Essential Strategies for Meeting SEBI’s Data Security Standards

Vineet Singh

In today’s digital age, data security is paramount, especially in industries dealing with sensitive information like FinTechs. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) mandates stringent data security requirements to safeguard customer information. This blog explores how FinTech firms can address SEBI’s data security requirements effectively on the AWS platform. By leveraging AWS’s robust security features and implementing best practices, organizations can ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data while meeting regulatory obligations. 

 

When considering data security, there are 3 main areas that we need to focus on:

  1. Data at rest
    1. Server and Client Side Data encryption
    2. System Hardening
    3. Procedures to manage patches & system-level vulnerabilities
  2. Data in transit
    1. Firewalls
    2. Management of Certificates & Network Layer Vulnerabilities
    3. TLS/SSL for Application Traffic
    4. On-Premise VPN for Cloud Connectivity
  3. Application security

 

Let’s do a deep dive into each of these areas.


Data at Rest

Server and Client Side Data encryption

By implementing encryption, both on the server side and the client side, organizations can mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to their sensitive data and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements effectively.

On the server side, AWS provides services like Amazon S3 and Amazon EBS, which support server-side encryption to encrypt data stored in these services. Customers can choose from various encryption options, including AES-256 encryption, to encrypt their data at rest securely. Additionally, AWS KMS allows users to manage encryption keys securely and integrate them seamlessly with other AWS services for enhanced data protection. “Bring Your Own Key” (BYOK) approach needs to be adopted, which ensures that the regulated entity retains the control and management of cryptographic keys that would be uploaded to the cloud to perform data encryption. AWS supports BYOK both in KMS as well as Cloud HSM.

On the client side, AWS offers tools and SDKs (Software Development Kits) that enable developers to encrypt data before uploading it to AWS services. This approach ensures that data is encrypted before it leaves the client’s environment, providing an extra layer of security. 

 


System Hardening

One essential aspect is configuring access controls and permissions meticulously to restrict unauthorized access to sensitive data stored in AWS. Moreover, employing secure configuration management practices, regularly patching and updating systems, and adhering to AWS security best practices further fortify the security posture of AWS environments. 

 

Procedures to manage patches & system-level vulnerabilities

Establishing effective procedures for patch management begins with implementing a systematic approach to identify, assess, and prioritize vulnerabilities across all AWS resources. This involves leveraging Amazon Inspector and AWS Systems Manager to automate vulnerability assessments and streamline patch deployment processes.


Furthermore, organizations should establish clear protocols for monitoring
AWS Security Bulletins and AWS Trusted Advisor recommendations to stay informed about emerging vulnerabilities and patches relevant to their environment. Regularly scheduled vulnerability scanning and penetration testing can also help proactively identify and address security gaps before they can be exploited.

Once vulnerabilities are identified, organizations must promptly apply patches and updates to mitigate associated risks. AWS Systems Manager provides capabilities for automated patch management, enabling organizations to schedule and orchestrate patch deployment across multiple instances efficiently. Additionally, leveraging AWS Config and AWS CloudFormation templates can help enforce consistent security configurations across AWS resources, reducing the risk of misconfigurations that could lead to vulnerabilities.


To ensure the effectiveness of patch management procedures, organizations should establish robust change management processes, including testing patches in non-production environments before deployment in production. Moreover, maintaining comprehensive documentation of patch management activities and conducting regular audits can help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and internal security policies.


IAM policies
in AWS Key Management Service (KMS) grant precise control over who can manage encryption keys and access encrypted data, ensuring only authorized users or services can perform cryptographic operations. These policies define permissions based on roles, users, or groups, enhancing security and compliance in data encryption processes.


Data in Transit

 

Firewalls

Implementing firewalls is a fundamental aspect of network security for both marketplace networks and web applications hosted on AWS. AWS provides several options for deploying firewalls to protect against unauthorized access, malicious activities, and network-based threats. Organizations can utilize AWS Network Firewall, a managed firewall service that allows them to create and enforce customizable security rules to filter traffic at the network and application layers. With AWS Network Firewall, organizations can define rules based on IP addresses, protocols, ports, and domain names to allow or deny traffic, ensuring compliance with security policies and regulatory requirements.


