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Cover image for Protect your network resources with Azure Firewall

Protect your network resources with Azure Firewall

icebeam7 profile image Luis Beltran ・5 min read

Azure Spring Clean 2020

This article is part of the Azure Spring Clean 2020 initiative by Joe Carlyle and Thomas Thornton. You'll find other helpful articles published daily by community members here, so make sure to check it out every day. Furthermore, you can follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #AzureSpringClean.

Azure Firewall is a cloud service under the Azure security umbrella that allows customers to centrally manage all their network traffic with built-in capabilities, including high capability, scalability and performance.

Let's see how you can protect your network resources from undesired threats while perusing important Azure Firewall concepts!

Initial scenario

  • AzureSpringClean-RG is an Azure Resource Group. All resources are and will be included here.

AzureSpringClean-RG

  • UniversityVirtualNetwork is an Azure Virtual Network with 65536 addresses available. The assigned address space is 10.0.0.0/16. It also contains a subnet named AzureFirewallSubnet with an address range of 10.0.1.0/26 which will be used to host the firewall. Due to this, this particular subnet name is mandatory. Moreover, it must include a /26 mask.

UniversityVirtualNetwork

UniversityVirtualNetwork

  • In addition, the UniversityVirtualNetwork contains a couple of subnets: StaffSubNet (Address range: 10.0.2.0/24) and StudentsSubNet (Address range: 10.0.3.0/24)

StaffSubNet

StudentsSubNet

  • StaffServer is a Windows Server 2019 Datacenter virtual machine that is located within the StaffSubNet. It is accessible through RDP.

StaffServer

StaffServer

  • In similar fashion, StudentsServer is a Windows Server 2019 Datacenter virtual machine within the StudentsSubNet. It is accessible through RDP.

StudentsServer

StudentsServer

With this setup, let's proceed to create the firewall!

Firewall setup

  • On the Azure Portal, create a new resource. Under Network, you can find Firewall.

  • The name of this resource is UniversityFirewall. It must be located in the same region as the rest of the resources (US Central in this case). Moreover, it has to be placed inside the UniversityVirtualNetwork. For the Public IP address field, create a new one and select it.

UniversityFirewall

UniversityFirewall

  • Click on Create and wait a few minutes until the deployment is completed.

  • After this process is finished, go to the UniversityFirewall resource and take a look at the private IP address. We will use it in the next step for data routing.

UniversityFirewall Private IP address

  • Now, let's create an outbound default route where data will go through the firewall. Add a Route table resource (under Networking) with the name FirewallRoute.

FirewallRoute

  • After the resource is created, select it and click on Subnets and Associate the StaffSubNet subnet.

StaffSubNet associated

  • Now select Routes and Add a new route named FirewallRoute01 with the 0.0.0.0/0 address prefix and Virtual appliance next hop type, which also requires a next hop address. We'll use the private IP address that we obtained when we created the Azure Firewall resource.

FirewallRoute01

  • Next up, we are configuring an application rule to allow outbond access to Google website. For this, on the UniversityFirewall page, select Rules (under Settings) and Add a new application rule collection named AppRuleCollection01 which has a priority value of 200 and an Allow action. It also includes a FQDN target named Allow-Google which allows source addresses from 10.0.2.0/24 subnet, the http,https protocols, and the www.google.com target FQDN.

Application Rule

  • We also need to set up a network rule which allows outbound access to two IP addresses at the DNS port. For this, Add a new network rule collection named NetRuleCollection01 which has a priority value of 200 and an Allow action. It also includes an IP address rule named Allow-DNS which allows traffic from the UDP protocol, source addresses from 10.0.2.0/24 subnet and 209.244.0.3,209.244.0.4 destination addresses (these are free DNS servers operated by CenturyLink). Finally, the destination port is 53.

Network Rule

  • We finished! The Azure Firewall is all set. However, in order to test our configuration, we need to set the DNS addresses for the StudentsServer network interface, so under your resource group, click on the network interface created for the StudentsServer element.

StudentsServer network interface

  • Now select DNS servers and add a Custom configuration:
  • 209.244.0.3 is the first DNS server...
  • while 209.244.0.4 is the second one

DNS Servers

  • Save your configuration

Let's test it!

So first we connect to our StudentsServer virtual machine through remote desktop. From there, we connect to the StaffServer virtual machine also through remote desktop.

If we open a browser and go to https://www.google.com, the connection is allowed.

Google :-)

And if we go to another address, such as https://www.microsoft.com, the firewall blocks the request.

Microsoft :-(

This test demonstrated that the firewalls rules are applied, allowing us to connect to the FQDN included in the settings -while denying service to any other- and also that the DNS names are resolved by the external DNS server(s).

As you can see, it is really important to add security to our cloud resources. Azure Firewall assists you in protecting your virtual environment from external attacks.

I hope that this publication was interesting and useful for you. I invite you to visit my blog for more technical content about Xamarin, Azure, and the .NET ecosystem. 90% of the content is written in Spanish language, although if you don't speak/understand it (yet), no worries, I tend to write the code in English so there's still chance a visit might pay off =)

Thanks for your time, and enjoy the rest of the Azure Spring Clean publications!

See you next time,
Luis

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