The Amazon Web Services (AWS) has evolved rapidly into a vast platform including variety of services that is capable of handling large volumes of data, traffic, requests and applications. But at the same time AWS also ensures that the data and sensitive information that the business organizations are trusting it with are highly secured as well as accessible to authorized to everyone with right set of credentials. In order to offer secured to access to various services and data instances, AWS offers Identity and Access Management (IAM) which is useful in defining policies, configuration of rules, managing different identities and roles to access the data and maintaining different layers of secured access. There are two options in AWS IAM, one the free version while the other is a Privileged Access Management (PAM) that is highly demanded and used by enterprise customers.
As the support provided by AWS for IAM comes with no additional charges so as part of AWS instances, however in other cloud service platforms it is additional service that is charged as each instance. The AWS IAM has been designed to support the basic level of authentication and authorization which is essential for all the business customers. However, if you are dealing with highly sensitive data then you would like to choose Privileged Access Management (PAM) for large enterprises. The IAM system can seamlessly integrated with the legacy business systems like the HR systems, directories, database, etc., at API level.
In simple words AWS as well as other cloud platform providers offer enough IAM capabilities that is comes with enough security levels that can help majority of organizations to get their business processes up and running in their respective homogeneous cloud platforms. However for more complex and sensitive information, there is an option of Privileged Access Management which can be of use to specific organizations. The PAM can also be used over hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
Fact about Privileged Access Security over cloud platform offered by providers like AWS
The process of Shared Responsibility Model is basically assigning the security of the cloud platform itself which includes infrastructure, hardware, software, operating systems, platforms, data, and several other facilities on AWS to the customers. AWS offers IAM basic support which secures customers from privileged credentials abuse in any AWS environment. As per the recent market study of Forrester it is observed that 80% of the breaches that happened are due to the compromised credentials and access abuse.
Below Are the Six Possible Ways to Enhance the Security Level over AWS and Avoid Data Security Breaches
Security level at the AWS Root Accounts and AWS Console
Considering that the root user access of AWS has majority of rights and it is highly recommended to first vault the password of Root User Account. The identification keys and credentials of the user account can be merged with Active Directory to offer a secured login. This will ensure that any user access the login will require the unique key access.
Extending Common Security Systems and Consolidated Identities
The common misconception among most of the cloud professionals is that they require unique security model for IaaS platforms as it resides outside the network perimeter. However, you can use the common security models, identities and privileged user base that you are using for your business center. The conventional security and compliance process can be used for the IaaS platform also.
You can leverage the security infrastructure on-premise and cloud infrastructure, for example, Active Directory to manage and control the cloud access roles with right set of privileges.
Managing Accountability of the Roles
Some of the shared privileged accounts like the EC2 administrator role is completely anonymous and it requires 100% accountability to ensure that it is managed by individual account. The credentials can be managed centrally using the Active Directory combining it with the roles and groups as per AWS.
Offer Judicious Access
Even single additional rights to access the information can lead to unnecessary complications so while assigning the rights ensure it just enough based on the role. Some of the important access roles which should be judiciously managed are AWS management console, AWS services, and AWS instances. You can also implement the cross-platform management of AWS Management console across Linux and Windows server.
Maintain Complete Audit of Everything
You would like to maintain a complete log and monitoring process for all the authorized and unauthorized access for all user sessions on AWS. You can also utilize the best services of AWS like CloudTrail and CloudWatch for monitoring all API activities over AWS instances and account.
Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication across platform
Any malicious activity gradually attacks the higher user level data and complete disruption of the system. If you implement Multi-Factor Authentication for AWS on various login and AWS instances, then all your passwords and access will be vaulted.
If you are planning to implement Identity and Access Management (IAM) service on your AWS servers and need the right expertise then get hold of some AWS certified consulting service provider team. With the help of their experience and expertise over the period, you can add the best authentication and security layer that secures your business information. In addition to above 6 ways there are few others which we shall cover in the next post.
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