Cloud Security Comparison: Azure Security vs AWS Security

Taylor Karl
/ Categories: Resources, Cloud
Cloud Security Comparison: Azure Security vs AWS Security 2216 0

Comparing the Top Cloud Service Providers

Which cloud platform is more secure - AWS or Azure? As an IT pro, business leader, or anyone dealing with data in the cloud, you've probably asked yourself this question. Both giants boast robust security features. But which one has the edge? We'll compare their security offerings so you can determine what matters most for your situation. 

In this article:

Azure LogoWhat is Azure Security? 

Azure Security keeps your data safe in the Azure cloud. It uses AI to watch for anything unusual that could put your information at risk. If it spots a potential threat, it immediately sends you an alert so you can deal with it, which helps you:

  • Catch hackers before they sneak in
  • Block cyberattacks instantly
  • Stop unauthorized access in its tracks

The bottom line is that Azure Security acts like a vigilant guard, using intelligent tools to check for dangers and sounds the alarm about risks when encountered. So you can breathe easier knowing your cloud environment has 24/7 security protection.

AWS LogoWhat is AWS Security?

AWS Security provides a suite of protection tools to secure your data in the cloud. It leverages machine learning to proactively stop potential attacks in their tracks before they can do any damage. You can also customize security configurations to suit your specific needs. The main things it does:

  • Deploys intelligent countermeasures to contain threats automatically
  • Enables defining granular access roles and privileges
  • Provides tools to assess risks, identify gaps, and monitor compliance

In a nutshell, AWS Security offers state-of-the-art safeguards to let you avoid stressing about the safety of your cloud data. The AI spots and eradicates potential attacks early, while custom controls let you configure the security precisely for your systems' needs.

Comparing Features & Platforms:

AWS and Azure have a lot of similar security abilities. But they also have key differences that could matter to your company's needs. The chart below shows how core security tools in AWS and Azure stack up against each other. 

AWS Security vs Azure Security: Features & Platforms
Category AWS Azure
Services Offered Broad range including compute, storage, networking, databases, analytics, IoT, and more Wide array, including virtual machines, databases, analytics, IoT, enterprise apps, and more
Open-Source Support Strongly supports running open-source apps and software Emphasizes flexibility for open-source technologies
Government Cloud Options AWS GovCloud meets the compliance needs of the U.S. public sector Azure Government tailors security and compliance for the U.S. government
Pricing Model Pay-as-you-go with cost optimization options Pay-as-you-go, with reserved capacity and spot pricing to save money
Hybrid Cloud Tools AWS Outposts, Amazon VPC, AWS Direct Connect Azure Arc, Azure Stack, Azure ExpressRoute
Marketplace Solutions Over 10,000 third-party solutions Over 18,000 third-party solutions
Big Data Analytics Amazon EMR, AWS Glue, Amazon Redshift Azure Synapse Analytics, HDInsight, Databricks
Monitoring CloudWatch provides metrics and dashboards Azure Monitor collects and analyzes telemetry data
Archiving Data S3, Glacier for short-term. Glacier Deep for long-term. Blob, Cool Blob storage for short-term. Archive storage for long-term.
Security Services Identity and access control, shield protection, key management Identity and access management, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, key vault

6 Layers of Security in AWS and Azure

Azure and AWS use a multilayered strategy to lock down data tightly across their cloud environments. Most cloud service providers will offer similar types of protection. The key pillars of protection they deploy are:

  1. Physical Security: AWS and Azure data centers have strict access controls and security standards to stop unauthorized physical access.
  2. Network Security: Tools like virtual private networks, firewalls, and DDoS protection secure data in transit on both platforms.
  3. Identity and Access Control: Azure Active Directory and AWS IAM manage access roles and authentication to regulate user permissions.
  4. Data Encryption: Azure encryption services, AWS data encryption, and key management protect sensitive data at rest.
  5. Threat Detection: Real-time monitoring, alerts about suspicious activities, and incident response help Azure and AWS identify and address threats.
  6. Compliance: Azure Policy and AWS Config features verify that both platforms adhere to major compliance regulations and frameworks.

