Change management in Amazon EC2 - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

Change management in Amazon EC2

After initial security baselines are applied to Amazon EC2 instances at launch, control ongoing Amazon EC2 changes to maintain the security of your virtual machines. Establish a change management process to authorize and incorporate changes to AWS resources (such as security groups, route tables, and network ACLs) as well as to OS and application configurations (such as Windows or application patching, software upgrades, or configuration file updates).

AWS provides several tools to help manage changes to AWS resources, including AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, AWS CloudFormation, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS OpsWorks, and management packs for Systems Center Operations Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Note that Microsoft releases Windows patches every Tuesday (sometimes even daily) and AWS updates all Windows AMIs managed by AWS within five days after Microsoft releases a patch. Therefore it is important to continually patch all baseline AMIs, update AWS CloudFormation templates and Auto Scaling group configurations with the latest AMI IDs, and implement tools to automate running instance patch management.

Microsoft provides several options for managing Windows OS and application changes. SCCM, for example, provides full lifecycle coverage of environment modifications. Select tools that address business requirements and control how changes will affect application SLAs, capacity, security, and disaster recovery procedures. Avoid manual changes and instead leverage automated configuration management software or command line tools such as the EC2 Run Command or Windows PowerShell to implement scripted, repeatable change processes. To assist with this requirement, use bastion hosts with enhanced logging for all interactions with your Windows instances to ensure that all events and tasks are automatically recorded.