How to Audit Azure Environment Security with Azure Policy and Azure Security Center

November 30, 20235 min read

Ensuring the security of your Azure environment is essential. Azure Policy and Azure Security Center are two key services that can help audit and enforce your organization’s security standards. Below is a detailed guide on how to use these tools for auditing your Azure environment.

Azure Policy

Azure Policy helps you enforce organizational standards and assess compliance at scale. Here’s how you can use it to audit your Azure environment.

1. Understand Azure Policy

  • Definition: Azure Policy evaluates resources in Azure by comparing the properties of those resources to business rules, known as policies.
  • Assignment: These policies are applied to resource groups, subscriptions, or even management groups.
  • Initiatives: Policies can be grouped into initiatives for more comprehensive policy enforcement.

2. Getting Started with Azure Policy

  • Access: Navigate to the Azure Policy service in the Azure portal.
  • Built-in Policies: Start by reviewing the built-in policies that Microsoft provides.
  • Custom Policies: Create custom policies tailored to your specific security needs if necessary.

3. Create and Assign Policies

  • Define a Policy: Ensure it reflects the security controls you want to enforce or audit.
  • Assign a Policy: Assign the policy to the appropriate scope (subscription, resource group, etc.).
  • Parameters: Use parameters to make the policy flexible and reusable.

4. Audit with Azure Policy

  • Compliance State: Check the compliance state of resources to see if they adhere to the assigned policies.
  • Non-compliant Resources: Identify resources that are not compliant with the policies.
  • Remediation Tasks: Define remediation tasks to bring non-compliant resources into compliance.

5. Use Policy Insights

  • Insights: Use Azure Policy’s insights to analyze and create reports on the state of your resources in relation to the policies.

6. Monitoring and Alerts

  • Activity Log: Monitor the activity log for any changes or actions taken by Azure Policy.
  • Alerts: Set up alerts to be notified about policy compliance issues.

Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center provides advanced threat protection and unified security management. Here’s how to use it to audit your Azure environment.

1. Understand Azure Security Center

  • Unified Security: Azure Security Center offers a unified platform to monitor and protect your resources.
  • Threat Protection: It has capabilities for threat detection and response.

2. Enable and Configure Azure Security Center

  • Enablement: Ensure Azure Security Center is enabled on your Azure subscription.
  • Pricing Tier: Choose between the Free tier or the Standard tier for enhanced security features.

3. Assessment and Recommendations

  • Security Score: Review your secure score in the Azure Security Center dashboard. This score provides an overall measure of your security posture.
  • Recommendations: View the security recommendations, which guide you on how to fix potential vulnerabilities.

4. Implement Security Controls

  • Access Controls: Review and implement access controls to ensure only authorized users can access resources.
  • Firewall Configuration: Check firewall configurations and align them with your security requirements.
  • Update Management: Ensure your systems are up to date with the latest security patches.

5. Monitor Security State

  • Continuous Monitoring: Use Azure Security Center’s continuous monitoring to track security health.
  • Security Alerts: Keep an eye on security alerts that indicate potential security issues.

6. Respond to Incidents

  • Incident Response: Develop an incident response plan leveraging Azure Security Center’s capabilities.
  • Investigation: Use the investigation features to dig deeper into potential threats and breaches.

7. Regulatory Compliance

  • Compliance Dashboard: Utilize the compliance dashboard to check your compliance against regulatory standards.
  • Export Reports: Generate and export reports for auditing purposes or to provide to regulatory bodies.

8. Advanced Threat Protection

  • Enable ATP: Enable Advanced Threat Protection for enhanced security of your workloads.


Auditing your Azure environment’s security using Azure Policy and Azure Security Center is a multi-step process that involves understanding the tools, configuring policies, monitoring the environment, and responding to incidents. Regular audits and proactive measures can significantly enhance the overall security posture of your Azure resources. Remember to stay informed about new Azure features and recommendations, as the threat landscape is constantly evolving.