Tag Archives: AWS Control Tower

AWS Weekly Roundup — AWS Control Tower new API, TLS 1.3 with API Gateway, Private Marketplace Catalogs, and more — February 19, 2024

Post Syndicated from Irshad Buchh original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-weekly-roundup-aws-control-tower-new-api-tls-1-3-with-api-gateway-private-marketplace-catalogs-and-more-february-19-2024/

Over the past week, our service teams have continued to innovate on your behalf, and a lot has happened in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) universe that I want to tell you about. I’ll also share about all the AWS Community events and initiatives that are happening around the world.

Let’s dive in!

Last week’s launches
Here are some launches that got my attention during the previous week.

AWS Control Tower introduces APIs to register organizational units – With these new APIs, you can extend governance to organizational units (OUs) using APIs and automate your OU provisioning workflow. The APIs can also be used for OUs that are already under AWS Control Tower governance to re-register OUs after landing zone updates. These APIs include AWS CloudFormation support, allowing customers to manage their OUs with infrastructure as code (IaC).

API Gateway now supports TLS 1.3 – By using TLS 1.3 with API Gateway as the centralized point of control, developers can secure communication between the client and the gateway; uphold the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of their API traffic; and benefit from API Gateway’s integration with AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) for centralized deployment of SSL certificates using TLS.

Amazon OpenSearch Service now lets you update cluster volume without blue/green – While blue/green deployments are meant to avoid any disruption to your clusters because the deployment uses additional resources on the domain, it is recommended that you perform them during low traffic periods. Now, you can update volume-related cluster configuration without requiring a blue/green deployment, ensuring minimal performance impact on your online traffic and avoiding any potential disruption to your cluster operations.

Amazon GuardDuty Runtime Monitoring protects clusters running in shared VPC – With this launch, customers who are already opted into automated agent management in GuardDuty will benefit from a renewed 30-day trial of GuardDuty Runtime Monitoring, where we will automatically start monitoring the resources (clusters) deployed in a shared VPC setup. Customers also have the option to manually manage the agent and provision the virtual private cloud (VPC) endpoint in their shared VPC environment.

AWS Marketplace now supports managing Private Marketplace catalogs for OUs – This capability supports distinct product catalogs per business unit or development environment, empowering organizations to align software procurement with specific needs. Additionally, customers can designate a trusted member account as a delegated administrator for Private Marketplace administration, reducing the operational burden on management account administrators. With this launch, organizations can procure more quickly by providing administrators with the agile controls they need to scale their procurement governance across distinct business and user needs.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS news

Join AWS Cloud Clubs Captains – The C3 cohort of AWS Cloud Club Captains is open for applications from February 5–23, 2024, at 5:00 PM EST.

AWS open source news and updates – Our colleague Ricardo writes this weekly open source newsletter highlighting new open source projects, tools, and demos from the AWS Community.

Upcoming AWS events

Check your calendars and sign up for upcoming AWS events:

Building with Generative AI on AWS using PartyRock, Amazon Bedrock and Amazon Q – You will gain skills in prompt engineering and using the Amazon Bedrock API. We will also explore how to “chat with your documents” through knowledge bases, Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG), embeddings, and agents. We will also use next-generation developer tools Amazon Q and Amazon CodeWhisperer to assist in coding and debugging.

Location: AWS Skills Center, 1550-G Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA

AI/ML security – Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) and especially generative AI  have become top of mind for many organizations, but even the companies who want to move forward with this new and transformative technology are hesitating. They don’t necessarily understand how they can ensure that what they build will be secure. This webinar explains how they can do that.

AWS Jam Session – Canada Edition – AWS JAM is a gamified learning platform where you come to play, learn, and validate your AWS skills. The morning will include a mix of challenges across various technical domains – security, serverless, AI/ML, analytics, and more. The afternoon will be focused on a different specialty domain each month. You can form teams of up to four people to solve the challenges. There will be prizes for the top three winning teams.

Whether you’re in the Americas, Asia Pacific and Japan, or the EMEA region, there’s an upcoming AWS Innovate Online event that fits your time zone. Innovate Online events are free, online, and designed to inspire and educate you about AWS.

AWS Summits are a series of free online and in-person events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. These events are designed to educate you about AWS products and services and help you develop the skills needed to build, deploy, and operate your infrastructure and applications. Find an AWS Summit near you and register or set a notification to know when registration opens for a Summit that interests you.

AWS Community re:Invent re:Caps – Join a Community re:Cap event organized by volunteers from AWS User Groups and AWS Cloud Clubs around the world to learn about the latest announcements from AWS re:Invent.

You can browse all upcoming in-person and virtual events.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Weekly Roundup!

– Irshad

This post is part of our Weekly Roundup series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

How Zurich Insurance Group built their Scalable Account Vending process using AWS Account Factory for Terraform

Post Syndicated from Raffaele Garofalo original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/how-zurich-insurance-group-built-their-scalable-account-vending-process-using-aws-account-factory-for-terraform/


Zurich Insurance Group is a leading multi-line global insurer operating in more than 200 territories. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, their main business is life and property and casualty (P&C) insurance. In 2022, Zurich began a multi-year program to accelerate their digital transformation and innovation through migration of 1,000 workloads to AWS, including core insurance and SAP workloads.

During 2022, Zurich built out their Global Cloud Foundation – a set of foundational global AWS capabilities required to begin migrating workloads to the AWS Cloud, including the Scalable Account Vending (SAV) solution that is the subject of this article.

The goal of the Global Cloud Foundation was to address common questions workload teams had when moving to the AWS Cloud:

  • Am I compliant with security and compliance policies?
  • How do I establish the connectivity I need?
  • Has my AWS environment been structured properly?
  • How do I make sure I am safe when using the cloud?
  • Are the AWS services I need certified and available for use in Zurich’s AWS Cloud environment?
  • Am I ready to deploy production workloads in the cloud?

This investment in a solid foundation is already enabling their migration program in 2023 and beyond.

Why Zurich needed Scalable Account Vending (SAV)

As a federated global organization, Zurich Insurance Group had pockets of AWS usage in different business units in multiple geographies managed by separate regional Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) teams. However, there was no consistency. One of the migration program’s goals was to establish a standard set of re-usable patterns and curated services, pre-built using Terraform to minimize migration and modernization effort and maximize re-use. This required the AWS environment to be built in a consistent way.

Additionally, Zurich was moving from a managed service to self-service DevSecOps provisioning for infrastructure, and many of the workloads did not have an existing DevSecOps environment for their infrastructure, and so they needed one provisioned for them in Azure DevOps and Terraform Cloud (their DevOps toolchain), further accelerating adoption.

Therefore, the cloud workload environment needed to consist of:

  • Multiple AWS accounts (Development, UAT and Production) each baselined with Zurich’s standard IAM Roles, controls, AWS Config rules, services such as AWS Backup plans and vaults, and AWS Instance Scheduler
  • An AWS VPC aligned to their workload requirements with centralized networking connectivity
  • Terraform Cloud workspaces/teams for each account
  • An integrated Azure DevOps project for the workload (optional)
  • A new Azure DevOps repository for the workload infrastructure (optional)

Historically, these environments were created by each CCOE team through a combination of manual and semi-automated processes. The need for a scalable and automated solution came from the increase in demand for AWS Cloud workload environments. It took the CCOE up to three days to provision a single AWS account, involved manual processes by multiple employees, and meant that each workload owner needed to raise up to eight support tickets to establish their environment. In addition, pipelines often failed, and the solution did not provide the speed or flexibility required in order to scale Zurich’s cloud adoption strategy.

To address this, SAV was conceived with three main goals:

  • Identify and implement a streamlined, fully-automated mechanism to request the provisioning of a new AWS environment.
  • Improve the scalability and performance of account vending and baselining by using AWS Account Factory for Terraform.
  • Create a mechanism that was consistent across the multiple different business-unit CCOEs to minimize support and maintenance overhead and share best practice.

High-level architecture

The end-to-end solution shown here was fully-implemented as infrastructure-as-code orchestrated using Zurich’s corporate-standard Azure DevOps CI/CD tooling.

End-to-end solution using Zurich's tooling

Figure 1. End-to-end solution using Zurich’s tooling

A single Jira Service Management request submitted by the workload owner provisions the entire cloud workload environment, which provides all the basic resources required to start migrating a workload into AWS.

Deep dive on the solution

In this section we will explore two key components of the SAV architecture: Environment vending using AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform, and the AFT Code promotion process.

Environment vending pipeline overview

Environment vending pipeline overview

Figure 2. Environment vending pipeline overview

The environment vending workflow is structured as follows: a request for an AWS account is entered into JIRA Service Management ITSM tool. This triggers the environment vend pipeline in Azure DevOps.

AWS account vending

AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT) works by provisioning a new AWS account in response to a request in the form of an account request Terraform configuration committed to its account request GIT repository. Each account request configuration contains all information and metadata required to classify the AWS account into the proper organization structure and cost center.

The environment vend pipeline begins provisioning multiple accounts by taking the data entered on the submission form and generating a series of AFT account request Terraform configurations using Jinja templates, and committing each request to the AFT repository. The commit triggers AFT to provision the AWS accounts and to execute the Terraform modules that will deploy the account baseline and the required customizations in each vended account.

Resource provisioning

Subsequent stages of the pipeline provision the other resources using Terraform Cloud by following the same pattern as shown here:

Resource provisioning using Terraform Cloud

Figure 3. Resource provisioning using Terraform Cloud

A pipeline task executes a Python script which applies a Jinja template to generate an HCL file, which is then committed to Azure DevOps git repository. This was essential in order to support ‘day-two’ management of the resources by the CCOE or workload teams that may want to use GitOps in the future. The commit triggers a run in the corresponding Terraform Cloud workspace, which provisions the resources into the linked account.

Terraform Cloud code promotion

AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT) uses a GitOps approach to vending and baselining of new AWS accounts using Terraform. It has workflows for creating new accounts and for deploying resources into vended accounts through its global and account customizations, which are implemented as Terraform modules. However, when applying changes to these Terraform modules there is a risk that an erroneous change can impact many, if not all, vended accounts.

Zurich Insurance Group mitigated the risk by implementing GitFlow. To modify a production configuration a process of pull request, review, and merge is triggered to ensure no breaking changes are introduced. The changes are tested in lower environments before deployment into production.

This process is illustrated here:

Terraform Cloud code promotion using GitFlow

Figure 4. Terraform Cloud code promotion using GitFlow


By adopting AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform, Zurich were able to achieve the scalability, resilience and performance to support provisioning of a projected 3000+ accounts. By compressing the process to a single ITSM request Zurich Insurance Group CCOE have been able to improve their SLA and customer satisfaction, reduce CCOE support time and effort, and secure their AWS environment with automated DevSecOps activities.

According to Eamonn Carey, Head of Cloud Engineering at Zurich Insurance Group:

“For Zurich and its journey to public cloud, scalability and compliance are crucial aspects of building and managing our cloud environments. Day-2 management plays a pivotal role in achieving both. Our scalable account vending processes and pre-created repos for day-2 management brings numerous benefits. It enables rapid delivery of our AWS accounts, enhances scalability, and promotes standardization. It ensures efficient resource provisioning, while standardized configurations ensure compliance with regulations and best practices. By combining these elements, Zurich can streamline our operations, reduce risks, and achieve optimal scalability and compliance in our cloud environments.”

Related information

AWS Control Tower adds new controls to help customers meet digital sovereignty requirements

Post Syndicated from Sébastien Stormacq original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-control-tower-helps-customers-meet-digital-sovereignty-requirements/

Today, we added to AWS Control Tower a set of 65 purpose-built controls to help you meet your digital sovereignty requirements.

