Companies are still learning about the best practises for AWS security, despite the fast growing demand for cloud-native insight into behaviour and activities across AWS environments.
As the leading IaaS provider in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for the eighth consecutive year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud service provider that is on practically every company’s attention today. However, a lot of AWS customers today are unsure about the ideal security strategy and how to implement it.
Each company must be able to respond to these three crucial questions, even though the concerns and issues vary significantly from business to business and industry to industry.
- What applications are accessible when, and to whom?
- How can we keep track of important file changes?
- Will we receive prompt notice if anything unusual happens?
However, due to the increasing complexity of today’s data, use cases, compliance requirements, and other factors, organizations often need to understand how to protect their data, customers, and entire existence before migrating to AWS (or while developing on AWS). they make it difficult.
We visited some of our security customers as well as industry security professionals to learn about the most common AWS security issues and some of the solutions they can implement.
A Security Strategy Should Come First, Before Controls and Tools
How to approach cloud security in the first place has become a hot topic in AWS architecture user groups and forums (like this one on Quora). Do you spend time developing your security strategy or do you first implement the necessary tools and controls? Although this looks like a simple topic to explain, the solution is more complex.
The strategy should almost always come first so that you can properly examine a control or tool to see if and how it supports your approach. By putting the strategy first, you can also include security into all business processes, particularly the workflows of the operations and development teams. This can be especially useful for continuous deployment. For instance, having a broad security policy can help you deploy security monitoring across all configuration management technologies from the outset if your organisation is using (or considering using) them to enable the automation of software upgrades (e.g., Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt). Any business procedure or tool you use throughout your organisation should follow the same approach.
Getting Around the Cloud’s Lack of Security Visibility
It’s virtually hard to always know who is accessing what and where across the organization, given the sheer amount of cloud computing services that businesses use today on top of AWS, and the logins and controls that differ across each of them (and, even more importantly, if any of the activity is malicious or anomalous). The lack of security visibility is increased because there is no security strategy supporting the development and management of these apps.
To improve visibility on AWS, the following three best processes are followed:
1. Take an inside-out approach
If you don’t know what’s happening on a server or workload, you need more information than an IDS log can provide. For instance, you require more information than simply the fact that a certain packet is transmitted over the wire. It is necessary to have a system, like the one Threat Stack has created, that shows specific occurrences over time on specific servers.
2. Get beyond logs
While logs are important, they frequently only give a limited view of what is happening. Observing who enters and exits the building is one thing, but understanding what they are doing inside is quite another. Because traditional network-based intrusion detection (NIDS) can’t detect many of the activities that lead to an attack, it doesn’t give you much to do after a compromise. Host-based intrusion detection (HIDS) is useful in this situation. You can know how, when and where an attack occurs before, during and after it, when security is built into the hosts.
3. protect against the potential threat by insiders
It’s crucial to identify the authors of an incident because, unfortunately, they can occasionally be internal. Monitoring unusual network activity, illegal instals, unexpected login attempts or failures, or important file modifications are some crucial signs that a threat originated from within.
Improving Security Trust in Cloud Providers
It’s important to understand where AWS’s responsibilities end and your responsibility begins when protecting data within sensitive workloads, although AWS offers many available security tools and settings such as AWS CloudTrail and Amazon Cloud Watch for deployment logging. and monitoring.
Even before they decide to move to AWS, organizations consider the security of their data there. It’s becoming more common for organizations to talk to AWS and cloud security providers (like Threat Stack) simultaneously to answer any questions they may have in advance.
- How can we guarantee compliance?
- How will we approach incident response?
- How are log data accessible?
Even the biggest and most renowned companies using AWS ask all of these extremely important questions. You’ll be much more confident in your decision to migrate to AWS if you ask questions like the ones listed above as well as ones that are relevant to your specific use case and sector.
A hot topic in cloud security is liability. That’s because you need to identify the source in a security event so you can take the necessary measures.
Today, service providers like AWS take more collective responsibility for everything above the virtual machine layer. However, users still decide who has access to what, what apps and data are monitored, and how alerts are triggered. These responsibilities include access control, monitoring and audit logging. Businesses can be confident that if something goes wrong in their AWS environment, they can pinpoint responsibility with laser-like precision by using a proactive strategy to identify access restrictions and monitor network activity.
Understanding the Cloud’s Appeal to Attackers
Companies transfer a lot of sensitive data (think health information, credit card details, financial statements) to cloud service providers like AWS. However, it also makes them a prime target for attackers. However, according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, credential theft rather than sophisticated zero-point attacks against cloud providers causes the majority of security breaches.
For one very crucial reason, credentials are a bonanza for hackers: By allowing access to a sizable amount of data by using a single data source, they are the keys to the kingdom.
Let’s look at what has happened recently in this specific reference:
- CodeSpaces is apparently out of business within 12 hours after its entire AWS account was compromised. When the company regained control of its dashboard, the attackers developed alternative AWS logins and expressed concern about the overall security of the system. As a result, they were forced to shut down operations.
- A significant data breach involving client information occurred at Timehop more recently as a result of the loss of the business’ administrative login details for its cloud service provider. Before it was found, the intrusion went largely unnoticed for more than six months.
There are several ways to protect your passwords and data in advance:
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be enabled for anything under your control.
- It is possible to detect anomalous logins by using ongoing security monitoring.
- Incorporate logging functionality at the host level.
- To rotate credentials, use AWS Secrets Manager or another secrets management tool, such as Hashicorp Vault.
Defending Against Bystanders in Multi-Tenant Infrastructure and services
Basically, multi-tenancy increases the risk of data breach, but really it all depends on how well secured your infrastructure is. Think about it this way: Is it true that a house is safer than an apartment complex because it’s a smaller, less valuable target for burglars? Yes, in principle, but no, in reality. It is largely dependent on how properly guarded the premises are.
multi-tenancy is the real danger : Many businesses are concerned that multi-tenancy will reveal their data to competitors accidently. That is not entirely unreasonable. While providers like as AWS are fully aware of these risks and have developed layers of security to ensure that you — and only you — see your own data, you may and should take additional steps on your own. We recommend measuring your security maturity and focusing on five critical areas for improvement:
- System access & users
- Patching & vulnerability management
- Infrastructure control plane
- Run times& services
Starting with Compliance Regulations
Concerns regarding cloud compliance bounce loudly from both large and small businesses in regulated industries. AWS has provided resources to safeguard data privacy, particularly in light of the latest GDPR laws (and the heavy fines associated with them). While cloud providers such as Amazon web services offer some amount of protection, they simply never cover all facet of compliance.
AWS stands for Amazon Web Services. It provides a suite of services “like” AWS. AWS may provide certain security features, such as B. Preventing in-flight data transmission and storing personal identities, but cannot continuously monitor data for unusual activities. Persistent problems are difficult to discover because it takes time and patience to piece the puzzle together. Some companies are migrating their agencies to fully integrated systems that are no longer relevant because their old systems don’t offer the new functionality they need.
That’s unfortunate, because there’s no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Moving to the cloud is the sensible choice for businesses that want to stay competitive in today’s market. There are many cloud security providers like Threat Stack that can help you meet your compliance needs.