When it comes to global cloud platforms, few systems are more secure than Amazon Web Services (AWS). But even a security-conscious cloud like this one has its vulnerabilities and threats. For businesses, it’s important to prepare by thinking ahead.
The Appeal of AWS
AWS is the world’s most comprehensive and well-used cloud platform. It offers more than 175 featured services from global data centers and serves millions of customers worldwide. This includes startups, small businesses, global enterprises, government agencies, and everyone in between.
There’s no cloud platform more functional than AWS. It has better services and features, more powerful infrastructure, and fast/efficient systems that make it easier and more cost-effective to move and manage applications. But security is where AWS really stands out.
The core AWS infrastructure is architected in such a way that it can satisfy the most advanced security requirements for banks, military, and other high-sensitivity organizations. Thus, you can rest easy knowing it’ll meet the demands of your growing business.
7 AWS Security Tips to Chew On
Though AWS is far more secure on its own than most other platforms, it’s still important to prioritize AWS cloud security on the user side of things. Here are a few helpful tips you can use to get ahead:
1. Understand Your Responsibilities
AWS is no different than any other major cloud provider in that they operate under a shared responsibility model. This means Amazon takes responsibility for the security of the infrastructure itself, while you retain responsibility for ensuring the environment is configured properly and that data isn’t shared with the wrong people.
The easiest way to think about it is that Amazon is responsible for security of the cloud, while you’re responsible for security in the cloud. A clear and defined understanding of this will help you stay on track.
2. Carefully Configure Your Root Account
Inside of your root account, you’ll find access to all of your AWS resources. This is the master account and it’s a critically important one (especially from a security perspective). Protecting it requires careful consideration of all risks and threats.
One of the best things you can do is implement multifactor authentication. But instead of linking it to your mobile phone, which is prone to being compromised, consider using a dedicated service that sends you one-time passwords.
3. IAM Best Practices
So much of your AWS cloud security will depend on authorization and who is given access to AWS APIs, resources, and data. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is perfect for this.
IAM is an AWS service that lets you control access and capabilities for all users. As an administrator, you can create and manage different users and groups, applying granular permission rules to each to limit what people can see, access, and modify. Take this seriously and be stringent in whom you give access.
4. Data Loss Prevention Policies
It’s one thing for someone to gain access to your cloud. It’s much more dangerous for someone to gain access and then manipulate and/or steal data. Enforcing a singular set of data loss prevention policies across the board will mitigate damage when breaches do occur.
A good data loss prevention policy will help with incident reporting and remediation workflow, while preventing policy enforcement gaps that can occur when multiple cloud services are being used.
5. Minimizing Privileges
Few things are more dangerous to your AWS environment than giving unrestricted access to users. Here are two rules of thumb:
- Only create a user account for employees who absolutely need it. Not everyone has to have an account. They should be given out on an as-needed basis.
- When you give someone an account, grant the fewest privileges possible. Overly permissive user accounts significantly increase your risk of data theft or compromise.
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll avoid so many of the hassles that companies deal with on a weekly basis.
6. Encrypt Data on Both Sides
Encryption is your friend. The more you can encrypt data, the better.
For best results, try encrypting cloud-based data before moving it to the cloud, as well as inside of the cloud. This adds an extra layer of protection and prevents you from being more vulnerable than you have to be.
7. Practice Good Password Hygiene
Never assume that your employees will naturally create strong passwords. You must require them to do so by putting specific rules in place. You also need a robust password policy, which is the set of conditions of password rotation and inactive account deletion. There are plenty of apps and programs designed to do this or you.
Take AWS Security Seriously
You can’t operate under the assumption that you’re automatically secure in the AWS cloud. While it definitely has powerful native security features, you can further strengthen these underlying capacities by implementing a few of the tips, techniques, and processes outlined in this article.