Digital sovereignty is the control of your digital assets: where the data resides, where it flows, and who has control over it. Since the creation of the AWS Cloud 17 years ago, we have been committed to giving you control over your data.

In November last year, we launched the AWS Digital Sovereignty Pledge, our commitment to offering all AWS customers the most advanced set of sovereignty controls and features available in the cloud. Since then, we have announced several steps in that direction. The AWS Nitro System has been validated by an independent third party to confirm that it contains no mechanism that allows anyone at AWS to access your data on AWS hosts. We launched AWS Dedicated Local Zones, a piece of infrastructure that is fully managed by AWS and built for exclusive use by a customer or community and placed in a customer-specified location or data center. And more recently, we announced the construction of a new independent sovereign Region in Europe.

The introduction of AWS Control Tower controls that support digital sovereignty is an additional step in our roadmap of capabilities for data residency, granular access restriction, encryption, and resilience.

AWS Control Tower offers a simple and efficient way to set up and govern a secure, multi-account AWS environment. It establishes a landing zone that is based on best-practices blueprints, and it enables governance using controls you can choose from a prepackaged list. The landing zone is a well-architected, multi-account baseline that follows AWS best practices. Controls implement governance rules for security, compliance, and operations.

The level of control required for digital assets greatly varies across industries and countries. Customers operating in highly regulated sectors might have the obligation to keep their data in a specific country or region, such as the European Union. Others might have obligations related to data encryption and where the encryption keys are kept, and so on. Furthermore, digital sovereignty requirements evolve rapidly, making it challenging to define and implement all the required controls. Many customers have told us they are concerned that they will have to choose between the full power of AWS and a feature-limited sovereign cloud solution that could hamper their ability to innovate, transform, and grow. We firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to make this choice.

AWS Control Tower helps reduce the time it takes to define, implement, and manage controls required to govern where your data is stored, transferred, and processed at scale.

AWS Control Tower offers you a consolidated view of the controls enabled, your compliance status, and controls evidence across your multiple accounts. This information is available on the console and by calling our APIs. As requirements and AWS services evolve, AWS Control Tower provides you with updated controls to help you continually manage your digital sovereignty needs.

Here are a couple of examples of the controls we added:

  • Operator access – Require that an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) dedicated host uses an AWS Nitro instance type.
  • Controlling access to your data – Require that an Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) snapshot cannot be publicly restorable.
  • Encryption at rest and in transit, including advanced key management strategies – Require an EC2 instance to use an AWS Nitro instance type that supports encryption in-transit between instances when created using the AWS::EC2::Instance resource type. It also requires that an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) database instance has encryption at rest configured to use an AWS KMS key that you specify for supported engine types.

These are just four examples from three categories. We’ve added 65 new controls, with over 245+ controls available under the digital sovereignty category grouping. The full list is available in the AWS Control Tower documentation.

One of the technical mechanisms AWS Control Tower uses to prevent accidental data storage or flow in a Region is the Region deny control. This parameter allows system administrators to deny access to AWS services and operations in selected AWS Regions. Until today, Region deny control could only be applied for an entire landing zone and all its organizational units (OUs) and accounts. With this launch, you can configure a new Region deny control at the organizational unit level and select the services and IAM principals to allow based on your unique business needs.

Let’s see how to get started
For this demo, let’s imagine that I want to restrict access to AWS services in a set of Regions.

I open the AWS Management Console and navigate to the AWS Control Tower page. On the left navigation pane, under Control Library , I select Categories > Groups > Digital Sovereignty.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 01

I can review the list of controls available.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 02

I locate and select the control I want to enable: Deny access to AWS based on the requested AWS Region for an organizational unit. There is a description of the control and a list of frameworks it applies to (NIST 800 and PCI DSS). I select Enable control.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 03

On the next page, I select the Organizational units (OU) for which I want to enable this control.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 04

I select the AWS Regions where I will allow access. All Regions left unchecked will have their access denied once the control is enforced.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 05

Then, I review the service control policy (SCP). It contains a Deny statement to prevent access to the services or APIs listed. Optionally, I can add NotActions. This is a list of exceptions. The services or APIs listed under NotActions are authorized. In this example, I deny everything excepted three APIs: sqs:SendMessage, ec2:StartInstances, and s3:GetObject.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 06

On the last page, I add a list of IAM principals (users or roles) that will be exempted from the control. This is an exception list. I also tag my control as usual with AWS resources.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 07

On the last screen (not shown here), I review all my parameters and select Enable control.

I can verify the list of OU for which the control is enabled under the OUs enabled tab.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 08

The summary page shows all Regions, APIs, and IAM principals enabled for this OU. All the rest is denied. I can update the parameters at any time.

Control Tower - Digital Sovereignty - 09

Pricing and availability
AWS Control Tower is available in all commercial Regions and in US GovCloud.

There is no additional charge to use AWS Control Tower. However, when you set up AWS Control Tower, you will begin to incur costs for AWS services configured to set up your landing zone and mandatory controls.

Certain AWS services, such as Organizations and AWS IAM Identity Center, come at no additional charge. However, you will pay for services such as AWS Service Catalog, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) based on your usage of these services. You only pay for what you use, as you use it. The AWS Control Tower pricing page has the details.

The new AWS Control Tower controls alleviate the burden of identifying and deploying safeguards to meet your digital sovereignty requirements. This set of controls is fully managed, and we will update them as AWS services and digital sovereignty requirements evolve over time.

Go and configure the AWS Control Tower controls that help support your digital sovereignty requirements today.

— seb

AWS Weekly Roundup: AWS Control Tower, Amazon Bedrock, Amazon OpenSearch Service, and More (October 9, 2023)

Post Syndicated from Antje Barth original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-weekly-roundup-aws-control-tower-amazon-bedrock-amazon-opensearch-service-and-more-october-9-2023/


As the Northern Hemisphere enjoys early fall and pumpkins take over the local farmers markets and coffee flavors here in the United States, we’re also just 50 days away from re:Invent 2023! But before we officially enter pre:Invent sea­­son, let’s have a look at some of last week’s exciting news and announcements.

Last Week’s Launches
Here are some launches that got my attention:

AWS Control Tower – AWS Control Tower released 22 proactive controls and 10 AWS Security Hub detective controls to help you meet regulatory requirements and meet control objectives such as encrypting data in transit, encrypting data at rest, or using strong authentication. For more details and a list of controls, check out the AWS Control Tower user guide.

Amazon Bedrock – Just a week after Amazon Bedrock became available in AWS Regions US East (N. Virginia) and US West (Oregon), Amazon Bedrock is now also available in the Asia Pacific (Tokyo) AWS Region. To get started building and scaling generative AI applications with foundation models, check out the Amazon Bedrock documentation, explore the generative AI space at community.aws, and get hands-on with the Amazon Bedrock workshop.

Amazon OpenSearch Service – You can now run OpenSearch version 2.9 in Amazon OpenSearch Service with improvements to search, observability, security analytics, and machine learning (ML) capabilities. OpenSearch Service has expanded its geospatial aggregations support in version 2.9 to gather insights on high-level overview of trends and patterns and establish correlations within the data. OpenSearch Service 2.9 now also comes with OpenSearch Service Integrations to take advantage of new schema standards such as OpenTelemetry and supports managing and overlaying alerts and anomalies onto dashboard visualization line charts.

Amazon SageMakerSageMaker Feature Store now supports a fully managed, in-memory online store to help you retrieve features for model serving in real time for high throughput ML applications. The new online store is powered by ElastiCache for Redis, an in-memory data store built on open-source Redis. The SageMaker developer guide has all the details.

Also, SageMaker Model Registry added support for private model repositories. You can now register models that are stored in private Docker repositories and track all your models across multiple private AWS and non-AWS model repositories in one central service, simplifying ML operations (MLOps) and ML governance at scale. The SageMaker Developer Guide shows you how to get started.

Amazon SageMaker CanvasSageMaker Canvas expanded its support for ready-to-use models to include foundation models (FMs). You can now access FMs such as Claude 2, Amazon Titan, and Jurassic-2 (powered by Amazon Bedrock) as well as publicly available models such as Falcon and MPT (powered by SageMaker JumpStart) through a no-code chat interface. Check out the SageMaker Developer Guide for more details.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Here are some additional blog posts and news items that you might find interesting:

Behind the scenes on AWS contributions to open-source databases – This post shares some of the more substantial open-source contributions AWS has made in the past two years to upstream databases, introduces some key contributors, and shares how AWS approaches upstream work in our database services.

Fast and cost-effective Llama 2 fine-tuning with AWS Trainium – This post shows you how to fine-tune the Llama 2 model from Meta on AWS Trainium, a purpose-built accelerator for LLM training, to reduce training times and costs.

Code Llama code generation models from Meta are now available via Amazon SageMaker JumpStart – You can now deploy Code Llama FMs, developed by Meta, with one click in SageMaker JumpStart. This post walks you through the details.

Upcoming AWS Events
Check your calendars and sign up for these AWS events:

Build On AWS - Generative AIBuild On Generative AI – Season 2 of this weekly Twitch show about all things generative AI is in full swing! Every Monday, 9:00 US PT, my colleagues Emily and Darko look at new technical and scientific patterns on AWS, invite guest speakers to demo their work, and show us how they built something new to improve the state of generative AI. In today’s episode, Emily and Darko discussed how to translate unstructured documents into structured data. Check out show notes and the full list of episodes on community.aws.

AWS Community Days – Join a community-led conference run by AWS user group leaders in your region: DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) (October 13), Italy (October 18), UAE (October 21), Jaipur (November 4), Vadodara (November 4), and Brasil (November 4).

AWS InnovateAWS Innovate: Every Application Edition – Join our free online conference to explore cutting-edge ways to enhance security and reliability, optimize performance on a budget, speed up application development, and revolutionize your applications with generative AI. Register for AWS Innovate Online Americas and EMEA on October 19 and AWS Innovate Online Asia Pacific & Japan on October 26.

AWS re:Invent 2023AWS re:Invent (November 27 – December 1) – Join us to hear the latest from AWS, learn from experts, and connect with the global cloud community. Browse the session catalog and attendee guides and check out the re:Invent highlights for generative AI.

You can browse all upcoming in-person and virtual events.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Weekly Roundup!

— Antje

This post is part of our Weekly Roundup series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

AWS Week in Review – Step Functions Versions and Aliases, EC2 Instances with Graviton3E Processors, and More – June 26, 2023

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-step-functions-versions-and-aliases-ec2-instances-with-graviton3e-processors-and-more-june-26-2023/

It’s now summer in the northern hemisphere, and you can feel it in London where I live. But let’s not get distracted by the nice weather and go through your AWS updates from the previous seven days.

Last Week’s Launches
Another interesting week with many announcements! Here are some that got more of my attention:

Architectural diagram for AWS Step Functions versioning and aliasesAWS Step FunctionsYou can now use versions and aliases to maintain multiple versions of your workflows, track which version was used for each execution, and create aliases that route traffic between workflow versions. To learn more, refer to this blog post.

AWS SAM – You can now simplify the way you define an AppSync GraphQL API in AWS SAM with the new a resource abstraction that includes everything necessary for a typical AppSync GraphQL API definition, including the API schema, the resolver pipeline functions, and data sources.

AWS Amplify – With the new Amplify UI Builder Figma plugin, you can theme your components, upgrade to new Amplify UI kit versions, and generate and preview React code from your designs directly in Figma.

