Safeguarding your enterprise data in AWS

AWS Data Security Best Practices 2021

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a popular choice for enterprises because of its robust infrastructure, scalability, high availability, and dependability. The growth in the market share is a testimony that as businesses consider moving to the cloud, AWS is their preferred choice.

However, with recent data breaches in AWS, enterprises are worried about their data safety in AWS. This paper aims to explore the security and governance in AWS.

AWS Shared Security Responsibility Model

In the cloud, safekeep of data and workloads become a shared responsibility between the enterprise and the cloud service provider. In AWS, the service provider is responsible for the general upkeep of cloud security, while enterprises are responsible for the data they put in the cloud. This model can reduce the operational burden of the enterprises in many ways and also improves their default security posture.

As per the shared security responsibility model, AWS’ security responsibilities include:

  • AWS global infrastructure, which includes regional, available, and edge zones of AWS cloud infrastructure
  • AWS computation, storage, database, and networking, which includes encryption keys, database protection, and network monitoring tools, among others.

On the other hand, enterprises are responsible for safekeep of their data, communication, network traffic, maintaining the cloud platform and all its aspects, and encrypting data and file systems.

Building blocks of security and governance on AWS

AWS has a comprehensive security mechanism. The building blocks of security on AWS are as follows:

  1. Identity and access management (IAM) governs access permissions of resources, who can access what and how. Services under IAM include AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS Single Sign-On (SSO), AWS Organizations, AWS Directory Service, and AWS Cognito.
  2. Continuous monitoring and logging to monitor the health of software applications and hardware devices. AWS provides an end-to-end monitoring solution with services like AWS Inspector, AWS Elasticsearch, AWS CloudWatch, AWS GuardDuty, and AWS Config.
  3. Data security and encryption ensures that data is unreadable and secure. Enterprises need a key management system to ensure high availability, durability, and security of the keys. AWS offers a Key Management Service, which includes AWS CloudHSM, AWS Key Management Service (KMS), AWS Secrets Manager, and AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) to help enterprises manage encryption and keys seamlessly.
  4. Network and edge security are vital to prevent network attacks and unauthorized access. AWS has services like AWS Web Application Firewall, AWS VPC, AWS Shield, and AWS Direct Connect to control the flow of requests through different components.
  5. Auditing governance and compliance are necessary to evaluate the security controls in place and ensure it adheres to the regulatory guidelines. AWS services like AWS Trusted Advisor, AWS SSM, AWS CloudTrail, AWS IAM, AWS Config, and AWS Inspector help ensure compliance in the cloud.

How to ensure your data is safe in AWS

    1. Categorize and classify assets: To secure something, you first need to know it exists. Many organizations fail to secure their data in the cloud because they are not aware of the type and quantity of data and the data warehouse architecture. Hackers who are on the lookout for such glitches can easily bypass AWS security and have access to enterprise data – because the enterprise themselves doesn’t know what exists where, and hence they are left unsecured.
      Therefore, the first step in securing data in AWS is identifying the assets and categorizing them based on their usage. Once the assets are identified and categorized, enterprises need to classify them based on their importance and sensitivity to determine the level of security controls.
    2. Be prudent with access: Securing on-premises data is easier as it resides within the organization’s network parameter and has a single network connection with the outside world. However, in the cloud, the more people you give access to, the less secure will your data be. Enterprises, therefore, need to limit access to cloud-based infrastructure and protect all the parameters. Additionally, enterprises need to follow the principle of least privilege, where users are granted only the access and permissions required for their job.
    3. Use cloud-native security: While enterprises modernize their data warehouse, they often forget to do that with their security solutions. In a survey, 82% of respondents revealed that traditional security solutions either don’t work at all or have limited functionality. Then why are enterprises still using traditional security that doesn’t work in the cloud? The reasons vary from budget constraints to a lack of qualified staff and lack of integration with on-premises security to ensure 360-degree security in AWS. The solution? Using cloud-native security solutions that are built for cloud and guarantees optimal performance in the environment they are deployed.
    4. Keep an eye on EC2 instances: If there is one AWS service that you need to keep an eye on to secure your data, it should be EC2. If hackers have access to your EC2 instances, they can access, modify, and abuse any sensitive data within your applications. Therefore, you need to control access to EC2 based upon the principle of least privilege.
    5. Define incident response policies and procedures: Most enterprises do not update their existing security policies and compliance after moving to the cloud. Since these policies are designed for on-premises, they do not address the security needs in the cloud. Enterprises need to update and define incident response policies and procedures to effectively respond to cybersecurity threats in the cloud.
    6. Be pro-active in identifying threats: By the time enterprises identify attacks, the hackers already have access to the cloud infrastructure. Performing a pro-active hunt to identify threats and potential incursions can help avoid breaches. To ensure pro-active threat detection, enterprises need to have visibility into the cloud infrastructure and have an automated threat detection system in place.
    7. Have visibility of controls: The enterprise IT teams should be aware of the security and data governance regulations and compliance in AWS and have end-to-end visibility of the security controls in place to make changes as required. Additionally, regulatory compliances must be revisited at regular intervals to ensure there are no loopholes in security.

With over 1800 security controls, AWS provides strong protection to ensure your data is safe in the cloud. However, organizations need a holistic security model to ensure safekeep of their data and analytic workloads.

At Rapyder, we can help you manage your crucial data and keep it safe with our end-to-end AWS security solutions to ensure –

  • Network security
  • Data security
  • Security information and event management
  • Identity and access management
  • Security management, governance, and compliance
  • Cloud access security

Think your business needs to get edge computing or cloud computing to its technology stack? Get in touch with the AWS cloud service provider experts at Rapyder today! Contact us now for a free consultation

Further Reading: AWS Security – What Makes Misconfiguration Critical?

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