Tag Archives: Executive order

How US federal agencies can use AWS to encrypt data at rest and in transit

Post Syndicated from Robert George original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-us-federal-agencies-can-use-aws-to-encrypt-data-at-rest-and-in-transit/

This post is part of a series about how Amazon Web Services (AWS) can help your US federal agency meet the requirements of the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. You will learn how you can use AWS information security practices to meet the requirement to encrypt your data at rest and in transit, to the maximum extent possible.

Encrypt your data at rest in AWS

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.

AWS KMS provides a streamlined way to manage keys used for at-rest encryption. It integrates with AWS services to simplify using your keys to encrypt data across your AWS workloads. It uses hardware security modules that have been validated under FIPS 140-2 to protect your keys. You choose the level of access control that you need, including the ability to share encrypted resources between accounts and services. AWS KMS logs key usage to AWS CloudTrail to provide an independent view of who accessed encrypted data, including AWS services that are using keys on your behalf. As of this writing, AWS KMS integrates with 81 different AWS services. Here are details on recommended encryption for workloads using some key services:

You can use AWS KMS to encrypt other data types including application data with client-side encryption. A client-side application or JavaScript encrypts data before uploading it to S3 or other storage resources. As a result, uploaded data is protected in transit and at rest. Customer options for client-side encryption include the AWS SDK for KMS, the AWS Encryption SDK, and use of third-party encryption tools.

You can also use AWS Secrets Manager to encrypt application passwords, connection strings, and other secrets. Database credentials, resource names, and other sensitive data used in AWS Lambda functions can be encrypted and accessed at run time. This increases the security of these secrets and allows for easier credential rotation.

KMS HSMs are FIPS 140-2 validated and accessible using FIPS validated endpoints. Agencies with additional requirements that require a FIPS 140-3 validated hardware security module (HSM) (for example, for securing third-party secrets managers) can use AWS CloudHSM.

For more information about AWS KMS and key management best practices, visit these resources:

Encrypt your data in transit in AWS

In addition to encrypting data at rest, agencies must also encrypt data in transit. AWS provides a variety of solutions to help agencies encrypt data in transit and enforce this requirement.

First, all network traffic between AWS data centers is transparently encrypted at the physical layer. This data-link layer encryption includes traffic within an AWS Region as well as between Regions. Additionally, all traffic within a virtual private cloud (VPC) and between peered VPCs is transparently encrypted at the network layer when you are using supported Amazon EC2 instance types. Customers can choose to enable Transport Layer Security (TLS) for the applications they build on AWS using a variety of services. All AWS service endpoints support TLS to create a secure HTTPS connection to make API requests.

AWS offers several options for agency-managed infrastructure within the AWS Cloud that needs to terminate TLS. These options include load balancing services (for example, Elastic Load Balancing, Network Load Balancer, and Application Load Balancer), Amazon CloudFront (a content delivery network), and Amazon API Gateway. Each of these endpoint services enable customers to upload their digital certificates for the TLS connection. Digital certificates then need to be managed appropriately to account for expiration and rotation requirements. AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) simplifies generating, distributing, and rotating digital certificates. ACM offers publicly trusted certificates that can be used in AWS services that require certificates to terminate TLS connections to the internet. ACM also provides the ability to create a private certificate authority (CA) hierarchy that can integrate with existing on-premises CAs to automatically generate, distribute, and rotate certificates to secure internal communication among customer-managed infrastructure.

Finally, you can encrypt communications between your EC2 instances and other AWS resources that are connected to your VPC, such as Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) databasesAmazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) file systemsAmazon S3Amazon DynamoDBAmazon Redshift, Amazon EMR, Amazon OpenSearch Service, Amazon ElasticCache for RedisAmazon FSx Windows File Server, AWS Direct Connect (DX) MACsec, and more.


This post has reviewed services that are used to encrypt data at rest and in transit, following the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. I discussed the use of AWS KMS to manage encryption keys that handle the management of keys for at-rest encryption, as well as the use of ACM to manage certificates that protect data in transit.

