Security Groups in AWS : Get the Protection Your Business Data Needs! 

Cloud computing services are heavily used by business owners, and even professionals owing to the digital era. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most well-known cloud service providers.

You'll get a range of services to encrypt your data and safeguard it from illegal access. Security Groups is one of the key components of AWS security.

This article will explain Security Groups and how they may be used to protect your company's data in AWS. 

We will also go through best practices for setting up and monitoring Security Groups to ensure your data is as secure as possible. 

What Are Security Groups in AWS and What Is Their Purpose?

Security Groups in Amazon Web Services (AWS) are virtual firewalls that regulate inbound and outbound traffic to and from one or more Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. 

The purpose of security groups in AWS includes:

  • You can determine which traffic is allowed to reach your instances using them as a security layer that stands between the internet and the instances. 

  • With the help of security Groups, you may decide which traffic is permitted to reach your EC2 instances and which is not, adding an extra layer of security to your AWS resources, exclusively for those resources.

  • Security groups allow you to restrict access to your instances by choosing which IP addresses, ports, and protocols are permitted to connect to them.  

  • Fine-grained control over access to your resources is possible thanks to the creation of several security groups and their assignment to various instances.

    This enables you to block all incoming traffic and limit access to your instances to only the IP addresses and ports required to operate your application or service.

Which AWS Services Use Security Groups? 

Several services in Amazon Web Services (AWS) use security groups to manage resource access. 

The Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, which enables you to start up virtual computers (instances) on the cloud, is the most popular service that uses security groups. Inbound and outgoing traffic to and from these instances is managed by security groups.

Additional AWS services that make use of security groups are:

  • Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

    Security groups can be used to limit the traffic that is delivered to the load balancer's underlying instances as well as access to the load balancer itself.

  • DocumentDB

    Security groups may be used to govern access to DocumentDB instances, allowing you to limit access to specified IP addresses and ports.

  • Elasticsearch

    Security groups may be used to govern Elasticsearch access, allowing you to limit Elasticsearch domain access to specified IP addresses and ports.

    Other services, like Lambda, AppSync, Appstream 2.0, Elastic Beanstalk, and others, also employ security groups to limit resource access. 

What Are the Main Characteristics of AWS Security Groups?

AWS Security Groups contain many critical features that make them a powerful tool for managing resource access:

  1. 1


    Security groups are stateful, which means that if you allow incoming traffic on a given port, the security group will also allow outbound traffic on that port.

  2. 2

    Instance-level Security Groups

    Since security groups are applied at the instance level, you may assign various security groups to different instances, giving you granular control over access to your resources.

  3. 3

    Inbound and Outbound Rules

    Security groups enable you to provide both inbound and outbound rules, allowing you to regulate both incoming and outgoing traffic to and from your instances. 

  4. 4

    Allow or Deny Rules

    Security groups allow you to provide both allow and deny rules, which means you may allow traffic from specific IP addresses and ports while blocking traffic from others.

  5. 5

    Protocol and Port Specification

    Security groups enable you to define the protocol (TCP, UDP, ICMP) and port number to which the rule applies.

  6. 6


    Security groups are dynamic, you may add or delete rules at any moment, making it easy to respond to changes in your environment.

How to Create a Security Group Using Console and Command Line?

You can create a security group using either the console or the command line.

To Create a Security Group Using the Console

  1. 1

    Navigate to the EC2 dashboard after logging into the AWS Management Console.

  2. 2

    Click on "Security Groups" under the "Network & Security" category in the navigation pane.

  3. 3

    Select "Create Security Group" from the drop-down menu.

  4. 4

    Give the security group a name and a description.

  5. 5

    Choose the VPC with which the security group will be linked.

  6. 6

    As needed, add any inbound or outbound rules.

  7. 7

    To create the security group, click the "Create" button.

To Create a Security Group Using the Command Line

  1. 1

    Open a terminal or command prompt window. 

  2. 2

    To create a security group, enter the following command.

    AWS ec2 create-security-group --group-name my-security-group --description "My security group"

  3. 3

    Run the following command to add an inbound rule to the security group

    AWS ec2 authorize-security-group-ingress --group-name my-security-group --protocol tcp --port 22 --cidr

  4. 4

    Run the following command to add an outbound rule to the security group

    AWS ec2 authorize-security-group-egress --group-name my-security-group --protocol all --cidr

The AWS CLI (Command Line Interface) is used in the following command line examples, and the commands are based on AWS CLI version 2.

Best Practices When Working with Security Groups Rules in AWS

There are several best practices to follow when dealing with Security Groups Rules in Amazon Web Services (AWS) to achieve maximum security and management simplicity.

  • Use the Least Privilege Principle.

    Allow only the amount of traffic required for your application or service to run. This just involves opening the requisite ports and protocols and permitting traffic from the required IP addresses.

  • Separate Security Groups for Different Types of Traffic 

    Separate security groups should be set up for different types of traffic, such as web traffic, database traffic, and management traffic. This allows for more precise control over resource access.

  • Keep an Eye on the Security Group Rules.

    Maintain an eye on security group rules to ensure they are still applicable and no illegal changes have been made.

  • Security Groups Should be Used in Conjunction with Network ACLs.

    Because protection groups and network ACLs are complementary, they should be used in tandem to provide an additional layer of security. Network ACLs provide subnet-level control, whereas security groups provide instance-level control.

  • Manage Access to Security Groups Using IAM Roles

    IAM roles are used to manage access to security groups, providing permissions to users and services in accordance with the principle of least privilege.


In conclusion, Security Groups in AWS are a potent tool for managing access to your resources, offering precise control over both inbound and outbound traffic.

You can make sure that your resources are safe while still being simple to administer by adhering to best practices like the least privilege principle, dividing security groups for various types of traffic, and monitoring security group rules. 

Additionally, you may add another layer of security to your resources by combining security groups with other security tools like Network ACLs and IAM roles. 

Overall, you can safeguard your company's data and make sure that only authorized people may access your resources by appropriately deploying security groups.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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