Building Secure Enterprise Applications in Azure

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Challenge

Microsoft Corporation, a leading platform and productivity company, strives to ‘empower organizations to unlock greater insights, transform teamwork, and enable innovative solutions through the secure Microsoft cloud.’ As a leader in the cloud, it is critical that Microsoft provide services and software that are designed and ready to support its customers’ high business impact (HBI) data and content. HBI data can be described as ‘data which, if it were to be inappropriately disclosed, modified, or destroyed, would result in severe loss impacting business, shareholders, partners, or customers, or dependent or reliant organizations.’ Microsoft must instill confidence in its customers that their HBI data is safe to move to the cloud and secure once there.

To support this mandate, the Microsoft team was tasked to ensure the software and services Microsoft develops and provides to its cloud customers are HBI-ready (i.e. the ability to support and protect HBI data). A full-scale HBI readiness program was planned, and it was
determined that pilot success would include the ability to complete all requirements outlined in pilot and project documentation as well as passing DRA (detailed risk analysis) and SRA (streamlined risk analysis) processes and penetration tests.

Kalles Group was engaged to support the migration of several pilot applications into the HBI environment in Azure (Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform).

Approach

When KG consultants began their engagement at Microsoft, the HBI-ready pilot program was already underway. The program included upwards of 16 different pilots, with the goal of ensuring the company’s Azure applications were secure and ready to support HBI
customer content. KG consultants were brought on to serve as project managers (PMs), responsible for managing the onboarding,
configuration and operational processes of the program. Therefore, KG consultants began by familiarizing themselves with program documentation such as pilot onboarding processes, Azure security
processes, and compliance requirements, all which would serve as the standards used for each pilot included in the program. KG project management consultants worked directly with, and were involved in key meetings, with each pilot team, and engaged existing pilot leads and teams such as security and readiness to remove roadblocks that could prevent them from completing tasks on the HBI-ready checklist.

Solution

Initial direction for the team was to execute pilot process steps and help remove road-blocks for pilot teams as needed. It soon became clear, however, that a more proactive engagement was needed and that the project managers must drive execution of pilot processes to
ensure on-time completion.

KG consultants developed a walking deck that became a living document for introducing the HBI Readiness program to pilot participants. In addition, and amidst the challenges involved in running several pilots simultaneously, KG consultants ensured the completion of all onboarding, configuration, and operational aspects involved in each migration they were responsible for supporting.

Results

Most of the pilots in the overall program exceeded task completion targets, passed key processes and tests, and ultimately met the requirements for moving data to the HBI environment in Azure. Because of the pilot program and critical contributions made by KG consultants, Microsoft can better assure its customers that their HBI data, and all data, is protected from external and internal threats. The ability to securely move HBI data to the cloud is key for Microsoft’s customers, and Kalles Group consultants continue to be front and center in helping them do just that.

The ability to securely move HBI data to the cloud is key for Microsoft’s customers, and Kalles Group consultants continue to be front and center in helping them do just that.