Next steps

To learn more about how AWS can help you meet the requirements of the executive order, see the other posts in this series:

Subscribe to the AWS Public Sector Blog newsletter to get the latest in AWS tools, solutions, and innovations from the public sector delivered to your inbox, or contact us.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

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Robert George

Robert is a Solutions Architect on the Worldwide Public Sector (WWPS) team who works with customers to design secure, high-performing, and cost-effective systems in the AWS Cloud. He has previously worked in cybersecurity roles focused on designing security architectures, securing enterprise systems, and leading incident response teams for highly regulated environments.

How US federal agencies can authenticate to AWS with multi-factor authentication

Post Syndicated from Kyle Hart original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-us-federal-agencies-can-authenticate-to-aws-with-multi-factor-authentication/

This post is part of a series about how AWS can help your US federal agency meet the requirements of the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. We recognize that government agencies have varying degrees of identity management and cloud maturity and that the requirement to implement multi-factor, risk-based authentication across an entire enterprise is a vast undertaking. This post specifically focuses on how you can use AWS information security practices to help meet the requirement to “establish multi-factor, risk-based authentication and conditional access across the enterprise” as it applies to your AWS environment.

This post focuses on the best-practices for enterprise authentication to AWS – specifically federated access via an existing enterprise identity provider (IdP).

Many federal customers use authentication factors on their Personal Identity Verification (PIV) or Common Access Cards (CAC) to authenticate to an existing enterprise identity service which can support Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which is then used to grant user access to AWS. SAML is an industry-standard protocol and most IdPs support a range of authentication methods, so if you’re not using a PIV or CAC, the concepts will still work for your organization’s multi-factor authentication (MFA) requirements.

Accessing AWS with MFA

There are two categories we want to look at for authentication to AWS services:

  1. AWS APIs, which include access through the following:
  2. Resources you launch that are running within your AWS VPC, which can include database engines or operating system environments such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, Amazon WorkSpaces, or Amazon AppStream 2.0.

There is also a third category of services where authentication occurs in AWS that is beyond the scope of this post: applications that you build on AWS that authenticate internal or external end users to those applications. For this category, multi-factor authentication is still important, but will vary based on the specifics of the application architecture. Workloads that sit behind an AWS Application Load Balancer can use the ALB to authenticate users using either Open ID Connect or SAML IdP that enforce MFA upstream.

MFA for the AWS APIs

AWS recommends that you use SAML and an IdP that enforces MFA as your means of granting users access to AWS. Many government customers achieve AWS federated authentication with Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS). The IdP used by our federal government customers should enforce usage of CAC/PIV to achieve MFA and be the sole means of access to AWS.

Federated authentication uses SAML to assume an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role for access to AWS resources. A role doesn’t have standard long-term credentials such as a password or access keys associated with it. Instead, when you assume a role, it provides you with temporary security credentials for your role session.

AWS accounts in all AWS Regions, including AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, have the same authentication options for IAM roles through identity federation with a SAML IdP. The AWS Single Sign-on (SSO) service is another way to implement federated authentication to the AWS APIs in regions where it is available.

MFA for AWS CLI access

In AWS Regions excluding AWS GovCloud (US), you can consider using the AWS CloudShell service, which is an interactive shell environment that runs in your web browser and uses the same authentication pipeline that you use to access the AWS Management Console—thus inheriting MFA enforcement from your SAML IdP.

If you need to use federated authentication with MFA for the CLI on your own workstation, you’ll need to retrieve and present the SAML assertion token. For information about how you can do this in Windows environments, see the blog post How to Set Up Federated API Access to AWS by Using Windows PowerShell. For information about how to do this with Python, see How to Implement a General Solution for Federated API/CLI Access Using SAML 2.0.

Conditional access

IAM permissions policies support conditional access. Common use cases include allowing certain actions only from a specified, trusted range of IP addresses; granting access only to specified AWS Regions; and granting access only to resources with specific tags. You should create your IAM policies to provide least-privilege access across a number of attributes. For example, you can grant an administrator access to launch or terminate an EC2 instance only if the request originates from a certain IP address and is tagged with an appropriate tag.

