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Quick Start architecture for NIST high-impact security controls on the AWS Cloud

Quick Start architecture for NIST high-impact controls on AWS (view production VPC details)

This Quick Start is part of a set of AWS Enterprise Accelerator - Compliance solutions. For additional AWS Quick Starts, see the complete catalog.


This Quick Start extends the NIST Quick Start to help support:

NIST SP 800-53 (Rev. 4) high-impact security controls baseline
CNSS Instruction 1253
NIST SP 800-171
FedRAMP and TIC Overlay (pilot)
DoD Cloud Computing SRG

The Quick Start template automatically configures the AWS resources and deploys a multi-tier, Linux-based web application in a few simple steps, in about an hour. The Quick Start features Deep Security from Trend Micro for host-based protection. The security controls matrix (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) shows how the Quick Start components map to security requirements.

Watch a short video to see how it works 

  • What you'll build

    Use this Quick Start to build a cloud architecture that helps support the NIST SP 800-53 high-impact security control baseline, as well as the assessment and authorization frameworks that include the requirements from the high-impact baseline. The deployment includes the following components and features:

    • Basic AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) configuration with custom (IAM) policies, with associated groups, roles, and instance profiles.
    • Standard, external-facing Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) Multi-AZ architecture with separate subnets for different application tiers and private (back-end) subnets for application and database. The Multi-AZ architecture helps ensure high availability.
    • Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets for encrypted web content, logging, and backup data.
    • Standard Amazon VPC security groups for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and load balancers used in the sample application stack. The security groups limit access to only necessary services.
    • Three-tier Linux web application using Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing, which can be modified and/or bootstrapped with customer application.
    • A secured bastion login host to facilitate command-line Secure Shell (SSH) access to Amazon EC2 instances for troubleshooting and systems administration activities.
    • Encrypted, Multi-AZ Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) MySQL database.
    • Logging, monitoring, and alerts using AWS CloudTrail, Amazon CloudWatch, and AWS Config rules (where available).
    • Policies for Deep Security proactive host-based protection to include preventing, monitoring, logging, and alerting for anti-malware, web reputation, file integrity, IPS/IDS, and host firewall

    For details, see the Quick Start deployment guide.

  • Deployment details

    Before deploying the Quick Start, you need to confirm that your AWS account is set up correctly by checking service limits and SSH key pairs, and setting up AWS Config, where available. You can then build your standardized NIST environment in about an hour:

    1. Sign in to your AWS account.
    2. Launch the Quick Start and set the required parameters. If you have an AWS GovCloud (US) account, you can deploy the Quick Start in the AWS GovCloud Region.
    3. Test your deployment.  

    For complete instructions, see the Quick Start deployment guide.

    The Quick Start is modular and customizable. It includes nested AWS CloudFormation templates that automate deploying and configuring resources for IAM, logging, production VPC, management VPC, AWS Config rules, NAT, Trend Micro Deep Security, and the web application. You can deploy the entire architecture, or customize or omit resources; see template details.

  • Cost and licenses

    You are responsible for the cost of the AWS services used while running this Quick Start reference deployment. There is no additional cost for using the Quick Start.

    The AWS CloudFormation template for this Quick Start includes configuration parameters that you can customize. Some of these settings, such as instance type and storage, will affect the cost of deployment. See the pricing pages for each AWS service you will be using or the AWS Simple Monthly Calculator for cost estimates.