AWS, Azure, Cloud Computing

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The Crucial Role of Bastion Hosts in Securing Your Network Infrastructure


Bastion hosts play a critical role in securing access to other servers in a network. Essentially, they serve as gatekeepers, managing access to internal servers and limiting entry points to the network. By using bastion hosts, organizations can reduce the risk of unauthorized access and maintain a more secure environment.

The main purpose of a bastion host in AWS is to provide a secure entry point for remote administrators, employees, and third-party vendors who need to access the internal network from outside the corporate firewall. It acts as a gateway to the internal network, allowing authorized users to log in and access resources such as servers, databases, and other sensitive information.


Bastion Hosts in Network Security

A bastion host’s primary function is to offer a safe access point for distant administrators, technicians, and outside suppliers who must connect to the internal corporate network. It is a gateway to the internal network, enabling logged-in users to access servers, databases, and other sensitive information.

A specially configured computer system known as a “bastion host” has been designed to serve as the main access point for a network. It is often used to give secure access to a private network from the public internet to where a private network and the latter meet. We shall examine a bastion host’s definition, significance, and use in contemporary computer networks in this blog article.

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Configuring a Bastion Host with SSH for Secure Access to Internal Servers

The most common configuration method for a bastion host is to use SSH (Secure Shell). This protocol establishes a secure connection between two devices over an unsecured network, allowing administrators to authenticate themselves and establish a tunnel to the internal servers.

Another common use case for bastion hosts is to provide secure access to cloud resources. Cloud providers offer bastion host services that enable organizations to manage resources securely and ensure only authorized users can access them.

Securing a Bastion Host

A bastion host is a secure and effective way to manage access to instances in a private subnet in the cloud environment. However, it is important to implement certain security measures to ensure the bastion host is secure and prevent unauthorized access to other instances in the private subnet.

  1. Isolate the bastion host: The bastion host should be placed in a separate security group and subnet and not be accessible from the internet. This helps minimize the attack surface and prevents direct access to the bastion host.
  2. Limit access: Using AWS IAM to manage user access to the bastion host, you can ensure that only authorized users can access it and help prevent unauthorized access to other instances in the private subnet.
  3. To harden the bastion host, it is important to ensure that the operating system and any applications running on it are regularly updated with the latest security patches and updates. This can help mitigate known vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of compromise.
  4. Implementing strong authentication methods is critical to securing the bastion host. Using passwords for authentication is not recommended, as they can be easily compromised. Instead, it is recommended to use strong authentication methods such as public-private key pairs or multi-factor authentication (MFA) to authenticate users who access the bastion host.

Bastion hosts in different cloud environments: AWS, Azure

Bastion hosts can be implemented in various cloud environments, including AWS, Azure, and GCP. While the general principles of bastion host design and security are similar across cloud platforms, there may be differences in how bastion hosts are deployed and managed.


Deploying a bastion host in a public subnet in AWS is a recommended best practice for providing secure remote access to instances in a private subnet while also enhancing the overall security posture of the cloud infrastructure.

AWS recommends deploying bastion hosts in an Auto Scaling group to ensure high availability and scalability. This approach can help to ensure that there are always bastion hosts available to provide remote access, even if one or more instances fail. It can also help to manage costs by automatically scaling the number of bastion hosts based on demand.

AWS also offers a managed bastion host service through its AWS Systems Manager service. This service provides a managed and secure bastion host solution that can be used to manage access to instances in a private subnet. With AWS Systems Manager, customers can easily launch and manage bastion hosts, configure access controls, and monitor access logs.AWS

AWS Bastion Architecture Diagram:


Source: How to Record SSH Sessions Established Through a Bastion Host | AWS Security Blog (


In Azure, a bastion host can be deployed as a virtual machine in a public subnet to provide secure remote access to virtual machines in a private subnet. Azure Bastion is a managed service provided by Azure that offers a more streamlined and secure way to remotely access Azure virtual machines over the internet without the need for a VPN or public IP addresses.

Azure Bastion is a fully managed platform service hosted within an Azure virtual network. It allows users to securely connect to their virtual machines using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Secure Shell (SSH) directly from the Azure portal. With Azure Bastion, there’s no need to expose virtual machines to the public internet, reducing the risk of attacks and improving security.

Azure Bastion Architecture Diagram:


Source: Step By Step Guide To Configure Azure Bastion Host HTMD Blog ( 


Bastion hosts are crucial for maintaining a secure network infrastructure. They enable organizations to control access to internal servers, reduce the risk of unauthorized access, and monitor user activity.

Whether managing servers in a data center or cloud resources, bastion hosts are essential for maintaining a secure and compliant environment.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Bastion Host and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. How can a bastion host help organizations meet compliance requirements for remote access to their network?

ANS: – A bastion host can help organizations meet compliance requirements for remote access to their network in several ways. Firstly, a bastion host provides a secure gateway for remote access to the network. This enables organizations to restrict remote access to a single entry point, making enforcing strong authentication and access controls easier.

2. What role do access controls play in securing a bastion host?

ANS: – Access controls play a critical role in securing a bastion host. A bastion host is a highly secured and hardened system that acts as a gateway to a network. Access controls help to restrict who can access the bastion host and what they can do once they have gained access.

3. How can a bastion host enable secure third-party access to a network?

ANS: – A bastion host can enable secure third-party access to a network by acting as a secure gateway that allows remote users to connect to the network in a controlled and monitored way. Here are some ways that a bastion host can facilitate secure third-party access:

  • Centralized access control
  • Multi-factor authentication

WRITTEN BY Shubham .

Shubham works as a Research Intern at CloudThat. He is passionate about technology and cloud computing. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology. In his free time, Shubham enjoys reading books and playing cricket. Shubham's interest in cloud computing led him to pursue a career in AWS Consulting, where he enjoys helping clients solve complex problems and optimize their cloud infrastructure. He constantly learns and stays up to date with the latest AWS technologies and best practices.



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