Conducting regular security assessments and audits to maintain compliance on AWS

While independent third-party auditors frequently conduct audits to ensure compliance with various security frameworks, AWS customers are encouraged to audit their own systems and instances periodically. 

Internal AWS security audits are necessary to ensure your current security controls and configurations continue meeting your business objectives. They are also essential to prepare for third-party audits and comply with your chosen security frameworks.

When is the Best Time to Conduct an AWS Security Audit?

Amazon recommends reviewing your AWS environment’s security configuration periodically and after specific organisational changes.

Each organisation has different needs affecting the best frequency for your internal audits. Generally, the more risk and contractual obligations your organisation faces, such as operating in a high-risk industry or experiencing past security incidents, the more frequently it should conduct internal audits.

Other situations where AWS environment security audits are needed include:

  • Changes to organisational structure, such as team members joining or leaving
  • After installing new software and applications on your Amazon EC2 instances
  • After ceasing the use of an AWS service to ensure relevant permissions have been purged
  • If you suspect your Amazon or AWS accounts are compromised

Streamline Security Assessments with AWS Audit Manager

AWS Audit Manager is an AWS service designed to help you map your usage of Amazon Web Services from the scope of risk and compliance assessments. 

This service continuously monitors and assesses your usage of AWS services and tools, collects evidence automatically, and reports potential causes of non-compliance.

You can configure the service to look for evidence of non-compliance with numerous prebuilt security frameworks, such as ISO/IEC 27001, SOC 2, GDPR, or HIPAA. If none fit your requirements, you can also build a custom framework.

Best Practices to Maintain Security and Compliance

Organisations must follow these best practices during audits to maintain a secure environment and compliance with data security frameworks.

  • Avoid using the root access keys you obtained upon creating your AWS account for everyday work. Use temporary credentials, services like AWS IAM Identity Center, and the principle of least privilege.
  • When using AWS IAM, regularly check your list of users. Delete unnecessary users and groups, remove users from IAM groups they no longer need to access and rotate access keys periodically.
  • Regularly assess your IAM roles and permissions, delete unnecessary roles, and review each role’s trust and policies.
  • Use tools like the IAM Policy Simulator to test and troubleshoot policies attached to your users and groups. 

Build Secure and Compliant AWS Environments with WOLK

WOLK Technology is an experienced AWS Well-Architected Partner. We can provide feedback and guidance on how to build an environment that best meets your business goals, security needs, and regulatory compliance requirements. Contact WOLK today to schedule an initial review.