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What Are Amazon S3 Buckets?

Jason Coggins by    Published On - 03.02.2021   General

Launched in the United States in 2006, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a public cloud storage platform that is highly scalable, fast, reliable, and inexpensive. The platform boasts 99.999999999% durability and between 99.95% to 99.99% availability.

What Are Amazon S3 Buckets?

Amazon S3 buckets are a part of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and come with a user interface that enables users to store and retrieve data from anywhere on the web. In addition to simple storage, S3 buckets can be used to host static HTML websites as well as complex dynamic web applications.

Many organizations use S3 buckets for backup and recovery, and for storing large amounts of data for analytics and other purposes.

Amazon S3 Security Features

One of the most important security features provided by AWS is the event logs, which can be enabled and disabled via the interface. By enabling logging, organizations can keep track of how their data is accessed, shared, modified, or removed.

The logs record a wide range of events, which include the date and time content is accessed and the protocols that are used (HTTP, FTP, etc.). The logs also include HTTP status codes, Turnaround time, and HTTP request messages.

While it is theoretically possible to monitor the event logs directly via the S3 control panel, for companies storing large amounts of sensitive data, it would be better to use a third-party solution that will provide a deeper insight into how their data is being accessed.

Most commercial auditing solutions use machine learning techniques to automatically detect anomalous file and folder activity. They can also send real-time alerts and allow you to generate intuitive reports that can be used to satisfy the regulatory compliance requirements that are relevant to your industry.

Amazon S3 Security Issues

A common security issue associated with Amazon S3 relates to what many refer to as ‘leaky buckets’. A large number of data breaches have been caused by misconfigured S3 buckets.

Until fairly recently, the buckets were set to public by default, and many users were unaware of this. Some of the organizations that have been affected by leaky buckets include Netflix, TD Bank, Ford, Dow Jones & Co, and even the U.S Government.

While Amazon has made a move to address this issue by setting the buckets to private by default, we are still seeing a number of buckets being exposed to the public. At Lepide, we still frequently see open S3 buckets, some of which contained login credentials, security keys, and API keys.

Leaky buckets aside, AWS continues to dominate the cloud market, with more than 1,000,000 active users – accounting for approximately 33.8 percent of the global market share.

The Majority of users are small to mid-size companies, although enterprise-scale users make up at least 10% of that total. In fact, even large tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn use S3 buckets for one reason or another.

The Lepide Data Security Platform enables you to get visibility on user behavior in your Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 buckets. If you’d like to see how Lepide can help you audit Amazon S3 Buckets, schedule a demo with one of our engineers, or start your free trial today.

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