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AWS Security Best Practices Guide

Conducting a regular security review on your AWS infrastructure is a critical step in safeguarding your cloud infrastructure. Reviewing your infrastructure as a whole as part of your operational cadence is a great proactive measure and ensures that your configurations align with security best practices. The below guide can function as a AWS security checklist and help you spot areas that need your attention.

1. Identity and Access Management (IAM)

  • Use IAM to control access and create individual IAM users.
  • Adhere to the Least Privilege Principle.
  • Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for all accounts.
  • Rotate Credentials Regularly with strong, complex passwords or keys.
  • Use IAM Roles for EC2 Instances instead of storing credentials.

2. Secure Your AWS Resources

  • Restrict access with security groups and limit inbound traffic.
  • Use NACLs and Subnets for a layered network defense.
  • Implement resource-based policies with AWS Resource Policies.
  • Encrypt data at rest and in transit, ensure that RDS instances have encryption enabled.

3. Monitor and Log

  • Enable AWS CloudTrail on all accounts and regions to log API activity.
  • Use AWS Config to monitor and record compliance of your AWS resources.
  • Analyze and monitor logs with Amazon CloudWatch or SIEMs.
  • Enable VPC Flow Logs to capture IP traffic information.

4. Network Security and Firewall

  • Use Amazon VPC for secure networking environments.
  • Protect applications with AWS WAF and Shield.

5. Incident Response

  • Have an incident response plan that includes AWS resources.
  • Enable AWS GuardDuty for threat detection.
  • Regularly take snapshots and back up instances and databases.
  • Automate responses to security incidents with AWS Lambda.

6. Compliance and Audit

  • Get on-demand access to compliance documentation with AWS Artifact.
  • Audit your AWS environment with AWS Trusted Advisor.
  • Leverage AWS’s certifications for compliance.

7. Regular Updates and Patching

  • Apply patches regularly and keep services up to date.
  • Utilize Amazon Inspector for vulnerability assessments.

8. Data Protection

  • Implement a comprehensive backup strategy with AWS Backup.
  • Manage encryption keys with AWS Key Management Service (KMS).

9. Separation of Environments

  • Use multiple accounts for separation between development, staging, and production.
  • Enforce security with service control policies in AWS Organizations.

10. Awareness and Training

  • Ensure your team is trained on AWS security mechanisms and best practices.
  • Stay updated with the latest AWS security announcements.

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