Azure security baseline for Azure SQL Database

This security baseline applies guidance from the Azure Security Benchmark version 2.0 to Azure SQL Database. The Azure Security Benchmark provides recommendations on how you can secure your cloud solutions on Azure. The content is grouped by the security controls defined by the Azure Security Benchmark and the related guidance applicable to Azure SQL Database.

You can monitor this security baseline and its recommendations using Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Azure Policy definitions will be listed in the Regulatory Compliance section of the Microsoft Defender for Cloud dashboard.

When a section has relevant Azure Policy Definitions, they are listed in this baseline to help you measure compliance to the Azure Security Benchmark controls and recommendations. Some recommendations may require a paid Microsoft Defender plan to enable certain security scenarios.

Note

Controls not applicable to Azure SQL Database, and those for which the global guidance is recommended verbatim, have been excluded. To see how Azure SQL Database completely maps to the Azure Security Benchmark, see the full Azure SQL Database security baseline mapping file.

Network Security

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Network Security.

NS-1: Implement security for internal traffic

Guidance: Azure SQL does not support deploying directly into a virtual network, because of this you cannot leverage certain networking features with the offering's resources such as network security groups, route tables, or other network-dependent appliances such as an Azure Firewall.

Use Microsoft Sentinel to discover the use of legacy insecure protocols such as SSL/TLSv1, SMBv1, LM/NTLMv1, wDigest, Unsigned LDAP Binds, and weak ciphers in Kerberos.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Public network access on Azure SQL Database should be disabled Disabling the public network access property improves security by ensuring your Azure SQL Database can only be accessed from a private endpoint. This configuration denies all logins that match IP or virtual network based firewall rules. Audit, Deny, Disabled 1.1.0

NS-2: Connect private networks together

Guidance: Use Azure ExpressRoute or Azure virtual private network (VPN) to create private connections between Azure datacenters and on-premises infrastructure in a colocation environment. ExpressRoute connections don't go over the public internet, and they offer more reliability, faster speeds, and lower latencies than typical internet connections. For point-to-site VPN and site-to-site VPN, you can connect on-premises devices or networks to a virtual network using any combination of these VPN options and Azure ExpressRoute.

To connect two or more virtual networks in Azure together, use virtual network peering. Network traffic between peered virtual networks is private and is kept on the Azure backbone network.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Private endpoint connections on Azure SQL Database should be enabled Private endpoint connections enforce secure communication by enabling private connectivity to Azure SQL Database. Audit, Disabled 1.1.0

NS-3: Establish private network access to Azure services

Guidance: Use Azure Private Link to enable private access to Azure SQL from your virtual networks without crossing the internet.

Private access is an additional defense in depth measure to the authentication and traffic security offered by Azure services.

Use Azure Virtual Network service endpoints to provide secure access to Azure SQL via an optimized route over the Azure backbone network without crossing the internet.

Private access is an additional defense in depth measure to the authentication and traffic security offered by Azure services.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Private endpoint connections on Azure SQL Database should be enabled Private endpoint connections enforce secure communication by enabling private connectivity to Azure SQL Database. Audit, Disabled 1.1.0

NS-6: Simplify network security rules

Guidance: Use Azure Virtual Network Service Tags to define network access controls on network security groups or Azure Firewall configured for your Azure SQL resources. You can use service tags in place of specific IP addresses when creating security rules. By specifying the service tag name in the appropriate source or destination field of a rule, you can allow or deny the traffic for the corresponding service. Microsoft manages the address prefixes encompassed by the service tag and automatically updates the service tag as addresses change. When using service endpoints for Azure SQL Database, outbound to Azure SQL Database Public IP addresses is required: Network Security Groups (NSGs) must be opened to Azure SQL Database IPs to allow connectivity. You can do this by using NSG service tags for Azure SQL Database. Understand Service Tags with Service Endpoints for Azure SQL Database:/azure/sql-database/sql-database-vnet-service-endpoint-rule-overview#limitations

Responsibility: Customer

NS-7: Secure Domain Name Service (DNS)

Guidance: Follow the best practices for DNS security to mitigate against common attacks like dangling DNS, DNS amplifications attacks, DNS poisoning and spoofing, etc.