You can also implement conditional access controls using SAML session tags provided by their IdP and passed through the SAML assertion to be consumed by AWS. This means two separate users from separate departments can assume the same IAM role but have tailored, dynamic permissions. As an example, the SAML IdP can provide each individual’s cost center as a session tag on the role assertion. IAM policy statements can be written to allow the user from cost center A the ability to administer resources from cost center A, but not resources from cost center B.

Many customers ask about how to limit control plane access to certain IP addresses. AWS supports this, but there is an important caveat to highlight. Some AWS services, such as AWS CloudFormation, perform actions on behalf of an authorized user or role, and execute from within the AWS cloud’s own IP address ranges. See this document for an example of a policy statement using the aws:ViaAWSService condition key to exclude AWS services from your IP address restrictions to avoid unexpected authorization failures.

Multi-factor authentication to resources you launch

You can launch resources such as Amazon WorkSpaces, AppStream 2.0, Redshift, and EC2 instances that you configure to require MFA. The Amazon WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP) supports CAC/PIV authentication for pre-authentication, and in-session access to the smart card. For more information, see Use smart cards for authentication. To see a short video of it in action, see the blog post Amazon WorkSpaces supports CAC/PIV smart card authentication. Redshift and AppStream 2.0 support SAML 2.0 natively, so you can configure those services to work with your SAML IdP similarly to how you configure AWS Console access and inherit the MFA enforced by the upstream IdP.

MFA access to EC2 instances can occur via the existing methods and enterprise directories used in your on-premises environments. You can, of course, implement other systems that enforce MFA access to an operating system such as RADIUS or other third-party directory or MFA token solutions.

Shell access with Systems Manager Session Manager

An alternative method for MFA for shell access to EC2 instances is to use the Session Manager feature of AWS Systems Manager. Session Manager uses the Systems Manager management agent to provide role-based access to a shell (PowerShell on Windows) on an instance. Users can access Session Manager from the AWS Console or from the command line with the Session Manager AWS CLI plugin. Similar to using CloudShell for CLI access, accessing EC2 hosts via Session Manager uses the same authentication pipeline you use for accessing the AWS control plane. Your interactive session on that host can be configured for audit logging.

Security best practices in IAM

The focus of this blog is on integrating an agency’s existing MFA-enabled enterprise authentication service; but to make it easier for you to view the entire security picture, you might be interested in IAM security best practices. You can enforce these best-practice security configurations with AWS Organizations Service Control Policies.


This post covered methods your federal agency should consider in your efforts to apply the multi-factor authentication (MFA) requirements in the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity to your AWS environment. To learn more about how AWS can help you meet the requirements of the executive order, see the other posts in this series:

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

Want more AWS Security how-to content, news, and feature announcements? Follow us on Twitter.


Kyle Hart

Kyle is a Principal Solutions Architect supporting US federal government customers in the Washington, D.C. area.

How US federal agencies can use AWS to improve logging and log retention

Post Syndicated from Derek Doerr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-us-federal-agencies-can-use-aws-to-improve-logging-and-log-retention/

This post is part of a series about how Amazon Web Services (AWS) can help your US federal agency meet the requirements of the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. You will learn how you can use AWS information security practices to help meet the requirement to improve logging and log retention practices in your AWS environment.

Improving the security and operational readiness of applications relies on improving the observability of the applications and the infrastructure on which they operate. For our customers, this translates to questions of how to gather the right telemetry data, how to securely store it over its lifecycle, and how to analyze the data in order to make it actionable. These questions take on more importance as our federal customers seek to improve their collection and management of log data in all their IT environments, including their AWS environments, as mandated by the executive order.

