A Guide to Best Practices
for AWS Cloud Security
Erik Rush | Jun. 15, 2021
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a dynamic, full-featured cloud platform that provides services like content delivery, compute power, database storage, and other functions to help businesses around the globe. AWS offers many solutions and tools for software developers and organizations of all sizes and types.
For AWS users, AWS Cloud Security is a central topic, given today’s cybersecurity environment. Due to its many features and proven reliability, more and more businesses engaging cloud services are choosing AWS, and increasing numbers of developers and IT professionals will attest that AWS offers the best security features to its users to secure their infrastructures.
Given AWS’ size, scope and complexity however, it is always possible for administrators and users to overlook some of its cloud security best practices. AWS has a shared responsibility model, so it is the duty of AWS clients to perform due diligence with regard to understanding and implementing security features offered by AWS.
Here, we’ll explore AWS cloud security best practices and how these can be engaged in order to enhance the security of your organization.
- Build Out Your Strategy First
Some organizations put tools and controls in place first, and then craft a security strategy around them. In practice, it is actually much more prudent and practical to establish the security strategy first. This way, when a tool or control is accessed, you can evaluate whether or not it works, and how well it supports your strategy. Further, it will allow you to build security into all of your organization’s organizational functions, including those relying on AWS. Crafting the security strategy first also helps later on in the case of continuous deployment.
- Enforce Security Defaults, Controls and Procedures
Nearly all of the S3 attacks we’ve read about lately have been related to S3 bucket breaches that contained sensitive information that had permissions set to “public.” By default, S3 buckets are set to “private.” This of course means that only specific users with privileges should be able to access those buckets. In order to ensure the safety of data in S3 buckets or in the cloud, a set or sets of clearly written security controls and procedures should be drafted and enforced. These should define data types stored in the cloud, with a hierarchy to categorize sensitive data and determine who has access to them.
- Consistent Security Within All Layers
This may seem very basic, but it is often overlooked nonetheless: The uniform application of security to all layers is essential! A single firewall in your infrastructure is not sufficient. AWS Marketplace offers virtual firewalls for your virtual networks so that you can monitor and control network traffic, thus securing your infrastructure and operating system. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
- Engage AWS Native Security Resources
There are numerous native AWS security tools available; among these are AWS Shield, Guard Duty and Cloud Watch. With these, you can tightly secure your cloud environment. Deploying such tools as Amazon CloudFront will protect your web applications no matter where they’re hosted. Standard compliance frameworks like Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) and ISO/IEC 27000 series are preconfigured with a number of built-in compliance elements that can cut out the front-end work for you.
- Establish a Solid Password Policy
This is another rather basic measure that is frequently overlooked; in other cases, policy makers simply fail to implement or enforce proposed measures. Brute force attacks, password cracking and credential stuffing are some of the most frequently-used security attacks on the part of cybercriminals. Why make it easy for them?
Here, you can create a password policy that delineates conditions for password creation, modification, and deletion. This might include multi-factor authentication, automated lockouts after a certain number of failed login attempts, or a cyclical, automatic password renewal protocol.
These are just a few of the best practices your organization can implement to enhance your security within AWS. As your organization shifts to an AWS cloud infrastructure (or expands its existing AWS infrastructure), administrators will need to continually evaluate its security measures in order to maintain tight security within your AWS ecosystem.
Order of the Cipher is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) training company and a novel approach to cybersecurity training that combines theatrical presentation with proven teaching techniques. We’ve mastered Amazon Web Services, and we’ve perfected how to showcase the versatility and capability of AWS technology in a manner that provides real-world immersion experiences that prepare students to expertly navigate the AWS ecosystem.