Three Steps to Secure Your AWS Environment Using IBM QRadar

Moving production assets and workloads to the cloud can be hard. In the absence of care and precision, it can also be risky. With the right tools and practices in place, you can mitigate many, if not all, of these risks. You may even be able to greatly ease your transition.

Three Ways to Secure Your AWS Environment With QRadar

Below are three ways IBM QRadar can help you confidently and securely migrate assets — even critical assets — and workloads to the cloud with confidence.

1. Checking for Common Misconfigurations

In this calendar year alone, we have seen several cloud data breaches hit the headlines. Some were caused not by sophisticated cybercriminals discovering a zero-day exploit, but by user error in the form of avoidable cloud misconfigurations.

Based on our findings, a common Amazon Web Services (AWS) misconfiguration relates specifically to S3 buckets. Buckets unintentionally or intentionally set with open access can expose an organization to the risk of data loss or a full-scale data breach.

Using QRadar, individuals and organizations can scan their AWS environments, either on an ad hoc basis or as part of a regular scanning program, to actively look for these misconfigurations and alert analysts when they are discovered. With these alerts in hand, including all relevant details concerning the source and the rules that were involved in the offense, CISOs and their security teams are better positioned to actively respond to and escalate these threats.

2. Continuous Monitoring for Anomalous Behavior

Even if all of your configurations are set correctly initially, this does not mean they will stay that way or that users will always behave as expected. From a controls and security perspective, it is imperative to continuously monitor all your deployments for anomalous behavior and malicious activity. This is where security information and event management (SIEM) monitoring can play a central role.

For example, with QRadar, security teams can ingest data from a growing list of AWS data sources and activities, including AWS CloudTrail, CloudWatch, GuardDuty and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Flow logs. Armed with actionable intelligence from these data sources and augmented with further context from other environments, both on-premises and in the cloud, security managers and their teams can attain broader visibility and deeper insight into their overall production cloud environments. QRadar enables security teams to correlate multiple anomalous events into single actionable offenses. Security operations teams can then understand quickly, respond appropriately and escalate efficiently.

Continuous monitoring means that you are collecting from the right data sources, and applying the right filters and rules. It also means that you are positioned with actionable data and intelligence to take the appropriate actions based on the findings.

3. Applying Curated Content Rules for Quicker Time to Value

It can be a daunting task to secure your AWS environment, and it is not uncommon for organizations to wonder where to start. Speed of deployment is important, but so is the comprehensiveness of the controls deployed. By leveraging curated content and rules, organizations can accelerate their adoption of controls and target the controls that matter most.

Using QRadar’s recently released AWS Content Extension, users can hit the ground running by quickly and easily importing AWS CloudTrail log data into QRadar and gaining the immediate value that comes with out-of-the-box content, rules and alerts. This combination of custom content, curated rule sets and behavioral analysis algorithms can accelerate and enhance your monitoring of AWS account activity. Examples of available rules include checks for multiple login failures, checks around EC2 instance and S3 bucket activity, and configuration changes to VPCs, security groups, key pair management, network gateways and more.

With expert-developed content at their fingertips, security teams can turn their focus to managing alerts and responding accordingly.

Stay Three Steps Ahead

Like many complex undertakings, moving production assets and workloads to the cloud is rarely simple or straightforward. Nevertheless, if you’re armed with the right tools to secure your AWS environment, you are at least three steps ahead.

To learn more, read our two-page solution brief on protecting cloud assets.

Read the solution brief:  IBM QRadar for Cloud

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Chris Collard

Offering Manager for QRadar SaaS, Cloud and MSS, IBM

Chris is an information security professional with over 15 years of experience managing information systems and services. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and holds a Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK) from the Cloud Security Alliance.