AWS Local ZonesNow available in Manila, Philippines. You can use AWS Local Zones for applications that require single-digit millisecond latency or local data processing.

AWS Control Tower – The integration with Security Hub is now generally available. You can now enable over 170 Security Hub detective controls that map to related control objectives from AWS Control Tower. AWS Control Tower also detects drifts when you disable a control from Security Hub.

Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose – You can now deliver streaming data to Amazon Redshift Serverless. In this way, you can build an analytics platform without having to manage ingestion infrastructure or data warehouse clusters.

Amazon CloudWatch Internet MonitorNow available in all standard AWS Regions. Internet Monitor helps you diagnose internet issues between your AWS hosted applications and your application’s end users.

AWS Verified Access – Now provides improved logging functionality. With that, It’s easier to author and troubleshoot application access policies by reviewing the end-user context received from third-party services.

Amazon Managed Grafana – Now supports Trace Analytics with the OpenSearch Grafana data source plugin in addition to the existing support for Log Analytics. You can simplify the correlation and analysis of logs and trace data stored in OpenSearch along with metrics from other data sources.

Amazon CloudWatch Logs Insights – You can now use the new dedup command in your queries to view unique results based on one or more fields. Duplicates are discarded based on the sort order so that only the first result is kept.

AWS Config – Now supports 21 more resource types for services such as AWS Amplify, AWS App Mesh, AWS App Runner, Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, and Amazon SageMaker.

Amazon EC2 – Announcing the new EC2 C7gn and Hpc7g instances that use Graviton3E processors. The Graviton3E processor delivers higher memory bandwidth and compute performance than Graviton2, and higher vector instruction performance than Graviton3. Read more in Jeff’s C7gn and Channy’s Hpc7g blog posts.

Amazon EFS – Provisioned Throughput now supports up to 10 GiB/s (from 3 GiB/s) for reads and 3 GiB/s (from 1 GiB/s) for writes.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Architecture diagram for AWS Distro for OpenTelemetry sample app.A few more news items and blog posts you might have missed:

Good tipsMitigate Common Web Threats with One Click in Amazon CloudFront

A nice seriesLet’s Architect! Open-source technologies on AWS

An interesting solutionDeploy a serverless ML inference endpoint of large language models using FastAPI, AWS Lambda, and AWS CDK

For AWS open-source news and updates, check out the latest newsletter curated by Ricardo to bring you the most recent updates on open-source projects, posts, events, and more.

Upcoming AWS Events
Here are some opportunities to meet and learn:

AWS Applications Innovation Day (June 27) – Learn how product teams across applications, security, and artificial intelligence (AI) are collaborating with AWS Partners like Asana, Slack, Splunk, Atlassian, Okta, and more to help organizations work smarter together. For more information on the event, refer to this blog post.

AWS Summits – Get together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS in Hong Kong (July 20), New York (July 26), Taiwan (Aug 2 & 3), Sao Paulo (Aug 3).

AWS re:Invent (Nov 27 – Dec 1) – Join us to hear the latest from AWS, learn from experts, and connect with the global cloud community. Registration is now open.

Amazon Prime Day (July 11-12) is coming, and you can learn more in this blog post. We should keep an eye out for Jeff’s annual Prime Day post following the event.

That’s all from me for this week. Come back next Monday for another Week in Review!


This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

Architecting for data residency with AWS Outposts rack and landing zone guardrails

Post Syndicated from Sheila Busser original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/architecting-for-data-residency-with-aws-outposts-rack-and-landing-zone-guardrails/

This blog post was written by Abeer Naffa’, Sr. Solutions Architect, Solutions Builder AWS, David Filiatrault, Principal Security Consultant, AWS and Jared Thompson, Hybrid Edge SA Specialist, AWS.

In this post, we will explore how organizations can use AWS Control Tower landing zone and AWS Organizations custom guardrails to enable compliance with data residency requirements on AWS Outposts rack. We will discuss how custom guardrails can be leveraged to limit the ability to store, process, and access data and remain isolated in specific geographic locations, how they can be used to enforce security and compliance controls, as well as, which prerequisites organizations should consider before implementing these guardrails.

Data residency is a critical consideration for organizations that collect and store sensitive information, such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII), financial, and healthcare data. With the rise of cloud computing and the global nature of the internet, it can be challenging for organizations to make sure that their data is being stored and processed in compliance with local laws and regulations.

One potential solution for addressing data residency challenges with AWS is to use Outposts rack, which allows organizations to run AWS infrastructure on premises and in their own data centers. This lets organizations store and process data in a location of their choosing. An Outpost is seamlessly connected to an AWS Region where it has access to the full suite of AWS services managed from a single plane of glass, the AWS Management Console or the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI).  Outposts rack can be configured to utilize landing zone to further adhere to data residency requirements.

The landing zones are a set of tools and best practices that help organizations establish a secure and compliant multi-account structure within a cloud provider. A landing zone can also include Organizations to set policies – guardrails – at the root level, known as Service Control Policies (SCPs) across all member accounts. This can be configured to enforce certain data residency requirements.

When leveraging Outposts rack to meet data residency requirements, it is crucial to have control over the in-scope data movement from the Outposts. This can be accomplished by implementing landing zone best practices and the suggested guardrails. The main focus of this blog post is on the custom policies that restrict data snapshots, prohibit data creation within the Region, and limit data transfer to the Region.


Landing zone best practices and custom guardrails can help when data needs to remain in a specific locality where the Outposts rack is also located.  This can be completed by defining and enforcing policies for data storage and usage within the landing zone organization that you set up. The following prerequisites should be considered before implementing the suggested guardrails:

1. AWS Outposts rack

AWS has installed your Outpost and handed off to you. An Outpost may comprise of one or more racks connected together at the site. This means that you can start using AWS services on the Outpost, and you can manage the Outposts rack using the same tools and interfaces that you use in AWS Regions.

2. Landing Zone Accelerator on AWS

We recommend using Landing Zone Accelerator on AWS (LZA) to deploy a landing zone for your organization. Make sure that the accelerator is configured for the appropriate Region and industry. To do this, you must meet the following prerequisites:

    • A clear understanding of your organization’s compliance requirements, including the specific Region and industry rules in which you operate.
    • Knowledge of the different LZAs available and their capabilities, such as the compliance frameworks with which you align.
    • Have the necessary permissions to deploy the LZAs and configure it for your organization’s specific requirements.

Note that LZAs are designed to help organizations quickly set up a secure, compliant multi-account environment. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and you must align it with your organization’s specific requirements.

3. Set up the data residency guardrails

Using Organizations, you must make sure that the Outpost is ordered within a workload account in the landing zone.

Figure 1 Landing Zone Accelerator Outposts workload on AWS high level Architecture

Figure 1: Landing Zone Accelerator – Outposts workload on AWS high level Architecture

Utilizing Outposts rack for regulated components

When local regulations require regulated workloads to stay within a specific boundary, or when an AWS Region or AWS Local Zone isn’t available in your jurisdiction, you can still choose to host your regulated workloads on Outposts rack for a consistent cloud experience. When opting for Outposts rack, note that, as part of the shared responsibility model, customers are responsible for attesting to physical security, access controls, and compliance validation regarding the Outposts, as well as, environmental requirements for the facility, networking, and power. Utilizing Outposts rack requires that you procure and manage the data center within the city, state, province, or country boundary for your applications’ regulated components, as required by local regulations.

Procuring two or more racks in the diverse data centers can help with the high availability for your workloads. This is because it provides redundancy in case of a single rack or server failure. Additionally, having redundant network paths between Outposts rack and the parent Region can help make sure that your application remains connected and continue to operate even if one network path fails.

However, for regulated workloads with strict service level agreements (SLA), you may choose to spread Outposts racks across two or more isolated data centers within regulated boundaries. This helps make sure that your data remains within the designated geographical location and meets local data residency requirements.

In this post, we consider a scenario with one data center, but consider the specific requirements of your workloads and the regulations that apply to determine the most appropriate high availability configurations for your case.

Outposts rack workload data residency guardrails

Organizations provide central governance and management for multiple accounts. Central security administrators use SCPs with Organizations to establish controls to which all AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) principals (users and roles) adhere.

Now, you can use SCPs to set permission guardrails.  A suggested preventative controls for data residency on Outposts rack that leverage the implementation of SCPs are shown as follows. SCPs enable you to set permission guardrails by defining the maximum available permissions for IAM entities in an account. If an SCP denies an action for an account, then none of the entities in the account can take that action, even if their IAM permissions let them. The guardrails set in SCPs apply to all IAM entities in the account, which include all users, roles, and the account root user.

Upon finalizing these prerequisites, you can create the guardrails for the Outposts Organization Unit (OU).

Note that while the following guidelines serve as helpful guardrails – SCPs – for data residency, you should consult internally with legal and security teams for specific organizational requirements.

 To exercise better control over workloads in the Outposts rack and prevent data transfer from Outposts to the Region or data storage outside the Outposts, consider implementing the following guardrails. Additionally, local regulations may dictate that you set up these additional guardrails.

  1. When your data residency requirements require restricting data transfer/saving to the Region, consider the following guardrails:

a. Deny copying data from Outposts to the Region for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon ElastiCache and data sync “DenyCopyToRegion”.

b. Deny Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) put action to the Region “DenyPutObjectToRegionalBuckets”.

If your data residency requirements mandate restrictions on data storage in the Region,  consider implementing this guardrail to prevent  the use of S3 in the Region.

Note: You can use Amazon S3 for Outposts.

c. If your data residency requirements mandate restrictions on data storage in the Region, consider implementing “DenyDirectTransferToRegion” guardrail.

Out of Scope is metadata such as tags, or operational data such as KMS keys.

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
      "Sid": "DenyCopyToRegion",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": "*",
      "Effect": "Deny"
      "Sid": "DenyDirectTransferToRegion",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": "*",
      "Effect": "Deny"
      "Sid": "DenyPutObjectToRegionalBuckets",
      "Action": [
      "Resource": ["arn:aws:s3:::*"],
      "Effect": "Deny"
  1. If your data residency requirements require limitations on data storage in the Region, consider implementing this guardrail “DenySnapshotsToRegion” and “DenySnapshotsNotOutposts” to restrict the use of snapshots in the Region.

a. Deny creating snapshots of your Outpost data in the Region “DenySnapshotsToRegion”

 Make sure to update the Outposts “<outpost_arn_pattern>”.

b. Deny copying or modifying Outposts Snapshots “DenySnapshotsNotOutposts”

Make sure to update the Outposts “<outpost_arn_pattern>”.

Note: “<outpost_arn_pattern>” default is arn:aws:outposts:*:*:outpost/*

  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [

      "Sid": "DenySnapshotsToRegion",

      "Sid": "DenySnapshotsNotOutposts",          

  1. This guardrail helps to prevent the launch of Amazon EC2 instances or creation of network interfaces in non-Outposts subnets. It is advisable to keep data residency workloads within the Outposts rather than the Region to ensure better control over regulated workloads. This approach can help your organization achieve better control over data residency workloads and improve governance over your AWS Organization.

Make sure to update the Outposts subnets “<outpost_subnet_arns>”.

"Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Sid": "DenyNotOutpostSubnet",
    "Action": [
    "Resource": [
    "Condition": {
      "ForAllValues:ArnNotEquals": {
        "ec2:Subnet": ["<outpost_subnet_arns>"]

Additional considerations

When implementing data residency guardrails on Outposts rack, consider backup and disaster recovery strategies to make sure that your data is protected in the event of an outage or other unexpected events. This may include creating regular backups of your data, implementing disaster recovery plans and procedures, and using redundancy and failover systems to minimize the impact of any potential disruptions. Additionally, you should make sure that your backup and disaster recovery systems are compliant with any relevant data residency regulations and requirements. You should also test your backup and disaster recovery systems regularly to make sure that they are functioning as intended.

