7 Best Practices for Managing Security Operations on AWS

Building compliant applications on AWS require that you understand and meet core security and compliance requirements. This will involve learning how to operate securely in the cloud, paying close attention to data locality, confidentiality, and protection. However, many people have a difficult time identifying the best practices for managing security operations.

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Here are a few patterns you can follow to make the most of Amazon Web Services and achieve success in the cloud:

Understand the boundary

One of the primary roles of security operations is to protect core cloud assets and infrastructure hosted on Amazon Web Services. To identify what these assets are, you should understand permissions boundaries and the role they play in limiting how people interact with AWS. Everything that falls within the specific space will need to be protected, which involves minimizing the impact of things going wrong, including hacking, operational failure, and bugs. It also entails separating the different parts of your enterprise to control risks in isolation for each segment and data classification. However, even as you do this, you will want to have room for flexibility, agility, and innovation. 

Consistent controls

When you have many AWS accounts, you need to be consistent in deploying your security controls. Converting these controls to code is a great way of ensuring you become more agile and implement them more effectively. Converting the controls to code also allows you to deploy them multiple times across your numerous accounts. AWS Organizations is a service that lets you control access to your accounts, determine what can be done in the accounts, and ensure consistency. 

Test often, fail early

Once you have converted your security controls to code, you can start doing tests with the structure of your AWS account. When testing networks in traditional settings, most people rely on samples to determine if a small set of the infrastructure meets the baseline or launching a battery of tests. A code-based approach allows you to test your network in standardized phases and in a way that is specific to your organization. These include the commit phase, acceptance phase, capacity phase, and production phase. 

Closed-loop mechanisms

When it comes to building the security controls themselves, you may want to focus on three principles: control, monitor, and fix. Control is basically the mechanism that drives a secure outcome while monitoring lets you determine if the control is operating as it should and without anomalies. In the event that you identify something that is not operating as you expected, you should take action to fix it. Ideally, this process should be done in an automated fashion. 

Full-stack

In addition to focusing on the platform and networking aspects, it is also important to make sure that the process of deploying security controls is full-stack. Added security for the data objects stored in your buckets is a great way to manage security operations on AWS. You will want to look at what is happening at all the resources at all levels, such as the network, operating system, and data protection. Part of this involves using encryption to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance. 

Practice

When using AWS, there are times when things will not go as you expect. You should practice for when things go south and find effective ways of responding to them to give you more ideas on managing security operations in the cloud. 

Visibility

Visibility should be a critical piece when managing AWS infrastructure security. In essence, centralizing what is happening in different AWS accounts will benefit both your security operations team and developers. Once you have the visibility, you should remember to audit continuously to ensure you are within compliance. 

Adhering to best practices will go a long way in helping you stay secure in the AWS cloud. These tips are designed to help you make the most of AWS services.

Symphonica allows you to integrate your BSS to any network access technology with a few clicks, and easily design custom automated provisioning workflows. No coding required.

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