Did you know that Amazon Web Service is one of the most consumed cloud-computing services in the world? And Amazon EC2 instance services are at heart.

AWS services have become a refuge for online businesses as they are affordable, flexible, and offer a wealth of configurations and security measures. In addition, they have overthrown physical servers, which are unreliable, expensive, and provide little memory capabilities.

Amazon EC2 instances, the most purchased of AWS services, have managed to stay at the top of the marketplace due to their affordable web hosting services,  providing websites with real-time information processing and storage capabilities.

What Is The Amazon EC2 Instance?

The Amazon Elastic compute cloud, EC2, is simply a web hosting service provided by Amazon, providing developers with a secure and resizable computing capacity on the cloud.

The service is used to run websites and applications on the AWS infrastructure. It can create unlimited virtual machines/servers that adjust to various web instances. It includes memory, storage, and data processing and can also easily integrate with other Amazon servers, such as SNS and S3.

How Can You Protect Your EC2 Instances?

Below are ways you can protect your EC2 instances.

  • Define and Secure Your VPC


EC2 users use the Amazon virtual private cloud to logically define and isolate specific AWS resources that can be shared with their virtual networks using the VPC components.

These VPC components, comprising IP addresses, network interfaces, route tables, and subnets, physically connect your web hosting service to your network and will define the security of your EC2 instance.

To secure your EC2 instance, a user shouldn’t rely on the AWS default VPC settings and create their own new virtual private cloud.

The default subnet AWS resources associated with the main routing table are usually considered high-risk due to the weak security configuration and will be easy to compromise.

Additionally, ensure that your custom route tables are well-defined, which may be a weak point for your AWS resources. Remember, the route tables are your main communication points and must be protected from compromise.

  • Limit Access Through Identity and Access Management

Upon opening an AWS account, a user is always issued with two key pairs, a public key used by amazon to check their identity and a second key that the user can use to access their AWS resources.

These security keys should never be used to grant access to applications, services, or individual users. It is why EC2 instance owners are advised to use IAM to limit access of applications, services, and individuals to critical AWS resources such as the sub-nets, IP address, and even storage.

The Identity and Access Management system (IAM) works through the generation of a temporary security key that allows certain users to access the EC2 instance, securing the original credentials from being compromised.

The IAM also creates roles in the systems, which enable EC2 owners to manage the security of their EC2 instances. For instance, applications running on your instance require valid AWS credentials to make API calls.

Also, you can create an IAM policy that holds to AWS compliance, which will enable you to define how other AWS services, such as SNS and S3, will be integrated into your EC2 instance and what information can and cannot be shared.

  • Define Your Security Groups

Amazon EC

Security groups are one of the two types of virtual firewalls used in EC2. They secure EC2 instances by securing and controlling the level of information available in the website workspace.

The other virtual firewall, the Network access control lists (NACLs), however, control a user’s cloud space by controlling VPC subnets.

To help users define their EC2 security groups,  it is first advisable to understand the workings of security groups on Linux, Windows, and Ubuntu operating systems, as found in the Amazon user guide description.

Once you are knowledgeable about security groups, you will understand how imminent it is to ensure a user has information accessibility under control through the limited privilege and limited access policy.

Using this policy, you can assign security groups to your instances and add specific rules for each instance.

  • Be Vigilant Against Malware

This is the most underrated yet powerful way of securing your EC2 instance.

Just like physical servers, it is vital to assume best practices with your EC2 instance to avoid malware.

For this, you should ensure that all applications installed into your EC2 instance are thoroughly checked by an anti-virus application before installation and are from a well-known site. It should also include your Amazon Machine Image.

Your guest operating systems should also undergo regular updates, and the standard hardening procedures for the OS should be duly followed. The OS should also have anti-virus software running throughout as an extra safety feature.

  • Backup your EC2 instances

Although Amazon does provide one of the safest web services, it is not impenetrable.

In the event of corruption, which would lead to loss of configuration information, backing up your EC2 instance setting will prove most useful.

Saving through the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) provides excellent backup in case of a breach, as it keeps your current security configurations as templates for when you will need them.

Amazon EBS snapshots also provide backup for EBS volumes on your AWS resources and will prove helpful.

AWS also provides a user guide on performing regular testing of the instance recovery process to help EC2 instance owners make informed decisions on improving their recovery techniques.

  • Monitor Your Instances Using Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch

The Amazon CloudWatch is a valuable tool for monitoring the activities in your AWS account, including EC2 instances.

This tool will inform you of any unusual or unauthorized activity through an alarm and help an instance owner mitigate against dangers on your instance.

Amazon EC2: Final Thoughts

Amazon EC2 instances are partisan to the thriving of a website. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that these instances are well-protected from internal breaches, such as malware and external breaches.

To ensure this, it is crucial to use best practices when handling your EC2 instances. The tips above will protect your instances from internal and external factors.

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