Cloud Configuration Missteps to Avoid
Cloud services are one of the major things that most business associates consider these days. Hence, almost every cloud service provider out there tends to offer a vast range of services, especially security controls for their customers so they can secure their confidential data. After all, data loss is one of the biggest nightmares for almost every business owner out there. Even though this can happen because of multiple reasons, one of the major causes is security breach making security services a significant factor.
However, some security control measures offered by the cloud have been toughened and subjected to immense scrutiny. Note that misalignment of cloud data structure and operational risks are common issues in this case and often leads to security breaches despite having strong security controls. Some of the default configurations or settings for installed templates, networks, and services can be extremely confusing or insecure by default. Here are some of the factors that play a role in this.
Ideally, AWS CloudTrail service tends to offer real-time visibility and a history of events that took place within a system. This service is extremely significant to provide awareness regarding an attack to a user. On top of that, you can enable AWS CloudTrail service at cheaper rates. However, AWS CloudTrail is disabled by default for most of the services. Hence, the administrators will have to enable every operation explicitly. Failing to do so will make identifying or investigating a potential intrusion or security breach challenging. To avoid such issues to a great extent, make sure to record the following events.
- Accessing critical resources
- Authentication failures or success
- User creation, deletion, or modification
- Any modifications to higher-level account configuration that includes resources and services
- All-cross account responses/ requests
Most cloud service providers tend to provide a fine-graining mechanism for securing the networks. However, this authorization or access requires an appropriate configuration. Plus, the required group or role must be chosen when it comes to authorization. Note that you must be precise in order to avoid wildcard policies in administration. Many experts recommend using the IAM or identity-basedpolicy simulator in order to effectively troubleshoot AWS CloudTrail related permission issues.
One of the major cloud misalignments or misconfigurations that can trigger security breach issues is the unnecessary exposure of these services to the public internet. It is worth noting that you must enable restrictions when it comes to reachable endpoints and permission of inbound and outbound traffic to separate endpoints.
You can nail the task using an Azure virtual network or AWS virtual private cloud networks. While services launched by the former allow default outbound access to the internet, you must configure it appropriately to allow external reachability or inbound access. On the contrary, the default services launched by the latter depend on multiple factors. Some of those crucial factors are listed below.
- Consider if the particular service was launched within the ‘Non-default’ or ‘default’ virtual private cloud subnet
- The subnet configuration that hosts the service and the Virtual Private Cloud
- Whether the service is configured with IPV6 or IPV4 addresses
- When it comes to EC2 instances, consider if the service was launched making use of the EC2 Launch Instance Wizard.
Management of configuration can be a challenging and daunting affair, especially when installing infrastructure and services to the cloud. Note that the misconfiguration of a single element, in this case, can lead to serious security vulnerabilities. This explains why it’s necessary to provide proper training to the employees in an organization who deal with cloud-based services. Make them familiar with the available security controls as well as the default configuration and effects of each component. To ensure that the network is not suffering from misalignment issues, perform configuration reviews and security audits regularly. Usually, this task is carried out by application owners.