For web applications, AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) is another essential tool for protecting against common web-based attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and application-layer DDoS attacks. AWS WAF enables organizations to create rules that inspect and filter HTTP and HTTPS requests to their web applications, mitigating threats and vulnerabilities before they reach the application servers. By deploying AWS WAF in conjunction with other AWS security services like AWS Shield and AWS Security Groups, organizations can establish multiple layers of defense to safeguard their marketplace networks and web applications against a wide range of cyber threats.

 

Procedures to Manage Certificates & Network Layer Vulnerabilities:

In AWS, managing certificates and addressing network layer vulnerabilities is crucial for maintaining a secure environment. To manage certificates effectively, organizations can leverage AWS Certificate Manager (ACM), a service that simplifies the process of provisioning, managing, and deploying SSL/TLS certificates for use with AWS services. ACM automates certificate renewal, monitors certificate expiration, and integrates seamlessly with AWS resources like Elastic Load Balancers (ELB), Amazon CloudFront, and Amazon API Gateway, ensuring secure connections between clients and applications.

Addressing network layer vulnerabilities involves implementing robust security controls at multiple levels. Organizations can utilize AWS Network Firewall to create custom firewall rules that filter and monitor traffic based on specific criteria, such as IP addresses, protocols, and ports. Additionally, regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing can help identify and remediate network layer vulnerabilities proactively. AWS also provides services like AWS Security Hub and Amazon GuardDuty, which offer continuous monitoring, threat detection, and automated remediation for potential security issues across the AWS environment.

 

TLS/SSL for Application Traffic:

Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption are essential for securing application traffic in transit. AWS offers various services and features to facilitate TLS/SSL encryption for app traffic. Organizations can deploy SSL/TLS certificates obtained from AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) or third-party certificate authorities to encrypt communication between clients and AWS resources. Additionally, AWS Elastic Load Balancers (ELB) and Amazon CloudFront support SSL termination, allowing organizations to offload SSL/TLS decryption and encryption at the edge of their AWS infrastructure. By implementing TLS/SSL encryption, organizations can protect sensitive data from interception and unauthorized access during transit.

 

On-Premise VPN for Cloud Connectivity:

Establishing secure connectivity between on-premises networks and AWS cloud resources is essential for hybrid cloud deployments. Organizations can leverage AWS Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to establish encrypted VPN connections between on-premises data centers, offices, or remote locations and AWS VPC environments. AWS offers managed VPN solutions like AWS Site-to-Site VPN and AWS Client VPN, which provide secure and scalable connectivity options for various use cases. By deploying VPN connectivity, organizations can extend their on-premises networks securely to the AWS cloud, enabling seamless data exchange, application access, and resource management across distributed environments.

 

Application Security

Source Code Review:

Conducting source code reviews is a crucial component of application security within the AWS environment. By thoroughly examining the source code of applications deployed on AWS, organizations can identify and mitigate vulnerabilities and weaknesses early in the development lifecycle. Sonarqube can be used for code quality reviews; AWS ECR can also be used to  


Web Application Testing in AWS:

Web application testing is essential for identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities and weaknesses within web applications. 


Account lockout:

Implementing account lockout mechanisms helps prevent unauthorized access by locking out users after a specified number of failed login attempts, thwarting brute force attacks.


Strong password policies:

Enforcing strong password policies, including requirements for length, complexity, and regular updates, adds an extra layer of defense against unauthorized access.


Session cleanout on timeout and logout:

Automatically clearing user sessions upon timeout or logout reduces the risk of session hijacking and unauthorized access.

It becomes easier to meet these requirements with the assistance of a recognized AWS partner.


Did you know that Comprinno is a recognized
AWS Security competency partner in the compliance category which further fortifies our claim of helping Fintech customers achieve their regulatory compliance requirements?


Comprinno has a SaaS product,
Tevico, which you can leverage for conducting extensive Security Assessments to ensure that your infrastructure is meeting the required security protocols.

Our AWS-certified Security specialists handhold our customers for SecOps implementation. We have worked with 500+ organizations in their AWS adoption journey. 

With our philosophy of 4Ps – People, Processes, Product, and Partnerships we help our customers in the insurance domain achieve regulatory compliance. 


Watch this space for insights on meeting compliance in the cloud for regulated industries.

About Author(s)

Vineet Singh is a Principal Solution Architect with a wealth of expertise in designing and implementing cutting-edge AWS solutions. Vineet plays a pivotal role in driving innovation and excellence in Comprinno’s cloud-based endeavors.

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