It is safe to say that data ranks among the most valuable of commodities in today’s modern world. Companies rely on data to make informed decisions, penetrate new markets, and formulate winning business strategies. With the value of data on the rise, data-related risks and threats are growing constantly. With the ever-increasing sensitivity of data being stored online rising increasingly too, the threat is more worrying than ever.This is where security measures become essential to every cloud implementation. The more data you store in the cloud—however sensitive its nature is—the stronger your security measures need to be. AWS security technologies make implementing a more holistic set of security measures easy. For securing data at rest in the cloud, there are a number of steps you can take for maximum security.

Better Data Classification

Before you can decide the right security measures to use for protecting data at rest, you first need to fully understand the nature of the data you store. Protecting databases requires a different approach to protecting off-site backups or archives. Now is the perfect time to take a closer examination of the data types that you are storing in the cloud.With a better understanding of the data you are trying to secure, you can decide on appropriate data classification. Data can be stretched across a range—from Highly Protected to Publicly Accessible—depending on how sensitive the information is. Classifying data into groups also helps make the process of deciding the right security measures to implement easier to complete.

Create Security Zoning

With data classification in hand, you can proceed to creating better security zoning for maximum protection. A security zone deals with access control to data stored in the cloud using tools like network perimeter. Zoning using AWS VPC and WAF allows you to control the flow of information, including stored data, within the cloud environment.For example, you can configure Amazon RDS to be accessible only by certain EC2 instances. This way, you can limit access to the data stored in databases meticulously, separating access endpoints while limiting attack surface at the same time. You can even define user-level access control at this stage.

Utilize Identity and Access Management

Speaking of user-level access control, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is one of the best protocol implementations to utilize when it comes to restricting access to data. It is a comprehensive tool that, when used correctly, can improve data security significantly.The only problem with IAM is that many server administrators still take managing identities and user access lightly. If you have a lot of users with administrator-level access for the entire cloud environment, you are doing it wrong. Even administrators can be limited to a specific part of the system, leaving only a handful of super-admins with access to the entire environment. This is a fundamental step to limiting access to sensitive information.

Encryption as a Foundation

Another element that often gets neglected in AWS implementation is encryption. AWS provides Key Management Service (KMS) for managing encryption keys. Object storage service Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) also has native support for encryption and its Bucket Policy as the default method. The combination allows you to fully utilize encryption to prevent information theft and data breach.Even if a digital file gets stolen, opening encrypted files without the right encryption key is nearly impossible. At the very least, you are adding a security layer that makes it incredibly difficult for attackers to benefit from your sensitive business information.

Do an AWS Security Audit

Let’s not forget that Amazon also has a comprehensive list of information security best practices. Everything from infrastructure security to IAM and data protection are covered by the AWS Security Audit Guidelines. The guide may not be the most comprehensive security standard to follow, but it is a great start to ensure basic security measures are in place (and are configured properly).The security audit must meet two key objectives: to prevent possible attacks and detect existing security risks that need to be mitigated. The combination allows the entire IT team to react quickly to unauthorized changes or access, all while gradually improving information security and protecting data at rest.

Secure Your Applications

Data can be both active and passive, with the latter being what we now know as data at rest. While the data isn’t used as regularly as active data, there are still times when applications are given access to data at rest for specific purposes. When apps do have access to data at rest, those apps need to be as secure as the cloud infrastructure supporting them.The same is true for applications used to maintain the cloud ecosystem. Software like the encryption software, archiving tools, and others need to be given limited access to data—only when required—and must be secured properly.The combination of these steps will result in a more secure data at rest. You can go the extra mile and add more security measures to fortify your cloud environment, but these steps will help you cover the basics and protect your data in AWS.Ibexlabs is an experienced DevOps & Managed Services provider and an AWS consulting partner. Our AWS Certified DevOps consultancy team evaluates your infrastructure and make recommendations based on your individual business or personal requirements. Contact us today and set up a free consultation to discuss a custom-built solution tailored just for you.