Azure Security Center quick start guide

This article helps you quickly get started with Azure Security Center by guiding you through the security monitoring and policy management components of Security Center.


Beginning in early June 2017, Security Center will use the Microsoft Monitoring Agent to collect and store data. See Azure Security Center Platform Migration to learn more. The information in this article represents Security Center functionality after transition to the Microsoft Monitoring Agent.


To get started with Security Center, you must have a subscription to Microsoft Azure. If you do not have a subscription, you can sign up for a free account.

The Free tier of Security Center is automatically enabled with your subscription and provides visibility into the security state of your Azure resources. It provides basic security policy management, security recommendations, and integration with security products and services from Azure partners.

You access Security Center from the Azure portal. To learn more about the Azure portal, see the portal documentation.


In Security Center, you only see information related to an Azure resource when you are assigned the role of Owner, Contributor, or Reader for the subscription or resource group that a resource belongs to. See Permissions in Azure Security Center to learn more about roles and allowed actions in Security Center.

Data collection

Security Center collects data from your virtual machines (VMs) to assess their security state, provide security recommendations, and alert you to threats. When you first access Security Center, data collection is enabled on all VMs in your subscription. Security Center provisions the Microsoft Monitoring Agent on all existing supported Azure VMs and any new ones that are created. See Enable data collection to learn more about how data collection works.

Data collection is recommended. If you are using the Free tier of Security Center, you can disable data collection from VMs by turning off data collection in the security policy. Data collection is required for subscriptions on the Standard tier of Security Center. See Security Center pricing to learn more about the Free and Standard pricing tiers.

The following steps describe how to access and use the components of Security Center. In these steps, we show you how to turn off data collection if you choose to opt out.


This article introduces the service by using an example deployment. This article is not a step-by-step guide.

Access Security Center

In the portal, follow these steps to access Security Center:

  1. On the Microsoft Azure menu, select Security Center.

    Azure menu

  2. If you are accessing Security Center for the first time, the Welcome blade opens. Select Launch Security Center to open the Security Center blade and to enable data collection. Welcome screen
  3. After you launch Security Center from the Welcome blade or select Security Center from the Microsoft Azure menu, the Security Center blade opens. For easy access to the Security Center blade in the future, select the Pin blade to dashboard option (upper right). Pin blade to dashboard option

Use Security Center

You can configure security policies for your Azure subscriptions and resource groups. Let's configure a security policy for your subscription:

  1. On the Security Center blade, select the Policy tile.
  2. On the Security policy - Define policy per subscription blade, select a subscription.
  3. On the Security policy blade, Data collection is enabled to automatically collect logs. The monitoring extension is provisioned on all current and new VMs in the subscription. (On the Free tier of Security Center, you can opt out of data collection by setting Data collection to Off. Setting Data Collection to Off prevents Security Center from giving you security alerts and recommendations.)
  4. On the Security policy blade, select Prevention policy. This opens the Prevention policy blade.
  5. On the Prevention policy blade, turn on the recommendations that you want to see as part of your security policy. Examples:

    • Setting System updates to On scans all supported VMs for missing OS updates.
    • Setting OS vulnerabilities to On scans all supported VMs to identify any OS configurations that might make the VM more vulnerable to attack.

View recommendations

  1. Return to the Security Center blade and select the Recommendations tile. Security Center periodically analyzes the security state of your Azure resources. When Security Center identifies potential security vulnerabilities, it shows recommendations on the Recommendations blade. Recommendations in Azure Security Center
  2. Select a recommendation on the Recommendations blade to view more information and/or to take action to resolve the issue.

View the security state of your resources

  1. Return to the Security Center blade. The Prevention section of the dashboard contains indicators of the security state for VMs, networking, data, and applications.
  2. Select Compute to view more information. The Compute blade opens showing three tabs:

    • Overview - Contains monitoring and VM recommendations.
    • Virtual machines - Lists all VMs and current security states.
    • Cloud services - Lists web and worker roles monitored by Security Center.

      The Resources health tile in Azure Security Center

  3. On the Overview tab, select a recommendation under VIRTUAL MACHINES RECOMMENDATIONS to view more information and/or take action to configure necessary controls.

  4. On the Virtual machines tab, select a VM to view additional details.

View security alerts

  1. Return to the Security Center blade and select the Security alerts tile. The Security alerts blade opens and displays a list of alerts. The Security Center analysis of your security logs and network activity generates these alerts. Alerts from integrated partner solutions are included. Security alerts in Azure Security Center


    Security alerts are only available if the Standard tier of Security Center is enabled. A 60 day free trial of the Standard tier is available. See Next steps for information on how to get the Standard tier.

  2. Select an alert to view additional information. In this example, let's select Modified system binary discovered. This opens blades that provide additional details about the alert. Security alert details in Azure Security Center

View the health of your partner solutions

  1. Return to the Security Center blade. The Partner solutions tile lets you monitor, at a glance, the health status of your partner solutions integrated with your Azure subscription.
  2. Select the Partner solutions tile. A blade opens and displays a list of your partner solutions connected to Security Center. Partner solutions
  3. Select a partner solution. In this example, let's select the QualysVa1 solution. A blade opens and shows you the status of the partner solution and the solution's associated resources. Select Solution console to open the partner management experience for this solution.

Next steps

This article introduced you to the security monitoring and policy management components of Security Center. Now that you're familiar with Security Center, try the following steps: