Security is one of the main concerns for all those who manage or think about taking the trip into the cloud computing world. These concerns are completely legit since more and more threats are being launched into the internet every day, threats that can compromise the sensitive data of a business or even bring down the whole infrastructure over which websites and web apps are found. That’s why it is so important to implement the best practices for adding security into your cloud infrastructure.
In this blog, we will focus on providing an overview of security best practices that can be implemented on your AWS cloud infrastructure so that you can ensure its integrity and full availability, at the same time that you comply with HIPAA and PCI international standards.
Best Practice 1: Identify, define and categorize your information assets.
The first step when opting to implement AWS security best practices is to identify all the information assets that you need to protect (application data, users data, code, applications) and then define an efficient and cost effective approach for securing them from internal and external threats.
After that, it is recommended to categorize all the information assets into:
- Essential information assets, such as business related information, internal specific processes and other data from strategic activities.
- Components/elements that support the essential information assets, such as hardware infrastructure, software packages, personnel roster and partnerships.
Once information assets have been identified and categorized, we can move into designing our Information Security Management System (ISMS).
Best Practice 2: Design an effective Information Security Management System (ISMS) to protect your assets.
An ISMS is a security assurance entity defined on ISO 27001 standard, which establishes the set of processes that should be followed to:
Best Practice 3: Implement a secure and efficient strategy for AWS accounts, IAM users, groups and roles management.
When dealing on granting user permissions and privileges, the most important thing to consider is to ensure that every user has only the proper access to needed resources. You can use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to help perform this function.
What security strategies can I follow when managing my AWS accounts?
- If you manage production, development and testing environments by separate, then is highly recommended to create an AWS account for production services, one for development, and one for testing. Since users on these environments perform different activities, they shouldn’t manage the same level of permissions.
- If your organization lies in multiple autonomous department structures, then it is recommended to create separate AWS accounts for each independent department of your organization. You can assign permissions and policies under each account.
- If you wish to keep a centralized security management function with multiple independent projects, then you can create a single AWS account for common project resources (such as DNS services, Active Directory, CMS, etc.).Then create separate AWS accounts per project. You can assign permissions and policies under each project account and grant access to resources across accounts.
And, what about my IAM users and groups?
When we want to implement a secure IAM user management, we need to:
When we want to implement security best practices on IAM groups, we need to:
Best Practice 4: Secure your EC2 instances.
EC2 instances could be considered as the most critical component of your AWS infrastructure since they provide the resources for your apps and sites to keep them up with good performance. This is why it is so important for them to have the proper level of security implemented.
Here are some good principles that can be applied on EC2 instances for adding security:
Now, regarding the network security for EC2 instances, the next practices are recommended:
Other recommended practices:
Best Practice 5: Secure your data at rest.
It is recommended that you secure your data at rest on your AWS infrastructure to protect it against filtering or lost. In order to protect your data in rest, the next best practices are recommended:
- Add permissions to your S3 buckets.
- Implement versioning for all objects.
- Backup all your data at rest.
- Use server-side encryption for your data.
Best practice 6: Secure your Infrastructure.
1. Use Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
On short terms, a private cloud consists of several private networks which use different private IP’s that are not routable on the internet. This kind of infrastructure only allows access and traffic to a determined set of users, granting protection to the data and other resources.
2. Use Security Zoning and Network Segmentation
It is a security best practice to segment infrastructure into zones that impose similar security controls.
Some recommendations when opting to build network segments are:
3. Strengthen Network Security
Best practices for network security in the AWS cloud include the following:
AWS security best practices for HIPAA and PCI compliance
1. It is recommended to encrypt and protect your data in transit and storage through:
2. It is very important to run audits, configure backups and implement Disaster Recovery strategies so:
Now you have learned about some of the best practices for adding and ensuring security on your AWS infrastructure, as well as ensuring compliance with HIPAA and PCI standards. If you still have some doubts or you’re thinking of applying some of these practices, we can help you.
Here on ClickIT Smart Technologies, we are compromised on offering our customers the best security solutions that protect their AWS assets, which will guarantee that their websites and applications will have high availability and performance. So, feel free to contact us, and we will design the best security approach for your AWS infrastructure that will help you to accomplish your business expectations and goals.