Over the past several decades, information technology advances have given birth to entire industries, provided millions with lucrative career prospects, and provided solutions to some of society’s toughest problems. Unfortunately, new tech platforms also give hackers new ways to disrupt companies.
By making DevSecOps services a top priority for development clients, embedded security features can be included during every production stage – faster patching of vulnerabilities and relief from postponing comprehensive security testing until almost ready for deployment.
DevOps from AWS cloud solutions are increasingly appealing due to its security benefits. Still, DevSecOps is so effective for businesses developing mission-critical applications because of its iterative security testing during each step of the software development lifecycle (SLDC).
Using DevSecOps to Strengthen Security on AWS
Organizations utilize automation to increase efficiency, quality and repeatability while scaling, being dynamic and adapting to emerging technologies. But DevOps alone cannot strengthen security on AWS; DevSecOps should also be part of your security implementation strategy.
Now, let’s delve deeper into securing AWS infrastructure through DevSecOps and learn how to design airtight security measures.
Step 1: DevSecOps at the Infrastructure
Providing perimeter security at the ingress of your AWS environment is of utmost importance. Companies that have abandoned firewall teams and appliances often turn to IaC as their change management solution for ports and protocols; IaC can often serve as an effective starting point to close gaps, although sometimes more intensive approaches may be necessary (more on that below).
DevSecOps has become essential to modern security operations, helping organizations automate processes to reduce external threats automatically. There are multiple elements to keep in mind when it comes to protecting a perimeter – such as:
Network Access Control Lists (ACLs)
NACLs may or may not help, depending on how flat your subnets are. If all DevOps Development Services, stacks, layers and functions reside on separate subnets, close unneeded ports between them. This helps eliminate unwanted traffic faster, as packets will be dropped before reaching security groups (which require evaluation) and EC2 resources.
Always remember that you need to open temporary ports if there are TCP connections! Your DevSecOps engineers should monitor your IaC to ensure its NACLs allow only necessary traffic while remaining fully compliant with code control standards (especially rule exceptions that should not exceed them).
Security Group Trust Model
Poor security group design can create numerous issues, from accidental denial of service to overly complex rules for determining access and potentially even opening all access gates – rendering your security group completely worthless and making its purpose redundant. Security groups provide one of the easiest and most efficient mechanisms for building layers of trust.
For Example, Create a database security group that trusts its upstream application server’s security group and the load balancer layer to ensure only authorized traffic from approved paths is allowed through. Creating additional security groups for remote access (SSH/RDP) may sometimes be required; it would be wiser to add them as requested rather than leaving all ports open and vulnerable to brute-force attacks.
Some IaC tools such as Amazon CloudFormation, HashiCorp Terraform, or Red Hat’s Ansible only assess and reset configuration drift when these tools are run again – meaning if someone opens access from the perimeter, it won’t be closed until another execution of an IaC tool takes place.
This is where AWS Config can come in handy: its tools enable you to monitor for changes, execute an IaC run to correct drift and send out notifications if any such watched changes occur. AWS SNS notification also alerts on changes as they happen – an excellent reactive method of closing issues quickly and automatically.
AWS Config provides the ideal environment for DevSecOps teams to excel through code monitoring and automated remediation. AWS Config will ensure changes follow through the proper channels and alert you if they don’t.
AWS WAF and AWS Shield
Protecting your perimeter against application attacks requires more than locking ports and security groups. AWS WAF and Shield provide a codifiable tool to restrict access to your environment and help avoid common attacks like DDoS. They’re great tools for basic protection but may offer partial-featured solutions.
Step 2: DevSecOps Through CI/CD
Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment has grown increasingly popular over time, and making security part of every build and deployment has become equally essential. This section covers how CI/CD ensures secure baseline releases on operating systems and plans to prevent accidentally exposing secrets through code.
Golden AMIs and Encryption
One best practice is maintaining a configuration-controlled Amazon Machine Image (AMI) to ensure a known baseline security configuration is always met upon server launch. Your DevSecOps team can use scanning tools like Tenable Nessus to ensure compliance and remediate discovered vulnerabilities via automation.
Encryption on All Volumes (Including Root)
Amazon makes creating and managing KMS encryption keys for all volumes (including root) straightforward. As a best practice, start one key per service/environment; Amazon will keep a history of keys for decryption purposes.