When Azure DNS is used as your authoritative DNS service, ensure DNS zones and records are protected from accidental or malicious modification using Azure RBAC and resource locks.

Responsibility: Customer

Identity Management

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Identity Management.

IM-1: Standardize Azure Active Directory as the central identity and authentication system

Guidance: Azure SQL uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) as the default identity and access management service. You should standardize Azure AD to govern your organization's identity and access management in:

  • Microsoft Cloud resources, such as the Azure portal, Azure Storage, Azure Virtual Machine (Linux and Windows), Azure Key Vault, PaaS, and SaaS applications.
  • Your organization's resources, such as applications on Azure or your corporate network resources.

Securing Azure AD should be a high priority in your organization's cloud security practice. Azure AD provides an identity secure score to help you assess identity security posture relative to Microsoft's best practice recommendations. Use the score to gauge how closely your configuration matches best practice recommendations and to make improvements in your security posture.

Note: Azure AD supports external identities that allows users without a Microsoft account to sign in to their applications and resources with their external identity.

The following members of Azure AD can be provisioned for Azure SQL Database: Native members, members of an Active Directory domain federated with Azure Active Directory on a managed domain configured for seamless sign-on with pass-through or password hash authentication, imported members from other Azure AD's who are native or federated domain members, and Active Directory groups created as security groups.

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) supports user creation in Azure SQL Database (SQL DB) on behalf of Azure AD applications (service principals).

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
An Azure Active Directory administrator should be provisioned for SQL servers Audit provisioning of an Azure Active Directory administrator for your SQL server to enable Azure AD authentication. Azure AD authentication enables simplified permission management and centralized identity management of database users and other Microsoft services AuditIfNotExists, Disabled 1.0.0

IM-2: Manage application identities securely and automatically

Guidance: Azure SQL supports managed identities for its Azure resources. Use managed identities with Azure SQL instead of creating service principals to access other resources. Azure SQL can natively authenticate to the Azure services/resources that supports Azure AD authentication through a pre-defined access grant rule without using credentials hard coded in source code or configuration files.

Responsibility: Customer

IM-3: Use Azure AD single sign-on (SSO) for application access

Guidance: Azure SQL uses Azure Active Directory to provide identity and access management to Azure resources, cloud applications, and on-premises applications. This includes enterprise identities, such as employees, as well as external identities like partners, vendors, and suppliers. This enables single sign-on (SSO) to manage and secure access to your organization's data and resources on-premises and in the cloud. Connect all your users, applications, and devices to the Azure AD for seamless, secure access and greater visibility and control.

Responsibility: Customer

IM-7: Eliminate unintended credential exposure

Guidance: Azure SQL allows customers to deploy/run {code or configurations or persisted data} potentially with identities/secrets. It's recommended to implement Credential Scanner to identify credentials within {code or configurations or persisted data}. Credential Scanner will also encourage moving discovered credentials to more secure locations like Azure Key Vault.

For GitHub, you can use the native secret scanning feature to identify credentials or other forms of secrets within the code.

Responsibility: Customer

Privileged Access

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Privileged Access.

PA-1: Protect and limit highly privileged users

Guidance: The most critical built-in roles for Azure AD are the Global Administrator and the Privileged Role Administrator, as users assigned to these two roles can delegate administrator roles:

  • Global Administrator / Company Administrator: Users with this role have access to all administrative features in Azure AD, as well as services that use Azure AD identities.
  • Privileged Role Administrator: Users with this role can manage role assignments in Azure AD, as well as within Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM). In addition, this role allows management of all aspects of PIM and administrative units.

Note: You might have other critical roles that need to be governed if you use custom roles with certain privileged permissions assigned. You might also want to apply similar controls to the administrator account of critical business assets.

