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12 AWS Security Best Practices

AWS security management is not an easy task. Businesses using AWS may have a wide choice of apps and cloud services that need configuration and security thanks to possibilities for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Further complicating issues is the possibility that these resources […]

Sharon R.

Written by Sharon R.

September 26, 2023 | 7 min read

AWS security management is not an easy task. Businesses using AWS may have a wide choice of apps and cloud services that need configuration and security thanks to possibilities for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).

Further complicating issues is the possibility that these resources will be used with other on-premises and cloud systems that demand safe data integration and transfer in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment.

However, managing security on AWS is simple as long as there are regular observances of and adherence to internal and external policies, standards, and procedures. This calls for developing industry-accepted AWS Security Best Practices and in-depth comprehension of your organization’s AWS shared responsibility model.

This article will cover the AWS shared responsibility model, security strategy, and the top twelve AWS Security Best Practices for safeguarding data, code, and cloud workloads.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is AWS Security?
  2. AWS Shared Responsibility Model
  3. Setting up an AWS Security Strategy
  4. 12 AWS Security Best Practices
  5. How can PingSafe help with AWS Security?
  6. Conclusion

What is AWS Security?

AWS cloud security is the collection of pre-installed protocols and tests to ensure the highest level of security for the cloud infrastructure in which you’re operating. AWS and the customer share responsibility for cloud security, with AWS protecting the cloud itself and the customer protecting their activities within the cloud.

The infrastructure that powers services inside the AWS Cloud is safeguarded by AWS Cloud security. It comprises the infrastructure needed to run AWS Cloud services, including networking, hardware, and software. Security procedures like patch management and device configuration management, as well as fixing bugs in the cloud infrastructure and keeping its infrastructure devices configured, are handled by AWS.

AWS Shared Responsibility Model

Businesses frequently think they are getting thorough security since their cloud provider hosts their environment. Security teams need to become acquainted with the AWS shared responsibility concept. This paradigm states that the client is in charge of maintaining the security of everything stored inside the infrastructure, while AWS is responsible for maintaining the security of the infrastructure.

What genuinely matters about this? In essence, it means that the setup of your S3 buckets, access control, network traffic security, and assurance of the security of your code throughout the development lifecycle are all under the control of your business. Even while AWS secures the infrastructure, a lot could go wrong if you don’t take proactive steps to ensure everything is in order.

To do this, you can start by building an AWS security strategy.

Setting up an AWS Security Strategy

When creating an AWS security strategy, it’s important to remember that cloud security is its animal, specifically AWS cloud security. This is due to the elastic and scalable nature of the cloud, which enables users to spin up and down resources and build them rapidly however they wish. This makes security far more complex than on-premises systems.

1. Implement and enforce cloud security controls

Access restrictions are the most fundamental and crucial security measures you must implement in your AWS setups. The foundation of effective identity access management (IAM) is granting the least privileged cloud access to individuals within your company who require it while limiting or deleting access from those who don’t – notably those outside your organization.

2. Threat and incident response planning

A good incident response plan will outline when and where breaches are most likely to occur, how to recognize them immediately, what needs to be done to manage them, and how your firm will recover—even though it would be ideal to prevent breaches completely.

3. Detection, monitoring, and alerting

Setting up reliable detection, monitoring, and alerting processes and solutions is crucial to AWS application security since threats come in many shapes and sizes. You can develop your strategy using several AWS tools, including:

  • Amazon GuardDuty
  • Amazon Macie
  • AWS Config Rules
  • Amazon CloudWatch

12 AWS Security Best Practices

Here is a list of the top 12 AWS Security best practices:

  1. Make Your AWS Security Policies Accessible
  2. Create a Cybersecurity Strategy
  3. Put in place and enforce cloud security measures
  4. Backup Your Data
  5. Use Encryption
  6. Develop a Prevention and Response Plan
  7. Update Your AWS Systems Continually
  8. Assessment of Administrator Credentials
  9. Make Use of Cloud-Native Security Solutions
  10. Use temporary credentials
  11. Rotate Access Tokens
  12. Discover and Inventory All Identities

#1 Make Your AWS Security Policies Accessible

The key to successfully adopting an effective cybersecurity plan is ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Create a document defining your security rules and procedures, and make it easily accessible to all staff members, including stakeholders, external collaborators, and third-party vendors, on an internal drive.

#2 Create a Cybersecurity Strategy

To safeguard your AWS environment, you must have a robust cybersecurity strategy. It’s crucial to understand if you’re new to AWS that typical security solutions might not be able to safeguard your cloud assets appropriately. Therefore, you must create a cloud migration security strategy that is specific to your own cloud concerns.

