Azure is a widely spread environment where the user can only perform permitted operations. Sometimes, due to a lack of knowledge or curiosity, users do things that directly or indirectly affect the business.
So, it is always better to ensure compliance and track the changes that have been made. Following the changes or actions can effectively help an organization revert to the previous safe state if needed and help investigate who has made the changes.
- Azure has its Governance option, which is more advanced than any major cloud providers. The native Azure Governance services are as follows:
- Azure Blueprint
- Azure Policy
- Azure Cost management
- Azure Resource Graph
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How Governance services in Azure help users
The Governance mentioned above Services in Azure:
- Enforce internal standards and guardrails
- Apply consistent security & management
- Setup environments faster
- Meet regulatory compliance requirements
- Release compliant code faster
- Control costs
- Organize resources to match your organization
Azure Blueprint enables a user to deploy resources in a series. The resources deployed will follow specific standards and requirements. Also, it provides an overall architectural view even before the resources are deployed in place.
This can help users to predict the cost and risk upfront. Azure Blueprints are highly reusable hence can ensure consistency and can maintain compliance among resources.
Azure Blueprints enable cloud governance at scale with templates for creating and managing enterprise environments.
Azure Blueprint lifecycle
The life cycle of Azure Blueprint starts with creating a Blueprint and ends with Deletion. In-between these two stages, the Blueprint can be modified or altered.
The typical Azure Blueprint lifecycle consists of:
- Creation of a blueprint
- Publishing the blueprint
- Creating or editing the latest version of the blueprint
- Publishing an updated version of the blueprint
- Deletion of a specific version of the blueprint
- Deleting the blueprint altogether
Enabling quick, repeatable creation of governed environments
Cost Management in Azure
As Cloud is emerging with more potential as days grow, organizations adapt more towards the cloud, moving away from the native on-prem solution. Initially, it will be easy for users to track their resources and their spending in the cloud.
But as their Azure footprint increases, an organization is entirely into the cloud, the resources increase drastically, and so do the cost. Without keeping track of the cost and their expansion in the cloud, any organization will have colossal trouble. Azure cost management helps the user to take control of their Azure spending and to optimize it.
Get transparency into what you are spending on cloud resources.
With Cost management, user can picture the cost Resources wise, Subscription wise, or even region wise. This helps users keep track of their spending in the cloud to figure out which of the services they consume the most.
It is also possible to trigger alerts whenever the spending grows beyond the configured threshold value (Cost). With this alert, the user can realize when their spending exceeds the limit and take appropriate actions.
Compliance with Azure Policies
Azure Policy helps users to create/update resources with organizational standards and to assess compliance at-scale.
Set policies across resources and monitor compliance
Azure Policies integration is a beautiful way to ensure the Standard and reliability of any resources created hence ensuring security. Azure Policies can make sure all the deployments meet the Standards.
One such effective ways are Integration with Azure DevOps. When integrated with Azure DevOps, Azure policies can ensure the developed code is not deployed until it is compliant with defined policies. This can increase innovation as the user has to change the code until it is compliant.
Through the compliance dashboard, the user can have an aggregated view of the environment’s overall status. With this dashboard, the user can also make sure that the existing resources are also factual. This provides security on your Azure Application.
- During the resource lifecycle, resources are evaluated during specific times.
- When a resource is created, updated, or deleted in a scope with a policy assignment
- When a policy or initiative is newly assigned to a scope
- When a policy or initiative already assigned to a scope is updated
- Every 24 hour, during the standard compliance evaluation cycle
Azure Resource Graph
Define Azure policies directly from the Azure resource graph Query – KQL (Kusto Query Language). Absolute governance can be achieved in your environment with Azure Resource Graph as it provides efficient and performant resource exploration along with the ability to query across a set of subscriptions.
It can also query changes made to a resource property. Exporting Query results from Azure resource graph to various platforms makes it handy to view insights from a single place.
Besides the native governance services, Severless360, a third-party tool, helps achieve better Azure governance on the Azure environment. Now let us explore this in detail.
Serverless360 is a SAAS (software as a service) offering to manage and monitor your Azure serverless application. Despite its strong operational and monitoring capabilities, Serverless360 also provides governance on your Azure resources at the Application level.
A one platform tool to manage and monitor your Azure serverless resources
Serverless360 pulls resources from various Tenants, Regions, Subscriptions, Resources group to logically group them, providing an application-level view on your Azure Serverless Application. And it also provides a dashboard in the name of Resource Map that gives the cost spent on each application built-in multiple environments.
Serverless360 can also picture the cost spend in each application environment like staging, production, Dev. This helps a user to get a rough overview of their spending on each application and its environment.
Governance and Audit Logs in Serverless360
Serverless360 has its governance and audit feature, which logs all the activities performed by any user in the Serverless360 portal.
Serverless360 can do some operational activities via the Serverless360 portal itself. This will be particularly useful for an organization to investigate who has done what?
Users can also export these logs in an Excel or PDF format for future references.
While performing the operational tasks via the Serverless360 portal has its advantages. In the Azure portal, all the audit logs are stored in JSON format, which is difficult for any user to understand what has happened. But in Serverless360, actions are audited in an exact GUI representation.
Serverless360’s User management User can also create a custom role to access application-level and resource-type levels. This can proactively help the organization to restrict users from doing specific volatile tasks.
With both Azure native governance solution and Serverless360, the user can achieve industry standards and improve innovation.
Setting up all these different solutions together is difficult, but the user can aim small, set up one solution, understand it better, and then move to the next governance solution.
In this method, the user will have adequate knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of each solution.
Running the Governance scan in a timely interval or regular basis can help the user identify a lack of standards at the earliest. Educate the organization on the configured standards and policies should be educated to ensure the consistency of standards.
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