You should limit the number of highly privileged accounts or roles and protect these accounts at an elevated level. Users with this privilege can directly or indirectly read and modify every resource in your Azure environment.

You can enable just-in-time (JIT) privileged access to Azure resources and Azure AD using Azure AD PIM. JIT grants temporary permissions to perform privileged tasks only when users need it. PIM can also generate security alerts when there is suspicious or unsafe activity in your Azure AD organization.

Create standard operating procedures around the use of dedicated administrative accounts.

Responsibility: Customer

PA-3: Review and reconcile user access regularly

Guidance: Azure SQL uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) accounts to manage its resources, review user accounts, and access assignments regularly to ensure the accounts and their access are valid. You can use Azure AD and access reviews to review group memberships, access to enterprise applications, and role assignments. Azure AD reporting can provide logs to help discover stale accounts. You can also use Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM) to create access review report workflows to facilitate the review process.

In addition, Azure AD PIM can also be configured to alert you when an excessive number of administrator accounts are created, and to identify administrator accounts that are stale or improperly configured.

Note: Some Azure services support local users and roles which are not managed through Azure AD. You will need to manage these users separately.

Responsibility: Customer

PA-6: Use privileged access workstations

Guidance: Secured, isolated workstations are critically important for the security of sensitive roles like administrator, developer, and critical service operator. Use highly secured user workstations and/or Azure Bastion for administrative tasks. Use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), and/or Microsoft Intune to deploy a secure and managed user workstation for administrative tasks. The secured workstations can be centrally managed to enforce secured configuration including strong authentication, software and hardware baselines, and restricted logical and network access.

Responsibility: Customer

PA-7: Follow just enough administration (least privilege principle)

Guidance: Azure SQL is integrated with Azure role-based access control (Azure RBAC) to manage its resources. Azure RBAC allows you to manage Azure resource access through role assignments. You can assign these roles to users, groups service principals, and managed identities. There are pre-defined built-in roles for certain resources, and these roles can be inventoried or queried through tools such as Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, or the Azure portal. The privileges you assign to resources through the Azure RBAC should be always limited to what is required by the roles. This complements the just-in-time (JIT) approach of Azure AD Privileged Identity Management (PIM) and should be reviewed periodically.

Use built-in roles to allocate permissions and only create custom roles when required.

SQL Authentication Accounts meet this requirement.

Responsibility: Customer

PA-8: Choose approval process for Microsoft support

Guidance: In support scenarios where Microsoft needs to access customer data, Azure SQL supports Customer Lockbox to provide an interface for you to review and approve or reject customer data access requests.

Responsibility: Customer

Asset Management

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Asset Management.

AM-1: Ensure security team has visibility into risks for assets

Guidance: Ensure security teams are granted Security Reader permissions in your Azure tenant and subscriptions so they can monitor for security risks using Microsoft Defender for Cloud.

Depending on how security team responsibilities are structured, monitoring for security risks could be the responsibility of a central security team or a local team. That said, security insights and risks must always be aggregated centrally within an organization.

Security Reader permissions can be applied broadly to an entire tenant (Root Management Group) or scoped to management groups or specific subscriptions.

Note: Additional permissions might be required to get visibility into workloads and services.

Responsibility: Customer

AM-2: Ensure security team has access to asset inventory and metadata

Guidance: Ensure that security teams have access to a continuously updated inventory of assets on Azure, like Azure SQL. Security teams often need this inventory to evaluate their organization's potential exposure to emerging risks, and as an input to continuous security improvements. Create an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) group to contain your organization's authorized security team and assign them read access to all Azure SQL resources, which can be simplified by a single high-level role assignment within your subscription.

Apply tags to your Azure resources, resource groups, and subscriptions to logically organize them into a taxonomy. Each tag consists of a name and a value pair. For example, you can apply the name "Environment" and the value "Production" to all the resources in production.

