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6 Tips to Achieve a Robust Security Posture in AWS

4 Min. Read

[ Security on AWS — Featured Photo by Pete Linforth from Pixabay ]

AWS provides robust security management controls for cloud workloads. This includes DDoS mitigation, virtual networks for segmentation, identity and access control, and data encryption.

The key to securing cloud environments is using security orchestration and automation, which enables efficient and continuous AWS environment protection.

In this article, we will share with you 6 tips to achieve a robust security posture in AWS.

6 Tips to Achieve a Robust Security

With sophisticated attacks like Solorigate, it is essential to have a strong understanding of how to properly segment, secure, and monitor your cloud estate. Cloud Service Providers offer hundreds of different cloud computing solutions to organizations that allow them to innovate quickly, increase the digital experiences for customers and employees, and reduce large outlays in capital for data centers and hardware.

While cloud computing offers amazing benefits, it also introduces risks that security and IT teams must properly manage.

This article discusses the steps you need to take to build robust security for your business needs in Amazon AWS.

1) Understand the AWS Shared Responsibility Model

What is AWS security?

Cloud security is based on the shared responsibility model, which controls which security aspects are the responsibility of AWS, and which are under user responsibility. AWS is responsible for the global security of the cloud. This includes infrastructure components like Availability Zones (AZ), regions, edge locations, as well as storage, compute, and network services. On the other hand, customers should be responsible for the security of the instances they use.

A good understanding of the shared responsibility model allows you to define the security of your environment. By doing so, you can take control of data security and maintain a secure and reliable cloud environment.

2) Understand the Challenges of Cloud Management

Developing an efficient enterprise cloud management strategy enables organizations to improve security and efficiency, simplify operations, and reduce costs.

Here are key cloud management challenges you should be aware of:

* Visibility — lack of visibility into your cloud infrastructure prevents you from monitoring the network, applications, and software running on your environment. Complete visibility eliminates instances of shadow IT and reduces security concerns.

* Compliance and Governance — many organizations deploy cloud systems without a suitable compliance and governance strategy. Lack of compliance and governance can result in data breaches and serious financial loss.

* Consistent Security Policy — organizations must be vigilant when it comes to continuously securing every aspect of their environment. Consistent cloud security requires regularly configuring the right network and Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies and fixing misconfigured ports and services.

* Cost management and optimization — AWS costs can quickly spiral out of control, and shadow IT deployments can create both cost and security risks. Gaining visibility and control over resources in your AWS cloud is critical for effective governance.

3) Understand the Key Considerations for Cloud Security

Cloud security is essentially different from on-premises security. Traditional approaches that are based on network gateway firewalls are not effective in the cloud. To secure your cloud workloads, you have to address the following aspects:

* Network traffic segmentation — segmentation allows you to split networks into subnetwork segments. The goal is to control traffic between workloads while preventing lateral movement of threats.

* Visibility into assets — visibility is critical when moving data to the cloud or between clouds. Monitoring your environment allows you to react to threats in real-time.

* Role-based access controls — you should leverage services that support the enforcement of role-based protections like role authorization, role assignment, and transaction authorization.

* Automated security assessment — automation enables you to actively protect yourself against data loss and get actionable vulnerability alerts.

4) Simplify Your Data Governance Policies

Usually, security and compliance teams define the compliance rules in a cloud environment and developers execute them.

Simplify Data Governance Policies
Simplify Data Governance Policies

Transparency is critical to the accurate execution of policies and the full coverage of cloud workload security. Make sure that all people involved understanding these policies by using appropriate tools.

5) Implement Network Microsegmentation

Microsegmentation restricts exposure of sensitive assets, to establish a tighter security perimeter and minimize breaches.

Developers can use AWS segmentation capabilities to define traffic boundaries in accounts, security groups, and virtual private clouds (VPCs).

You can also isolate and limit the traffic to specific parts of your application. For instance, each application goes into its own VPC, while each application tier goes into a separate security group.

6) Implement Active Protection

Data backups, log monitoring, and alerting are not enough to keep your workloads compliant and secure.

Here are some tips for a more proactive approach to AWS security:

Defining fine-grained IAM controls
According to the principle of least privilege (POLP), users should only have the privileges they need for their specific role. By identifying who can access specific applications or services, you can protect your workloads from user error and malicious intent. The more specific, the lower the risk.

Restricting Security Configuration Changes
When AWS security settings are out of control, this weakens your security posture and creates vulnerabilities over time. Administrators must severely limit who can change security settings. It is also critical to monitor and audit all changes to a cloud configuration, identify anomalies, and roll back to the last known good state if needed.

Enable just in time access
Administrators should lock down network ports and services with specific IAM privileges and enable time-limited privileges for specific maintenance operations. This can mitigate many severe threat scenarios, such as compromised accounts that can modify Route53 entries or delete S3 buckets.


AWS enables you to instantly provision resources and scale your business quickly. Don’t let security lag behind provisioned resources. Security needs to be up-to-date, consistent, and always-on.

One way of achieving these goals is security automation. Automation ensures that your protection scales with the environments it protects. In addition, automation eliminates vulnerabilities caused by human error as part of AWS security fundamentals.

Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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