#3 Put in place and enforce cloud security measures.

Remember that it is your job, not AWS’s, to ensure the security of your cloud workloads. This means that it is up to you to set up efficient steps to guarantee that client and business data is protected against malicious assaults. To reduce the risk of data breaches, follow AWS security best practices and take into account the cloud security measures and processes listed below:

  • Clearly define user roles
  • Conduct privilege audits
  • Implement a strong password policy

#4 Backup Your Data

Regular data backups are a good idea because you never know when you might need to restore data after a breach. AWS Backup offers a straightforward method for automated backups across your whole AWS environment, assuaging worries about possible data loss and enabling smooth restoration when necessary.

#5 Use Encryption

It is impossible to exaggerate the value of encryption following AWS security best practices. It is crucial for upholding regulatory compliance requirements about sensitive data, but it also adds another line of protection, strengthening your entire security posture.

#6 Develop a Prevention and Response Plan

Although it may seem contradictory, part of maintaining the security of your cloud computing systems entails recognizing the likelihood that an assault will occur at some point. This is the most crucial tip to remember out of all the AWS security best practices provided.

#7 Update Your AWS Systems Continually

Your AWS cloud servers, even those that are not visible to the general public, must always be patched. By not following AWS security best practices and updating your cloud infrastructure, you expose your company to several security flaws that could cause urgent and expensive disasters.

#8 Assessment of Administrator Credentials

AWS organizations should tightly regulate and monitor their administrator accounts following AWS Security best practices to reduce the risk of abnormalities. Users should avoid excessive usage because it can be risky if not utilized properly, and they should only use necessary functions with limited access rights every day for optimum outcomes.

Businesses need to safeguard the extensive set of permissions connected to administrator credentials. To further reduce threats from malicious infiltration, AWS administrators should consider putting additional security measures in place. These could include encryption and separate account logins.

#9 Make Use of Cloud-Native Security Solutions

Traditional security measures are useless at protecting your cloud assets because they were not created to handle the complexity of the cloud.

Additionally, several efficient native cloud security solutions can assist you in adhering to a variety of compliance standards. It simplifies following the AWS security best practices listed here by enhancing your security posture. By implementing controls especially created for cloud settings, you may overcome the unique difficulties presented by these environments and safeguard your valuable assets.

#10 Use temporary credentials

As an AWS Security best practice, use temporary credentials whenever possible. Compared to logging in via the console using a user/password combination, access keys offer long-lasting access, which may increase unnecessary risk.

#11 Rotate Access Tokens

Rotating access tokens following AWS Security best practices can help to reduce the possibility that hackers will gain access to your AWS account. Every time you go between applications and delete old ones, like passwords, you will need new ones.

#12 Discover and Inventory All Identities

Only the accounts, identities, roles, and assets you can view can be protected or managed. With scripts and automation stacked across the toolchain, detecting, cataloging, and identifying machine and human identities and their entitlements might be challenging. It can be challenging to see some identities because they are hard-coded into compiled executables or included in runtimes, but this is a necessary evil. Organizations need to see exactly which automation tools are being used and what permissions have been granted. Both human and machine identities can be found and inventoried using CIEM following AWS Security best practices.

How can PingSafe help with AWS Security?

PingSafe is a cloud security platform offering defense for businesses of all sizes and industries. It can aid in removing all risks and issues, apparent and undetectable. This well-known platform is aware of the attack strategy.

Features:

  • In the cloud, configuration problems are automatically handled and rectified. Graphs display the impact radius, lateral movement pathways, and resource misconfigurations.
  • Monitoring the continuing security posture of new or current cloud services, paying close attention to security concerns and recommended procedures, and raising the alarm on security defaults.
  • Comparing the configuration and implementation of IaC to other standards like PCI-DSS and the CIS benchmark is known as “Building as a Code.” CI/CD integration support can be used to stop merge and pull requests with hardcoded secrets.
  • Find the cloud resources and assets with CVEs known to be susceptible (data from ten or more reliable sources with in-depth coverage). 
  • Threat Watch: A dashboard for keeping track of any zero-day security vulnerabilities in the environment.
  • Bill of materials (BOM) reporting and security vulnerability analysis for virtual machine snapshots are used in agentless apps.

Conclusion

Organizations today face more cybersecurity threats than ever. You are placing yourself in a good position to defend your apps and your business from threats of all kinds by developing a strong AWS security strategy, implementing a cloud-native security solution, and applying the eight AWS security best practices mentioned in this article.