Additionally, the provided SCPs for Outposts rack in the above example do not block the “logs:PutLogEvents”. Therefore, even if you implemented data residency guardrails on Outpost, the application may log data to CloudWatch logs in the Region.


By default, application-level logs on Outposts rack are not automatically sent to Amazon CloudWatch Logs in the Region. You can configure CloudWatch logs agent on Outposts rack to collect and send your application-level logs to CloudWatch logs.

logs: PutLogEvents does transmit data to the Region, but it is not blocked by the provided SCPs, as it’s expected that most use cases will still want to be able to use this logging API. However, if blocking is desired, then add the action to the first recommended guardrail. If you want specific roles to be allowed, then combine with the ArnNotLike condition example referenced in the previous highlight.


The combined use of Outposts rack and the suggested guardrails via AWS Organizations policies enables you to exercise better control over the movement of the data. By creating a landing zone for your organization, you can apply SCPs to your Outposts racks that will help make sure that your data remains within a specific geographic location, as required by the data residency regulations.

Note that, while custom guardrails can help you manage data residency on Outposts rack, it’s critical to thoroughly review your policies, procedures, and configurations to make sure that they are compliant with all relevant data residency regulations and requirements. Regularly testing and monitoring your systems can help make sure that your data is protected and your organization stays compliant.


New for AWS Control Tower – Comprehensive Controls Management (Preview)

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-for-aws-control-tower-comprehensive-controls-management-preview/

Today, customers in regulated industries face the challenge of defining and enforcing controls needed to meet compliance and security requirements while empowering engineers to make their design choices. In addition to addressing risk, reliability, performance, and resiliency requirements, organizations may also need to comply with frameworks and standards such as PCI DSS and NIST 800-53.

Building controls that account for service relationships and their dependencies is time-consuming and expensive. Sometimes customers restrict engineering access to AWS services and features until their cloud architects identify risks and implement their own controls.

To make that easier, today we are launching comprehensive controls management in AWS Control Tower. You can use it to apply managed preventative, detective, and proactive controls to accounts and organizational units (OUs) by service, control objective, or compliance framework. AWS Control Tower does the mapping between them on your behalf, saving time and effort.

With this new capability, you can now also use AWS Control Tower to turn on AWS Security Hub detective controls across all accounts in an OU. In this way, Security Hub controls are enabled in every AWS Region that AWS Control Tower governs.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Using AWS Control Tower Comprehensive Controls Management
In the AWS Control Tower console, there is a new Controls library section. There, I choose All controls. There are now more than three hundred controls available. For each control, I see which AWS service it is related to, the control objective this control is part of, the implementation (such as AWS Config rule or AWS CloudFormation Guard rule), the behavior (preventive, detective, or proactive), and the frameworks it maps to (such as NIST 800-53 or PCI DSS).

Console screenshot.

In the Find controls search box, I look for a preventive control called CT.CLOUDFORMATION.PR.1. This control uses a service control policy (SCP) to protect controls that use CloudFormation hooks and is required by the control that I want to turn on next. Then, I choose Enable control.

Console screenshot.

Then, I select the OU for which I want to enable this control.

Console screenshot.

Now that I have set up this control, let’s see how controls are presented in the console in categories. I choose Categories in the navigation pane. There, I can browse controls grouped as Frameworks, Services, and Control objectives. By default, the Frameworks tab is selected.

Console screenshot.

I select a framework (for example, PCI DSS version 3.2.1) to see all the related controls and control objectives. To implement a control, I can select the control from the list and choose Enable control.

Console screenshot.

I can also manage controls by AWS service. When I select the Services tab, I see a list of AWS services and the related control objectives and controls.

Console screenshot.

I choose Amazon DynamoDB to see the controls that I can turn on for this service.

Console screenshot.

I select the Control objectives tab. When I need to assess a control objective, this is where I have access to the list of related controls to turn on.

Console screenshot.

I choose Encrypt data at rest to see and search through the available controls for that control objective. I can also check which services are covered in this specific case. I type RDS in the search bar to find the controls related to Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for this control objective.

I choose CT.RDS.PR.16 – Require an Amazon RDS database cluster to have encryption at rest configured and then Enable control.

Console screenshot.

I select the OU for which I want to enable the control for, and I proceed. All the AWS accounts in this organization’s OU will have this control enabled in all the Regions that AWS Control Tower governs.

Console screenshot.

After a few minutes, the AWS Control Tower setup is updated. Now, the accounts in this OU have proactive control CT.RDS.PR.16 turned on. When an account in this OU deploys a CloudFormation stack, any Amazon RDS database cluster has to have encryption at rest configured. Because this control is proactive, it’ll be checked by a CloudFormation hook before the deployment starts. This saves a lot of time compared to a detective control that would find the issue only when the CloudFormation deployment is in progress or has terminated. This also improves my security posture by preventing something that’s not allowed as opposed to reacting to it after the fact.

Availability and Pricing
Comprehensive controls management is available in preview today in all AWS Regions where AWS Control Tower is offered. These enhanced control capabilities reduce the time it takes you to vet AWS services from months or weeks to minutes. They help you use AWS by undertaking the heavy burden of defining, mapping, and managing the controls required to meet the most common control objectives and regulations.

There is no additional charge to use these new capabilities during the preview. However, when you set up AWS Control Tower, you will begin to incur costs for AWS services configured to set up your landing zone and mandatory controls. For more information, see AWS Control Tower pricing.

Simplify how you implement compliance and security requirements with AWS Control Tower.


Building AWS Lambda governance and guardrails

Post Syndicated from Julian Wood original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/building-aws-lambda-governance-and-guardrails/

When building serverless applications using AWS Lambda, there are a number of considerations regarding security, governance, and compliance. This post highlights how Lambda, as a serverless service, simplifies cloud security and compliance so you can concentrate on your business logic. It covers controls that you can implement for your Lambda workloads to ensure that your applications conform to your organizational requirements.

The Shared Responsibility Model

The AWS Shared Responsibility Model distinguishes between what AWS is responsible for and what customers are responsible for with cloud workloads. AWS is responsible for “Security of the Cloud” where AWS protects the infrastructure that runs all the services offered in the AWS Cloud. Customers are responsible for “Security in the Cloud”, managing and securing their workloads. When building traditional applications, you take on responsibility for many infrastructure services, including operating systems and network configuration.

Traditional application shared responsibility

Traditional application shared responsibility

One major benefit when building serverless applications is shifting more responsibility to AWS so you can concentrate on your business applications. AWS handles managing and patching the underlying servers, operating systems, and networking as part of running the services.

Serverless application shared responsibility

Serverless application shared responsibility

For Lambda, AWS manages the application platform where your code runs, which includes patching and updating the managed language runtimes. This reduces the attack surface while making cloud security simpler. You are responsible for the security of your code and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to the Lambda service and within your function.

Lambda is SOCHIPAAPCI, and ISO-compliant. For more information, see Compliance validation for AWS Lambda and the latest Lambda certification and compliance readiness services in scope.

Lambda isolation

Lambda functions run in separate isolated AWS accounts that are dedicated to the Lambda service. Lambda invokes your code in a secure and isolated runtime environment within the Lambda service account. A runtime environment is a collection of resources running in a dedicated hardware-virtualized Micro Virtual Machines (MVM) on a Lambda worker node.

Lambda workers are bare metalEC2 Nitro instances, which are managed and patched by the Lambda service team. They have a maximum lease lifetime of 14 hours to keep the underlying infrastructure secure and fresh. MVMs are created by Firecracker, an open source virtual machine monitor (VMM) that uses Linux’s Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) to create and manage MVMs securely at scale.

MVMs maintain a strong separation between runtime environments at the virtual machine hardware level, which increases security. Runtime environments are never reused across functions, function versions, or AWS accounts.

Isolation model for AWS Lambda workers

Isolation model for AWS Lambda workers

Network security

Lambda functions always run inside secure Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPCs) owned by the Lambda service. This gives the Lambda function access to AWS services and the public internet. There is no direct network inbound access to Lambda workers, runtime environments, or Lambda functions. All inbound access to a Lambda function only comes via the Lambda Invoke API, which sends the event object to the function handler.

You can configure a Lambda function to connect to private subnets in a VPC in your account if necessary, which you can control with IAM condition keys . The Lambda function still runs inside the Lambda service VPC but sends all network traffic through your VPC. Function outbound traffic comes from your own network address space.

AWS Lambda service VPC with VPC-to-VPC NAT to customer VPC

AWS Lambda service VPC with VPC-to-VPC NAT to customer VPC

To give your VPC-connected function access to the internet, route outbound traffic to a NAT gateway in a public subnet. Connecting a function to a public subnet doesn’t give it internet access or a public IP address, as the function is still running in the Lambda service VPC and then routing network traffic into your VPC.

All internal AWS traffic uses the AWS Global Backbone rather than traversing the internet. You do not need to connect your functions to a VPC to avoid connectivity to AWS services over the internet. VPC connected functions allow you to control and audit outbound network access.

You can use security groups to control outbound traffic for VPC-connected functions and network ACLs to block access to CIDR IP ranges or ports. VPC endpoints allow you to enable private communications with supported AWS services without internet access.

You can use VPC Flow Logs to audit traffic going to and from network interfaces in your VPC.

Runtime environment re-use

Each runtime environment processes a single request at a time. After Lambda finishes processing the request, the runtime environment is ready to process an additional request for the same function version. For more information on how Lambda manages runtime environments, see Understanding AWS Lambda scaling and throughput.

Data can persist in the local temporary filesystem path, in globally scoped variables, and in environment variables across subsequent invocations of the same function version. Ensure that you only handle sensitive information within individual invocations of the function by processing it in the function handler, or using local variables. Do not re-use files in the local temporary filesystem to process unencrypted sensitive data. Do not put sensitive or confidential information into Lambda environment variables, tags, or other freeform fields such as Name fields.

For more Lambda security information, see the Lambda security whitepaper.

Multiple accounts

AWS recommends using multiple accounts to isolate your resources because they provide natural boundaries for security, access, and billing. Use AWS Organizations to manage and govern individual member accounts centrally. You can use AWS Control Tower to automate many of the account build steps and apply managed guardrails to govern your environment. These include preventative guardrails to limit actions and detective guardrails to detect and alert on non-compliance resources for remediation.

Lambda access controls

Lambda permissions define what a Lambda function can do, and who or what can invoke the function. Consider the following areas when applying access controls to your Lambda functions to ensure least privilege:

Execution role

Lambda functions have permission to access other AWS resources using execution roles. This is an AWS principal that the Lambda service assumes which grants permissions using identity policy statements assigned to the role. The Lambda service uses this role to fetch and cache temporary security credentials, which are then available as environment variables during a function’s invocation. It may re-use them across different runtime environments that use the same execution role.

Ensure that each function has its own unique role with the minimum set of permissions..

Identity/user policies

IAM identity policies are attached to IAM users, groups, or roles. These policies allow users or callers to perform operations on Lambda functions. You can restrict who can create functions, or control what functions particular users can manage.

Resource policies

Resource policies define what identities have fine-grained inbound access to managed services. For example, you can restrict which Lambda function versions can add events to a specific Amazon EventBridge event bus. You can use resource-based policies on Lambda resources to control what AWS IAM identities and event sources can invoke a specific version or alias of your function. You also use a resource-based policy to allow an AWS service to invoke your function on your behalf. To see which services support resource-based policies, see “AWS services that work with IAM”.

