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Understanding Microsoft Azure Containers


These days, computing in the cloud is as common as seeing leaves falling from trees during the fall. Business and personal use of clouds has expanded significantly over the past ten years. Everyone from Microsoft and Google to Amazon uses cloud services in some ways. Microsoft, especially, is known for its robust cloud service offerings with Microsoft Azure. Azure can handle a great deal of powerful computing. Meeting your organization’s goals through analytics, daily operation, and high-quality performance.

Whether you’re running an e-commerce business, working in the financial field, or otherwise, Azure is there to help you accomplish your business goals. When using Microsoft Azure, you’ll use Azure Container Instances throughout the process. But what are they? What do they do? And more importantly, how do you keep them secure? In this article, we’ll address these questions and more. Check it out below.


What Are Azure Container Instances?

Microsoft Azure itself is a multifaceted cloud computing platform. A container is just a standard package of software. It bundles up the application's code with its related libraries and config files. Using containers is valuable for developers because it allows them to deploy things seamlessly across multiple environments. That's one of the things that makes Microsoft Azure such a versatile and scalable program. Containers are ideal for different applications and deployments, often not requiring any modification as they are used across different, unique environments.


What Do They Do?

Microsoft Azure Containers integrate smoothly into any workflow and help you debug applications in addition to their other benefits. They're fast and have Docker support (something previously only available in Linux). They're also incredibly secure. Each one can be monitored, managed, and secured easily through Azure. Containers are great if you're moving from one type of architecture or framework to another and let you scale apps pretty easily. They also have hybrid platform support for your own data center (letting you build applications for both the cloud and on-premises) and can be deployed using third-party tools. They’re essential to providing portability and versatility for applications across different environments. Depending on what you're doing, they give you the power to tackle a wide range of tasks quickly and easily.


Security Considerations

When securing your containers, there are a couple areas where you should narrow your focus. These include (but are not limited to):


  • Images
  • Credentials
  • Registry
  • Using Multi Factor authentication
  • Sign-Ins
  • Checking Logs
  • Not ignoring flagged users
  • Use conditional resource restrictions
  • Review accounts for outdated users
  • Create emergency access, just in case
  • Encrypt sensitive data


Misconfiguration can also lead to big problems down the line. It’s always important to make sure you dot all your “i’s” and cross all your “t’s” when you’re dealing with security—especially with Microsoft Azure and any of its services.


Securing Your Containers

Keeping your containers secure is critical. So how do you go about doing that? While it might seem rather complicated at the outset, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Industry leaders Trend Micro has a handy guide to securing azure container instances that’s easy to follow and fun to practice. It’s basically a method of adding some additional security to your container images. With their process, you can provision an application from a public container and a private container registry, but bolster its security with an application. Essentially, you can use some security programs to inject their security libraries into the container's code. This can effectively generate runtime level protection within the container. Doing this creates an extra layer of built-in security for your containers and helps you keep your instances safe from any potential threats. It may take a few extra steps to do, but going the distance to secure these containers is one of the most crucial things you can do to protect them from extant threats in the modern world.  


Running Vulnerability Scans

Running regular scans is a valid part of any security routine. It's almost essential under most circumstances. Finding new vulnerabilities and exploits are the bread and butter of hackers. When it comes to securing your Azure Containers, you need to be proactive about finding these vulnerabilities. That's where regular scans can be a great help. Check for vulnerabilities through regular scans throughout the entire container lifecycle. Before you push a container image to a public or private registry, it's a good idea to run a quick vulnerability scan before doing so. Afterward, keep scanning container images in the registry. This way you can identify any issues that may have previously been missed or tackle any new vulnerabilities you find within the code. A little bit of proactivity can go a long way. And when it comes to your Containers, you'll be glad you took the time to check for problems before they can grow into bigger issues.


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