Best Practices for Container Security on AWS
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The more business is conducted online, the more important cloud security becomes. The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the adoption of virtual tools and platforms, causing a fundamental operational shift for organizations across the world.
As businesses increasingly rely on cloud technologies, there is suddenly more at stake. Expanding operations in the cloud makes security breaches more costly. Subsequently, proactive mitigation becomes more valuable. To proactively bolster your security in the cloud, you must define and reconcile the strengths and limitations of your internal resources, best practices for access and monitoring, disaster recovery procedures, and regulatory compliance (particularly in the healthcare and financial services verticals).
With Amazon Web Services (AWS), responsibility for security is shared between AWS and the customer. The customer is responsible for security in the cloud — such as identity and access management, firewall configuration, and ensuring privacy of customer data — while AWS is responsible for security of the cloud — including both software and hardware.
When it comes to security, teams have three core options: attempt to handle security completely on their own, implement AWS services themselves, or work with a managed cloud service provider to ensure the optimal services are employed properly.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons you should consider working with a managed cloud service provider for your organization’s cloud security.
Cloud security requires expertise many organizations lack, especially as malicious actors employ increasingly sophisticated techniques. Aligning the right skill and knowledge resources often proves challenging and time-consuming, especially where there are major security gaps. You just can’t spin up internal cloud security expertise overnight.
Hiring expert talent can be difficult, and even more so if you don’t already have internal experts capable of onboarding security professionals under a broader strategic vision. The shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals makes it challenging to find an employee who meets your needs. Research from Esmi shows that for every 100 active job postings, there are only 48 qualified candidates, leaving half those companies with their vacancies unfilled.
However, you don't want to try to figure out cloud security as you go. There are too many unknowns and edge cases. Plus, it takes time to build the necessary expertise. You can’t afford to learn from your mistakes: a single, severe breach can sink a company.
The global increase in online business means attackers have more incentive to probe for weaknesses in companies' cloud infrastructure. Errors that allow attackers access are a significant cause of security woes.
Accurics’ Summer 2020 report The State of DevSecOps found that misconfigured cloud storage services were commonplace in 93 percent of analyzed cloud deployments. Most deployments also had at least one network exposure where a security group was left wide open. These two practices alone have been at the center of over 200 breaches that exposed 30 billion records in the past two years.
Security failures are also expensive. Gartner estimates the average cost of IT downtime (which can occur as the result of a breach) can be as expensive as $5,600 per minute. Simply put, organizations can’t afford to get security wrong.
Finally, and crucially, security issues hurt a company’s image. It’s tough to regain consumer confidence lost due to a security failure or data breach.
As hackers go head-to-head with security experts, identifying and exploiting gaps, the cybersecurity landscape remains volatile: a problem exacerbated by the limitations of hiring security specialists in-house. Working with an experienced and successful managed services provider is an efficient, valuable way to harness deep technical knowledge and align your security protocols to best practices.
An effective managed cloud service provider (MCSP) helps ensure your cloud security initiatives are strategic and effective. Their diverse experience, cultivated from many successful client projects across different industries, allows them to quickly develop and implement robust solutions that keep your cloud infrastructure secure, meet industry compliance requirements, and respond to your cloud computing service platform’s specific challenges.
Cloud security service vendors provide a range of best-practice options in security management, including access controls and single sign-on. The least privilege principle, for example, is essential to reduce the risk of cyber attackers gaining access to critical systems or sensitive data by compromising a low-level user account, device, or application. An MCSP can assist with identity and access management (IAM) to define and manage the roles and access privileges of individuals (both employees and applications) and the circumstances in which users are granted (or denied) those privileges.
A good managed service provider gives you real-time data monitoring (RTDM) and uses predictive analytics to identify critical points where your data may be at risk at the earliest possible moment. They employ 24/7 support, so there’s no need for your developer team to draw straws for who gets pager duty.
A managed cloud service is a critical component of business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) planning, including recovering from security problems like data breaches and ransomware. A good plan must include backup procedures, data recovery (mission-critical data in particular), and guidelines for implementation, testing, and maintenance.
A managed cloud service provider can help solidify your website availability and data protection. Many offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) to regularly back up your operating systems, data, files, applications, and configurations. Also, you benefit from uptime guarantees, which deliver both fundamental business value and peace of mind. A good managed cloud service provider also has their own BCDR plan, meaning they can maintain services in the event of a disaster as per their service level agreements (SLAs).
Data privacy is crucial to security protection. If you do business in Europe, you must comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which covers data protection and privacy. A data privacy breach can result in significant fines, legal action, and reputation damage. In the U.S., states such as Nevada, New York, and California implemented their own regulations, with other states expected to follow suit. Equally important are industry-specific regulations, where industries such as finance and healthcare have their own requirements for data privacy, especially sensitive personal data such as medical and biometric records.
Fortunately, using a managed cloud service provider can help keep data private. A managed service means you know where all your data is located, and the people and applications who can access it. A good MCSP ensures your company is protected from privacy breaches wherever you do business and also stays abreast of changes in privacy regulations and best practices.
You need cloud security, but it’s likely not your core competency. Spending internal time and resources on cloud infrastructure and security pulls your focus away from delivering excellence to your customers. Cloud security is complex, with researchers continuously unearthing new security vulnerabilities and threats. It takes significant skill and time to stay informed about these threats and ensure appropriate protection. Effective MCSPs have the knowledge and specialist staff necessary to keep your cloud network secure from unauthorized access.
By working with a managed service to handle cloud infrastructure and security, you’re free to focus on what you do best. You can treat the cloud as infrastructure that enables your business, not as a project you have to personally maintain. Your IT team can focus on work that compliments your company’s efforts to expand, grow, and innovate.
An MCSP has a deep understanding of the cloud environment they support. For example, a vendor that supports AWS can help you determine which AWS security services are most helpful for your workplace, as well as how to implement and operate them effectively and securely. This means in-house staff are not spending their time learning whenever new technologies and upgrades are released. Also, an MCSP has implicit knowledge of how different services work together and can provide a fresh perspective.
Managed cloud service providers not only provide security, but can also make your organization more agile, as you have greater access to elastic scalability, shared resources, and self-servicing. Greater agility can result in easier deployments and accelerated time to market for new products and updates.
Security is a critical component of any cloud computing service. As more companies move their essential data online and into the cloud, the risks of a security breach or cyber hack increase. Responsible cloud presence means meeting rigorous security and compliance standards and adhering to sound security practices.
A good managed cloud service provider helps protect your business. Mission creates a tailored security solution aligned with your unique AWS deployment, industry compliance requirements, and security exposure. To learn more about how managed cloud service providers help protect your business, explore Mission Managed Detection & Response or contact us today to see how we can help secure your company in the cloud.
Reach out to the managed security experts at Mission for a free consultation.