Certifications / Cloud

AWS & Security: What You Need to Know

by Brandon Krieger
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Published on July 8, 2016

Do you know how Amazon Web Services (AWS) security works?

Before you decide to use AWS, you need to understand what AWS's shared responsibility model is and what security AWS wants you to be responsible for.

Many companies are moving to cloud services for many of their needs including IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service). One of the main reasons why companies are transitioning over to cloud services is because it's more cost effective to have another company to host and maintain the hardware required to run these services.

Cloud services companies will look after the costs of servers, hard drives, connectivity to the servers, and even hydro costs and much more. For the services, expertise, and lower costs we are seeing more companies offering different cloud services.

The three biggest companies offering cloud services are Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and AWS. Amazon Web Services started in the spring of 2006, and now, 10 years later, it is one of the top three cloud services companies and is widely used by many businesses of all different sizes.

If you are looking to manage cloud service(s) for your business, it's a good idea for you to learn, as well as understand how Amazon Web Services works. Training will help you plan your cloud solution, deploy, and maintain the cloud services you need. Once you have a plan in place, you need to know how to properly secure AWS for your business, and that means using the AWS shared responsibility model.

What is the shared responsibility model? Think of it this way. When AWS decommissions old storage devices in accordance with the latest industry standards, and controls physical access to data centers, you would be required to take care of securing the root credentials, assigning security groups, editing access control list policies, and performing identity management.

In other words, you will need to take full responsibility for any security breaches on your Amazon Web Services, according to this model.

This is why it is important for you to learn how AWS works inside and out as well as learn how to secure properly and maintain your Amazon Web Services. This is essential especially with different AWS threats out there like:

  • Application Permission Traditional vs. AWS Options: Amazon implemented what is called "Amazon Metadata Services." Usually, when your application would request access to a service, the developer would have to hardcode the passwords into the different services. Now with Amazon Meta, the application can query the metadata service to receive temporary access credentials.

  • AWS "Metadata Service" Attack Surface: This attack is when a hacker compromises the "Metadata Service," which can potentially give root access to the IAM account if the AWS administrator has not hardened AWS properly.

  • Security Configurations to AWS: Amazon services let you create custom machine images, as well as preconfigured environments for the servers you set up.

You need to do your due diligence and learn the essentials of Amazon Web Services so you can properly configure AWS for your business and your clients. While you are learning Amazon Web Services, make sure you are focused on security and plan out your security policies, permissions, and reporting.

For more information about Amazon Web Services check out Jeremy Cioara's AWS courses.


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