Protecting data at rest - Security Pillar

Protecting data at rest

Data at rest represents any data that you persist in non-volatile storage for any duration in your workload. This includes block storage, object storage, databases, archives, IoT devices, and any other storage medium on which data is persisted. Protecting your data at rest reduces the risk of unauthorized access, when encryption and appropriate access controls are implemented.

Encryption and tokenization are two important but distinct data protection schemes.

Tokenization is a process that allows you to define a token to represent an otherwise sensitive piece of information (for example, a token to represent a customer’s credit card number). A token must be meaningless on its own, and must not be derived from the data it is tokenizing–therefore, a cryptographic digest is not usable as a token. By carefully planning your tokenization approach, you can provide additional protection for your content, and you can ensure that you meet your compliance requirements. For example, you can reduce the compliance scope of a credit card processing system if you leverage a token instead of a credit card number.

Encryption is a way of transforming content in a manner that makes it unreadable without a secret key necessary to decrypt the content back into plaintext. Both tokenization and encryption can be used to secure and protect information as appropriate. Further, masking is a technique that allows part of a piece of data to be redacted to a point where the remaining data is not considered sensitive. For example, PCI-DSS allows the last four digits of a card number to be retained outside the compliance scope boundary for indexing.

Audit the use of encryption keys: Ensure that you understand and audit the use of encryption keys to validate that the access control mechanisms on the keys are appropriately implemented. For example, any AWS service using an AWS KMS key logs each use in AWS CloudTrail. You can then query AWS CloudTrail, by using a tool such as Amazon CloudWatch Insights, to ensure that all uses of your keys are valid.