Thought leadership from the most innovative tech companies, all in one place.

Vulnerability Management with AWS Inspector

What Is AWS Inspector?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Inspector is an automated security assessment service that helps improve the security and compliance of applications deployed on AWS. It works by automatically assessing applications for vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices. AWS Inspector is designed to offer high-level security for applications hosted on the AWS platform.

AWS Inspector leverages a knowledge base of hundreds of rules mapped to common security best practices and vulnerability definitions. These rules are regularly updated by AWS security researchers. Inspector carries out an assessment of your applications based on these rules and provides detailed findings of potential security issues.

AWS Inspector eliminates the need for manual checks and assessments that are not only time-consuming but also prone to errors. With AWS Inspector, you can schedule recurring security assessments that provide a continual evaluation of your applications, thereby enhancing your security posture.

Why Is Vulnerability Management Important in AWS?

Shared Responsibility Model

AWS operates on a shared responsibility model, which means that while AWS is responsible for the security of the cloud, the customer is responsible for security in the cloud. In other words, AWS ensures the infrastructure is secure, but it's up to the customer to secure their data and applications.

AWS Inspector plays a crucial role in this model by providing an automated solution for identifying vulnerabilities and deviations from best practices in your applications, thereby helping you fulfill your part of the shared responsibility model. AWS Inspector empowers businesses to take charge of their security, providing them with a tool to proactively detect and address security vulnerabilities.

Data Protection

In today's digital age, data protection is not just a nice-to-have; it's a must-have. Businesses that fail to protect their data risk damaging their reputation, losing customer trust, and even facing legal penalties. AWS Inspector is a critical tool for data protection, it helps identify potential security vulnerabilities that could lead to data breaches.

By using AWS Inspector to regularly assess your applications, you can identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities before they are exploited. This proactive approach to data protection can save your business from the dire consequences of a data breach.

Continual Evolution of Threat Landscape

The cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, with new threats emerging every day. This makes it imperative for businesses to stay ahead of the curve in terms of their security practices. AWS Inspector supports this need by providing regular assessments that are based on up-to-date security best practices and vulnerability definitions.

With AWS Inspector, you can adapt to the changing threat landscape by continually evaluating your applications for new vulnerabilities. By doing so, you can ensure your applications remain secure against the latest threats.

Key Features of AWS Inspector

Automated Security Assessment

One of the key features of AWS Inspector is its Automated Security Assessment. This feature enables you to schedule recurring security assessments, providing a continual evaluation of your applications. The automated nature of these assessments means you don't have to worry about manual checks, freeing up your time to focus on other important tasks.

The Automated Security Assessment feature is not just about convenience, though. It also enhances the accuracy of your vulnerability management. By automating the process, AWS Inspector eliminates the risk of human error, ensuring your assessments are thorough and accurate.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Scanning

Another key feature of AWS Inspector is its ability to scan for Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE). CVE is a list of publicly disclosed cybersecurity vulnerabilities. By scanning for these vulnerabilities, AWS Inspector helps you identify known security risks in your applications.

This feature is particularly crucial given the ever-evolving nature of the cyber threat landscape. By scanning for CVE, AWS Inspector ensures your applications are secure against the latest known threats.

Exporting SBOMs

Another critical feature of AWS Inspector is its ability to export Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs). SBOMs are comprehensive records of the components used in your software. They provide transparency about the software's composition, making it easier to identify and address potential security vulnerabilities. AWS Inspector generates these SBOMs and exports them in formats that can be readily used by other security tools.

AWS Best Practices Checks

Last but not least, AWS Inspector checks your applications against AWS best practices. These best practices are guidelines designed by AWS security experts to help customers secure their data and applications.

By checking your applications against these best practices, AWS Inspector helps you identify any deviations that could potentially compromise your security. This feature allows you to align your applications with proven security practices, enhancing your overall security posture.

Detailed Reporting

One of the outstanding features of AWS Inspector is its ability to generate comprehensive reports. It provides detailed findings of any security vulnerabilities in your applications, along with suggestions for remediation. The reports are easy to understand and can be used by both technical and non-technical team members. This ensures that everyone in your organization is on the same page regarding your application's security status.

Agent-Based and Agentless Inspection

AWS Inspector offers both agent-based and agentless inspections. The agent-based inspection involves installing an AWS Inspector agent on the host operating system, which collects data for analysis. On the other hand, the agentless inspection uses the existing AWS data to perform security assessments. This flexible approach allows you to choose the inspection method that best suits your business's needs.

Using AWS Inspector for Vulnerability Management: Step by Step

1. Setting Up AWS Inspector

The first step in using AWS Inspector for vulnerability management is setting it up. This process is straightforward and involves creating an AWS account, setting up an IAM role for Inspector, and installing the Inspector agent on your host operating system. Once these steps are completed, you're ready to start using AWS Inspector.

2. Creating an Assessment Target

The next step is creating an assessment target. This involves specifying the AWS resources that you wish to assess. AWS Inspector allows you to choose from a wide range of resources, including EC2 instances, ELBs, and RDS instances. You can also specify the assessment target's duration and frequency, giving you complete control over your security assessments.

3. Creating an Assessment Template

Once you've specified your assessment target, you need to create an assessment template. This template outlines the rules for your security assessments, including the checks to be performed and the severity levels for different findings. AWS Inspector provides a range of pre-configured templates that you can use, or you can create your own custom template.

4. Running an Assessment

With your assessment target and template in place, you're now ready to run an assessment. AWS Inspector automates this process, scanning your specified resources for potential vulnerabilities. The length of this process will depend on the size and complexity of your resources. However, AWS Inspector is designed to be efficient, ensuring that you get accurate results in the shortest possible time.

5. Reviewing the Findings

The final step in using AWS Inspector for vulnerability management is reviewing the findings. AWS Inspector presents these findings in easy-to-understand reports, complete with recommendations for remediation. This enables you to take prompt action to address any identified vulnerabilities, thereby enhancing your application's security.


In conclusion, AWS Inspector is a comprehensive security tool that can significantly enhance your business's vulnerability management. Its detailed reporting, flexible inspection methods, and ability to export SBOMs make it a must-have for any business. By setting it up and using it correctly, you can ensure that your applications are secure and your business is protected from potential security threats.

Continue Learning