How To Safeguard Your Amazon EKS Clusters with Amazon GuardDuty?

Aug 29, 2023

You wake up, make coffee, spend some time scrolling through your social channels while your work computer boots up, blissfully unaware of the disaster that awaits you. You don’t see any alerts as you look over your system, and the first sign something is wrong is a panicked email from legal marked “-URGENT- Data breach report”, and your phone starts blowing up with requests demanding to know what happened.

Your heart pounding, you scramble through the system and discover that a small vulnerability hadn’t been flagged, and your Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) has been compromised. It’s every security professional’s worst nightmare, but you don’t need to be caught off guard if you implement the right tools like Amazon GuardDuty EKS Protection

With over 96% of organizations using, or evaluating Kubernetes, properly securing your EKS clusters is essential to the security of any organization. To get you started, let’s dive into the world of automated threat detection, and learn how startups can secure their EKS Clusters using GuardDuty EKS Protection.

Why is Automated Threat Detection so Important? 

There’s an old adage in cybersecurity: “You need to be right every time. The attacker only needs to be right once”. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new attack vectors, which means that cybersecurity specialists need to constantly be able to respond to these threats. Doing this through pure human power would be impractical, so instead we rely on automated threat detection. 

These kinds of systems are designed to monitor your network or cloud implementation and flag unusual or malicious traffic. It can then either use pre-set rules to block or isolate these problem areas or in some cases flag the intrusion for further investigation by a cybersecurity specialist. This helps to automate the tedious and time-consuming aspects of cybersecurity and eliminate a large degree of human error. Additionally, the system uses machine learning to better flag potential threats over time and gives security professionals an at-a-glance overview of their infrastructure via integrated threat intelligence.

Building these kinds of systems in-house is prohibitively expensive, so it is usually best to look for solutions that integrate into your existing infrastructure. In the case of AWS, that’s Amazon GuardDuty EKS Protection. 

What is Amazon GuardDuty EKS Protection? 

Amazon GuardDuty is a managed threat detection service that uses a combination of machine learning, anomaly detection, and integrated threat intelligence to identify, flag, and prioritize potential threats. 

As a whole, it can be used to secure almost every aspect of your AWS cloud implementation, but until recently it wasn’t compatible with GuardDuty EKS Protection. That changed in January 2022 when this capability was expanded to include Amazon EKS. Key features include:

  • No additional software is required to make it run.
  • Continuous 24/7 monitoring of your AWS implementation without added cost or complexity.
  • Global coverage. 
  • A system that monitors everything in your account and infrastructure level, alerting you of any anomaly behavior. 
  • An intuitive automatic threat severity level to help cybersecurity specialists prioritize potential threats. 
  • Cost-effective with a 30-day free trial.
  • Continues delivery of value thanks to machine-learning improvements.
  • Intelligent security monitoring and threat detection at scale.

Cloudvisor Tip: Amazon GuardDuty is not designed to act as a preventative system, it is designed to flag potential intrusions for response. If you want to learn more about how to implement intrusion detection and prevention systems for your startup, contact us today.

In an Amazon EKS context, GuardDuty for EKS includes 27 new GuardDuty finding types and threat detections specifically tailored to Amazon EKS. For example, it can flag access via TOR nodes, or API operations performed by anonymous users. The real trick here is that GuardDuty is directly integrated with Amazon EKS, which provides access to Kubernetes audit logs without requiring you to turn them on or store them.

Amazon GuardDuty EKS Protection also has two key monitoring features that most startups will find essential. The first, EKS Audit Log Monitoring keeps an eye on your audit logs and analyzes them for potentially malicious or suspicious activity. The second, EKS Runtime Monitoring, looks for threats at the runtime level for individual EKS workloads, for example, file access, process execution, and network connections. This provides another layer of detection and helps you identify any threats before you lose control of them.

Top Four Benefits of Amazon GuardDuty EKS

With that said, let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of Amazon GuardDuty EKS. There are a lot of them, but we’ve narrowed it down to the four most impactful: 

Improved visibility of your security operations 

GuardDuty EKS uses a potent confirmation of machine learning, anomaly detection, and integrated threat detection to highlight and prioritize potential threats in real-time. This system will categorize threats based on severity, which helps your cybersecurity team keep on top of the most urgent threats, and ultimately makes your AWS implementation more responsive, and robust. 

No third-party software required 

Amazon GuardDuty EKS represents a straightforward way for any organization to instantly level up their security game. It doesn’t require expensive third-party vendor software and is designed specifically to operate in an Amazon EKS environment. This enables you to rapidly give your cybersecurity team a powerful tool, without incurring significant tech debt in the process. 

An all-in-one security monitoring solution 

While GuardDuty EKS can’t actively prevent threats, it is able to monitor everything in your account, from the infrastructure level, all the way up to anomalous behavior. This is particularly useful when conducting reviews to understand how exactly your implementation was breached. 

GuardDuty EKS enables you to receive findings with context, metadata, and impacted resource details that can then be combined with Amazon Detective to conduct a robust security investigation and plug any potential gaps. 

Cost-effective and fully integrated (with a free trial!)

Cost is always a challenge for security teams. Spend too little, and you risk a costly breakthrough, overspend, and you’ve found yourself with a painfully high line on the budget. This is of particular concern for startups, who often need to find every saving they can and keep their burn rates down. 

To address this, GuardDuty EKS is designed to be as cost-efficient as possible, while still delivering enterprise-level value. In addition to this, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial for GuardDuty for EKS, with an estimated spend available in the GuardDuty console to help plan for future expenses.

Get Started with GuardDuty for EKS!

Sadly, cloud security is one of those things that you don’t always realize you need until it’s too late. That’s why it’s always better to implement it as early as possible, even if it means you need to spend a little more time to do so. This process can feel a little painful, which is why it’s often helpful to work with a trusted partner. 

Cloudvisor is the only advanced Tier AWS Partner dedicated to helping startups implement AWS. Our team has significant experience working with the same kind of security challenges your startup is likely to face, and we’re standing by to help you implement GuardDuty for EKS and any other AWS services you might need. 

Secure your EKS clusters properly with Cloudvisor!
Our AWS-Certified DevOps Engineering team is ready to make your AWS Infrastrucure more secure.

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Cloudvisor is an advanced-tier AWS partner operating in Europe, USA, and beyond. Our diverse, globally distributed team includes highly experienced Amazon Web Services professionals.

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