Attribute-based access control (ABAC)

With attribute-based access control (ABAC), you can use tags to control access to your Lambda functions. With ABAC, you can scale an access control strategy by setting granular permissions with tags without requiring permissions updates for every new user or resource as your organization scales. You can also use tag policies with AWS Organizations to standardize tags across resources.

Permissions boundaries

Permissions boundaries are a way to delegate permission management safely. The boundary places a limit on the maximum permissions that a policy can grant. For example, you can use boundary permissions to limit the scope of the execution role to allow only read access to databases. A builder with permission to manage a function or with write access to the applications code repository cannot escalate the permissions beyond the boundary to allow write access.

Service control policies

When using AWS Organizations, you can use Service control policies (SCPs) to manage permissions in your organization. These provide guardrails for what actions IAM users and roles within the organization root or OUs can do. For more information, see the AWS Organizations documentation, which includes example service control policies.

Code signing

As you are responsible for the code that runs in your Lambda functions, you can ensure that only trusted code runs by using code signing with the AWS Signer service. AWS Signer digitally signs your code packages and Lambda validates the code package before accepting the deployment, which can be part of your automated software deployment process.

Auditing Lambda configuration, permissions and access

You should audit access and permissions regularly to ensure that your workloads are secure. Use the IAM console to view when an IAM role was last used.

IAM last used

IAM last used

IAM access advisor

Use IAM access advisor on the Access Advisor tab in the IAM console to review when was the last time an AWS service was used from a specific IAM user or role. You can use this to remove IAM policies and access from your IAM roles.

IAM access advisor

IAM access advisor

AWS CloudTrail

AWS CloudTrail helps you monitor, log, and retain account activity to provide a complete event history of actions across your AWS infrastructure. You can monitor Lambda API actions to ensure that only appropriate actions are made against your Lambda functions. These include CreateFunction, DeleteFunction, CreateEventSourceMapping, AddPermission, UpdateEventSourceMapping,  UpdateFunctionConfiguration, and UpdateFunctionCode.

AWS CloudTrail

AWS CloudTrail

IAM Access Analyzer

You can validate policies using IAM Access Analyzer, which provides over 100 policy checks with security warnings for overly permissive policies. To learn more about policy checks provided by IAM Access Analyzer, see “IAM Access Analyzer policy validation”.

You can also generate IAM policies based on access activity from CloudTrail logs, which contain the permissions that the role used in your specified date range.

IAM Access Analyzer

IAM Access Analyzer

AWS Config

AWS Config provides you with a record of the configuration history of your AWS resources. AWS Config monitors the resource configuration and includes rules to alert when they fall into a non-compliant state.

For Lambda, you can track and alert on changes to your function configuration, along with the IAM execution role. This allows you to gather Lambda function lifecycle data for potential audit and compliance requirements. For more information, see the Lambda Operators Guide.

AWS Config includes Lambda managed config rules such as lambda-concurrency-check, lambda-dlq-check, lambda-function-public-access-prohibited, lambda-function-settings-check, and lambda-inside-vpc. You can also write your own rules.

There are a number of other AWS services to help with security compliance.

  1. AWS Audit Manager: Collect evidence to help you audit your use of cloud services.
  2. Amazon GuardDuty: Detect unexpected and potentially unauthorized activity in your AWS environment.
  3. Amazon Macie: Evaluates your content to identify business-critical or potentially confidential data.
  4. AWS Trusted Advisor: Identify opportunities to improve stability, save money, or help close security gaps.
  5. AWS Security Hub: Provides security checks and recommendations across your organization.


Lambda makes cloud security simpler by taking on more responsibility using the AWS Shared Responsibility Model. Lambda implements strict workload security at scale to isolate your code and prevent network intrusion to your functions. This post provides guidance on assessing and implementing best practices and tools for Lambda to improve your security, governance, and compliance controls. These include permissions, access controls, multiple accounts, and code security. Learn how to audit your function permissions, configuration, and access to ensure that your applications conform to your organizational requirements.

For more serverless learning resources, visit Serverless Land.

AWS Week in Review – August 1, 2022

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-august-1-2022/

AWS re:Inforce returned to Boston last week, kicking off with a keynote from Amazon Chief Security Officer Steve Schmidt and AWS Chief Information Security officer C.J. Moses:

Be sure to take some time to watch this video and the other leadership sessions, and to use what you learn to take some proactive steps to improve your security posture.

Last Week’s Launches
Here are some launches that caught my eye last week:

AWS Wickr uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption to deliver secure messaging, voice, and video calling, including file sharing and screen sharing, across desktop and mobile devices. Each call, message, and file is encrypted with a new random key and can be decrypted only by the intended recipient. AWS Wickr supports logging to a secure, customer-controlled data store for compliance and auditing, and offers full administrative control over data: permissions, ephemeral messaging options, and security groups. You can now sign up for the preview.

AWS Marketplace Vendor Insights helps AWS Marketplace sellers to make security and compliance data available through AWS Marketplace in the form of a unified, web-based dashboard. Designed to support governance, risk, and compliance teams, the dashboard also provides evidence that is backed by AWS Config and AWS Audit Manager assessments, external audit reports, and self-assessments from software vendors. To learn more, read the What’s New post.

GuardDuty Malware Protection protects Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes from malware. As Danilo describes in his blog post, a malware scan is initiated when Amazon GuardDuty detects that a workload running on an EC2 instance or in a container appears to be doing something suspicious. The new malware protection feature creates snapshots of the attached EBS volumes, restores them within a service account, and performs an in-depth scan for malware. The scanner supports many types of file systems and file formats and generates actionable security findings when malware is detected.

Amazon Neptune Global Database lets you build graph applications that run across multiple AWS Regions using a single graph database. You can deploy a primary Neptune cluster in one region and replicate its data to up to five secondary read-only database clusters, with up to 16 read replicas each. Clusters can recover in minutes in the result of an (unlikely) regional outage, with a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of 1 second and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of 1 minute. To learn a lot more and see this new feature in action, read Introducing Amazon Neptune Global Database.

Amazon Detective now Supports Kubernetes Workloads, with the ability to scale to thousands of container deployments and millions of configuration changes per second. It ingests EKS audit logs to capture API activity from users, applications, and the EKS control plane, and correlates user activity with information gleaned from Amazon VPC flow logs. As Channy notes in his blog post, you can enable Amazon Detective and take advantage of a free 30 day trial of the EKS capabilities.

AWS SSO is Now AWS IAM Identity Center in order to better represent the full set of workforce and account management capabilities that are part of IAM. You can create user identities directly in IAM Identity Center, or you can connect your existing Active Directory or standards-based identify provider. To learn more, read this post from the AWS Security Blog.

AWS Config Conformance Packs now provide you with percentage-based scores that will help you track resource compliance within the scope of the resources addressed by the pack. Scores are computed based on the product of the number of resources and the number of rules, and are reported to Amazon CloudWatch so that you can track compliance trends over time. To learn more about how scores are computed, read the What’s New post.

Amazon Macie now lets you perform one-click temporary retrieval of sensitive data that Macie has discovered in an S3 bucket. You can retrieve up to ten examples at a time, and use these findings to accelerate your security investigations. All of the data that is retrieved and displayed in the Macie console is encrypted using customer-managed AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) keys. To learn more, read the What’s New post.

AWS Control Tower was updated multiple times last week. CloudTrail Organization Logging creates an org-wide trail in your management account to automatically log the actions of all member accounts in your organization. Control Tower now reduces redundant AWS Config items by limiting recording of global resources to home regions. To take advantage of this change you need to update to the latest landing zone version and then re-register each Organizational Unit, as detailed in the What’s New post. Lastly, Control Tower’s region deny guardrail now includes AWS API endpoints for AWS Chatbot, Amazon S3 Storage Lens, and Amazon S3 Multi Region Access Points. This allows you to limit access to AWS services and operations for accounts enrolled in your AWS Control Tower environment.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Here are some other news items and customer stories that you may find interesting:

AWS Open Source News and Updates – My colleague Ricardo Sueiras writes a weekly open source newsletter and highlights new open source projects, tools, and demos from the AWS community. Read installment #122 here.

Growy Case Study – This Netherlands-based company is building fully-automated robot-based vertical farms that grow plants to order. Read the case study to learn how they use AWS IoT and other services to monitor and control light, temperature, CO2, and humidity to maximize yield and quality.

Journey of a Snap on Snapchat – This video shows you how a snapshot flows end-to-end from your camera to AWS, to your friends. With over 300 million daily active users, Snap takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon CloudFront, and many other AWS services, storing over 400 terabytes of data in DynamoDB and managing over 900 EKS clusters.

Cutting Cardboard Waste – Bin packing is almost certainly a part of every computer science curriculum! In the linked article from the Amazon Science site, you can learn how an Amazon Principal Research Scientist developed PackOpt to figure out the optimal set of boxes to use for shipments from Amazon’s global network of fulfillment centers. This is an NP-hard problem and the article describes how they build a parallelized solution that explores a multitude of alternative solutions, all running on AWS.

Upcoming Events
Check your calendar and sign up for these online and in-person AWS events:

AWS SummitAWS Global Summits – AWS Global Summits are free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. Registrations are open for the following AWS Summits in August:

Imagine Conference 2022IMAGINE 2022 – The IMAGINE 2022 conference will take place on August 3 at the Seattle Convention Center, Washington, USA. It’s a no-cost event that brings together education, state, and local leaders to learn about the latest innovations and best practices in the cloud. You can register here.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Week in Review!


This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

Top 2021 AWS service launches security professionals should review – Part 2

Post Syndicated from Marta Taggart original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/top-2021-aws-service-launches-security-professionals-should-review-part-2/

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we shared an overview of some of the most important 2021 Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security service and feature launches. In this follow-up, we’ll dive deep into additional launches that are important for security professionals to be aware of and understand across all AWS services. There have already been plenty in the first half of 2022, so we’ll highlight those soon, as well.

AWS Identity

You can use AWS Identity Services to build Zero Trust architectures, help secure your environments with a robust data perimeter, and work toward the security best practice of granting least privilege. In 2021, AWS expanded the identity source options, AWS Region availability, and support for AWS services. There is also added visibility and power in the permission management system. New features offer new integrations, additional policy checks, and secure resource sharing across AWS accounts.

AWS Single Sign-On

For identity management, AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) is where you create, or connect, your workforce identities in AWS once and manage access centrally across your AWS accounts in AWS Organizations. In 2021, AWS SSO announced new integrations for JumpCloud and CyberArk users. This adds to the list of providers that you can use to connect your users and groups, which also includes Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services, Okta Universal Directory, Azure AD, OneLogin, and Ping Identity.

AWS SSO expanded its availability to new Regions: AWS GovCloud (US), Europe (Paris), and South America (São Paulo) Regions. Another very cool AWS SSO development is its integration with AWS Systems Manager Fleet Manager. This integration enables you to log in interactively to your Windows servers running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) while using your existing corporate identities—try it, it’s fantastic!

AWS Identity and Access Management

For access management, there have been a range of feature launches with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) that have added up to more power and visibility in the permissions management system. Here are some key examples.

IAM made it simpler to relate a user’s IAM role activity to their corporate identity. By setting the new source identity attribute, which persists through role assumption chains and gets logged in AWS CloudTrail, you can find out who is responsible for actions that IAM roles performed.

