In case you didn’t hear, Amazon hosted AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas last week. As has come to be expected at the annual mega-event, Amazon made a number of huge announcements and launched a significant number of improvements and brand-new services and settings to enhance their public cloud platform, including an improved version of Amazon Inspector, S3 Object Ownership, Recycle Bin, EBS Archive Mode, and more.

Along with these announcements comes plenty of excitement and fanfare from the developer community who gets to take advantage of the new functionality. And that excitement is warranted. But these announcements also usually come with a hint of hesitation from their colleagues in security, who are responsible for analyzing all of these new services and settings to ensure that they are used properly and don’t introduce unintended consequences to their AWS environment. Yes, security is a factor here, but those unintended consequences also include costs associated with rolling out these new services. Rightfully so: It can often take weeks or months for organizations to vet these services, define governance policies, and actually start taking advantage of them.

But in order to help extinguish some of that announcement-induced anxiety and allow our customers to start taking advantage of these services as quickly as possible, the InsightCloudSec team has worked day and night for the last week to deliver support for a dozen of the new services that AWS rolled out last week.

In all of these cases, InsightCloudSec gathers the data related to these services across all AWS accounts and regions and consolidates it, giving security teams a single place to see all of the information across the entire AWS footprint. In many cases, the support also enhances the services provided by Amazon by providing additional context about the service or the resources associated with it.

Rather than choosing between slowing down innovation or taking on unmitigated risk, our customers will have the ability to take full advantage of each of these services as soon as they are available.

The list of newly supported AWS services and services includes:

Let’s take a look at a few of the most critical services and what they mean for DevOps and Security teams.

The new AWS Inspector

Amazon Inspector is a vulnerability management service that continually scans AWS workloads for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure. As an AWS-built service, Amazon Inspector is designed to exchange data and interact with other core AWS services not only to identify potential security findings, but also to automate addressing those findings.

By joining insights from both AWS Inspector and Rapid7, customers benefit from immediate value in the form of multiple enhancements across the board. These include enhanced risk assessment of containers and workloads, unified visibility and control, and robust context across AWS environments.

By consolidating AWS’s vulnerability management solutions with Rapid7’s cloud security capabilities, organizations are enabled with a ​​highly scalable service, equipped with optimized security controls to better handle their most valuable assets.

InsightCloudSec seamlessly complements the new and improved AWS Inspector, allowing customers to leverage enhanced capabilities including:

  • Identify regions, accounts, and compute instances where AWS Inspector is not enabled, along with a new bot action to turn on the capability across EC2/ECR
  • Identify compute resources by risk score and/or specific findings
  • Identify accounts and regions with the highest overall risk
  • Add Inspector as an agent type so customers can switch to the "Vulnerability View," which provides a single pane of glass to view and naturally sort assets by risk/severity findings across their entire fleet of accounts
  • Use Inspector data to enrich existing Insights such as resources on a public subnet, resources with an IAM role attached, etc. to build new Insights (e.g., EC2 instance on a public subnet with a security group exposing SSH that has been identified as high-risk by Inspector)

VPC Network Access Analyzer

Another great new service that Amazon rolled out is the Amazon VPC Network Access Analyzer, which helps their customers identify network configurations that lead to unintended network access. The tool essentially allows you to create a scope or query — for example, you could create a scope to find all web apps that do not use a firewall to access internet resources — then analyze your AWS account against that scope. It then serves up a list of the unexpected network paths between resources defined in the scope.

InsightCloudSec supports this new network analyzer by consuming all findings from the analyses our customers run in their entire AWS environment. This gives cloud security teams a single place to see all results, rather than having to jump from account to account to gather all the information across the entire AWS footprint. It also enriches the data provided by that network analysis with additional context about the resources, such as whether they have misconfigurations or overly permissive IAM policies attached to them, helping the user see the bigger picture and more effectively prioritize their work. Finally, the automation capabilities in InsightCloudSec allow our users to automatically schedule these network scans on a regular basis across target accounts, eliminating all manual effort.

S3 Object Ownership

The sheer scale of S3 makes access management a blind spot for a number of organizations. For years, customers who use S3 have had the ability to set object-level permissions, effectively superseding the access permissions established at the bucket level. While enhancements have been introduced over the years such as Block Public Access, which can help mitigate the chance of objects being made public via direct Access Control Lists (ACLs), not all customers leverage the capability. Amazon has gone a step further by introducing a capability known as S3 Object Ownership, which gives administrators the ability to completely disable object-level ACLs. This setting is now the default value on all newly created S3 buckets, and customers can now migrate their existing S3 buckets to leverage this capability.

InsightCloudSec now detects the presence of this capability and renders it in the product, as well as through the API response via the `Object Ownership` property. A new filter was created to identify S3 buckets based on the value of this property, and the team has also expanded the core Insight Storage Container Without Uniform Bucket Level Access to work across AWS, AWS GovCloud, and AWS China.

Recycle Bin

Data Lifecycle Management can be challenging as customer cloud footprints grow from dozens of cloud accounts to hundreds or even thousands. At InsightCloudSec we’ve seen customers with millions of EBS Snapshots across their fleet of accounts. While many of our customers have embraced AWS Backup to help centralize their backup and retention management, there’s always concern with the accidental removal of an important snapshot while performing cleanup operations across accounts.

AWS offers a new Recycle Bin service that can be used to reduce the risk of accidental deletion. Think of Recycle Bin in the same way that Recycle Bin operates on your own computer. When enabled, the capability will store snapshots for a period of time defined by the customer and allow them to be recovered. Customers define the length of time they’d like these snapshots to remain in the recycle bin before being permanently deleted.

InsightCloudSec now provides visibility into these Recycle Bin Rules directly within the Resources section of the product. We’ve also included filters to identify accounts/regions where snapshots exist and recycle bin rules are not in place. These filters can help InsightCloudSec customers continue to meet their evolving governance needs.

EBS Snapshot Archive

Going beyond Recycle Bin, AWS now offers a new archive mode storage class that, when enabled, can help customers reduce their storage costs. EBS Snapshot Archive is a new storage tier that is up to 75% cheaper than the standard storage tier. Converting to this tier is quite straightforward and can be done via the AWS Console or programmatic API.

To help our customers further reduce spend with this service, we’ve introduced visibility into this storage tier, along with a new filter and Bot action to help customers begin migrating to this new tier where applicable.

More to come

This is one of our team’s favorite weeks each year. It’s always great to see the new capabilities that the teams at Amazon have been hard at work on and how they take in customer feedback to mature their offering. The InsightCloudSec team will be introducing support for a number of these enhancements with our release this week (21.7.3) and will be working closely with our customers to add additional features and capabilities.

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