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How do I secure Amazon Web Services?

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Amazon web services (AWS) can seem very daunting, however securing an S3 bucket, an EC2 instance or any AWS service for that matter comes down to the three essential tools of AWS security.

Firstly, AWS provides an Identity Access Management (IAM) service that manages access from human users and API-specific accounts to all AWS services. An IAM account starts on a least-privilege basis, meaning that any access to any service must be specified by the administrator. Human IAM accounts can also require multi-factor authentication (MFA), and a whole host of other security constraints that keeps it out of the hands of malicious actors.

Secondly, AWS Key Management Service (KMS) enables any storage to be encrypted by AWS Encryption SDK without the hassle of understanding cryptography. Any sensitive or personal data being held on an S3 bucket or any other integrated service should be encrypted, and this service enables that with ease. AWS CloudTrail is heavily integrated to track activity so administrators can see exactly what is happening with their encrypted data.

Third and lastly, setting up your AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is essential to upholding high availability and separation of assets. Keeping different AWS services in different security groups within the VPC lets you keep tighter security controls for services such as databases or an S3 bucket compared to lighter security controls for a front-end website. It also lets you monitor and log connections using AWS CloudWatch and VPC Flow Logs.

Amazon also provides other security tools to analyse your solution and provide feedback. AWS Trusted Advisor can provide real-time guidance on your security posture as well as other feedback for issues such as fault tolerance and cost efficiency. AWS Macie makes protecting private and sensitive data easy by using machine learning to discover and protect such data.

If you would like help securing your AWS assets, we can help! Send us an enquiry at [email protected] to get started.

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