IAM added support for policy conditions, to help manage permissions for AWS services that access your resources. This important feature launch of service principal conditions helps you to distinguish between API calls being made on your behalf by a service principal, and those being made by a principal inside your account. You can choose to allow or deny the calls depending on your needs. As a security professional, you might find this especially useful in conjunction with the aws:CalledVia condition key, which allows you to scope permissions down to specify that this account principal can only call this API if they are calling it using a particular AWS service that’s acting on their behalf. For example, your account principal can’t generally access a particular Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) bucket, but if they are accessing it by using Amazon Athena, they can do so. These conditions can also be used in service control policies (SCPs) to give account principals broader scope across an account, organizational unit, or organization; they need not be added to individual principal policies or resource policies.

Another very handy new IAM feature launch is additional information about the reason for an access denied error message. With this additional information, you can now see which of the relevant access control policies (for example, IAM, resource, SCP, or VPC endpoint) was the cause of the denial. As of now, this new IAM feature is supported by more than 50% of all AWS services in the AWS SDK and AWS Command Line Interface, and a fast-growing number in the AWS Management Console. We will continue to add support for this capability across services, as well as add more features that are designed to make the journey to least privilege simpler.

IAM Access Analyzer

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer provides actionable recommendations to set secure and functional permissions. Access Analyzer introduced the ability to preview the impact of policy changes before deployment and added over 100 policy checks for correctness. Both of these enhancements are integrated into the console and are also available through APIs. Access Analyzer also provides findings for external access allowed by resource policies for many services, including a previous launch in which IAM Access Analyzer was directly integrated into the Amazon S3 management console.

IAM Access Analyzer also launched the ability to generate fine-grained policies based on analyzing past AWS CloudTrail activity. This feature provides a great new capability for DevOps teams or central security teams to scope down policies to just the permissions needed, making it simpler to implement least privilege permissions. IAM Access Analyzer launched further enhancements to expand policy checks, and the ability to generate a sample least-privilege policy from past activity was expanded beyond the account level to include an analysis of principal behavior within the entire organization by analyzing log activity stored in AWS CloudTrail.

AWS Resource Access Manager

AWS Resource Access Manager (AWS RAM) helps you securely share your resources across unrelated AWS accounts within your organization or organizational units (OUs) in AWS Organizations. Now you can also share your resources with IAM roles and IAM users for supported resource types. This update enables more granular access using managed permissions that you can use to define access to shared resources. In addition to the default managed permission defined for each shareable resource type, you now have more flexibility to choose which permissions to grant to whom for resource types that support additional managed permissions. Additionally, AWS RAM added support for global resource types, enabling you to provision a global resource once, and share that resource across your accounts. A global resource is one that can be used in multiple AWS Regions; the first example of a global resource is found in AWS Cloud WAN, currently in preview as of this publication. AWS RAM helps you more securely share an AWS Cloud WAN core network, which is a managed network containing AWS and on-premises networks. With AWS RAM global resource sharing, you can use the Cloud WAN core network to centrally operate a unified global network across Regions and accounts.

AWS Directory Service

AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD), was updated to automatically provide domain controller and directory utilization metrics in Amazon CloudWatch for new and existing directories. Analyzing these utilization metrics helps you quantify your average and peak load times to identify the need for additional domain controllers. With this, you can define the number of domain controllers to meet your performance, resilience, and cost requirements.

Amazon Cognito

Amazon Cognito identity pools (federated identities) was updated to enable you to use attributes from social and corporate identity providers to make access control decisions and simplify permissions management in AWS resources. In Amazon Cognito, you can choose predefined attribute-tag mappings, or you can create custom mappings using the attributes from social and corporate providers’ access and ID tokens, or SAML assertions. You can then reference the tags in an IAM permissions policy to implement attribute-based access control (ABAC) and manage access to your AWS resources. Amazon Cognito also launched a new console experience for user pools and now supports targeted sign out through refresh token revocation.

Governance, control, and logging services

There were a number of important releases in 2021 in the areas of governance, control, and logging services.

AWS Organizations

AWS Organizations added a number of important import features and integrations during 2021. Security-relevant services like Amazon Detective, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) IP Address Manager (IPAM), as well as others like Amazon DevOps Guru, launched integrations with Organizations. Others like AWS SSO and AWS License Manager upgraded their Organizations support by adding support for a Delegated Administrator account, reducing the need to use the management account for operational tasks. Amazon EC2 and EC2 Image Builder took advantage of the account grouping capabilities provided by Organizations to allow cross-account sharing of Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) (for more details, see the Amazon EC2 section later in this post). Organizations also got an updated console, increased quotas for tag policies, and provided support for the launch of an API that allows for programmatic creation and maintenance of AWS account alternate contacts, including the very important security contact (although that feature doesn’t require Organizations). For more information on the value of using the security contact for your accounts, see the blog post Update the alternate security contact across your AWS accounts for timely security notifications.

AWS Control Tower

2021 was also a good year for AWS Control Tower, beginning with an important launch of the ability to take over governance of existing OUs and accounts, as well as bulk update of new settings and guardrails with a single button click or API call. Toward the end of 2021, AWS Control Tower added another valuable enhancement that allows it to work with a broader set of customers and use cases, namely support for nested OUs within an organization.

AWS CloudFormation Guard 2.0

Another important milestone in 2021 for creating and maintaining a well-governed cloud environment was the re-launch of CloudFormation Guard as Cfn-Guard 2.0. This launch was a major overhaul of the Cfn-Guard domain-specific language (DSL), a DSL designed to provide the ability to test infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates such as CloudFormation and Terraform to make sure that they conform with a set of constraints written in the DSL by a central team, such as a security organization or network management team.

This approach provides a powerful new middle ground between the older security models of prevention (which provide developers only an access denied message, and often can’t distinguish between an acceptable and an unacceptable use of the same API) and a detect and react model (when undesired states have already gone live). The Cfn-Guard 2.0 model gives builders the freedom to build with IaC, while allowing central teams to have the ability to reject infrastructure configurations or changes that don’t conform to central policies—and to do so with completely custom error messages that invite dialog between the builder team and the central team, in case the rule is unnuanced and needs to be refined, or if a specific exception needs to be created.

For example, a builder team might be allowed to provision and attach an internet gateway to a VPC, but the team can do this only if the routes to the internet gateway are limited to a certain pre-defined set of CIDR ranges, such as the public addresses of the organization’s branch offices. It’s not possible to write an IAM policy that takes into account the CIDR values of a VPC route table update, but you can write a Cfn-Guard 2.0 rule that allows the creation and use of an internet gateway, but only with a defined and limited set of IP addresses.

AWS Systems Manager Incident Manager

An important launch that security professionals should know about is AWS Systems Manager Incident Manager. Incident Manager provides a number of powerful capabilities for managing incidents of any kind, including operational and availability issues but also security issues. With Incident Manager, you can automatically take action when a critical issue is detected by an Amazon CloudWatch alarm or Amazon EventBridge event. Incident Manager runs pre-configured response plans to engage responders by using SMS and phone calls, can enable chat commands and notifications using AWS Chatbot, and runs automation workflows with AWS Systems Manager Automation runbooks. The Incident Manager console integrates with AWS Systems Manager OpsCenter to help you track incidents and post-incident action items from a central place that also synchronizes with third-party management tools such as Jira Service Desk and ServiceNow. Incident Manager enables cross-account sharing of incidents using AWS RAM, and provides cross-Region replication of incidents to achieve higher availability.

AWS CloudTrail

AWS CloudTrail added some great new logging capabilities in 2021, including logging data-plane events for Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) direct APIs (direct APIs allow access to EBS snapshot content through a REST API). CloudTrail also got further enhancements to its machine-learning based CloudTrail Insights feature, including a new one called ErrorRate Insights.

Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is one of the most important services at AWS, and its steady addition of security-related enhancements is always big news. Here are the 2021 highlights.

Access Points aliases

Amazon S3 introduced a new feature, Amazon S3 Access Points aliases. With Amazon S3 Access Points aliases, you can make the access points backwards-compatible with a large amount of existing code that is programmed to interact with S3 buckets rather than access points.

To understand the importance of this launch, we have to go back to 2019 to the launch of Amazon S3 Access Points. Access points are a powerful mechanism for managing S3 bucket access. They provide a great simplification for managing and controlling access to shared datasets in S3 buckets. You can create up to 1,000 access points per Region within each of your AWS accounts. Although bucket access policies remain fully enforced, you can delegate access control from the bucket to its access points, allowing for distributed and granular control. Each access point enforces a customizable policy that can be managed by a particular workgroup, while also avoiding the problem of bucket policies needing to grow beyond their maximum size. Finally, you can also bind an access point to a particular VPC for its lifetime, to prevent access directly from the internet.

With the 2021 launch of Access Points aliases, Amazon S3 now generates a unique DNS name, or alias, for each access point. The Access Points aliases look and acts just like an S3 bucket to existing code. This means that you don’t need to make changes to older code to use Amazon S3 Access Points; just substitute an Access Points aliases wherever you previously used a bucket name. As a security team, it’s important to know that this flexible and powerful administrative feature is backwards-compatible and can be treated as a drop-in replacement in your various code bases that use Amazon S3 but haven’t been updated to use access point APIs. In addition, using Access Points aliases adds a number of powerful security-related controls, such as permanent binding of S3 access to a particular VPC.

Bucket Keys

Amazon S3 launched support for S3 Inventory and S3 Batch Operations to identify and copy objects to use S3 Bucket Keys, which can help reduce the costs of server-side encryption (SSE) with AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS).

S3 Bucket Keys were launched at the end of 2020, another great launch that security professionals should know about, so here is an overview in case you missed it. S3 Bucket Keys are data keys generated by AWS KMS to provide another layer of envelope encryption in which the outer layer (the S3 Bucket Key) is cached by S3 for a short period of time. This extra key layer increases performance and reduces the cost of requests to AWS KMS. It achieves this by decreasing the request traffic from Amazon S3 to AWS KMS from a one-to-one model—one request to AWS KMS for each object written to or read from Amazon S3—to a one-to-many model using the cached S3 Bucket Key. The S3 Bucket Key is never stored persistently in an unencrypted state outside AWS KMS, and so Amazon S3 ultimately must always return to AWS KMS to encrypt and decrypt the S3 Bucket Key, and thus, the data. As a result, you still retain control of the key hierarchy and resulting encrypted data through AWS KMS, and are still able to audit Amazon S3 returning periodically to AWS KMS to refresh the S3 Bucket Keys, as logged in CloudTrail.

Returning to our review of 2021, S3 Bucket Keys gained the ability to use Amazon S3 Inventory and Amazon S3 Batch Operations automatically to migrate objects from the higher cost, slightly lower-performance SSE-KMS model to the lower-cost, higher-performance S3 Bucket Keys model.

Simplified ownership and access management

The final item from 2021 for Amazon S3 is probably the most important of all. Last year was the year that Amazon S3 achieved fully modernized object ownership and access management capabilities. You can now disable access control lists to simplify ownership and access management for data in Amazon S3.

To understand this launch, we need to go in time to the origins of Amazon S3, which is one of the oldest services in AWS, created even before IAM was launched in 2011. In those pre-IAM days, a storage system like Amazon S3 needed to have some kind of access control model, so Amazon S3 invented its own: Amazon S3 access control lists (ACLs). Using ACLs, you could add access permissions down to the object level, but only with regard to access by other AWS account principals (the only kind of identity that was available at the time), or public access (read-only or read-write) to an object. And in this model, objects were always owned by the creator of the object, not the bucket owner.