Use Azure Virtual Machine Inventory to automate the collection of information about software on Virtual Machines. Software Name, Version, Publisher, and Refresh Time are available from the Azure portal. To get access to install dates and other information, enable guest-level diagnostics and bring the Windows Event Logs into a Log Analytics Workspace.

Azure SQL does not allow running an application or the installation of software on its resources. Describe any other features in your offering which allows or supports this functionality, as applicable.

Responsibility: Customer

AM-3: Use only approved Azure services

Guidance: Use Azure Policy to audit and restrict which services users can provision in your environment. Use Azure Resource Graph to query for and discover resources within their subscriptions. You can also use Azure Monitor to create rules to trigger alerts when a non-approved service is detected.

Responsibility: Customer

Logging and Threat Detection

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Logging and Threat Detection.

LT-1: Enable threat detection for Azure resources

Guidance: Use the Microsoft Defender for Cloud built-in threat detection capability and enable Microsoft Defender (formerly Azure Advanced Threat Protection) for your Azure SQL resources. Microsoft Defender for Azure SQL provides an additional layer of security intelligence that detects unusual and potentially harmful attempts to access or exploit your Azure SQL resources.

Forward any logs from Azure SQL to your SIEM, which can be used to set up custom threat detections. Ensure that you are monitoring different types of Azure assets for potential threats and anomalies. Focus on getting high-quality alerts to reduce false positives for analysts to sort through. Alerts can be sourced from log data, agents, or other data.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Microsoft Defender for SQL should be enabled for unprotected SQL Managed Instances Audit each SQL Managed Instance without advanced data security. AuditIfNotExists, Disabled 1.0.2

LT-2: Enable threat detection for Azure identity and access management

Guidance: Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) provides the following user logs, which can be viewed in Azure AD reporting or integrated with Azure Monitor, Microsoft Sentinel, or other SIEM/monitoring tools for more sophisticated monitoring and analytics use cases:

  • Sign-ins - The sign-ins report provides information about the usage of managed applications and user sign-in activities.
  • Audit logs - Provides traceability through logs for all changes done by various features within Azure AD. Examples of audit logs include changes made to any resources within Azure AD, like adding or removing users, apps, groups, roles, and policies.
  • Risky sign-ins - A risky sign-in is an indicator for a sign-in attempt that might have been performed by someone who is not the legitimate owner of a user account.
  • Users flagged for risk - A risky user is an indicator for a user account that might have been compromised.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud can also trigger alerts on certain suspicious activities, such as excessive number of failed authentication attempts or deprecated accounts in the subscription. In addition to the basic security hygiene monitoring, Microsoft Defender for Cloud's Threat Protection module can also collect more in-depth security alerts from individual Azure compute resources (virtual machines, containers, app service), data resources (SQL DB and storage), and Azure service layers. This capability allows you to have visibility on account anomalies inside individual resources.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Microsoft Defender for SQL should be enabled for unprotected SQL Managed Instances Audit each SQL Managed Instance without advanced data security. AuditIfNotExists, Disabled 1.0.2

LT-3: Enable logging for Azure network activities

Guidance: Azure SQL either does not support integrating with networks, or does not expose its network-related activities.

Azure SQL is not intended to deploy into virtual networks. Because of this, you can't enable network security group flow logging, route traffic through a firewall, or perform packet captures.

Azure SQL does not deploy any resources directly into a virtual network. However, Azure SQL allows you to use private endpoints to connect securely to its resources from a virtual network. Azure SQL also does not produce or process DNS query logs which would need to be enabled. Azure SQL does not produce or process DNS query logs.

Enable logging on your configured Azure SQL private endpoints to capture:

  • Data processed by the Private Endpoint  (IN/OUT)

  • Data processed by the Private Link service (IN/OUT)

  • NAT port availability

By design, even though Azure SQL resources can be deployed into a virtual network, the traffic to and from the Azure SQL resources cannot be enforced by or passed through a network security group. Network policies need to be disabled on the subnet for the offering to function correctly. For this reason, you are unable to configure network security group flow logging for Azure SQL.

