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Customers continue to tell me that our AWS re:Invent conference is a winner. It’s a place where they can learn, meet their peers, and rediscover the art of the possible. Of course, there is always an air of anticipation around what new AWS service releases will be announced. This time around, we went even bigger than we ever have before. There were over 50,000 people in attendance, spread across the Las Vegas strip, with over 2,000 breakout sessions, and jam packed hands-on learning opportunities with multiple day hackathons, workshops, and bootcamps.
A big part of all this activity included sharing knowledge about the latest AWS Security, Identity and Compliance services and features, as well as announcing new technology that we’re excited to be adopted so quickly across so many use-cases.
Here are the top Security, Identity and Compliance releases from re:invent 2018:
Keynotes: All that’s new
The AWS re:Invent keynotes from Andy Jassy, Werner Vogels, and Peter DeSantis, as well as my own leadership session, featured the following new releases and service enhancements. We continue to strive to make architecting easier for developers, as well as our partners and our customers, so they stay secure as they build and innovate in the cloud.
- We launched several prescriptive security services to assist developers and customers in understanding and managing their security and compliance postures in real time. My favorite new service is AWS Security Hub, which helps you centrally manage your security and compliance controls. With Security Hub, you now have a single place that aggregates, organizes, and prioritizes your security alerts, or findings, from multiple AWS services, such as Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Macie, as well as from AWS Partner solutions. Findings are visually summarized on integrated dashboards with actionable graphs and tables. You can also continuously monitor your environment using automated compliance checks based on the AWS best practices and industry standards your organization follows. Get started with AWS Security Hub with just a few clicks in the Management Console and once enabled, Security Hub will begin aggregating and prioritizing findings. You can enable Security Hub on a single account with one click in the AWS Security Hub console or a single API call.
- Another prescriptive service we launched is called AWS Control Tower. One of the first things customers think about when moving to the cloud is how to set up a landing zone for their data. AWS Control Tower removes the guesswork, automating the set-up of an AWS landing zone that is secure, well-architected and supports multiple accounts. AWS Control Tower does this by using a set of blueprints that embody AWS best practices. Guardrails, both mandatory and recommended, are available for high-level, rule-based governance, allowing you to have the right operational control over your accounts. An integrated dashboard enables you to keep a watchful eye over the accounts provisioned, the guardrails that are enabled, and your overall compliance status. Sign up for the Control Tower preview, here.
- The third prescriptive service, called AWS Lake Formation, will reduce your data lake build time from months to days. Prior to AWS Lake Formation, setting up a data lake involved numerous granular tasks. Creating a data lake with Lake Formation is as simple as defining where your data resides and what data access and security policies you want to apply. Lake Formation then collects and catalogs data from databases and object storage, moves the data into your new Amazon S3 data lake, cleans and classifies data using machine learning algorithms, and secures access to your sensitive data. Get started with a preview of AWS Lake Formation, here.
- Next up, IoT Greengrass enables enhanced security through hardware root of trusted private key storage on hardware secure elements including Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) and Hardware Security Modules (HSMs). Storing your private key on a hardware secure element adds hardware root of trust level-security to existing AWS IoT Greengrass security features that include X.509 certificates for TLS mutual authentication and encryption of data both in transit and at rest. You can also use the hardware secure element to protect secrets that you deploy to your AWS IoT Greengrass device using AWS IoT Greengrass Secrets Manager. To try these security enhancements for yourself, check out https://aws.amazon.com/greengrass/.
- You can now use the AWS Key Management Service (KMS) custom key store feature to gain more control over your KMS keys. Previously, KMS offered the ability to store keys in shared HSMs managed by KMS. However, we heard from customers that their needs were more nuanced. In particular, they needed to manage keys in single-tenant HSMs under their exclusive control. With KMS custom key store, you can configure your own CloudHSM cluster and authorize KMS to use it as a dedicated key store for your keys. Then, when you create keys in KMS, you can choose to generate the key material in your CloudHSM cluster. Get started with KMS custom key store by following the steps in this blog post.
