What Are Storage Accounts And How To Secure Them?

Tomer Iarchy, Software Engineer

Tomer Iarchy, Software Engineer

What Are Storage Accounts And How To Secure Them?

What are Storage Accounts and How to Safely Manage Them?

Storage accounts are fundamental components within Azure's cloud infrastructure, serving as the cornerstone for storing and accessing data across various applications and services. While offering scalability and accessibility, ensuring the security of these accounts is paramount. In this article, we'll delve into the core concepts of storage accounts and outline practical strategies for safely managing them, minimizing risks, and protecting sensitive data.

Introducing Storage accounts

Azure Storage accounts serve as repositories for various types of data, ranging from blobs and file shares, to queues and tables. They offer global access to stored data, allowing users and applications to retrieve and manipulate information from anywhere with an internet connection. While this accessibility facilitates collaboration and productivity, it also underscores the importance of implementing stringent security measures to safeguard against unauthorized access.

Non Human Identities in Storage Accounts

Non-human identities are crucial for accessing Azure storage accounts. Although service accounts and service principals, managed through RBAC, are commonly used to grant access, storage accounts feature two unique non-human identities specifically designed to facilitate access to these resources.

Access Keys:

Access keys act as the primary access credentials for storage accounts, providing unrestricted access to all data within without granular controls. Unlike SAS tokens, access keys lack an inherent expiration date, requiring manual rotation to invalidate any potentially compromised keys. Each storage account is equipped with two access keys, known as "key1" and "key2", enabling seamless rotation.

SAS Tokens:

Shared Access Signature (SAS) tokens offer precise access control over access to storage accounts, permitting users to specify permissions for particular actions (like reading, writing, or deleting) and resources (such as individual blobs or containers). Users can set custom expiration times for SAS tokens and apply additional security measures, such as IP restrictions or protocol limitations. These tokens are linked to a specific access key, making them invalid if that access key is rotated. 

The Non Human Identity risk of Storage accounts 

Access Keys Leakage:

When an access key is compromised, it poses a significant security threat as attackers gain unfettered access to the storage account. This scenario grants malicious actors full control over stored data, potentially resulting in data breaches and data manipulation.

Unmonitored SAS Tokens:

The absence of robust monitoring mechanisms for SAS tokens introduces vulnerabilities akin to the Microsoft AI incident of 2023. Without adequate monitoring, detecting unauthorized access or misuse of SAS tokens becomes challenging. This lack of visibility can exacerbate security risks, particularly when combined with compromised access keys. In such cases, attackers may exploit leaked access keys to generate additional SAS tokens without detection, maintaining persistent access to the storage account and compromising data integrity.

Misconfiguration in SAS Tokens:

SAS tokens configured with excessive permissions and extended expiration times can significantly increase security risks, similar to leaked access keys. Moreover, since SAS tokens are dynamically generated, they can potentially expand your attack surface far more than access keys, which are naturally limited in number. 

How to manage and secure Storage Accounts:

Disable Shared Access and Embrace RBAC: Whenever possible, disable shared access to limit potential vulnerabilities and rely on Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) for fine-grained access management.

Prioritize SAS Tokens: Opt for SAS tokens as they offer more precise access control compared to access keys. Configure SAS tokens securely by:

  • Granting minimal access permissions and scope necessary.
  • Allowing only HTTPS requests to ensure secure communication.
  • Setting a short expiration period, preferably not exceeding seven days, to minimize the vulnerability window.
  • Restricting access based on IP addresses for an added layer of security.

Regularly Rotate Access Keys: Although challenging, regularly rotating access keys is essential for maintaining security. Oasis provides automated assistance for seamless key rotation and secure Non-Human Identity lifecycle management.

Minimize Service Accounts and Principals: Reduce the attack surface by minimizing the number of service accounts and service principals with access to storage accounts. This helps mitigate the risk of unauthorized access and potential data breaches.

​​Leverage Automation Tools: Consider leveraging automation tools like Oasis for secure automated Non-Human Identity lifecycle management to streamline access management processes and ensure compliance with security best practices.

Elevating Storage Account Security with Oasis Security's Lifecycle Management Solution:

Oasis Security's platform effectively tackles the complexities of managing non-human identities like access keys and SAS tokens throughout the Azure Storage Account lifecycle. Here's how:

Contextual Mapping:

Gain comprehensive insights into SAS tokens configurations, access controls, and usage patterns, ensuring a clear understanding of your storage environment.

Lifecycle Governance:

Automate workflows for account provisioning, RBAC enforcement, and routine audits, streamlining management processes and ensuring consistency.

Security and Compliance:

Enforce robust security policies and regulatory standards, guaranteeing adherence to industry best practices and safeguarding sensitive data.

In summary, while Azure Storage accounts are integral to modern cloud systems, managing them without dedicated tools can be challenging. Oasis Security's innovative platform offers a solution for automated management of Storage accounts and other non-human identities, reducing risks and bolstering security.

Experience the benefits of Oasis Security today and streamline the management of Storage accounts and other non-human identities with confidence and ease. Try Oasis now and elevate your security posture without compromise.