Whether you create AMIs from AWS Marketplace AMIs or custom AMIs, encrypting their root Amazon EBS volume is easy when copying an AMI and selecting “Encrypt with Key.” Encrypted copies can easily be copied between accounts without incurring performance penalties; all subsequent volumes in an AMI should also be set as encrypted by default (especially since encryption is free and does not impact performance).
Encryption on Amazon S3
Like Amazon EBS volumes, Amazon S3 buckets can be encrypted either by default or with custom KMS keys, providing secure server-side encryption (SSE) of their contents via server-side encryption (SSE).
Client-side encryption (CSE) may also be supported, though its usage relies upon application/sender memory versus automagic implementation; at minimum, when creating and configuring Amazon S3 buckets using your IaC tool of choice, make sure encryption by default is activated and assign each bucket its unique KMS key for Amazon S3.
Patched and Hardened Instances
DevSecOps engineers should be involved with any automation that involves patching or hardening instances to meet security standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, CIS or SOC. Patching can be straightforward since operating system vendors produce marketplace AMIs that are regularly patched.
Finding a recent AMI when creating servers is great, but taking an AMI from the marketplace and patching and hardening it thoroughly before cutting a new AMI can be even better. That way, you know your secure baseline more quickly while bringing online secured instances quickly – especially true with Microsoft Windows servers due to rebooting times required for patching and rebooting processes.
Use of Amazon Secrets Manager and AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store
If you use any of Amazon’s database services – RDS, DynamoDB or Redshift – AWS Secrets Manager is an easy way to keep database passwords rotated automatically while securely stored. Programming through AWS Lambda allows this feature to expand further for APIs or OAuth authentications.
Alternative and much cheaper solutions exist for storing passwords, keys, and data using AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store with KMS encryption. Secrets should never be kept in code; otherwise, IaC may expose these secrets instead of hardcoding sensitive variables in jobs or functions directly using hardcoding sensitive variables from the Parameter Store. Use AWS CLI or SDK instead for dynamic retrieval from the Parameter Store.
Step 3: DevSecOps for Applications
There are various strategies for automating application security measures. Here, we will cover two architecture methods that can increase application repeatability and durability while simultaneously decreasing threats and the chances of compromise.
Once your servers are patched and hardened, the next step should be throwing away the key. DevSecOps automation should remove SSH keys from Linux servers while scrambling administrator passwords on Microsoft Windows servers to reduce login exploits significantly.
Remember that achieving this requires hard work and an automation framework to manage an environment without issues effectively. All logs from servers must be directed into ELK stacks, Datadog or another monitoring solution such as Graphite for easy management. Additionally, all configured applications must run seamlessly.
Once the keys have been returned, hackers should have no backdoors or access available. If a server issue arises, its account should be terminated immediately, and another launch in an auto-scaling group should replace it.
Removing ports 22 (SSH) and 3389 (RDP) from security groups and NACLs will remove an attack vector externally and internally. Regardless, they should only be allowed on VPN servers, jump boxes or bastion hosts with open external login access ports.
Once your perimeter, operating system and server have been secured with automation, there are steps you can take to harden your application further. An immediate improvement for isolating workloads is using containers; they allow greater stability and resource utilization while offering security benefits.
Amazon ECS with AWS Fargate or EKS (Kubernetes) allows you to deploy containers into environments without worrying about hardening the underlying systems, significantly reducing the security automation footprint for container builds in your CI/CD pipelines. Furthermore, best practices exist for hardening containers, which should be considered when automating DevSecOps processes.
Firms aiming to develop world-class applications recognize that finding ways to bridge the traditional divide between AWS DevOps services and iterative security testing is paramount. With breaches on the rise, organizations increasingly recognize that engaging a company that offers DevOps solution services is more than a mere “nice to have.”
DevOps is an effective strategy for optimizing software engineering and maintenance processes. However, companies must maximize their potential benefits and incorporate security into DevOps practices.
Implementing DevSecOps on AWS services requires extensive security training, meticulous planning, and an appropriate mix of automation and manual tasks. However, adhering to the best practices of DevOps integration will help you overcome these hurdles.
DevSecOps implementation requires strong commitment, but teams without proper guidance can quickly become disoriented. DevOps Consulting Services has developers with all the necessary skills to meet the demands of forward-looking companies across various industries.