Cost Effectiveness: Azure Security and AWS Security

Figuring out which is more cost-effective - Azure Security or AWS Security - can get confusing quickly. Prices depend on your data volumes, traffic, number of users, and security needs. Plus, the services change all the time. Your best bet is to use the free tools like AWS Pricing Calculator and Azure Pricing Calculator to generate estimates tailored to your situation.

At a high level, if you want to test their basic security features:

  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud free tier lets you assess security gaps and get recommendations. So, you can scan your cloud environment for risks and find ways to boost protections at no cost.
  • AWS Shield Standard is free, too, and uses machine learning to watch for dangerous spikes in traffic. It automatically blocks volumetric DDoS assaults aimed at disrupting availability.

Besides those free tools, Azure and AWS provide paid support plans to help manage and maximize their security products. These give you bigger teams backing you up if issues come up.

AWS splits its plans into four levels:

  • Basic – Free access to documentation and community help
  • Developer – $29 per month for email responses
  • Business – Minimum AWS spend of $100 per month for 24/7 phone, email, and chat
  • Enterprise – Custom premium help costing up to $15K monthly

Similarly, Azure Support also has four options:

  • Basic – Free access to limited docs and community resources
  • Developer – $29 per month for email and chat help
  • Standard – $100 per month for 24/7 phone and online assistance
  • Professional Direct – Custom premium support up to $1000 a month

The higher tiers on both platforms provide your own support squad for faster, priority responses when you need questions answered or problems solved. So, weigh how much handholding you want vs. costs.

The Similarities in AWS and Azure

When it comes to security, AWS and Azure share some significant common ground that makes both strong options:

  • Flexible Scaling: You can easily dial up or down AWS or Azure security services to match your needs.
  • Pay-As-You-Go: No long-term contracts - pay for what you use month-to-month.
  • Security Protection: State-of-the-art tools and tech secure data while meeting compliance rules.
  • Global Reach: With data centers worldwide, both platforms provide fast, reliable security.

The Drawbacks Inherent in AWS and Azure

For all their sophisticated capabilities, Azure and AWS still have vulnerabilities largely stemming from customer misconfigurations - highlighting the double-edged sword of complexity. Some critical areas for improvement:

  • Botched Security Settings - Users making errors in configuring cloud defenses open holes that lead to most data breaches. Too much complexity risks gaps.
  • Shared Responsibility Confusion - Many customers don't fully understand the shared security model, causing them not to manage protections properly and leave entry points.
  • Inconsistent Data Encryption - Spotty encryption implementation makes nearly half of sensitive cloud data readily accessible to threats.
  • Faulty Access Permissions - Accidental data overexposure due to improperly configured access settings also allows preventable attacks.

Most data breaches happen from internal mistakes when configuring things versus external hacks. Simplifying complex areas like encryption and permissions is critical to allow proper security setup to avoid self-sabotage. Explaining implementation guides for the advanced tools also helps–gaps happen fast when the tech isn't understood.

Market Share: Azure Security vs AWS Security

AWS is the leading cloud provider, with about a third of the market share. A 2023 Statista report showed that AWS continues to experience robust revenue growth of 24% year-over-year and 31% market share. While Azure took second place with 24% market share, Microsoft's cloud platform notably increased its share in Q4 of last year - matching AWS's revenue growth rate of 24%.

2023 Q4: Market Share for Top Cloud Service Providers

FAQ: How to Choose Between AWS Security and Azure Security

Choosing between AWS and Azure Security isn't about which is better overall. The winning platform depends on which tools specifically address your business needs and priorities. Follow the steps below if you still need help deciding between AWS and Azure Security: 

  1. Create custom pro/con lists of security features per vendor
  2. Match security capabilities to your top requirements
  3. Prioritize specific security gaps and risks over flashy claims
  4. Let real needs guide selection over marketing buzzwords
  5. The platform that addresses more of your security situation wins
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