Responsibility: Customer

LT-4: Enable logging for Azure resources

Guidance: Activity logs, which are automatically available, contain all write operations (PUT, POST, DELETE) for your Azure SQL resources except read operations (GET). Activity logs can be used to find an error when troubleshooting or to monitor how a user in your organization modified a resource.

Enable Azure resource logs for Azure SQL. You can use Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Azure Policy to enable resource logs and log data collecting. These logs can be critical for investigating security incidents and performing forensic exercises.

Azure SQL Database also produces security audit logs for the local administer accounts. Enable these local admin audit logs and configure these logs to be sent to a central Log Analytics workspace or a storage account for long term retention and auditing.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
Auditing on SQL server should be enabled Auditing on your SQL Server should be enabled to track database activities across all databases on the server and save them in an audit log. AuditIfNotExists, Disabled 2.0.0

LT-5: Centralize security log management and analysis

Guidance: Centralize logging storage and analysis to enable correlation. For each log source, ensure that you have assigned a data owner, access guidance, storage location, what tools are used to process and access the data, and data retention requirements.

Ensure that you are integrating Azure activity logs into your central logging. Ingest logs via Azure Monitor to aggregate security data generated by endpoint devices, network resources, and other security systems. In Azure Monitor, use Log Analytics workspaces to query and perform analytics, and use Azure Storage accounts for long term and archival storage.

In addition, enable and onboard data to Microsoft Sentinel or a third-party SIEM.

Many organizations choose to use Microsoft Sentinel for 'hot' data that is used frequently and Azure Storage for 'cold' data that is used less frequently.

For applications that may run on Azure SQL, forward all security-related logs to your SIEM for centralized management.

Responsibility: Customer

LT-6: Configure log storage retention

Guidance: Ensure that any storage accounts or Log Analytics workspaces used for storing Azure SQL logs have the log retention period set according to your organization's compliance regulations.

In Azure Monitor, you can set your Log Analytics workspace retention period according to your organization's compliance regulations. Use Azure Storage, Data Lake or Log Analytics workspace accounts for long-term and archival storage.

Responsibility: Customer

Microsoft Defender for Cloud monitoring: The Azure Security Benchmark is the default policy initiative for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and is the foundation for Microsoft Defender for Cloud's recommendations. The Azure Policy definitions related to this control are enabled automatically by Microsoft Defender for Cloud. Alerts related to this control may require an Microsoft Defender plan for the related services.

Azure Policy built-in definitions - Microsoft.Sql:

Name
(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
(GitHub)
SQL servers with auditing to storage account destination should be configured with 90 days retention or higher For incident investigation purposes, we recommend setting the data retention for your SQL Server' auditing to storage account destination to at least 90 days. Confirm that you are meeting the necessary retention rules for the regions in which you are operating. This is sometimes required for compliance with regulatory standards. AuditIfNotExists, Disabled 3.0.0

LT-7: Use approved time synchronization sources

Guidance: Azure SQL does not support configuring your own time synchronization sources. Azure SQL service relies on Microsoft time synchronization sources, and is not exposed to customers for configuration.

Responsibility: Microsoft

Posture and Vulnerability Management

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Posture and Vulnerability Management.

PV-1: Establish secure configurations for Azure services

Guidance: You can use Azure Blueprints to automate deployment and configuration of services and application environments including Azure Resources Manager templates, Azure RBAC controls, and policies in a single blueprint definition.

Database-level IP firewall rules enable clients to access certain (secure) databases. You create the rules for each database (including the master database), and they're stored in the individual database.

Responsibility: Customer

PV-2: Sustain secure configurations for Azure services

Guidance: Use Microsoft Defender for Cloud to monitor your configuration baseline and enforce using Azure Policy [deny] and [deploy if not exist] to enforce secure configuration across Azure compute resources including VMs, containers, and others.

