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Azure Governance

Updated: Jul 10

Governance” is the framework that determines how your organization conducts business activities based on objectives and responsibilities. Regarding Cloud Governance, there are some relevant principles: Subscription Management, Cost Management, Security, Resource Consistency, Identity Baseline, & Deployment Acceleration.

Governance in Azure is one aspect of Azure Management. Management refers to the tasks and processes required to maintain your business applications and the resources that support them. Azure has many services and tools that work together to provide complete management. These services aren't only for Azure resources but also for other clouds and on-premises. Understanding the different tools and how they work together is the first step in designing a complete management environment.

Benefits of Azure Governance

  • Enforce and audit your policies for any Azure service

  • Create compliant environments using Azure Blueprints, including resources, policies, and role-access controls

  • Ensure that you’re compliant with external regulations by using built-in compliance controls

  • Monitors spending and encourages accountability across your entire organization

  • The following diagram illustrates the management areas required to maintain any application or resource. These other areas can be thought of as a lifecycle. Each area is required in continuous succession over the lifespan of a resource. This resource lifecycle starts with the initial deployment, continued operation, and finally when retired.


Azure migration

No single Azure service fills the requirements of a particular management area. Instead, each is realized by several services working together. Some services, such as Application Insights, provide targeted monitoring functionality for web applications. Others, like Azure Monitor logs, store management data for other services. This feature allows you to analyze data of different types collected by various services.

Baseline of Azure Governance


Subscription Management

Your use of Azure is subscription-based. This agreement with Microsoft allows you to use the Cloud platforms and services. You pay a per-user license if you purchase a SaaS service from Microsoft. If you are buying PaaS or IaaS services, you pay according to the use of your resources. If you don’t want everyone in the organization to access all the data, you need to define the user access rules. Role-based access control (RBAC) allows you to manage which roles have access to Azure resources and what they can do with which resources.


Cost Management

As an organization, you want to be in control of costs. That’s why it’s useful to determine the sources of your Cloud spending in advance so that you can allocate resources and budgets to business units, products, and roles within your organization. You can then link warnings or automatic triggers to these budgets to prevent them from being exceeded. You can also easily manage your costs and budget in Azure Cost Management.


Security

Security is one of the most essential parts of your Governance plan. You don’t want everyone to have access to your data, and you want to make that clear to your customers. With Azure Policy, you can create and set out your Azure policy. The security rules resulting from this policy are automatically implemented in your environment. New and existing resources are audited for this. By enforcing these policies, you ensure that your organization complies with your company’s standards and service level agreements.


Resource Consistency

Resource Consistency focuses on establishing policy for the operational management of your environment or application. It ensures that your resources are configured consistently so that they are discoverable by IT Operations. Azure Resource Manager – an implementation and management service for your resources – enables you to achieve consistency in your resources.


Identity Baseline

Identity Baseline complements your security policy. Nowadays, network security is increasingly focused on identity. In the Identity Baseline, you define authentication and authorization requirements using Azure Active Directory.


Deployment Acceleration

The final step is to define deployment, configuration alignment, and script reusability in your Governance plan. This leads to “Deployment Acceleration,” speeding up the process. The above-mentioned tools have capabilities that will help you achieve Deployment Acceleration.


Governance in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

Putting a business in the cloud creates new paradigms for the technologies that support that business. These new paradigms change how those technologies are adopted, managed, and governed. When you can delete and rebuild an entire virtual data centre with a line of code executed by an unattended process, it's time to rethink traditional approaches. This reasoning is especially valid for governance.

Cloud governance is an iterative process. For organizations with existing policies that govern on-premises IT environments, cloud governance should complement those policies. The level of corporate policy integration between on-premises and the cloud varies depending on cloud governance maturity and the nature of the digital estate in the cloud. As the cloud estate changes, so do governance processes and policies. Use the following exercises to help you start building your initial governance foundation:


Establish a basic understanding of the methodology that drives cloud governance in the Cloud Adoption Framework to begin thinking through the end-state solution.

Assess your current and future state to establish a vision for applying the framework.

Begin your governance journey with a small, easily implemented set of governance tools. This initial governance foundation is called a minimum viable product (MVP).

Throughout the implementation of the cloud adoption plan, iteratively add governance controls to address tangible risks as you progress toward the end state.


Advanced Governance and Compliance Solutions

 Azure Policy Enhancements

Robust Compliance Tools

Azure has significantly upgraded its policy management capabilities, allowing organizations to enforce rules rigorously and review compliance statuses effortlessly.

Integration with Azure Management Groups

This integration offers a structured hierarchy for managing compliance and policy assignments at scale, enhancing governance across multiple subscriptions.

Improved Audit Features

New updates include better logging and tracking of policy changes and history, which aids in audits and compliance checks.

Enhanced Guest Configuration

Azure now supports an expanded set of guest configurations, ensuring that both virtual machines and hybrid instances adhere to company policies.

Automated Remediation

Policies now support automated actions when non-compliance issues are detected, streamlining the management process and reducing manual overhead.


Azure Governance Visualizer

Automated Visualization

Automatically generate detailed diagrams of governance structures, which are crucial for understanding and managing Azure resources effectively.

In-depth Data Insights

Capture comprehensive governance data, including policy definitions, role assignments, and compliance status, presented in an easy-to-navigate format.

Integration with Azure DevOps

Facilitates the continuous deployment and management of governance configurations, aligning with agile practices.

Security Insights

Provides visibility into security postures and potential vulnerabilities, helping to tighten security measures.

Cost-effective Reporting

Leverage Azure App Service to host governance reports securely and cost-effectively, ensuring accessibility and compliance.


Management and Security Enhancements

Strengthened Identity Management

Integration with Microsoft Entra enhances identity management, supporting robust single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) capabilities.

Advanced Threat Protection 

Azure offers improved threat detection and response mechanisms, which are crucial for proactive security management.

Customizable RBAC Controls

Tailor access and permissions with finer granularity, ensuring that the right personnel have the appropriate level of access.

Secure Connectivity Options

Enhancements in network security, including private links and improved firewall options, ensure secure access to Azure services.

Regular Updates and Patches

Continual improvements to security protocols keep the system robust against emerging threats.


Cost Management Tools

Budgeting and Forecasting Enhancements 

Azure now offers more sophisticated tools for setting budgets and predicting future costs, helping organizations plan financially.

Granular Cost Reporting

Detailed breakdowns of spending by service, department, or resource allow for better tracking and management of expenses.

Cost Optimization Recommendations

Azure Advisor now provides more targeted recommendations for reducing costs while maintaining optimal performance.

Alerts and Triggers 

Set up customizable alerts to monitor spending thresholds and trigger actions when limits are approached or exceeded.

Integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

Seamless integration with ERP systems enhances the ability to track and manage cloud expenditures effectively​ 

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