Given the interest in the technologies used to support logging and log retention, we’d like to share our perspective. This starts with an overview of logging concepts in AWS, including log storage and management, and then proceeds to how to gain actionable insights from that logging data. This post will address how to improve logging and log retention practices consistent with the Security and Operational Excellence pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Log actions and activity within your AWS account

AWS provides you with extensive logging capabilities to provide visibility into actions and activity within your AWS account. A security best practice is to establish a wide range of detection mechanisms across all of your AWS accounts. Starting with services such as AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon GuardDuty, and AWS Security Hub provides a foundation upon which you can base detective controls, remediation actions, and forensics data to support incident response. Here is more detail on how these services can help you gain more security insights into your AWS workloads:

  • AWS CloudTrail provides event history for all of your AWS account activity, including API-level actions taken through the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and other AWS services. You can use CloudTrail to identify who or what took which action, what resources were acted upon, when the event occurred, and other details. If your agency uses AWS Organizations, you can automate this process for all of the accounts in the organization.
  • CloudTrail logs can be delivered from all of your accounts into a centralized account. This places all logs in a tightly controlled, central location, making it easier to both protect them as well as to store and analyze them. As with AWS CloudTrail, you can automate this process for all of the accounts in the organization using AWS Organizations.  CloudTrail can also be configured to emit metrical data into the CloudWatch monitoring service, giving near real-time insights into the usage of various services.
  • CloudTrail log file integrity validation produces and cyptographically signs a digest file that contains references and hashes for every CloudTrail file that was delivered in that hour. This makes it computationally infeasible to modify, delete or forge CloudTrail log files without detection. Validated log files are invaluable in security and forensic investigations. For example, a validated log file enables you to assert positively that the log file itself has not changed, or that particular user credentials performed specific API activity.
  • AWS Config monitors and records your AWS resource configurations and allows you to automate the evaluation of recorded configurations against desired configurations. For example, you can use AWS Config to verify that resources are encrypted, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is enabled, and logging is turned on, and you can use AWS Config rules to identify noncompliant resources. Additionally, you can review changes in configurations and relationships between AWS resources and dive into detailed resource configuration histories, helping you to determine when compliance status changed and the reason for the change.
  • Amazon GuardDuty is a threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior to protect your AWS accounts and workloads. Amazon GuardDuty analyzes and processes the following data sources: VPC Flow Logs, AWS CloudTrail management event logs, CloudTrail Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data event logs, and DNS logs. It uses threat intelligence feeds, such as lists of malicious IP addresses and domains, and machine learning to identify potential threats within your AWS environment.
  • AWS Security Hub provides a single place that aggregates, organizes, and prioritizes your security alerts, or findings, from multiple AWS services and optional third-party products to give you a comprehensive view of security alerts and compliance status.

You should be aware that most AWS services do not charge you for enabling logging (for example, AWS WAF) but the storage of logs will incur ongoing costs. Always consult the AWS service’s pricing page to understand cost impacts. Related services such as Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose (used to stream data to storage services), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), used to store log data, will incur charges.

Turn on service-specific logging as desired

After you have the foundational logging services enabled and configured, next turn your attention to service-specific logging. Many AWS services produce service-specific logs that include additional information. These services can be configured to record and send out information that is necessary to understand their internal state, including application, workload, user activity, dependency, and transaction telemetry. Here’s a sampling of key services with service-specific logging features:

