AWS CloudTrail Best Practices to Govern Compliance and Auditing

Pallavi Varanasi Cloud Security Expert - CloudCodes Software
  • February 26th, 2021

One of the most popular AWS data breaches from Verizon, Dow Jones, and RNC have once again spotlighted the lack of proper training/awareness that enterprises have shown regarding Cybersecurity in Amazon accounts. None of us have the right to question the commitments quoted by Amazon regarding IaaS platform security. Nobody can question this because the myriad of services like IAM, encryption, CloudTrial, etc., are provided by AWS to its clients to boost up the security level. Amazon web services render its clients with one of the most important security services i.e. AWS CloudTrail.

Most frequently, Cyber threats and data breaches are basically caused because of the carelessness shown by customers. They misuse AWS or underutilize the security aspects it offers. Despite the statement that business-licensed cloud services are developed to be heavily resistant to breaches and crimes, the scenario where a consumer is at the fault point for a cybercrime would only get worse results.

Enterprises searching for the solution to shoring up the protection infrastructure of their AWS must initially achieve full visibility into users’ activities that they do in the AWS platform. Any change that is made in existing AWS settings, configurations, and services should be audited. To that end, Amazon’s web services render its clients with one of the most important cloud-based security services i.e., CloudTrail.

Definition of AWS CloudTrail Service

The CloudTrail service records a log of entire API calls that are carried away in AWS tenant and its services. It allows regular monitoring and post-incident forensic analysis of AWS by rendering an audit trail of the entire operations across an AWS architecture. All log files of CloudTrail get saved in a predefined S3 bucket. Well, below-listed are the advantages of using CloudTrail service in an Amazon account:

  • Regular Activity Monitoring – CloudTrail services offer the raw items that can be utilized in conjunction with a cloud access security broker solution. This enables customers to monitor user activities and check out the resources used by business employees. Also, one can detect inappropriate or insecure modifications to resources or services, and make the entire security misconfiguration settings automatic.
  • Streamlined Compliance – The Amazon CloudTrail service streamlines a company’s compliance demands by automating the collection operation and storage of activities and action logs in an AWS tenant. This can allow event identification, which might be out of compliance with external regulations or internal standards.
  • Data Security Auditing – This is a very useful feature where it becomes possible for consumers to discover modifications made in AWS account. They can track the potential of keeping the data or the tenant at a higher security risk. Administrators can analyze the operations carried away by their teammates and point them out, in case something new occurs.

Time to Read Out AWS CloudTrail Best Practices

  1. Globally Enable CloudTrail in AWS – Enable global CloudTrail logging to originate logs for all the AWS services, comprising of those that aren’t particular like CloudFront, IAM, etc.
  2. Use CloudTrail Log File Validation – When the log file validation is activated, any modifications made in the log file itself after it has been submitted to S3 buckets, will be detectable. This operation provides an extra protection layer and assures log files’ integrity.
  3. Use CloudTrail Multi-region Logging – The API call history rendered by CloudTrail enables security officers to keep a track record of changes made in business resources, investigate incidents, audit compliance, and make sure that the security best measures are properly followed.
  4. Combine CloudTrail with CloudWatch – CloudWatch could be used for monitoring, storing, and accessing log files from CloudTrail, EC2 instances, and other sources. With this combination, historic activity and real-time logging based upon the API, resource, IP address, and users are facilitated.
  5. Enable MFA to Delete CloudTrail Buckets – Once the AWS tenant has been compromised, the very first initial step should be that the attackers will delete CloudTrail logs for recording his tracks and postpone detection. By demanding for MFA to remove an S3 bucket comprising of CloudTrail logs, the attacker will find it tougher to eliminate the logs and stay hidden.

Now Its the Conclusion Time

While Amazon itself offers a host of in-built protection capabilities, providing organizations the power to enforce a broad range of security, governance policies, and compliance, AWS settings could be very deep.