Editor's PickForex5 Time-Tested Tips For Deploying AWS Security to Protect Your Cloud Environment

January 24, 2023

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Do you want to level up your cloud environment’s defenses against cyberattacks?

You are not alone.

In September 2022, a hacker breached Uber’s computer network and compromised the company’s email, code repositories, and cloud storage.

The incident and other similar occurrences highlight why cybersecurity is important for businesses and organizations with resources and assets on the cloud.

One approach to help protect your cloud environment is to deploy AWS security.

Continue reading to know the best practices for implementing AWS security to help protect your data, apps, and cloud infrastructure, strengthening your defenses against potential cyberattacks.

A quick overview of AWS security

Amazon Web Services or AWS security is the standard-built checks and protocols that keep your cloud infrastructure secure.

AWS security is a shared responsibility between the service and users, which means AWS secures the cloud, and users protect operations within the cloud.

It consists of software, hardware, facilities, and networking that work to protect the infrastructure running services in the AWS Cloud.

AWS security handles configuration and patch management processes and servicing cloud infrastructure flaws while maintaining its infrastructure devices’ configuration.

Top 5 AWS security best practices

Follow these five AWS security tips below to help solidify the security and stability of your cloud environment.

1. Develop a threat and incident response plan

Any person, system, or account can be an attack vector in your cloud environment.

As such, your security and IT teams need to “assume breach” by presuming that attackers will likely breach one vector (if they haven’t already).

You must proactively prepare for the risks of cyberattacks by developing an incident and response plan.

A comprehensive threat and incident response plan helps reduce your blast radius or collateral damage in the event of an attack.

While you can’t completely prevent breaches in your cloud environment, having a solid incident response plan can give you a clear picture of when and where breaches will likely occur.

The plan can also help you detect potential breaches promptly, determine the necessary actions to contain them, and your steps to control damage and recovery.

2. Identify your AWS environment security baseline

Ensure your security, IT, and DevOps teams work together to determine how your AWS environment should look from a cybersecurity point of view.

The baseline should describe everything—from how to configure your assets to your threat and incident response plan.

Your teams should also consider leveraging the following as starting points:

Center of Internet Security (CIS) Benchmarks on AWS are consensus-driven and globally recognized best practices.
AWS Well-Architected Framework consisting of design principles, key concepts, and architectural best practices for running and designing workloads in the cloud.

Also, consider getting help from an AWS solutions architect—a technical expert with skills to help you construct your AWS environment.

Doing so helps ensure you properly set up your AWS environment and have the necessary security measures.

Ensure you apply your AWS security baseline to your production environment, including pre-production and test environments.

Remember to reassess your baseline every six months (at least) to incorporate new factors, such as changes and threats in your environment.

3. Implement AWS access management and control

Instead of using your AWS account for daily interactions, consider creating Identity and Access Management (IAM) users and assign each of them unique security credentials.

It helps you avoid the risks of exposing your AWS account credentials and unauthorized access, especially since your account has root permissions.

Create IAM users, which can be persons, apps, or services that need access to specific AWS resources.

You can make individual IAM users and assign permissions based on their required resources.

Ensure that all your users have the appropriate permissions and only have access to the resources they need. Anything more than that can leave your resources vulnerable to attacks and exposure.

You can grant permissions to IAM users directly under your AWS account or make groups and assign each user to the groups.

4. Create AWS security policies and make them accessible

One of the crucial factors in effectively deploying cybersecurity strategies is to ensure everyone in your company or organization is on the same page.

The key is to create a document containing your cybersecurity policies and controls, including your AWS security policy.

Share the document in an internal drive that everyone in your organization can access, including external third-party vendors, collaborators, and stakeholders.

Also, update your security policy to incorporate and reflect the changes in your strategy. It helps ensure you cover all bases and prevent gaps that attackers can exploit.

5.  Follow best practices for securing your AWS infrastructure

Learn from the following tried and tested tips to help secure your AWS infrastructure.

Run regular backups. Conduct regular and frequent backups to avoid losing data in case of accidental deletions, database corruptions, and other unforeseen events.

Use AWS Backup or other reliable tools to centralize, simplify, and streamline your backups.

For example, most backup services allow you to set your backups to run automatically on your pre-set times and dates, so you don’t forget or miss doing them.

Use security zoning and network segmentation. Improve your security by keeping your internal network isolated, which helps protect it from web-based attacks.

Segment your AWS infrastructure into multiple zones with security controls.

While AWS security and operational teams run the AWS infrastructure, you can create infrastructure components.

For instance, you can isolate one network from the others through segmentation and build segments of your entire infrastructure.

Create layers for threat protection. An effective way to protect your infrastructure, especially your network infrastructure, is to build threat protection layers.

After all, protection layers make it harder to breach and access your network and resources.

Consider combining network access control lists, firewall rules, security groups, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in the cloud to build a layered network security solution.

Implement AWS security to fortify your cloud environment

How you deploy AWS security depends on your unique protection requirements for your cloud environment.

Start by developing a solid strategy and following reliable tips to ensure your AWS security implementation supports your efforts to protect your cloud environment.

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