Optimize AWS Config for AWS Security Hub to effectively manage your cloud security posture
AWS Security Hub is a cloud security posture management service that performs security best practice checks, aggregates security findings from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and third-party security services, and enables automated remediation. Most of the checks Security Hub performs on AWS resources happen as soon as there is a configuration change, giving you nearly immediate visibility of non-compliant resources in your environment, compared to checks that run on a periodic basis. This near real-time finding and reporting of non-compliant resources helps you to quickly respond to infrastructure misconfigurations and reduce risk. Security Hub offers these continuous security checks through its integration with the AWS Config configuration recorder.
By default, AWS Config enables recording for more than 300 resource types in your account. Today, Security Hub has controls that cover approximately 60 of those resource types. If you’re using AWS Config only for Security Hub, you can optimize the configuration of the configuration recorder to track only the resources you need, helping to reduce the costs related to monitoring those resources in AWS Config and the amount of data produced, stored, and analyzed by AWS Config. This blog post walks you through how to set up and optimize the AWS Config recorder when it is used for controls in Security Hub.
Using AWS Config and Security Hub for continuous security checks
When you enable Security Hub, you’re alerted to first enable resource recording in AWS Config, as shown in Figure 1. AWS Config continually assesses, audits, and evaluates the configurations and relationships of your resources on AWS, on premises, and in other cloud environments. Security Hub uses this capability to perform change-initiated security checks. Security Hub checks that use periodic rules don’t depend on the AWS Config recorder. You must enable AWS Config resource recording for all the accounts and in all AWS Regions where you plan to enable Security Hub standards and controls. AWS Config charges for the configuration items that are recorded, separately from Security Hub.
When you get started with AWS Config, you’re prompted to set up the configuration recorder, as shown in Figure 2. AWS Config uses the configuration recorder to detect changes in your resource configurations and capture these changes as configuration items. Using the AWS Config configuration recorder not only allows for continuous security checks, it also minimizes the need to query for the configurations of the individual services, saving your service API quotas for other use cases. By default, the configuration recorder records the supported resources in the Region where the recorder is running.
Note: While AWS Config supports the configuration recording of more than 300 resource types, some Regions support only a subset of those resource types. To learn more, see Supported Resource Types and Resource Coverage by Region Availability.
Optimizing AWS Config for Security Hub
Recording global resources as well as current and future resources in AWS Config is more than what is necessary to enable Security Hub controls. If you’re using the configuration recorder only for Security Hub controls, and you want to cost optimize your use of AWS Config or reduce the amount of data produced, stored, and analyzed by AWS Config, you only need to record the configurations of approximately 60 resource types, as described in AWS Config resources required to generate control findings.
Set up AWS Config, optimized for Security Hub
This template can be used in any Region that supports AWS Config (see AWS Services by Region). Although resource coverage varies by Region (Resource Coverage by Region Availability), you can still use this template in every Region. If a resource type is supported by AWS Config in at least one Region, you can enable the recording of that resource type in all Regions supported by AWS Config. For the Regions that don’t support the specified resource type, the recorder will be enabled but will not record any configuration items until AWS Config supports the resource type in the Region.
Security Hub regularly releases new controls that might rely on recording additional resource types in AWS Config. When you use this template, you can subscribe to Security Hub announcements with Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) to get information about newly released controls that might require you to update the resource types recorded by AWS Config (and listed in the CloudFormation template). The CloudFormation template receives periodic updates in GitHub, but you should validate that it’s up to date before using it. You can also use AWS CloudFormation StackSets to deploy, update, or delete the template across multiple accounts and Regions with a single operation. If you don’t enable the recording of all resources in AWS Config, the Security Hub control, Config.1 AWS Config should be enabled, will fail. If you take this approach, you have the option to disable the Config.1 Security Hub control or suppress its findings using the automation rules feature in Security Hub.
Customizing for your use cases
You can modify the CloudFormation template depending on your use cases for AWS Config and Security Hub. If your use case for AWS Config extends beyond your use of Security Hub controls, consider what additional resource types you will need to record the configurations of for your use case. For example, AWS Firewall Manager, AWS Backup, AWS Control Tower, AWS Marketplace, and AWS Trusted Advisor require AWS Config recording. Additionally, if you use other features of AWS Config, such as custom rules that depend on recording specific resource types, you can add these resource types in the CloudFormation script. You can see the results of AWS Config rule evaluations as findings in Security Hub.
Another customization example is related to the AWS Config configuration timeline. By default, resources evaluated by Security Hub controls include links to the associated AWS Config rule and configuration timeline in AWS Config for that resource, as shown in Figure 3.
The AWS Config configuration timeline, as illustrated in Figure 4, shows you the history of compliance changes for the resource, but it requires the AWS::Config::ResourceCompliance resource type to be recorded. If you need to track changes in compliance for resources and use the configuration timeline in AWS Config, you must add the AWS::Config::ResourceCompliance resource type to the CloudFormation template provided in the preceding section. In this case, Security Hub may change the compliance of the Security Hub managed AWS Config rules, which are recorded as configuration items for the AWS::Config::ResourceCompliance resource type, incurring additional AWS Config recorder charges.
You can use the CloudFormation template provided in this post to optimize the AWS Config configuration recorder for Security Hub to reduce your AWS Config costs and to reduce the amount of data produced, stored, and analyzed by AWS Config. Alternatively, you can run AWS Config with the default settings or use the AWS Config console or scripts to further customize your configuration to fit your use case. Visit Getting started with AWS Security Hub to learn more about managing your security alerts.
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