7 Basic AWS Security Practices You Should Follow
Many users rely on the AWS cloud service. Throughout this article, we will discuss seven basic AWS security practices that your website needs to stay protected.
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The cloud services of AWS (Amazon Web Services) have always been the top choice since its first introduction in 2006 as a subsidiary to Amazon. As the world is moving towards digitalization, protecting cloud services is becoming more and more important. Recently, AWS was on the news regarding multiple data leaks because of unsecured S3 buckets. If you are using AWS cloud service then this article is for you. Through this article, we will discuss some of the best AWS security practices that your website needs.
Basic AWS Security Practices To Follow
The first step most of the newcomers to AWS take in solving the issue that made them choose AWS in the first place. For example, they will try to first set-up their account or create their storage solution. But we recommend first safeguard your AWS. When you set up an AWS account, you specify an email address and password to get access to the management console of your AWS account. Here is a list of the few basic AWS security practices that you should follow:
1. Create Strong Passwords
This is possibly the most important and most talked-about security practice of all time. We have often come across cases where user accounts were hacked and sites were compromised because of weak passwords. Statistics show that more than 42% of the security breaches in 2020 were because of bad passwords. To create a strong password, NIST recommends 8-64 characters or a passphrase with a combination of uppercase & lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. Or, you can follow AWS security guidelines of setting a password policy for IAM users. You can also use a password management tool for creating a strong password.
2. Identify Security Requirements For Your AWS Account
It is not possible to protect anything with half information. You need to sort out your website’s security requirements. Therefore, identify the assets of your organization and divide them into different categories according to their purpose.
3. Assign the Assets To Proper Security Classifications
After the proper identification, the next wise step is to assign each asset or a category of assets to a security classification based on the importance of related data and capabilities.
4. Manage Files and Folders Permissions
It is not necessary to open access to all files and folders. For example, non-admin users do not need access to the admin area or core files. Users with higher privilege than necessary are more susceptible to attacks. You must be aware of identity theft. Well, the same can happen to your users too. Therefore, remove the special privileges!
While you are at it, do not forget to manage the cloud permissions to your AWS account. Because, as AWS is a cloud service, it is possible to gain access to cloud-based resources without sending overwhelming traffic through your organization’s network.
5. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is used by many popular organizations and websites to add an extra layer of security. In MFA, after you enter your email and password, you will have to answer an additional question that only you know the answer to. The additional questions can be anything ranging from email or phone verification to a personalized question. Watch this video by AWS to get more detailed info on MFA.
6. Manage EC2 instances
If an attacker gains access to your organization’s EC2 instances, they can gain access to the sensitive information and functionalities and use them as they please. For example, they can manipulate these instances to introduce malicious applications and links that can put your organization at risk.
7. Delete Your Account’s Access Keys
Users often create access keys associated with their root account for programmatic access. But, AWS highly recommends against that. So, if you still have one, delete it. You can instead create an IAM user with specified privileges, and use that account to create access keys. For more details on managing access keys, check out this link.
Get Professional Help!
One of the best AWS security practices you can employ is to get help from your internal security team or hire security professionals. Following the above security practices can turn into a disaster if you are not too tech-savvy. Because even a single mistake can put your organization at risk. So, it's better to choose an AWS security solution/service provider who can help you out with all your security-related problems.
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