With over a million customers to date, there isn’t any question that Amazon Web Services (AWS) serves as the current market leader for on-demand cloud services. The cloud has come a long way. When it was still new, over a decade ago, many organizations were hesitant to migrate to the cloud due to a lack of perceived security. However, AWS has kept on top of persistent cyber threats ensuring that your cloud-based data, services, and infrastructure are safeguarded.

Does Amazon Web Services come with risks?

Concerning AWS cyber security, it is run on a Shared Security Responsibility paradigm.. Thus, AWS aligns with your current cyber security protocols ensuring your infrastructure is as safe as you need it.

While your on-premises systems may have a peripheral network that analyzes data and a hierarchical structure, AWS allows every instance to interact with the Internet. So, it is an exposed application structure, which means it’s crucial for you to enhance security. What does that mean? Well, it incorporates patching, firewalls, network security, and anything else you deem necessary.

In addition, it’s always essential to consistently manage every end-user who accesses AWS. Therefore, it is critical to employ a model with privileged access management relative to the need and level of the end-users. The easiest targets are often outdated accounts with old login credentials. However, it’s easier to manage AWS with an experienced managed Amazon Web Services provider.

AWS best practices

A few years ago, Amazon shared a detailed document describing their suggested best practices, including the following listed below.

Think of security at every layer. Instead of using just one firewall to secure all of your virtual networks, be sure to use virtual firewalls on every network that you create.

Fortunately, you can encrypt every sensitive data file that you send through your AWS environment. You can also encrypt your data on-site before transmitting to your AWS deployment.

Make sure that every activity is traceable and that you manage privileges meticulously. You should be able to see which users did what on your systems. Be strict with access controls and have authentication. Only a few trusted people should be able to access the root and modify settings at that level.

Your virtual servers have customized image templates. When you’re ready to launch a new server, you can access reusable templates each time you configure an EC2 instance. Further, your security settings are already incorporated.

Keep track of all actions, modifications, and points of exit and entry in your AWS deployments. Not only should you be able to tell who did what on your cloud platform, but you should also create alerts to warn you of unusual activities.

You can also store the encryption keys behind your own firewall and just use Amazon’s hardware security module to make sure that they work properly. Data key caching is a recent introduction from AWS which offers benefits such as reduced latency, but there are some security tradeoffs to consider.

Perform regular audits to ensure regulatory compliance. AWS offers a robust suite of Compliance Resources, including an auditing security checklist which helps businesses perform self-audits to ensure that regulatory requirements are met. If you don’t have the time or the resources to do so, a managed Amazon Web Services vendor can help.

AWS tools

Amazon has a variety of security tools available to help implement the aforementioned AWS security best practices. Here are the top AWS security tools:

CloudTrail allows you to monitor your systems by recording the API requests used to manage SDK deployments, management consoles, accounts, services, and command lines. With these event logs, you can troubleshoot incidents and simplify compliance auditing.

AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) allows you to create custom rules to keep your agile developments secure from common attacks such as SQL injections and XSS. Amazon Inspector gives you security evaluations for your applications and looks for vulnerabilities.

Amazon Cognito is used for identity management. It can detect brute force authentication, as well as fraudulent login attempts. Amazon Cognito works with third party services such as Microsoft Active Directory, Google and Facebook, allowing you to specify additional validation methods.

CloudHSM helps you generate encryption keys using managed hardware security modules, or HSMs, stored on your AWS deployments.

CloudFront is Amazon’s content delivery network. It protects your applications from DDoS attacks and allows you to transfer data securely at high speeds.

How to choose the right AWS solution

With the help of your Amazon web services provider, you can more easily manage your systems in the cloud. How to choose the right features for your organization? Keep reading to learn more.

Search for a vendor that can help you to simplify policy management. It should be straightforward to mitigate any gaps that can increase cyber risks. It’s vital to select a solution that can work to secure your data with consistent policies to match your objectives.

Maintain visibility and control. To be able to effectively audit and control compliance, choose a solution that allows total visibility and control. Ideally, a security solution will provide the visibility necessary for identifying sensitive data in the cloud and then implement automated, immediate responses to keep your organization in compliance.

Consistent logging and reporting. The right AWS solution will provide detailed logging and reporting so you can search for patterns. By using the patterns and trends you find, you can then modify your security protocols as needed.

Context, system, and user awareness. A security solution should be context-, system-, and user-aware to more effectively identify and block suspicious behavior and protect your data without interrupting the flow of operations.

Easy integration. Choose a security solution that integrates with AWS to make the process painless.

Automatic response to user activity. Choose a cloud security solution that automatically prompts or blocks user activity based on context, logs the event, and audits the activity for forensic analysis.

While Amazon has helped lower security risks by publishing best practices and developing a suite of tools, you must also enforce the proper controls and protocols and manage your users to secure your data and applications. Further, implementing a third-party cloud security solution will help ensure compliance and unify your cloud and on-premise policies and initiatives to achieve maximum security for your organization. e

How does App Runner impact Amazon Web Services?

Is App Runner the right containerized application solution?

Introduced in May 2021, AWS App Runner is a managed container service for the cloud. Its principal use cases are web applications and APIs. Like its cousins, DigitalOcean App Platform, Heroku, or Google Cloud Run, AWS doesn’t want you worrying about scaling or infrastructure while using their service.

AWS App Runner allows end-users to run containers without issue. In the background, App Runner runs on Amazon ECS Cluster and Fargate to execute your containers. But you don’t need to know anything about either of those services to use App Runner.

AWS is useful for large developers, but it also offers many features beneficial for small developers, such as:

  • Build service: Either build AWS images from code, or you can submit customized versions.
  • Persistent URLs: Each environment is assigned a randomly-generated URL. Additionally, you can map these URLs to designated domains of your choice.
  • Load balancing: Included is a non-configurable and transparent load balancer.
  • SSL enabled: Stop renewing certificates now that AWS-managed certificates provide HTTPs endpoints for every application.
  • Simple autoscaling: Configure minimum and maximum limits. Further, as demand fluctuates, instances will execute or pause accordingly.

App Runner can run in two modes. In build mode, AWS pulls code from GitHub and builds the application on every change. In container mode, it deploys Docker-compatible images from public or private AWS ECR registries.

By narrowing down the use-case, App Runner offers a streamlined approach. When you use the source code option, your configuration file only needs to define a few things around runtime, build commands, and deploy commands… things that will look very familiar to any DevOps engineer and most developers. A simple config file could be as small as 8 lines of YAML.

Even a more complex use-case is only 10’s of lines of code and critically, that extra complexity is relevant to your application. It’s not AWS stuff that makes their service more powerful but without being relevant to your use-case. Even without spending much time on configuration, you can still get all the features you need in a standard web application. In fact, it comes built-in with high availability, security, auto-scaling, and a load-balanced endpoint.

Choose Amazon Web Services with App Runner today

Cloud computing provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet. Amazon Web Services – AWS allows you to purchase what you need on-demand and does not require minimum commitments or upfront costs. With managed Amazon Web Services, you can enjoy the following:

  • Increased speed and agility
  • Have more time to focus on the business rather than on infrastructure
  • Innovative components
  • Security in-and-of the cloud
  • Advanced capacity planning
  • Worldwide footprint
  • Complete solutions including database, network, storage, and other AWS features.
  • Reduced TCO

Does App Runner impact Amazon Web Services? Absolutely, if you want to run managed container services. Partner with SSI today, and follow the AWS magic.