examples are just a few of the threats commonly seen. This is a continually evolving area and new threats emerge all the time.
Describe encryption and hashing
One way to mitigate against common cybersecurity threats is to encrypt sensitive or valuable data. Encryption is the process of making data unreadable and unusable to unauthorized viewers. To use or read encrypted data, it must be decrypted, which requires the use of a secret key.
There are two top-level types of encryption: symmetric and asymmetric. Symmetric encryption uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the data. Asymmetric encryption uses a public key and private key pair. Either key can encrypt data, but a single key can’t be used to decrypt encrypted data. To decrypt, you need a paired key. Asymmetric encryption is used for things like Transport Layer Security (TLS), such as the HTTPS protocol, and data signing. Encryption may protect data at rest, or in transit.
Encryption at rest
Data at rest is the data that's stored on a physical device, such as a server. It may be stored in a database or a storage account but, regardless of where it's stored, encryption of data at rest ensures the data is unreadable without the keys and secrets needed to decrypt it.
If an attacker obtained a hard drive with encrypted data and didn't have access to the encryption keys, they would be unable to read the data.
Encryption in transit
Data in transit is the data moving from one location to another, such as across the internet or through a private network. Secure transfer can be handled by several different layers. It could be done by encrypting the data at the application layer before sending it over a network. HTTPS is an example of encryption in transit.
Encrypting data in transit protects it from outside observers and provides a mechanism to transmit data while limiting the risk of exposure.
Hashing uses an algorithm to convert the original text to a unique fixed-length hash value. Each time the same text is hashed using the same algorithm, the same hash value is produced. That hash can then be used as a unique identifier of its associated data.
Hashing is different to encryption in that it doesn't use keys, and the hashed value isn't then decrypted back to the original.
Hashing is used to store passwords. When a user enters their password, the same algorithm that created the stored hash creates a hash of the entered password. This is compared to the stored hashed version of the password. If they match, the user has entered their password correctly. A hashed password is more secure than storing plain text passwords, but hashing algorithms are also known to hackers. Because hash functions are deterministic (the same input produces the same output), hackers can use brute-force dictionary attacks by hashing the passwords. For every matched hash, they know the actual password. To mitigate this risk, passwords are often “salted”. This refers to adding a fixed-length random value to the input of hash functions to create unique hashes for every input. As hackers can't know the salt value, the hashed passwords are more secure.
Describe the cloud adoption framework
Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure consists of documentation, implementation guidance, best practices, and tools designed to help businesses to implement strategies necessary to succeed in the cloud. The Cloud Adoption Framework has been carefully designed based on cloud adoption best practices from Microsoft employees, customers, and partners. It provides a proven and consistent methodology for implementing cloud technologies.
Understand the lifecycle
Each of the following steps is part of the cloud adoption lifecycle.
Strategy: Define business justification and expected outcomes of adoption.
Plan: Align actionable adoption plans to business outcomes.
Ready: Prepare the cloud environment for the planned changes.
Migrate: Migrate and modernize existing workloads.
Innovate: Develop new cloud-native or hybrid solutions.
Govern: Govern the environment and workloads.
Manage: Operations management for cloud and hybrid solutions.
Refer to The Cloud Adoption Framework, for a video overview of the cloud adoption lifecycle.
When your enterprise's digital transformation involves the cloud, understanding these fundamental concepts will help you during each step of the process.
Item 1. An organization has deployed Microsoft 365 applications to all employees. Who is responsible for the security of the personal data relating to these employees?
Item 2. Which of the following measures might an organization implement as part of the defense in-depth security methodology?
Item 3. The human resources organization want to ensure that stored employee data is encrypted. Which security mechanism would they use?
Item 4. An organization is moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud. They want to know how to create and implement business and technology strategies in a way that will help them succeed in the cloud. What guidance can they use to help them transition to the cloud?
Summary and resources
In this lesson, you have learned about some important security concepts and methodologies. You have learned about the Zero Trust methodology, and how the guiding principles of verify explicitly, least privilege access, and assume breach strengthens security. You learned how the six foundational elements of identity, devices, applications, data, infrastructure, and networks are used in the Zero Trust model.
This lesson also looked at the shared responsibility model, which considers who is responsible for what as organizations migrate their workloads to the cloud. You learned about the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework. You also learned about defense in depth, and how the security principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability help to guide security decisions.
Finally, you learned about common cybersecurity threats including threats to business and personal data and how to protect your data.
Now that you’ve completed this lesson, you should be able to:
Describe the Zero Trust and shared responsibility models.
Describe common security threats and ways to protect through the defense in-depth security model.
Describe the concepts of encryption and hashing.
Describe the cloud adoption framework.
To learn more about the topics discussed in this lesson, see: