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Greatest Practices for Securing Your AWS Infrastructure



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Cloud technology has experienced unparalleled growth in recent years, with major players like Amazon and Microsoft investing in cutting-edge offerings. Platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) have made infrastructure management much more accessible for IT departments. This trend, however, has also created new challenges and increased the need for AWS security. Support experts no longer need to install hardware or upgrade server memory physically.

Instead, they can modify configuration settings through an online interface, enabling IT teams to scale projects on demand to accommodate increased website traffic or database growth. AWS offers many built-in security features, such as an IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service platform, making it a popular choice. However, properly configuring the cloud environment and AWS security settings is crucial. Companies can also use third-party resources and cloud security tools, such as cloud data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, to enhance data security in their AWS environments.

If you want to secure your AWS environment, this post has compiled a few security tips to help your organization safeguard data, manage credentials, prevent abuse, and more.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA or Multi-factor authentication  is the security feature that adds an additional authentication layer to both the password and username. With MFA, after logging in, providing some additional information is necessary, which might be a particular app or a hardware MFA component on the mobile.

To use MFA, select the apt type of MFA device from the options and keep the hardware device in a safe location when not in use. If you use a virtual MFA device, such as a mobile app, consider the possibility of losing or damaging your phone. To address this, store the virtual MFA device in a secure location. You can also enable MFA by activating several devices at a time or using any virtual MFA solution to retrieve device keys.

Incident and Threat Response Planning

For cybersecurity professionals, “assume breach” is a serious issue. Every system, person, or account is a potential attack vector at any time. Assuming that attackers will breach at least one vector is crucial due to the vast attack surface, and they might have already done so. This underscores the significance of having a thorough incident response plan in place.

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A robust plan can reduce the collateral damage or “blast radius” caused by a cyber-attack. Although preventing a breach is ideal, a comprehensive incident response plan will specify the potential breach points, how to detect them swiftly, the necessary actions to contain the situation, and the recovery plan for your organization.

Create a Security Baseline

Establishing a security baseline for your AWS environment requires collaboration between your security and DevOps teams. This baseline should cover all aspects of the environment’s configuration and include an incident response plan. Utilizing resources like the AWS Well-Architected Framework and the CIS Benchmarks can help establish a solid starting point, and an AWS Solutions Architect can provide additional guidance. It’s critical to ensure that the baseline is applied to all environments, including production, test, and pre-production, and to review and update it at least every six months to account for new environmental threats and changes.

Safeguard Your Passwords and Access Keys

Two primary credentials are used for accessing an AWS account: passwords and access keys. These credentials may be assigned to the AWS root user account or individual IAM users. It is advised to treat passwords and access keys with the same degree of care as other sensitive personal data and avoid encoding them in code accessible to the general public. Updating and rotating all security credentials regularly is recommended to provide even more protection.

Check AWS IAM Policies And Permissions

To ensure the security of your system, IAM policies, permissions, and entitlements must be periodically evaluated and modified. As demonstrated in the breach example mentioned earlier, a lack of proper access rights policy can lead to mistakes by authorized staff and increase the risk of system hacks or disruptions. Even restoring resources can become more complex and stressful when access rights are not properly defined.

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Hardcoding administrative rights into application code is another risk factor developers should avoid. This practice adds unnecessary complexity to development and increases the potential for security breaches. Therefore, it’s important to regularly review and update access rights policies and permissions to ensure that only authorized personnel acquire the necessary permissions to perform their jobs.

Always Use Encryption

Encryption plays a critical role in enhancing your security posture. Besides meeting regulatory requirements for encrypting certain types of sensitive data, encryption creates an additional layer of protection that strengthens your security posture. Encrypt all of your data, even if compliance regulations do not mandate it, which entails encrypting both data in motion, and data kept on S3. Encrypting data in the AWS cloud environment is simple, and S3 data may be protected by turning on AWS’ native encryption function.

Data should be encrypted on the client side before being transferred to the cloud to increase security. An additional degree of security is provided by combining client-side and server-side encryption. You may have centralized control over your encryption keys with AWS’s Key Management Service (KMS). This makes it easier to manage your keys when using client-side encryption alongside server-side encryption.

Final Takeaway

Securing a cloud environment can seem daunting for those accustomed to on-premises security measures. However, this blog outlines straightforward and quick actions to minimize the probability and severity of security breaches on your AWS infrastructure and applications. Organizations face enormous cybersecurity issues due to the current threat landscape, so it’s critical to create a strong AWS security plan, put in place a cloud-native security solution, and follow the eight recommended practices outlined in this article. Adopting these steps may put your business in a strong position to protect your apps from various risks.

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