Qualys Broadens Security Offerings for Azure

Juan C. Perez

Qualys is expanding its security and compliance capabilities for Microsoft Azure, by adding protection for the on-premises Azure Stack and extending capabilities for public cloud deployments.

By using Qualys’ platform to defend hybrid IT environments, organizations get a unified view of their security posture, and can apply the same standards and processes on premises and in clouds.

“The advantages of doing so all within a single pane of glass is to reduce your total cost of ownership, and to have all the data in one place,” Hari Srinivasan, a Qualys Director of Product Management, said during a presentation at Microsoft’s Ignite 2018 conference.

That way, when a major attack like WannaCry is unleashed, organizations can quickly assess their risk and take action from a single console, instead of scrambling to assemble fragmented information from siloed tools.

Read on to learn more about Qualys’ comprehensive offerings for Azure.

Shared responsibility

Like any public cloud provider, Azure operates on a shared security responsibility model, Srinivasan explained. Microsoft protects the platform, while customers must secure their data and infrastructure on it.

Qualys helps you fulfill your obligations in this model for your Azure IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) deployments, letting you both prevent and respond to threats, he said.

This is made possible by the Qualys Cloud Platform’s versatile set of sensors, starting with a certified Azure cloud connector for collecting asset inventory data from your Azure environment, and also including:

  • Virtual scanner appliances for remotely scanning across your networks, hosts and applications
  • Internet scanners for performing perimeter scans on edge-facing instances, hosts and URLs, providing a hacker’s view and perspective of your Azure environment
  • Lightweight, multi-platform Cloud Agents installed on assets, such as Azure virtual machines

“The connector populates the inventory data, and the other sensors provide you the security data,” said Srinivasan, whose presentation was titled “A 360-degree Approach to Securing Public Clouds.”

Qualys coverage for Azure

Qualys lets you do a full set of security and compliance checks on your Azure virtual machines, web apps, containers and other resources.

“It’s a wide set of support across the Azure platform,” he said.

On Azure VMs, Qualys can do tasks including vulnerability management, policy compliance, file integrity monitoring, indication of compromise, asset inventory and assessment, and, soon, patch management.

For Azure web apps, Qualys provides its Web Application Firewall (WAF), which blocks attacks and, in conjunction with the Web Application Scanning (WAS) app, applies virtual patches. Meanwhile, Qualys protects Azure containers with the Qualys Container Security (CS) app.

Additional Azure resources like storage, virtual networks, security groups, and databases can be inventoried and assessed with the Qualys Cloud Inventory (CI) and Cloud Security Assessment (CSA) apps. CI provides continuous inventory of resources and assets, while CSA continuously monitors and assesses them for misconfigurations and non-standard deployments.

Let’s look at key capabilities in more detail.

Assessing Azure infrastructure security configuration

With Qualys, you can monitor and assess your Azure environment’s compliance with the CIS (Center for Internet Security) Microsoft Azure Foundations Benchmark. This helps you identify threats caused by misconfigurations, unauthorized access, and non-standard deployments, and provide remediation steps.

That way, you can maintain a solid security posture across your Azure deployments through automated, continuous assessments.

Integration with Azure Security Center

Azure Security Center – a unified security management and monitoring console – detects Azure virtual machines and deploys the lightweight Qualys Cloud Agents in bulk to them.

The agents gather vulnerability data and send it to the Qualys Cloud Platform, which in turn, provides vulnerability and system health monitoring data back to Azure Security Center.

Secure Azure Stack infrastructure and workloads

Qualys assesses the security and compliance posture of Azure Stack, the version of Azure designed for on-premises deployments.

You can deploy Qualys Virtual Scanner Appliances, Qualys Cloud Agents or Qualys Container Sensors to assess your Azure Stack workloads, including Kubernetes-based containers, and maintain compliance of the Azure Stack control plane infrastructure.

Comprehensive Azure security

In this manner, organizations can protect hybrid Azure / Azure Stack deployments using the same Qualys Cloud Platform apps, sensors and analysis engine, and reap benefits such as:

  • 360-degree view of all Azure assets from a centralized UI
  • lower costs
  • ease of use
  • improved prevention and response
  • scan data consistency

Please watch the video of Srinivasan’s presentation, which goes into more details about Qualys’ security and compliance offerings for Azure, including an explanation of key use cases.

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