Microsoft Azure Sentinel and the Modern Workplace

The modern cybersecurity environment is increasingly complicated, not least because of the number of available attack surfaces. Hybrid cloud infrastructure, SaaS-based applications, and remote workers have created a complex, sprawling estate that is impossible to manage proactively.

It is this problem that Microsoft Sentinel is designed to address.

 

What is Azure Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel formerly Microsoft Azure Sentinel is a platform to help you better manage your cybersecurity provisions. Incorporating security information event management (SIEM) and security orchestration automated response (SOAR) functionality into a single platform, Sentinel gives your business the tools needed to detect and prevent security breaches.

By aggregating threat analysis and detection tools into a central console, Microsoft has simplified many of the tasks associated with cybersecurity. Sentinel also applies machine learning and artificial intelligence to proven SIEM and SOAR techniques like log analytics and logic apps to process incoming data automatically, improving your ability to detect and block previously unknown threats and reducing time-wasting false positives too.

 

Why should organisations use Microsoft Azure Sentinel?

Connecting Microsoft Sentinel to your infrastructure gives you intelligent threat analysis with alert detection, threat visibility, proactive hunting, and threat response in a single console. As a cloud-based platform, Sentinel is capable of collecting security data from virtually anywhere – users, devices, applications, and infrastructure, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Better yet, the ability to pre-define and automate many of the early stage post-attack activities allows you to accelerate your response. In this way, your business can rapidly mitigate the effects of the breach to prevent downtime and contain associated costs.

Effective cybersecurity is a proactive process. Businesses now need to identify and patch weaknesses before they are exploited – which is another capability of Microsoft Sentinel. Using artificial intelligence, Sentinel can actively hunt for suspicious activities at scale, combining observations of your infrastructure with the aggregated cybersecurity “learning” of Microsoft to uncover problems faster and more effectively than traditional rules-based detection systems.

 

How to install and get started with Microsoft Sentinel?

For any business already using Microsoft Azure, Sentinel is just a few clicks away:

  • Log in to the Azure portal and search for “Azure Sentinel”.
  • Click + to create a new workspace.
  • Add Sentinel to the new workspace, supplying subscription details, resource group name, and Sentinel workspace name.
  • Select the appropriate pricing tier (Sentinel is billed according to usage like other Azure resources).
  • Once complete, add log analytics to the new workspace and you are good to begin monitoring and analysis of cybersecurity activity.

 

Sentinel comes with a broad selection of connectors for immediate use with other Microsoft solutions. These include Microsoft Defender, Microsoft 365, and Azure AD along with the other security solutions provided by Microsoft. As you would expect from a comprehensive SIEM / SOATR platform, there are also several connectors available for use with third-party security solutions, allowing you to maximise the value of existing investments.

You can also use the common REST-API and Syslog import routines to connect any other system that currently lacks a native connector. This ensures that you can monitor and analyse security events from virtually any system or application within your infrastructure – no matter where it is located.

Over time you can also automate and orchestrate your responses to cybersecurity events using “playbooks”. As well as building your own, Sentinel has a growing gallery of built-in playbooks to help you get started faster. There are more than 200 connectors that allow you to apply custom logic – like opening and pre-populating service tickets – in popular tools like Zendesk, Slack, Jira, and ServiceNow. There’s also a connector for applying custom code via HTTP requests for similar workflow automation in legacy applications.

Don’t have an Azure account? You can find help here.

 

Why did Microsoft launch Azure Sentinel?

By unifying your monitoring and security tools, Microsoft Sentinel improves the visibility of security across your entire IT estate. Sentinel has been developed by Microsoft to ‘plug the gaps that exist between other tools, ensuring users have a proper overview of all of their assets and how they interact.

Sentinel is a direct response to the need for scalable, automated SIEM and SOAR tools that can manage across the hybrid cloud.

 

Who can use Azure Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel is available for use by developers and businesses now. Although it is heavily geared towards users of Azure and Microsoft 365, you do not have to be using either – you will just find it takes a little longer to set up and configure the platform.

To get started with Sentinel, all you need is a Microsoft Azure account to create the necessary workspace(s) – you can then connect any platforms, applications, or systems as required. This means that you can begin building out an effective SIEM / SOAR resource within a matter of hours.

 

To learn more about Microsoft Sentinel and what benefits it can bring to your organisation and better meet the cybersecurity challenges of the future, contact a member of the Camwood team today

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams is the Head of Technology at Camwood.
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