How Defender for Cloud Apps helps protect your Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment


  • We've renamed Microsoft Cloud App Security. It's now called Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps. In the coming weeks, we'll update the screenshots and instructions here and in related pages. For more information about the change, see this announcement. To learn more about the recent renaming of Microsoft security services, see the Microsoft Ignite Security blog.

  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps is now part of Microsoft 365 Defender. The Microsoft 365 Defender portal allows security admins to perform their security tasks in one location. This will simplify workflows, and add the functionality of the other Microsoft 365 Defender services. Microsoft 365 Defender will be the home for monitoring and managing security across your Microsoft identities, data, devices, apps, and infrastructure. For more information about these changes, see Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps in Microsoft 365 Defender.

Amazon Web Services is an IaaS provider that enables your organization to host and manage their entire workloads in the cloud. Along with the benefits of leveraging infrastructure in the cloud, your organization's most critical assets may be exposed to threats. Exposed assets include storage instances with potentially sensitive information, compute resources that operate some of your most critical applications, ports, and virtual private networks that enable access to your organization.

Connecting AWS to Defender for Cloud Apps helps you secure your assets and detect potential threats by monitoring administrative and sign-in activities, notifying on possible brute force attacks, malicious use of a privileged user account, unusual deletions of VMs, and publicly exposed storage buckets.

Main threats

  • Abuse of cloud resources
  • Compromised accounts and insider threats
  • Data leakage
  • Resource misconfiguration and insufficient access control

How Defender for Cloud Apps helps to protect your environment

Control AWS with built-in policies and policy templates

You can use the following built-in policy templates to detect and notify you about potential threats:

Type Name
Activity policy template Admin console sign-in failures
CloudTrail configuration changes
EC2 instance configuration changes
IAM policy changes
Logon from a risky IP address
Network access control list (ACL) changes
Network gateway changes
S3 configuration changes
Security group configuration changes
Virtual private network changes
Built-in anomaly detection policy Activity from anonymous IP addresses
Activity from infrequent country
Activity from suspicious IP addresses
Impossible travel
Activity performed by terminated user (requires Azure Active Directory as IdP)
Multiple failed login attempts
Unusual administrative activities
Unusual multiple storage deletion activities (preview)
Multiple delete VM activities
Unusual multiple VM creation activities (preview)
Unusual region for cloud resource (preview)
File policy template S3 bucket is publicly accessible

For more information about creating policies, see Create a policy.

Automate governance controls

In addition to monitoring for potential threats, you can apply and automate the following AWS governance actions to remediate detected threats:

Type Action
User governance - Notify user on alert (via Azure AD)
- Require user to sign in again (via Azure AD)
- Suspend user (via Azure AD)
Data governance - Make an S3 bucket private
- Remove a collaborator for an S3 bucket

For more information about remediating threats from apps, see Governing connected apps.

Security Recommendations

Defender for Cloud Apps provides an overview of your AWS platform configuration compliance for all your AWS accounts based on the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark for AWS.

You should continuously review the security recommendations to assess and evaluate the current status of your platform's security posture and identify important configuration gaps. Then, you should create a plan to mitigate the issues in your AWS platform.

For more information, AWS security recommendations.

Protect AWS in real time

Review our best practices for blocking and protecting the download of sensitive data to unmanaged or risky devices.

Next steps