Revisiting Macie

What is Macie? Amazon’s marketing describes Macie as: Amazon Macie automates the discovery of sensitive data at scale and lowers the cost of protecting your data. Macie automatically provides an inventory of Amazon S3 buckets including a list of unencrypted buckets, publicly accessible buckets, and buckets shared with AWS accounts outside those you have defined in AWS Organizations. Then, Macie applies machine learning and pattern matching techniques to the buckets you select to identify and alert you to sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information (PII).


What it is The Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition is an annual competition where 8 teams from various colleges have to defend their systems from Red Team attacks while also executing on management-type business challenges. It is typically held in the spring. With the pandemic still in place, this year’s competition could not be held on the KSU campus like usual. Instead they decided to try and run the competition remotely in AWS, with teams communicating via Zoom, and working off AWS Workspaces.

pre:Invent 2020

Welcome to the American Thanksgiving holiday, which for us cloud peeps is the quiet period between pre:Invent and re:Invent. Traditionally the run up to AWS re:Invent is chock full of feature releases (and some product releases) that don’t merit mention in Andy or Werner’s keynotes. As I was slammed with work things, I wasn’t following pre:Invent (and will probably miss much of the lame online re:Invent), so I’m going back and reviewing all the announcements for things of note to a serverless nerd or security geek.

Mapping CIS Controls to Cloud

Building a public cloud security program from scratch is a lot of work. There are a ton of things you need to do and figuring out what you need to do and the priority is critical. CIS publishes a list of 20 Critical Security Controls. While primarily focused at traditional IT data-center centric organizations, the concepts and the order of the 20 Controls provides a reasonably good road map for anyone looking to start their cloud security journey.

Threat Modeling your Cloud Service Provider

I seem to be spending a lot of time discussing the Cloud Service Provider’s (CSP) side of shared responsibility, and no where near enough time discussing our side of shared responsibility. Time to throw down more thoughts on why you need to worry less about AWS, Azure and GCP’s engineering, and spend more time focused on your own security hygiene. Don’t lose sight of the fact that "95 percent of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.

Multi Account Config

“Architect for the AWS you have, not the AWS you want” –Chris Farris, 2017 AWS is constantly innovating. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because things are getting better, cheaper, and faster. It’s a curse because the best way to accomplish an objective is constantly changing. I’m interested in auto-remediation. How do I revert a bad state to a good state without asking a human to fix something.

Cloud Encryption is worthless! Click here to see why...

(With apologies for the click-bait headline. It seems to be what all the cool kids are doing when they’re not on TikTok) I have spent way too much of my life the last three years in the cloud compliance and cloud security posture monitoring space. One of the biggest issues I’ve struggled with is putting a priority on the issue of re-encrypting existing cloud resources. Let me start off by saying that you should always check that little box to encrypt at rest.

Modern Cloud Governance

What is Cloud Governance In the past few years while I’ve been doing cloud security, I’ve observed how governance and other cloud activities work. Cloud Governance really focuses on three things: Security/Legal/Compliance (aka risk reduction) Cost Optimization Providing the business value which is why you’re in the cloud in the first place. Typically these functions are split in different parts of the organization. Your InfoSec team cares about cloud security, your finance department is asking questions about how you’re spending so much money and why can’t you spend less.

Conducting a Cloud Assessment in AWS

I’ve been engaged in a lot of merger & acquisition (M&A) activity over the past year. One of the things that entails is understanding how organizations are using AWS, what controls they have in place and how they are using AWS’s security features. This a general list of things you want to look at when evaluating an AWS environment for the first time. Security & Governance Tooling CloudTrail Is CloudTrail enabled?