Responsibility: Customer

PV-3: Establish secure configurations for compute resources

Guidance: Use Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Azure Policy to establish secure configurations on all compute resources including VMs, containers, and others.

Responsibility: Customer

PV-8: Conduct regular attack simulation

Guidance: As required, conduct penetration testing or red team activities on your Azure resources and ensure remediation of all critical security findings.

Follow the Microsoft Cloud Penetration Testing Rules of Engagement to ensure your penetration tests are not in violation of Microsoft policies. Use Microsoft's strategy and execution of Red Teaming and live site penetration testing against Microsoft-managed cloud infrastructure, services, and applications.

Responsibility: Customer

Endpoint Security

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Endpoint Security.

ES-2: Use centrally managed modern anti-malware software

Guidance: Protect your Azure SQL Database or its resources with a centrally managed modern anti-malware software.

  • Use a centrally managed endpoint anti-malware solution capable of real-time and periodic scanning.

  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud can automatically identify the use of several popular anti-malware solutions for your virtual machines (VMs), report the endpoint protection running status, and then make recommendations.

  • Microsoft Antimalware for Azure Cloud Services is the default anti-malware for Windows VMs. For Linux VMs, use a third-party anti-malware solution. You can use Microsoft Defender for Cloud's Threat detection for data services to detect malware uploaded to Azure Storage accounts.

  • How to configure Microsoft Antimalware for Cloud Services and Virtual Machines

  • Supported endpoint protection solutions

Responsibility: Customer

ES-3: Ensure anti-malware software and signatures are updated

Guidance: Ensure anti-malware signatures are updated rapidly and consistently.

Follow the recommendations in Microsoft Defender for Cloud: Compute & Apps to ensure all endpoints are up to date with the latest signatures.

Microsoft Antimalware will automatically install the latest signatures and engine updates by default. For Linux, use third party antimalware solution.

Responsibility: Customer

Backup and Recovery

For more information, see the Azure Security Benchmark: Backup and Recovery.

BR-1: Ensure regular automated backups

Guidance: Azure SQL Database uses SQL Server technology to create full backups every week, differential backup every 12-24 hours, and transaction log backup every 5 to 10 minutes.

By default, SQL Database stores data in geo-redundant storage blobs that are replicated to a paired region. For SQL Database, the backup storage redundancy can be configured at the time of database creation or can be updated for an existing database; the changes made to an existing database apply to future backups only.

Responsibility: Customer

BR-2: Encrypt backup data

Guidance: Ensure that your backups are protected against attacks. This should include encryption of the backups to protect against loss of confidentiality.

For on-premises backup using Azure Backup, encryption-at-rest is provided using the passphrase you provide. For regular Azure service backup, backup data is automatically encrypted using Azure platform-managed keys. You can also choose to encrypt the backup using a customer-managed key. In this case, ensure this customer-managed key in the key vault is also in the backup scope.

Use role-based access control in Azure Backup, Azure Key Vault, or other resources to protect backups and customer-managed keys. Additionally, you can enable advanced security features to require MFA before backups can be altered or deleted.

If your database is encrypted with TDE, backups are automatically encrypted at rest, including LTR backups. All new databases in Azure SQL are configured with TDE enabled by default.

Responsibility: Customer

BR-3: Validate all backups including customer-managed keys

Guidance: Periodically perform data restoration of your backup.

Both SQL Database and SQL Managed Instance use SQL Server technology to create full backups every week, differential backups every 12-24 hours, and transaction log backups every 5 to 10 minutes.

Periodically ensure that you can restore backed-up customer-managed keys.

Responsibility: Customer

BR-4: Mitigate risk of lost keys

Guidance: Ensure that you have measures in place to prevent and recover from the loss of keys. Enable soft delete and purge protection in Azure Key Vault to protect keys against accidental or malicious deletion.

How to enable soft

Responsibility: Customer

Next steps