  • Amazon CloudWatch provides you with data and actionable insights to monitor your applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, optimize resource utilization, and get a unified view of operational health. CloudWatch collects monitoring and operational data in the form of logs, metrics, and events, providing you with a unified view of AWS resources, applications, and services that run on AWS and on-premises servers. You can gain additional operational insights from your AWS compute instances (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2) as well as on-premises servers using the CloudWatch agent. Additionally, you can use CloudWatch to detect anomalous behavior in your environments, set alarms, visualize logs and metrics side by side, take automated actions, troubleshoot issues, and discover insights to keep your applications running smoothly.
  • Amazon CloudWatch Logs is a component of Amazon CloudWatch which you can use to monitor, store, and access your log files from Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, AWS CloudTrail, Route 53, and other sources. CloudWatch Logs enables you to centralize the logs from all of your systems, applications, and AWS services that you use, in a single, highly scalable service. You can then easily view them, search them for specific error codes or patterns, filter them based on specific fields, or archive them securely for future analysis. CloudWatch Logs enables you to see all of your logs, regardless of their source, as a single and consistent flow of events ordered by time, and you can query them and sort them based on other dimensions, group them by specific fields, create custom computations with a powerful query language, and visualize log data in dashboards.
  • Traffic Mirroring allows you to achieve full packet capture (as well as filtered subsets) of network traffic from an elastic network interface of EC2 instances inside your VPC. You can then send the captured traffic to out-of-band security and monitoring appliances for content inspection, threat monitoring, and troubleshooting.
  • The Elastic Load Balancing service provides access logs that capture detailed information about requests that are sent to your load balancer. Each log contains information such as the time the request was received, the client’s IP address, latencies, request paths, and server responses. The specific information logged varies by load balancer type:
  • Amazon S3 access logs record the S3 bucket and account that are being accessed, the API action, and requester information.
  • AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) logs record web requests that are processed by AWS WAF, and indicate whether the requests matched AWS WAF rules and what actions, if any, were taken. These logs are delivered to Amazon S3 by using Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose.
  • Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) log files can be downloaded or published to Amazon CloudWatch Logs. Log settings are specific to each database engine. Agencies use these settings to apply their desired logging configurations and chose which events are logged.  Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS for Oracle also support a real-time logging feature called “database activity streams” which provides even more detail, and cannot be accessed or modified by database administrators.
  • Amazon Route 53 provides options for logging for both public DNS query requests as well as Route53 Resolver DNS queries:
    • Route 53 Resolver DNS query logs record DNS queries and responses that originate from your VPC, that use an inbound Resolver endpoint, that use an outbound Resolver endpoint, or that use a Route 53 Resolver DNS Firewall.
    • Route 53 DNS public query logs record queries to Route 53 for domains you have hosted with AWS, including the domain or subdomain that was requested; the date and time of the request; the DNS record type; the Route 53 edge location that responded to the DNS query; and the DNS response code.
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances can use the unified CloudWatch agent to collect logs and metrics from Linux, macOS, and Windows EC2 instances and publish them to the Amazon CloudWatch service.
  • Elastic Beanstalk logs can be streamed to CloudWatch Logs. You can also use the AWS Management Console to request the last 100 log entries from the web and application servers, or request a bundle of all log files that is uploaded to Amazon S3 as a ZIP file.
  • Amazon CloudFront logs record user requests for content that is cached by CloudFront.

Store and analyze log data

Now that you’ve enabled foundational and service-specific logging in your AWS accounts, that data needs to be persisted and managed throughout its lifecycle. AWS offers a variety of solutions and services to consolidate your log data and store it, secure access to it, and perform analytics.

Store log data

The primary service for storing all of this logging data is Amazon S3. Amazon S3 is ideal for this role, because it’s a highly scalable, highly resilient object storage service. AWS provides a rich set of multi-layered capabilities to secure log data that is stored in Amazon S3, including encrypting objects (log records), preventing deletion (the S3 Object Lock feature), and using lifecycle policies to transition data to lower-cost storage over time (for example, to S3 Glacier). Access to data in Amazon S3 can also be restricted through AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies, AWS Organizations service control policies (SCPs), S3 bucket policies, Amazon S3 Access Points, and AWS PrivateLink interfaces. While S3 is particularly easy to use with other AWS services given its various integrations, many customers also centralize their storage and analysis of their on-premises log data, or log data from other cloud environments, on AWS using S3 and the analytic features described below.

If your AWS accounts are organized in a multi-account architecture, you can make use of the AWS Centralized Logging solution. This solution enables organizations to collect, analyze, and display CloudWatch Logs data in a single dashboard. AWS services generate log data, such as audit logs for access, configuration changes, and billing events. In addition, web servers, applications, and operating systems all generate log files in various formats. This solution uses the Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) and Kibana to deploy a centralized logging solution that provides a unified view of all the log events. In combination with other AWS-managed services, this solution provides you with a turnkey environment to begin logging and analyzing your AWS environment and applications.

