Organizations around the world are embracing the benefits of shifting their workloads, apps, and services to Amazon Web Services (AWS®) and other popular cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers. Gartner® predicts that of the global enterprises already using cloud today, over half will have an all-in approach to the cloud by 2021 .
At the same time, cloud security concerns continue to rise. According to a 2018 Cloud Security Report from Cybersecurity Insiders, 91% of respondents are concerned about cloud security, an increase of 11% over last year’s report. While security concerns haven’t slowed down the migration of workloads to the cloud, by examining these in detail, we can learn how to avoid making costly mistakes that leave our data exposed.
The truth is the top 3 biggest security concerns are all based on operational error. The bad news is, left exposed, these mistakes provide huge gaps an attacker can walk right through. Because of that, continuous security monitoring of your AWS assets, configuration, and infrastructure is essential. The good news? You can fix these, and we’ll tell you how.
Top 3 AWS security concerns
1. Platform Misconfiguration
Experience is one of the best ways to gain knowledge. As enterprises move their critical workloads into the cloud, many gain experience via a steep learning curve. One that may also result in a few configuration errors along the way. The hope is they realize the error of their ways before an attacker does. In the meantime, security monitoring will catch it in near-real time. AWS offers a number of security features, from identity and access management (IAM) to security zones to multi-factor authentication to encryption (just to name a few).
For a new administrator, it may become a bit overwhelming to get all the details completely right. Some organizations have learned by trial and error, and unfortunately, those errors have included leaving Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets unsecured, exposing sensitive data to the world wide web. Attackers know that stolen personally identifiable information (PII) is valuable and can be sold on the black market to cyber criminals to be repurposed in identity theft, fraud, and other nefarious ways.
2. Unauthorized access
No matter how many security controls you may have in place, once an attacker has a set of authorized credentials, they can do a significant amount of damage under the guise of an authorized user.
Credentials have enormous value—especially privileged ones with root and domain levels of access. Monitoring privileged access and privilege escalation activity within your AWS workloads is essential. By actively monitoring privileged account access and activities, you’ll be able to detect abnormal and suspicious behavior, such as direct and frequent downloads from a database housing customer data.
3. Insecure interfaces and APIs
Without application programming interfaces (APIs), it would be nearly impossible to achieve all the benefits that cloud platforms like AWS offer. By automating and enabling data transfer and use among disparate services, these interfaces unlock enormous scalability and efficiency gains.
At the same time, if APIs are not carefully coded and configured, they pose significant security risks in terms of confidentiality, integrity, availability, and accountability. Continuous monitoring of your AWS workloads and periodic vulnerability scans of your AWS environment will alert you to critical gaps that need attention.
As organizations around the world shift their workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS®) and other popular cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers, concerns about cloud security continue to rise. According to a 2018 Cloud Security Report from Cybersecurity Insiders, 91% of respondents are concerned about cloud security, an increase of 11% over last year’s report.
This report will examine a number of these concerns in detail, and specifically address how to avoid making costly mistakes that can leave data exposed.
- The 3 biggest concerns in cloud security
- What steps to take to fix these concerns
- Best practices for AWS security