The cloud has been embraced for its reliability and scalability, as well as a breadth of security benefits. However, just because the cloud can be more secure, organizations aren't guaranteed protection from data breaches and security threats. This article dives into how companies can protect themselves and mitigate damage from a variety of security threats.
Why Should You Care About Cloud Security?
While the cloud offers a wide range of security benefits, breaches and security threats are determined by how businesses and organizations approach security, oversight, and infrastructure management. Data breaches can be costly in expenses and reputation, putting internal and customer data at risk.
The average cost of a data breach in the United States is $4.24 million. What’s worse than experiencing a breach is figuring out how to solve the security threat at stake. Most recently, Colonial Pipeline shut down the biggest US gasoline pipeline due to a blitz against their company. According to Bloomberg, hackers managed to steal a large amount of data before locking computers with ransomware and demanding payment.
Mitigating the Damage
The collateral damage from a breach is not always immediate, and addressing breaches when a company becomes aware of a threat can save quite literally millions. When organizations address a breach within 30 days or less, they tend to save around $1 million. And when a threat is thwarted altogether – well, that’s a multi-million dollar saving.
Why AWS Storage Solutions for Business-Critical Data
There are many reasons why the cloud can be the best place to store your most important business apps and information, such as:
- Secure Infrastructure: AWS customers benefit from AWS data centers and a network architected to protect your information, identities, applications, and devices. With AWS, orgs can improve your ability to meet core security and compliance requirements, such as data locality, protection, and confidentiality with our comprehensive services and features.
- Compliance: AWS supports enterprise-level software companies rely on to enable their internal and external apps. Moreover, this software, and the infrastructure it runs on, has to be compliant with regulations that govern your business. AWS can help keep various applications up-to-date with necessary requirements for your organization.
- Flexibility: AWS cloud environments are very flexible and able to work with a wide variety of operating systems. They are built to use key services to automate a number of manual processes for security, and scale to fit companies growing requirements. AWS allows companies to automate manual security tasks so you can shift your focus to scaling and innovating your business.
Top Tools on AWS For Security
There is a range of services available to organizations on AWS. While many may be aware, developing strong company policies and ensuring access to various accounts is up to date is necessary to take full advantage of security benefits on the cloud. Automating your security tools suite for code analysis, configuration management, and vulnerability management by incorporating it into your build pipeline helps scale and accelerate your security practice during the DevOps or DevSecOps processes.
1. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
AWS IAM is critical for controlling access to your company’s AWS resources and preventing ransomware attacks, like the attack wreaked on Colonial Pipeline. It enables teams to create users and roles with permissions to specific resources in your AWS environment. Always assigning least-privilege permissions to these users and roles minimizes the impact of a breach where an attacker has gained access.
Use the IAM policy simulator to test and troubleshoot the extent of permissions you assign to your users and roles, ensuring to update policies with changing staff and infrastructure.
2. Amazon Macie
Amazon Macie is key to evaluating your sensitive data stored in AWS S3 buckets. The tool starts by identifying sensitive data in your buckets, such as personally identifiable information or personal health information, through discovery jobs. You can also automate these jobs by scheduling ahead jobs to monitor new data added to your buckets. After Macie finds sensitive data, it continuously evaluates buckets complete with alerts for when a bucket is unencrypted, is publicly accessible, or is shared with AWS accounts outside of your company.
3. Amazon GuardDuty
Amazon GuardDuty uses machine learning to look for malicious activity in your AWS environments. The service combines your CloudTrail event logs, VPC Flow Logs, S3 event logs, and DNS logs to continuously monitor and analyze all activity. GuardDuty identifies issues such as privilege escalation, exposed credentials, and communication with malicious IP addresses and domains. Pricing is based on the amount of data assessed, so costs increase linearly as your AWS environments grow. This is key to scaling infrastructure while relying on machine learning, instead of manually assessing environments.
4. AWS Config
AWS Config records and continuously evaluates your AWS resource configuration. This includes keeping a historical record of all changes to your resources, which is useful for compliance with legal requirements and your organization’s policies. Config is configured per region, so it’s essential to enable AWS Config in all regions to ensure all resources are recorded, including in regions where you don’t expect to create resources.
AWS Config assesses new and existing resources against rules that validate certain configurations. For example, if all EC2 volumes must be encrypted, AWS Config can detect non-encrypted volumes and send a notification. In addition, it can also execute remediation actions such as encrypting the volume or deleting it.
5. AWS Security Hub
AWS Security Hub combines information from all the above services in a central view. By collecting data from all security services from multiple AWS accounts and regions, companies have a complete view of their AWS security posture. In addition, Security Hub supports collecting data from third-party security products. Security Hub is essential to providing your security team with all the information they may need at the click of a dashboard.
AWS has an abundance of security services, making it a challenge to pick the right one for your specific needs. Identifying vulnerabilities is only a portion of AWS security, aside from updating your policy and practices to reflect 2021 requirements.
Work with Stratus10 to ensure your cloud assets are protected and built to scale. Utilizing AWS security tools will provide valuable insight into your AWS account and application security, but the majority of security incidents stem from misconfiguration and outdated policies. Stratus10 can help you automate security into your cloud environment, or take care of application security and updates with our Managed DevOps service so you can focus on high-level innovation.
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