As you think about your business and its IT infrastructure, you want to make sure that the systems in place are secure. It’s important to remember that security is a process and not an event. You will need to continuously monitor your security practices so they can be adjusted when necessary.
According to Amazon, it has over 1,000,000 active AWS users and is constantly growing. Interestingly, most AWS users are small or medium business owners. AWS is a great cloud service provider that cares a lot about security. They have at least one security engineer in their two pizza teams. As Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said, security is “the job zero” at AWS. Additionally, AWS complies with industry-leading security certifications like PCI DSS Level 1, ISO 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, etc… Also, you can get the results of audit reports using AWS Artifact. This is the highest level of compliance and is achieved only through the Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). AWS provides security tools that provide better overall security compared to traditional data centers and public cloud providers.
However, there are some security issues to be aware of. For the applications you will run on AWS, you need to examine the ‘Shared Responsibility Model’ and do your part. For instance, some are overly permissive S3 bucket permissions and not having logging enabled on all S3 buckets. You should also take precautions to avoid any cyberattacks or data leaks. As an AWS user, it’s important to do an AWS security audit from time to time. This article will help you understand what this security check means.
What is an AWS security audit?
An AWS security audit will help you ensure that your cloud architecture is secured by an expert who has been trained in performing such audits. More than 300 services on AWS run in different geographic tiers with over 8,000 features. In addition, your applications running on AWS can be positioned as private or public. So, you will need to securely locate such many services and features. After completing the work on AWS, you can use the services safely by constantly auditing this architecture. It is not possible to do this without the help of an expert and control automation. The purpose of an AWS security audit is to ensure that you’re using AWS resources responsibly and by its rules—for example, by not storing sensitive data on any publicly accessible storage device or network connection.
What are the benefits of AWS security audit?
AWS security audit helps you understand the security issues of your AWS infrastructure and identify and resolve vulnerabilities. Also, you can get some knowledge about which AWS Security Service can be integrated with your infrastructure. In addition, these results can reduce your AWS bill and improve your application’s performance.
- Ensure Compliance; An audit will allow you to ensure that you are compliant with your organization’s standards like ISO 27001. Without knowing how your AWS services are performing, you cannot be sure that you are following the regulations that apply to you.
- Troubleshoot Issues; With an audit, you can discover and troubleshoot security and operational issues. It will show you the history of changes in your account to see where the problems are originating from. Users will have a better experience and you can rest assured that your account will work properly.
- Improve your application performance; You can also improve your performance when trying to fix security issues. For example, if you put an API Gateway in front of your API instance, you can get benefit from edge-optimized endpoints. So, you can increase your customers’ satisfaction meanwhile.
- Build Solution Roadmap; Once you understand where the problems in your system are coming from, you can begin to address them. Auditing allows you to create a resolution roadmap to resolve user issues and continue to get the most out of your AWS account.
- Always be sure of the configurations; You should regularly audit your security. This is not a one-time job. Part of making sure your system is secure is paying attention to problems or loopholes in your security. Amazon also recommends performing a security check after changes to your system. For example, if you add or remove software, do a security audit later.
When To Conduct an AWS Security Audit
- Periodically! It is very important to include auditing as a regular security practice. For instance, you can execute a security audit quarterly and be sure about your configurations.
- Conduct an audit and review permissions when terminating any AWS services or removing/adding any AWS feature. Remove unwanted/unneeded permissions from users.
- When someone leaves the organization, conduct a security audit. It is important to remove their access to AWS.
- If any suspicious activity comes to your attention, do an audit.
How to conduct an AWS security audit?
You can conduct an AWS Security Audit by reviewing various elements of the AWS Services. There are more than 300+ AWS services and 8000+ unique features that make AWS the first choice in the market. The best way to do it is automation with AWS specialized Security Engineer. The expert can explain the findings to you in your language. But let’s check some AWS fundamental services and mobile application audit points with some examples.
Audit Identity Access Management (IAM)
Make a list of people using your system to audit IAM. You might update your roles and responsibilities matrix. Then divide the user or access key list into two categories: active and inactive. Active users can be users who have logged in within the last two weeks to eight weeks or even days. Depending on your criteria, when the investigation is finished, delete the accounts of inactive users or inactive access keys. You can do it automation as well.
You should perform another IAM check on security credentials. If there are any leaks of passwords, work e-mail addresses, or the security database, delete these data. Change your passwords often and enforce them to become stronger. You can check the following:
- Permanently defined access keys,
- IAM Policy conditions,
- MFA/2FA for the console and CLI access,
- IAM Access Analyzer,
- Directly attached policies to user or user groups,
- And so on.
Audit Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
Auditing a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) includes customizing unique configurations for each AWS environment. For example, production configurations should not be the same as test configurations.
You can fully configure the following:
- A predefined IP address is set for each network segment at different stages.
- A unique subnet mask for each network segment at different stages.
- VPC endpoint usage with proper AWS Services like S3 or DynamoDB.
- VPC Peering or Transit Gateway configuration for multi-VPC or multi-region infrastructures,
- And so on.
Audit Simple Storage Service (S3)
To audit AWS’s developer-friendly object storage service S3, check the following:
- Only give important HTTP commands, such as DELETE, to authorized users,
- Enable versioning in the S3 bucket,
- Enable logging in the S3 bucket,
- Use CloudFront for public access,
- And so on.
Mobile application that requests AWS for Backend API
If you have mobile apps in the cloud, every app will need an audit to make sure it’s safe. Use this checklist to audit mobile apps:
- Make sure your mobile app doesn’t have an access key. Despite the encryption of access keys, they are still perilous in mobile applications.
- Eliminate all persistent credentials for your mobile app. Replace them with temporary credentials that allow you to change security keys frequently.
- Make sure your mobile app supports Multi-Factor Authentication with Authy or Google Authenticator.
- Enable SSO methods for users using popular identity providers like Amazon Cognito, Google, Facebook, or Okta.
AWS is a popular and innovative public cloud provider that many companies use. However, it is essential to implement proper security practices to keep your business running smoothly. You can manually audit the security configuration of your AWS on your own. However, when there are so many services and features, doing this without automation will take time and prevent you from focusing on your product. We can say that some things are better left to the experts. You can get effective AWS security facts from experts who can explain the details of needed improvements. We have such an AWS Security Review Tool and audit system with over 300 tests, developed by a team of security experts with comprehensive experience at CloudMetrik. From network systems to business logic, CloudMetrik’s tool checks all avenues of your approach and provides a comprehensive report for an in-depth understanding of your security standards.