After IAM was introduced, Amazon S3 added the bucket policy feature, a type of resource policy that provides the rich features of IAM, including full support for all IAM principals (users and roles), time-of-day conditions, source IP conditions, ability to require encryption, and more. For many years, Amazon S3 access decisions have been made by combining IAM policy permissions and ACL permissions, which has served customers well. But the object-writer-is-owner issue has often caused friction. The good news for security professionals has been that a deny by either type of access control type overrides an allow by the other, so there were no security issues with this bi-modal approach. The challenge was that it could be administratively difficult to manage both resource policies—which exist at the bucket and access point level—and ownership and ACLs—which exist at the object level. Ownership and ACLs might potentially impact the behavior of only a handful of objects, in a bucket full of millions or billions of objects.

With the features released in 2021, Amazon S3 has removed these points of friction, and now provides the features needed to reduce ownership issues and to make IAM-based policies the only access control system for a specified bucket. The first step came in 2020 with the ability to make object ownership track bucket ownership, regardless of writer. But that feature applied only to newly-written objects. The final step is the 2021 launch we’re highlighting here: the ability to disable at the bucket level the evaluation of all existing ACLs—including ownership and permissions—effectively nullifying all object ACLs. From this point forward, you have the mechanisms you need to govern Amazon S3 access with a combination of S3 bucket policies, S3 access point policies, and (within the same account) IAM principal policies, without worrying about legacy models of ACLs and per-object ownership.

Additional database and storage service features

AWS Backup Vault Lock

AWS Backup added an important new additional layer for backup protection with the availability of AWS Backup Vault Lock. A vault lock feature in AWS is the ability to configure a storage policy such that even the most powerful AWS principals (such as an account or Org root principal) can only delete data if the deletion conforms to the preset data retention policy. Even if the credentials of a powerful administrator are compromised, the data stored in the vault remains safe. Vault lock features are extremely valuable in guarding against a wide range of security and resiliency risks (including accidental deletion), notably in an era when ransomware represents a rising threat to data.

Prior to AWS Backup Vault Lock, AWS provided the extremely useful Amazon S3 and Amazon S3 Glacier vault locking features, but these previous vaulting features applied only to the two Amazon S3 storage classes. AWS Backup, on the other hand, supports a wide range of storage types and databases across the AWS portfolio, including Amazon EBS, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) including Amazon Aurora, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Neptune, Amazon DocumentDB, Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), Amazon FSx for Lustre, Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, Amazon EC2, and AWS Storage Gateway. While built on top of Amazon S3, AWS Backup even supports backup of data stored in Amazon S3. Thus, this new AWS Backup Vault Lock feature effectively serves as a vault lock for all the data from most of the critical storage and database technologies made available by AWS.

Finally, as a bonus, AWS Backup added two more features in 2021 that should delight security and compliance professionals: AWS Backup Audit Manager and compliance reporting.

Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB added a long-awaited feature: data-plane operations integration with AWS CloudTrail. DynamoDB has long supported the recording of management operations in CloudTrail—including a long list of operations like CreateTable, UpdateTable, DeleteTable, ListTables, CreateBackup, and many others. What has been added now is the ability to log the potentially far higher volume of data operations such as PutItem, BatchWriteItem, GetItem, BatchGetItem, and DeleteItem. With this launch, full database auditing became possible. In addition, DynamoDB added more granular control of logging through DynamoDB Streams filters. This feature allows users to vary the recording in CloudTrail of both control plane and data plane operations, at the table or stream level.

Amazon EBS snapshots

Let’s turn now to a simple but extremely useful feature launch affecting Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) snapshots. In the past, it was possible to accidently delete an EBS snapshot, which is a problem for security professionals because data availability is a part of the core security triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Now you can manage that risk and recover from accidental deletions of your snapshots by using Recycle Bin. You simply define a retention policy that applies to all deleted snapshots, and then you can define other more granular policies, for example using longer retention periods based on snapshot tag values, such as stage=prod. Along with this launch, the Amazon EBS team announced EBS Snapshots Archive, a major price reduction for long-term storage of snapshots.

AWS Certificate Manager Private Certificate Authority

2021 was a big year for AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) Private Certificate Authority (CA) with the following updates and new features:

Network and application protection

We saw a lot of enhancements in network and application protection in 2021 that will help you to enforce fine-grained security policies at important network control points across your organization. The services and new capabilities offer flexible solutions for inspecting and filtering traffic to help prevent unauthorized resource access.


AWS WAF launched AWS WAF Bot Control, which gives you visibility and control over common and pervasive bots that consume excess resources, skew metrics, cause downtime, or perform other undesired activities. The Bot Control managed rule group helps you monitor, block, or rate-limit pervasive bots, such as scrapers, scanners, and crawlers. You can also allow common bots that you consider acceptable, such as status monitors and search engines. AWS WAF also added support for custom responses, managed rule group versioning, in-line regular expressions, and Captcha. The Captcha feature has been popular with customers, removing another small example of “undifferentiated work” for customers.

AWS Shield Advanced

AWS Shield Advanced now automatically protects web applications by blocking application layer (L7) DDoS events with no manual intervention needed by you or the AWS Shield Response Team (SRT). When you protect your resources with AWS Shield Advanced and enable automatic application layer DDoS mitigation, Shield Advanced identifies patterns associated with L7 DDoS events and isolates this anomalous traffic by automatically creating AWS WAF rules in your web access control lists (ACLs).

Amazon CloudFront

In other edge networking news, Amazon CloudFront added support for response headers policies. This means that you can now add cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), security, and custom headers to HTTP responses returned by your CloudFront distributions. You no longer need to configure your origins or use custom Lambda@Edge or CloudFront Functions to insert these headers.

CloudFront Functions were another great 2021 addition to edge computing, providing a simple, inexpensive, and yet highly secure method for running customer-defined code as part of any CloudFront-managed web request. CloudFront functions allow for the creation of very efficient, fine-grained network access filters, such the ability to block or allow web requests at a region or city level.

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and Route 53

Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) added more-specific routing (routing subnet-to-subnet traffic through a virtual networking device) that allows for packet interception and inspection between subnets in a VPC. This is particularly useful for highly-available, highly-scalable network virtual function services based on Gateway Load Balancer, including both AWS services like AWS Network Firewall, as well as third-party networking services such as the recently announced integration between AWS Firewall Manager and Palo Alto Networks Cloud Next Generation Firewall, powered by Gateway Load Balancer.

Another important set of enhancements to the core VPC experience came in the area of VPC Flow Logs. Amazon VPC launched out-of-the-box integration with Amazon Athena. This means with a few clicks, you can now use Athena to query your VPC flow logs delivered to Amazon S3. Additionally, Amazon VPC launched three associated new log features that make querying more efficient by supporting Apache Parquet, Hive-compatible prefixes, and hourly partitioned files.

Following Route 53 Resolver’s much-anticipated launch of DNS logging in 2020, the big news for 2021 was the launch of its DNS Firewall capability. Route 53 Resolver DNS Firewall lets you create “blocklists” for domains you don’t want your VPC resources to communicate with, or you can take a stricter, “walled-garden” approach by creating “allowlists” that permit outbound DNS queries only to domains that you specify. You can also create alerts for when outbound DNS queries match certain firewall rules, allowing you to test your rules before deploying for production traffic. Route 53 Resolver DNS Firewall launched with two managed domain lists—malware domains and botnet command and control domains—enabling you to get started quickly with managed protections against common threats. It also integrated with Firewall Manager (see the following section) for easier centralized administration.

AWS Network Firewall and Firewall Manager

Speaking of AWS Network Firewall and Firewall Manager, 2021 was a big year for both. Network Firewall added support for AWS Managed Rules, which are groups of rules based on threat intelligence data, to enable you to stay up to date on the latest security threats without writing and maintaining your own rules. AWS Network Firewall features a flexible rules engine enabling you to define firewall rules that give you fine-grained control over network traffic. As of the launch in late 2021, you can enable managed domain list rules to block HTTP and HTTPS traffic to domains identified as low-reputation, or that are known or suspected to be associated with malware or botnets. Prior to that, another important launch was new configuration options for rule ordering and default drop, making it simpler to write and process rules to monitor your VPC traffic. Also in 2021, Network Firewall announced a major regional expansion following its initial launch in 2020, and a range of compliance achievements and eligibility including HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOC, and ISO.

Firewall Manager also had a strong 2021, adding a number of additional features beyond its initial core area of managing network firewalls and VPC security groups that provide centralized, policy-based control over many other important network security capabilities: Amazon Route 53 Resolver DNS Firewall configurations, deployment of the new AWS WAF Bot Control, monitoring of VPC routes for AWS Network Firewall, AWS WAF log filtering, AWS WAF rate-based rules, and centralized logging of AWS Network Firewall logs.

Elastic Load Balancing

Elastic Load Balancing now supports forwarding traffic directly from Network Load Balancer (NLB) to Application Load Balancer (ALB). With this important new integration, you can take advantage of many critical NLB features such as support for AWS PrivateLink and exposing static IP addresses for applications that still require ALB.

In addition, Network Load Balancer now supports version 1.3 of the TLS protocol. This adds to the existing TLS 1.3 support in Amazon CloudFront, launched in 2020. AWS plans to add TLS 1.3 support for additional services.

The AWS Networking team also made Amazon VPC private NAT gateways available in both AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. The expansion into the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions enables US government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by helping them to address certain regulatory and compliance requirements.


Security professionals should also be aware of some interesting enhancements in AWS compute services that can help improve their organization’s experience in building and operating a secure environment.

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) launched the Global View on the console to provide visibility to all your resources across Regions. Global View helps you monitor resource counts, notice abnormalities sooner, and find stray resources. A few days into 2022, another simple but extremely useful EC2 launch was the new ability to obtain instance tags from the Instance Metadata Service (IMDS). Many customers run code on Amazon EC2 that needs to introspect about the EC2 tags associated with the instance and then change its behavior depending on the content of the tags. Prior to this launch, you had to associate an EC2 role and call the EC2 API to get this information. That required access to API endpoints, either through a NAT gateway or a VPC endpoint for Amazon EC2. Now, that information can be obtained directly from the IMDS, greatly simplifying a common use case.

Amazon EC2 launched sharing of Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with AWS Organizations and Organizational Units (OUs). Previously, you could share AMIs only with specific AWS account IDs. To share AMIs within AWS Organizations, you had to explicitly manage sharing of AMIs on an account-by-account basis, as they were added to or removed from AWS Organizations. With this new feature, you no longer have to update your AMI permissions because of organizational changes. AMI sharing is automatically synchronized when organizational changes occur. This feature greatly helps both security professionals and governance teams to centrally manage and govern AMIs as you grow and scale your AWS accounts. As previously noted, this feature was also added to EC2 Image Builder. Finally, Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager, the tool that manages all your EBS volumes and AMIs in a policy-driven way, now supports automatic deprecation of AMIs. As a security professional, you will find this helpful as you can set a timeline on your AMIs so that, if the AMIs haven’t been updated for a specified period of time, they will no longer be considered valid or usable by development teams.

Looking ahead

In 2022, AWS continues to deliver experiences that meet administrators where they govern, developers where they code, and applications where they run. We will continue to summarize important launches in future blog posts. If you’re interested in learning more about AWS services, join us for AWS re:Inforce, the AWS conference focused on cloud security, identity, privacy, and compliance. AWS re:Inforce 2022 will take place July 26–27 in Boston, MA. Registration is now open. Register now with discount code SALxUsxEFCw to get $150 off your full conference pass to AWS re:Inforce. For a limited time only and while supplies last. We look forward to seeing you there!

To stay up to date on the latest product and feature launches and security use cases, be sure to read the What’s New with AWS announcements (or subscribe to the RSS feed) and the AWS Security Blog.

