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Network Security in the AWS Cloud


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What Is Network Security?

Network security protects networks and data from sabotage, intrusion, data theft, and other threats. It is a broad term that describes hardware and software solutions, processes, rules and configurations, which can improve network reliability, accessibility, and protection against cyber threats.

Network security technologies include access control, anti-malware software, application security tools, network analysis, firewalls, VPN encryption, and security for specific devices such as endpoint, web applications, and wireless networks.

Why Is Cloud Network Security Important?

Cloud-based infrastructure requires the same level of security as an organization's on-premises environment. Cloud network security is the basic layer of cloud security. It not only protects data, applications and IT resources deployed in a company's cloud environment, but also connects cloud deployments with the company's intranet and local data centers. It is essential to secure traffic between them.

Moving workloads to the cloud increases the attack surface. In the past, organizations only had to worry about potential threats and vulnerabilities facing their on-premises IT infrastructure. Today, private, public, and hybrid clouds require the same level of attention. Adopting cloud security reduces risk in these areas.

Cloud network security solutions fill fundamental security gaps in the cloud. They allow businesses to achieve the same level of security monitoring and threat prevention as on-premises environments, even when there is no clear network perimeter. This is critical for organizations to meet their obligations under the shared responsibility model and ensure enterprise network security and compliance.

Network Security in the AWS Cloud

Network and application protection services from AWS let you enforce fine-grained security policies at all network control points throughout the organization. Building networks with AWS networking services gives you the flexibility to choose how and where you build your network architecture, including private subnets and Internet-facing public networks.

AWS application and network protection services provide a flexible solution for inspecting and filtering traffic to prevent unauthorized access to your resources. For example, when protecting web applications running in AWS, you can easily set up always-on detection and automatic threat mitigation.

AWS provides services to help network and application security teams meet specific protection and compliance requirements, granular protection for hosts, networks, and applications.

Amazon network security services enable:

  • Scalability - the ability to automatically scale security detection and protection mechanisms to ensure high availability of your workloads without having to manage infrastructure.

  • Active protection - complete inline control over traffic to block unauthorized access, potential breaches, and data theft. It includes stopping common web attacks, preventing data transmission with malicious DNS querying, and advanced DDoS mitigation to help protect web apps from attack.

  • Traffic visibility - real-time traffic visibility regardless of port or protocol, enabling granular filtering, monitoring, and logging of traffic.

  • Central management - a single location to centrally manage firewall rules across your AWS account, aggregate security incident reporting, and ensure policy compliance across your infrastructure.

The AWS network security service offering includes the following cloud services:

AWS Firewall Manager

AWS Firewall Manager allows you to centrally configure and manage firewall rules for applications and accounts in AWS Organizations. This security management service enforces security rules to help ensure new applications and resources comply with the organization's policies.

AWS Shield

AWS Shield helps protect applications running on AWS against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. The AWS Shield Standard feature is enabled by default for all AWS customers at no additional cost.

Amazon charges only for AWS Shield Advanced, a paid service that provides additional protections against sophisticated and larger attacks for applications running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), CloudFront, Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Route 53, and AWS Global Accelerator.

AWS WAF

AWS provides a web application firewall (WAF) to protect web applications against attacks. AWS WAF lets you configure rules that block, allow and monitor web requests according to predefined conditions. You can define various conditions, including IP addresses, HTTP body, HTTP headers, URI strings, cross-site scripting (XSS), and SQL injection.

AWS Network Firewall

This managed service makes it easier to deploy network protections for your Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). You can set it up in a few clicks, and then it scales automatically with your network traffic to eliminate the need for manual infrastructure deployment and management.

It provides a flexible rules engine that lets you define firewall rules for fine-grained control over network traffic. For example, you can set up a rule to block outbound server message block (SMB) requests to prevent malicious activities from spreading.

You can use this service with AWS Firewall Manager to build policies according to AWS Network Firewall rules and centrally apply these policies across all VPCs and accounts.

Amazon VPC Security Group

In AWS, cloud security groups control the traffic that can flow to and from specific resources. For example, by associating a security group with an EC2 instance, you can control inbound and outbound traffic to the instance.

When you create a virtual private cloud (VPC), it comes with a default security group. You can create additional security groups per VPC. A security group can only be attached to resources within the VPC in which it was created.

Conclusion

In this article, I explained the basics of network security and the network security services AWS provides:

  • AWS Firewall Manager - AWS Firewall Manager enables you to centrally configure and manage firewall rules for accounts and applications in AWS Organizations.

  • AWS Shield - AWS Shield helps protect applications running on AWS against DDoS attacks.

  • AWS WAF - AWS provides a web application firewall to protect web applications against attacks.

  • AWS Network Firewall - This managed service makes it easier to deploy network protections for your Amazon Virtual Private Clouds.

  • Amazon VPC Security Group - Cloud security groups control the traffic that can flow to and from specific resources.

I hope this will be useful as you improve your network security in AWS.




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