You can also make use of services such as Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, which you can use to transport log information to S3, Amazon ES, or any third-party service that is provided with an HTTP endpoint, such as Datadog, New Relic, or Splunk.

Finally, you can use Amazon EventBridge to route and integrate event data between AWS services and to third-party solutions such as software as a service (SaaS) providers or help desk ticketing systems. EventBridge is a serverless event bus service that allows you to connect your applications with data from a variety of sources. EventBridge delivers a stream of real-time data from your own applications, SaaS applications, and AWS services, and then routes that data to targets such as AWS Lambda.

Analyze log data and respond to incidents

As the final step in managing your log data, you can use AWS services such as Amazon Detective, Amazon ES, CloudWatch Logs Insights, and Amazon Athena to analyze your log data and gain operational insights.

  • Amazon Detective makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of security findings or suspicious activities. Detective automatically collects log data from your AWS resources. It then uses machine learning, statistical analysis, and graph theory to help you visualize and conduct faster and more efficient security investigations.
  • Incident Manager is a component of AWS Systems Manger which enables you to automatically take action when a critical issue is detected by an Amazon CloudWatch alarm or Amazon Eventbridge event. Incident Manager executes pre-configured response plans to engage responders via SMS and phone calls, enable chat commands and notifications using AWS Chatbot, and execute AWS Systems Manager Automation runbooks. The Incident Manager console integrates with AWS Systems Manager OpsCenter to help you track incidents and post-incident action items from a central place that also synchronizes with popular third-party incident management tools such as Jira Service Desk and ServiceNow.
  • Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) is a fully managed service that collects, indexes, and unifies logs and metrics across your environment to give you unprecedented visibility into your applications and infrastructure. With Amazon ES, you get the scalability, flexibility, and security you need for the most demanding log analytics workloads. You can configure a CloudWatch Logs log group to stream data it receives to your Amazon ES cluster in near real time through a CloudWatch Logs subscription.
  • CloudWatch Logs Insights enables you to interactively search and analyze your log data in CloudWatch Logs.
  • Amazon Athena is an interactive query service that you can use to analyze data in Amazon S3 by using standard SQL. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to manage, and you pay only for the queries that you run.


As called out in the executive order, information from network and systems logs is invaluable for both investigation and remediation services. AWS provides a broad set of services to collect an unprecedented amount of data at very low cost, optionally store it for long periods of time in tiered storage, and analyze that telemetry information from your cloud-based workloads. These insights will help you improve your organization’s security posture and operational readiness and, as a result, improve your organization’s ability to deliver on its mission.

Next steps

To learn more about how AWS can help you meet the requirements of the executive order, see the other post in this series:

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

Want more AWS Security how-to content, news, and feature announcements? Follow us on Twitter.


Derek Doerr

Derek is a Senior Solutions Architect with the Public Sector team at AWS. He has been working with AWS technology for over four years. Specializing in enterprise management and governance, he is passionate about helping AWS customers navigate their journeys to the cloud. In his free time, he enjoys time with family and friends, as well as scuba diving.

How AWS can help your US federal agency meet the executive order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity

Post Syndicated from Michael Cotton original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-aws-can-help-your-us-federal-agency-meet-the-executive-order-on-improving-the-nations-cybersecurity/

AWS can support your information security modernization program to meet the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity (issued May 12th, 2021). When working with AWS, a US federal agency gains access to resources, expertise, technology, professional services, and our AWS Partner Network (APN), which can help the agency meet the security and compliance requirements of the executive order.

For federal agencies, the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity requires an update to agency plans to prioritize cloud adoption, identify the most sensitive data and update the protections for that data, encrypt data at rest and in transit, implement multi-factor authentication, and meet expanded logging requirements. It also introduces Zero Trust Architectures and, for the first time, requires an agency to develop plans implementing Zero Trust concepts.