- We’re excited to announce the release of ATO on AWS to help customers and partners speed up the FedRAMP approval process (which has traditionally taken SaaS providers up to 2 years to complete). We’ve already had customers, such as Smartsheet, complete the process in less than 90 days with ATO on AWS. Customers will have access to training, tools, pre-built CloudFormation templates, control implementation details, and pre-built artifacts. Additionally, customers are able to access direct engagement and guidance from AWS compliance specialists and support from expert AWS consulting and technology partners who are a part of our Security Automation and Orchestration (SAO) initiative, including GitHub, Yubico, RedHat, Splunk, Allgress, Puppet, Trend Micro, Telos, CloudCheckr, Saint, Center for Internet Security (CIS), OKTA, Barracuda, Anitian, Kratos, and Coalfire. To get started with ATO on AWS, contact the AWS partner team at ATOonAWS@amazon.com.
- Finally, I announced our first conference dedicated to cloud security, identity and compliance: AWS re:Inforce. The inaugural AWS re:Inforce, a hands-on gathering of like-minded security professionals, will take place in Boston, MA on June 25th and 26th, 2019 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The cost for a full conference pass will be $1,099. I’m hoping to see you all there. Sign up here to be notified of when registration opens.
Key re:Invent Takeaways
- Customers want to innovate, and cloud needs to securely enable this. Companies need to able to innovate to meet rapidly evolving consumer demands. This means they need cloud security capabilities they can rely on to meet their specific security requirements, while allowing them to continue to meet and exceed customer expectations. AWS Lake Formation, AWS Control Tower, and AWS Security Hub aggregate and automate otherwise manual processes involved with setting up a secure and compliant cloud environment, giving customers greater flexibility to innovate, create, and manage their businesses.
- Cloud security is as much art as it is science. Getting to what you really need to know about your security posture can be a challenge. At AWS, we’ve found that the sweet spot lies in services and features that enable you to continuously gain greater depth of knowledge into your security posture, while automating mission critical tasks that relieve you from having to constantly monitor your infrastructure. This manifests itself in having an end-to-end automated remediation workflow. I spent some time covering this in my re:Invent session, and will continue to advocate using a combination of services, such as AWS Lambda, WAF, S3, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Config to proactively identify, mitigate, and remediate threats that may arise as your infrastructure evolves.
- Remove human access to data. I’ve set a goal at AWS to reduce human access to data by 80%. While that number may sound lofty, it’s purposeful, because the only way to achieve this is through automation. There have been a number of security incidents in the news across industries, ranging from inappropriate access to personal information in healthcare, to credential stuffing in financial services. The way to protect against such incidents? Automate key security measures and minimize your attack surface by enabling access control and credential management with services like AWS IAM and AWS Secrets Manager. Additional gains can be found by leveraging threat intelligence through continuous monitoring of incidents via services such as Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Macie (intelligence from these services will now be available in AWS Security Hub).
- Get your leadership on board with your security plan. We offer 500+ security services and features; however, new services and technology can’t be wholly responsible for implementing reliable security measures. Security teams need to set expectations with leadership early, aligning on a number of critical protocols, including how to restrict and monitor human access to data, patching and log retention duration, credential lifespan, blast radius reduction, embedded encryption throughout AWS architecture, and canaries and invariants for security functionality. It’s also important to set security Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to continuously track. At AWS, we monitor the number of AppSec reviews, how many security checks we can automate, third-party compliance audits, metrics on internal time spent, and conformity with Service Level Agreements (SLAs). While the needs of your business may vary, we find baseline KPIs to be consistent measures of security assurance that can be easily communicated to leadership.
Queen’s famous lyric, “I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now,” accurately captures the sentiment at re:Invent this year. Security will always be job zero for us, and we continue to iterate on behalf of customers so they can securely build, experiment and create … right now! AWS is trusted by many of the world’s most risk-sensitive organizations precisely because we have demonstrated this unwavering commitment to putting security above all. Still, I believe we are in the early days of innovation and adoption of the cloud, and I look forward to seeing both the gains and use cases that come out of our latest batch of tools and services.
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Author: Stephen Schmidt