Securing Amazon Web Services instances​: Leverage IAM with APM

There is no debate when it comes to the two most important facets of corporate networks: security and reliability. The need for a secure network has caused many organizations to delay their move to a cloud computing environment, and the hesitancy is only exacerbated by IT administrators and business leaders' concerns when it comes to stability. After all, the applications hosted on Amazon Elastic Cloud Computing must be available at all times, and the corporate data stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service needs to be secure. IT administrators can ease their worries by working with Amazon Web Services and using application performance management tools.

Access controls

AWS IAM is a single interface that allows IT administrators to control individual role- or group-based access controls, and it is essential for organizations looking to protect their EC2 or S3 cloud computing environments. TechTarget compared IAM to Active Directory in other IT products, as it enables accounts to be created in order to manage and create cloud resources.

For smaller organizations, IAM administrators can assign permissions to users whose accounts are connected to the original AWS one. Larger businesses, on the other hand, can create groups, which act as a collection of users with a designated set of permissions. As functional requirements change, permissions can be modified, but, mainly, groups are excellent for giving developers, for example, the ability to launch an application in the AWS environment, while only providing application users access to a hosted program.

Roles

AWS IAM also allows administrators to define roles. These enable certain users to change different parts of an EC2 instance or S3 bucket, depending on what task they need to regularly perform, without having absolute access. Instead of an end user directly modifying a file or application data within a certain AWS instance, roles instruct EC2 to interact with S3 on behalf of the user, according to TechTarget. This gives IT departments an additional layer of security as no employee - other than an IT staff member - will actually have the ability to access anything hosted on AWS.

Policies

What if credentials are stolen? Well, IT administrators can also use IAM to create policies that will protect resources based on a set of guidelines. IP addresses from other geographical locations can be denied access, and, conversely, a policy could allow only one particular IP address to reboot a server, for example. Additionally, if an enterprise has multiple locations, certain IT employees can be given access to specific resources, which will help ensure that developers are not allocating away from one group to support their own development process.

TechTarget reported that businesses can implement multi-factor authentication on top of these policies. This will require users to enter authentication codes to override policies in the event that a superior granted permissions to a coworker.

Where IAM meets APM

All of these IAM features give IT administrators the ability to grant and restrict access, but application performance management tools will provide an extra layer of security. APM allows IT professionals to monitor and manage wide area network performance, guaranteeing complete visibility into usage by users and applications. APM helps users discover of errors, logs bandwidth usage and provides insights for more efficient planning.

With APM tools, IT administrators can quickly and easily identify the whos, whens and hows of application access. APM can allow IT staff members to identify which policies, groups and roles for IAM are necessary to ensure proper protection and access to each EC2 instance or S3 bucket. If a problem occurs on the WAN, employees can find the problem with APM and resolve it with the permissions from IAM.

On the other side of things, IT departments can use IAM to give certain employees the permissions necessary to apply APM findings with immediacy. IT staff members can be tasked with monitoring and controlling specific network areas, allowing each individual to be in charge a single application or storage bucket.

AWS IAM and APM tools are essential for industries that demand high levels of security, but also rely on scalability to deliver applications across the enterprise.

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