By: Guest Post
As more business owners and organizations make a shift to cloud-based apps and programs, they need to understand just how many security risks are out there. For most business owners, looking for a platform to host their apps on, using Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a no-brainer.
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These days, the IT environments in small to medium sized businesses are becoming hybrid in nature. Generally, businesses will maintain both onsite and cloud-based infrastructures. Therefore, properly ‘securing Your AWS is a must’. Currently, there are over 1 million enterprise users on AWS. Each of these users face unique challenges when it comes to the health of AWS services that they use.
Read below to find out more about how to properly protect and secure your AWS account.
Focus on Locking Down Your Root Account Credentials
Once you create an AWS account, you will notice that it comes with root account credentials. These credentials can be used to access all the resources available in your account. Most business owners keep these root account credentials intact, which can be very unsafe.
One of the best ways to avoid having your AWS account compromised is by deleting the root access keys and creating an identity and access manage user account. You need to be aware that you will still need the root account access to perform various operations. You can also increase the safety surrounding your AWS login by enabling the multi-factor authentication feature.
Make Use of Security Groups
Using AWS Security Groups will help you with the power to limit access to various administrative services. You need to also restrict access to certain network ranges. By doing this, you can avoid issues involving past employees still having access to your AWS account.
In order to discover and fix security related issues, you will need to use AppOptics + CloudWatch | AppOptics. Failing to continuously monitor your AWS account will only lead to issues in the long run. While you may have to invest both time and money into this type of monitoring, it will be worth it in the long run.
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Properly handling IAM Roles and Temporary Account Credentials
For the most part, IAM roles are used to define the permission levels in your AWS account. If you have an app that runs in EC2, then you will have to get familiar with IAM roles. When launching an EC2 instance, you will have to assign an IAM role to it. This will help to eliminate the headache that comes with needing AWS credentials to make various API requests.
The best part about an IAM role is that you can control the access a person is granted and detail the actions that they are able to perform. Also, if your EC2 is every compromised, you will not have to worry about revoking credentials if you are utilizing the power of IAM roles.
You Need to Use a Virtual Private Cloud
The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud is basically a virtual network that is used to run your AWS account. Most tech entrepreneurs and business owners love this virtual private cloud due to the security related advantages it provides. This network is isolated from other resources, which means that any attack that occurs one of your apps will not affect your program.
Another advantage that comes with using this virtual private cloud is that you can apply access control lists and security groups to it. This means you will have complete control over who accesses this account and what they can do once they are logged in. With this unfettered level of control, you can keep your cloud-based apps and programs safe and efficient.
Think About Using a Bastion Host
While you may not be familiar with what a bastion host is, you may be able to benefit from using one. Basically, a bastion host provides you with access to the deployed Linux instances on your virtual private cloud. With a bastion host, you can eliminate the need decentralize your SSH to each system the Linux-based app is put on.
Not only can using this type of host help you to deploy apps in a faster manner, it can reduce the threat of attack while simplifying access control of your SSH access. Working with an IT professional is the best way to properly implement and use a bastion host.
Scanning for Vulnerabilities is Essential
Did you realize that you are unable to launch penetration tests or network scans on your AWS infrastructure? To do this, you will need to ask Amazon for their permission. However, you can scan your EC2 instances without this type of permission.
Using a vulnerability scanner on your EC2 instances can help you find holes in your security and fix them before they are used by hackers. Launching authenticated scans is a great way to check for vulnerabilities once you have logged into the system. If there are issues found during these scans, you need to get them fixed right away. Waiting to fix these vulnerabilities can lead to app instability and functionality issues.
Learn How to Protect Against Accidental EC2 Termination
The default settings AWS has in place allows for a new deployed EC2 instance to be terminated by the console it was launched on or the API. The best way to fix this problem is by going to your EC2 instances settings and enabling termination protection.
By doing this, you will be able to steer clear of accidental terminations that have been known to happen on the AWS system in the past. The last thing you want to do is lose all your hard work due to a lack of preparation, which is why changing these settings are a must.
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Load Balancers Are Extremely Helpful
If you are deploying many web workloads, you need to get in the habit of using load balancers. Not only do these load balancers help auto-scale as needed, they will also do things like encrypt your traffic. Utilizing the power of this program will help you avoid security and functionality problems.
While it will take some time to get used to the intricacies of AWS, you will need to stay the course and soak up all the information you can. Leaving the management of your AWS account in someone else’s hands can be disastrous, which is why you will need to take control.
If you wish to discuss your AWS account security at length, speak to one of our experts.