Compliance and security best practices for Amazon ECS - Amazon Elastic Container Service

Compliance and security best practices for Amazon ECS

Your compliance responsibility when using Amazon ECS is determined by the sensitivity of your data, and the compliance objectives of your company, and applicable laws and regulations.

AWS provides the following resources to help with compliance:

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)

It's important that you understand the complete flow of cardholder data (CHD) within the environment when adhering to PCI DSS. The CHD flow determines the applicability of the PCI DSS, defines the boundaries and components of a cardholder data environment (CDE), and therefore the scope of a PCI DSS assessment. Accurate determination of the PCI DSS scope is key to defining the security posture and ultimately a successful assessment. Customers must have a procedure for scope determination that assures its completeness and detects changes or deviations from the scope.

The temporary nature of containerized applications provides additional complexities when auditing configurations. As a result, customers need to maintain an awareness of all container configuration parameters to ensure compliance requirements are addressed throughout all phases of a container lifecycle.

For additional information on achieving PCI DSS compliance on Amazon ECS, refer to the following whitepapers.

HIPAA (U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

Using Amazon ECS with workloads that process protected health information (PHI) requires no additional configuration. Amazon ECS acts as an orchestration service that coordinates the launch of containers on Amazon EC2. It doesn't operate with or upon data within the workload being orchestrated. Consistent with HIPAA regulations and the AWS Business Associate Addendum, PHI should be encrypted in transit and at-rest when accessed by containers launched with Amazon ECS.

Various mechanisms for encrypting at-rest are available with each AWS storage option, such as Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, and AWS KMS. You may deploy an overlay network (such as VNS3 or Weave Net) to ensure complete encryption of PHI transferred between containers or to provide a redundant layer of encryption. Complete logging should also be enabled and all container logs should be directed to Amazon CloudWatch. To design your AWS environment using the best practices for infrastructure security, see Infrastructure Protection in Security Pillar AWS Well‐Architected Framework.

AWS Security Hub

Use AWS Security Hub to monitor your usage of Amazon ECS as it relates to security best practices. Security Hub uses controls to evaluate resource configurations and security standards to help you comply with various compliance frameworks. For more information about using Security Hub to evaluate Amazon ECS resources, see Amazon ECS controls in the AWS Security Hub User Guide.

Amazon GuardDuty with Amazon ECS Runtime Monitoring

Amazon GuardDuty is a threat detection service that helps protect your accounts, containers, workloads, and the data within your AWS environment. Using machine learning (ML) models, and anomaly and threat detection capabilities, GuardDuty continuously monitors different log sources and runtime activity to identify and prioritize potential security risks and malicious activities in your environment.

Use Runtime Monitoring in GuardDuty to identify malicious or unauthorized behavior. Runtime Monitoring protects workloads running on Fargate and EC2 by continuously monitoring AWS log and networking activity to identify malicious or unauthorized behavior. Runtime Monitoring uses a lightweight, fully managed GuardDuty security agent that analyzes on-host behavior, such as file access, process execution, and network connections. This covers issues including escalation of privileges, use of exposed credentials, or communication with malicious IP addresses, domains, and the presence of malware on your Amazon EC2 instances and container workloads. For more information, see GuardDuty Runtime Monitoring in the GuardDuty User Guide.

Compliance recommendations

You should engage the compliance program owners within your business early and use the AWS shared responsibility model to identify compliance control ownership for success with the relevant compliance programs.