Configuring and securing connections to SQL Server in an Azure virtual machine

With an Azure virtual machine, you have several options to restrict and secure connections to your SQL Server instance. The virtual network for your Azure virtual machine is a logical isolation of the Azure cloud dedicated to your subscription. You can fully control the IP address blocks, DNS settings, security policies, and route tables within this network, similarly to how you use these mechanisms to control your on-premises network. You can also segment your virtual network into subnets to further control access to the virtual machines on your virtual network that host your SQL Server instances.

In addition, you can connect the virtual network to your on-premises network using one of the connectivity options available for Azure virtual machines. In essence, you can expand your on-premises network to your Azure virtual network, delivering the benefit of enterprise scale that Azure provides. Finally, you can set up and configure an Azure virtual machine as a domain controller and join your SQL Server virtual machine to this Azure domain controller. This Azure domain controller can be federated with Azure Active Directory, be federated with your on-premises Active Directory, or be a controller within your existing on-premises Active Directory. A full discussion of your options and best practices for configuring a secure connection to your on-premises network is beyond the scope of this ebook. If you do so, you can join your virtual machine to your on-premises Active Directory environment and use Windows user accounts for authentication.

In addition to configuring and securing the virtual network to which your Azure virtual network is connected, you should take these security steps:
 Use a unique local administrator account for your virtual machine that does not have a name of Administrator.

 Use complex strong passwords for all of your accounts, Windows and SQL Server. For more information about how to create a strong password, see the Create Strong Passwords article in the Safety and Security Center.

 Enable encrypted connections for your SQL Server instance and configure your SQL Server instance with a signed certificate.

 Use Windows firewall rules to control database engine access.

 If your virtual machines should be accessed only from a specific network, use network security groups (NSGs) to control traffic and restrict access to certain IP addresses or network subnets. An NSG contains access control rules that allow or deny traffic based on traffic direction, protocol, source address and port, and destination address and port.

Source of Information : Migrating SQL Server Databases to Azure

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