This post focuses on how AWS can help you plan for and accelerate cloud adoption. In the rest of the series you’ll learn how AWS offers guidance for building architectures with a Zero Trust security model, multi-factor authentication, encryption for data at-rest and in-transit, and logging capabilities required to increase visibility for security and compliance purposes.

Prioritize the adoption and use of cloud technologies

AWS has developed multiple frameworks to help you plan your migration to AWS and establish a structured, programmatic approach to AWS adoption. We provide a variety of tools, including server, data, and database features, to rapidly migrate various types of applications from on-premises to AWS. The following lists include links and helpful information regarding the ways AWS can help accelerate your cloud adoption.

Planning tools

  • AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (AWS CAF) – We developed the AWS CAF to assist your organization in developing and implementing efficient and effective plans for cloud adoption. The guidance and best practices provided by the framework help you build a comprehensive approach to cloud computing across your organization, and throughout the IT lifecycle. Using the AWS CAF will help you realize measurable business benefits from cloud adoption faster, and with less risk.
  • Migration Evaluator – You can build a data-driven business case for your cloud adoption on AWS by using our Migration Evaluator (formerly TSO Logic) to gain access to insights and help accelerate decision-making for migration to AWS.
  • AWS Migration Acceleration Program This program assists your organization with migrating to the cloud by providing you training, professional services, and service credits to streamline your migration, helping your agency more quickly decommission legacy hardware, software, and data centers.

AWS services and technologies for migration

  • AWS Application Migration Service (AWS MGN) – This service allows you to replicate entire servers to AWS using block-level replication, performs tests to verify the migration, and executes the cutover to AWS. This is the simplest and fastest method to migrate to AWS.
  • AWS CloudEndure Migration Factory Solution – This solution enables you to replicate entire servers to AWS using block-level replication and executes the cutover to AWS. This solution is designed to coordinate and automate manual processes for large-scale migrations involving a substantial number of servers.
  • AWS Server Migration Service – This is an agentless service that automates the migration of your on-premises VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V/SCVMM, and Azure virtual machines to AWS. It replicates existing servers as Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), enabling you to transition more quickly and easily to AWS.
  • AWS Database Migration Service – This service automates replication of your on-premises databases to AWS, making it much easier for you to migrate large and complex applications to AWS with minimal downtime.
  • AWS DataSync – This is an online data transfer service that simplifies, automates, and accelerates moving your data between on-premises storage systems and AWS.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS – This service simplifies and speeds up your migration to AWS by enabling your agency to use the same VMware Cloud Foundation technologies across your on-premises environments and in the AWS Cloud. VMware workloads running on AWS have access to more than 200 AWS services, making it easier to move and modernize applications without having to purchase new hardware, rewrite applications, or modify your operations.
  • AWS Snow Family – These services provide devices that can physically transport exabytes of data into and out of AWS. These devices are fully encrypted and integrate with AWS security, monitoring, storage management, and computing capabilities to help accelerate your migration of large data sets to AWS.

AWS Professional Services

  • AWS Professional Services – Use the AWS Cloud to more effectively reach your constituents and better achieve your core mission. This is a global team of experts that can help you realize your desired business outcomes when using the AWS Cloud. Each offering delivers a set of activities, best practices, and documentation reflecting our experience supporting hundreds of customers in their journey to the AWS Cloud.

AWS Partners

  • AWS Government Competency Partners – This page identifies partners who have demonstrated their ability to help government customers accelerate their migration of applications and legacy infrastructure to AWS.

AWS has solutions and partners to assist in your planning and accelerating your migration to the cloud. We can help you develop integrated, cost-effective solutions to help secure your environment and implement the executive order requirements. In short, AWS is ready to help you meet the accelerated timeline goals set in this executive order.

Next steps

For further reading, see the blog post Zero Trust architectures: An AWS perspective, and to learn more about how AWS can help you meet the requirements of the executive order, see the other post in this series:

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

Want more AWS Security how-to content, news, and feature announcements? Follow us on Twitter.


Michael Cotton

Michael is a Senior Solutions Architect at AWS.