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Marta Taggart

Marta is a Seattle-native and Senior Product Marketing Manager in AWS Security Product Marketing, where she focuses on data protection services. Outside of work you’ll find her trying to convince Jack, her rescue dog, not to chase squirrels and crows (with limited success).

Mark Ryland

Mark Ryland

Mark is the director of the Office of the CISO for AWS. He has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry and has served in leadership roles in cybersecurity, software engineering, distributed systems, technology standardization and public policy. Previously, he served as the Director of Solution Architecture and Professional Services for the AWS World Public Sector team.

Monitoring and alerting break-glass access in an AWS Organization

Post Syndicated from Haresh Nandwani original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/monitoring-and-alerting-break-glass-access-in-an-aws-organization/

Organizations building enterprise-scale systems require the setup of a secure and governed landing zone to deploy and operate their systems. A landing zone is a starting point from which your organization can quickly launch and deploy workloads and applications with confidence in your security and infrastructure environment as described in What is a landing zone?. Nationwide Building Society (Nationwide) is the world’s largest building society. It is owned by its 16 million members and exists to serve their needs. The Society is one of the UK’s largest providers for mortgages, savings and current accounts, as well as being a major provider of ISAs, credit cards, personal loans, insurance, and investments.

For one of its business initiatives, Nationwide utilizes AWS Control Tower to build and operate their landing zone which provides a well-established pattern to set up and govern a secure, multi-account AWS environment. Nationwide operates in a highly regulated industry and our governance assurance requires adequate control of any privileged access to production line-of-business data or to resources which have access to them. We chose for this specific business initiative to deploy our landing zone using AWS Organizations, to benefit from ongoing account management and governance as aligned with AWS implementation best practices. We also utilized AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) to create our workforce identities in AWS once and manage access centrally across our AWS Organization. In this blog, we describe the integrations required across AWS Control Tower and AWS SSO to implement a break-glass mechanism that makes access reporting publishable to system operators as well as to internal audit systems and processes. We will outline how we used AWS SSO for our setup as well as the three architecture options we considered, and why we went with the chosen solution.

Sourcing AWS SSO access data for near real-time monitoring

In our setup, we have multiple AWS Accounts and multiple trails on each of these accounts. Users will regularly navigate across multiple accounts as they operate our infrastructure, and their journeys are marked across these multiple trails. Typically, AWS CloudTrail would be our chosen resource to clearly and unambiguously identify account or data access.  The key challenge in this scenario was to design an efficient and cost-effective solution to scan these trails to help identify and report on break-glass user access to account and production data. To address this challenge, we developed the following two architecture design options.

Option 1: A decentralized approach that uses AWS CloudFormation StackSets, Amazon EventBridge and AWS Lambda

Our solution entailed a decentralized approach by deploying a CloudFormation StackSet to create, update, or delete stacks across multiple accounts and AWS Regions with a single operation. The Stackset created Amazon EventBridge rules and target AWS Lambda functions. These functions post to EventBridge in our audit account. Our audit account has a set of Lambda functions running off EventBridge to initiate specific events, format the event message and post to Slack, our centralized communication platform for this implementation. Figure 1 depicts the overall architecture for this option.

De-centralized logging using Amazon EventBridge and AWS Lambda

Figure 1. De-centralized logging using Amazon EventBridge and AWS Lambda

Option 2: Use an organization trail in the Organization Management account

This option uses the centralized organization trail in the Organization Management account to source audit data. Details of how to create an organization trail can be found in the AWS CloudTrail User Guide. CloudTrail was configured to send log events to CloudWatch Logs. These events are then sent via Lambda functions to Slack using webhooks. We used a public terraform module in this GitHub repository to build this Lambda Slack integration. Figure 2 depicts the overall architecture for this option.

Centralized logging pattern using Amazon CloudWatch

Figure 2. Centralized logging pattern using Amazon CloudWatch

This was our preferred option and is the one we finally implemented.

We also evaluated a third option which was to use centralized logging and auditing feature enabled by Control Tower. Users authenticate and federate to target accounts from a central location so it seemed possible to source this info from the centralized logs. These log events arrive as .gz compressed json objects, which meant having to expand these archives repeatedly for inspection. We therefore decided against this option.

A centralized, economic, extensible solution to alert of SSO break-glass

Our requirement was to identify break-glass access across any of the access mechanisms supported by AWS, including CLI and User Portal access. To ensure we have comprehensive coverage across all access mechanisms, we identified all the events initiated for each access mechanism:

  1. User Portal/AWS Console access events
    • Authenticate
    • ListApplications
    • ListApplicationProfiles
    • Federate – this event contains the role that the user is federating into
  2. CLI access events
    • CreateToken
    • ListAccounts
    • ListAccountRoles
    • GetRoleCredentials – this event contains the role that the user is federating into

EventBridge is able to initiate actions after events only when the event is trying to perform changes (when the “readOnly” attribute on the event record body equals “false”).

The AWS support team was aware of this attribute and recommended that we, change the data flow we were using to one able to initiate actions after any kind of event, regardless of the value on its readOnly attribute. The solution in our case was to send the CloudTrail logs to CloudWatch Logs. This then and initiates the Lambda function through a filter subscription that detects the desired event names on the log content.

The filter used is as follows:

{($.eventSource = sso.amazonaws.com) && ($.eventName = Federate||$.eventName = GetRoleCredentials)}

Due to the query size in the CloudWatch Log queries we had to remove the subscription filters and do the parsing of the content of the log lines inside the lambda function. In order to determine what accounts would initiate the notifications, we sent the list of accounts and roles to it as an environment variable at runtime.

Considerations with cross-account SSO access

With direct federation users get an access token. This is most obvious in AWS single sign on at the chiclet page as “Command line or programmatic access”. SSO tokens have a limited lifetime (we use the default 1-hour). A user does not have to get a new token to access a target resource until the one they are using is expired. This means that a user may repeatedly access a target account using the same token during its lifetime. Although the token is made available at the chiclet page, the GetRoleCredentials event does not occur until it is used to authenticate an API call to the target AWS account.


In this blog, we discussed how AWS Control Tower and AWS Single Sign-on enabled Nationwide to build and govern a secure, multi-account AWS environment for one of their business initiatives and centralize access management across our implementation. The integration was important for us to accurately and comprehensively identify and audit break-glass access for our implementation. As a result, we were able to satisfy our security and compliance audit requirements for privileged access to our AWS accounts.

Running hybrid Active Directory service with AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory

Post Syndicated from Lewis Tang original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/running-hybrid-active-directory-service-with-aws-managed-microsoft-active-directory/

Enterprise customers often need to architect a hybrid Active Directory solution to support running applications in the existing on-premises corporate data centers and AWS cloud. There are many reasons for this, such as maintaining the integration with on-premises legacy applications, keeping the control of infrastructure resources, and meeting with specific industry compliance requirements.

To extend on-premises Active Directory environments to AWS, some customers choose to deploy Active Directory service on self-managed Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances after setting up connectivity for both environments. This setup works fine, but it also presents management and operations challenges when it comes to EC2 instance operation management, Windows operating system, and Active Directory service patching and backup. This is where AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (AWS Managed Microsoft AD) helps.

Benefits of using AWS Managed Microsoft AD

With AWS Managed Microsoft AD, you can launch an AWS-managed directory in the cloud, leveraging the scalability and high availability of an enterprise directory service while adding seamless integration into other AWS services.

In addition, you can still access AWS Managed Microsoft AD using existing administrative tools and techniques, such as delegating administrative permissions to select groups in your organization. The full list of permissions that can be delegated is described in the AWS Directory Service Administration Guide.

Active Directory service design consideration with a single AWS account

Single region

A single AWS account is where the journey begins: a simple use case might be when you need to deploy a new solution in the cloud from scratch (Figure 1).

A single AWS account and single-region model

Figure 1. A single AWS account and single-region model

In a single AWS account and single-region model, the on-premises Active Directory has “company.com” domain configured in the on-premises data center. AWS Managed Microsoft AD is set up across two availability zones in the AWS region for high availability. It has a single domain, “na.company.com”, configured. The on-premises Active Directory is configured to trust the AWS Managed Microsoft AD with network connectivity via AWS Direct Connect or VPN. Applications that are Active-Directory–aware and run on EC2 instances have joined na.company.com domain, as do the selected AWS managed services (for example, Amazon Relational Database Service for SQL server).


As your cloud footprint expands to more AWS regions, you have two options also to expand AWS Managed Microsoft AD, depending on which edition of AWS Managed Microsoft AD is used (Figure 2):

  1. With AWS Managed Microsoft AD Enterprise Edition, you can turn on the multi-region replication feature to configure automatically inter-regional networking connectivity, deploy domain controllers, and replicate all the Active Directory data across multiple regions. This ensures that Active-Directory–aware workloads residing in those regions can connect to and use AWS Managed Microsoft AD with low latency and high performance.
  2. With AWS Managed Microsoft AD Standard Edition, you will need to add a domain by creating independent AWS Managed Microsoft AD directories per-region. In Figure 2, “eu.company.com” domain is added, and AWS Transit Gateway routes traffic among Active-Directory–aware applications within two AWS regions. The on-premises Active Directory is configured to trust the AWS Managed Microsoft AD, either by Direct Connect or VPN.
A single AWS account and multi-region model

Figure 2. A single AWS account and multi-region model

Active Directory Service Design consideration with multiple AWS accounts

Large organizations use multiple AWS accounts for administrative delegation and billing purposes. This is commonly implemented through AWS Control Tower service or AWS Control Tower landing zone solution.

Single region

You can share a single AWS Managed Microsoft AD with multiple AWS accounts within one AWS region. This capability makes it simpler and more cost-effective to manage Active-Directory–aware workloads from a single directory across accounts and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This option also allows you seamlessly join your EC2 instances for Windows to AWS Managed Microsoft AD.

As a best practice, place AWS Managed Microsoft AD in a separate AWS account, with limited administrator access but sharing the service with other AWS accounts. After sharing the service and configuring routing, Active Directory aware applications, such as Microsoft SharePoint, can seamlessly join Active Directory Domain Services and maintain control of all administrative tasks. Find more details on sharing AWS Managed Microsoft AD in the Share your AWS Managed AD directory tutorial.


With multiple AWS Accounts and multiple–AWS-regions model, we recommend using AWS Managed Microsoft AD Enterprise Edition. In Figure 3, AWS Managed Microsoft AD Enterprise Edition supports automating multi-region replication in all AWS regions where AWS Managed Microsoft AD is available. In AWS Managed Microsoft AD multi-region replication, Active-Directory–aware applications use the local directory for high performance but remain multi-region for high resiliency.

Multiple AWS accounts and multi-region model

Figure 3. Multiple AWS accounts and multi-region model

Domain Name System resolution design

To enable Active-Directory–aware applications communicate between your on-premises data centers and the AWS cloud, a reliable solution for Domain Name System (DNS) resolution is needed. You can set the Amazon VPC Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) option sets to either AWS Managed Microsoft AD or on-premises Active Directory; then, assign it to each VPC in which the required Active-Directory–aware applications reside. The full list of options working with DHCP option sets is described in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud User Guide.

The benefit of configuring DHCP option sets is to allow any EC2 instances in that VPC to resolve their domain names by pointing to the specified domain and DNS servers. This prevents the need for manual configuration of DNS on EC2 instances. However, because DHCP option sets cannot be shared across AWS accounts, this requires a DHCP option sets also to be created in additional accounts.

DHCP option sets

Figure 4. DHCP option sets

An alternative option is creating an Amazon Route 53 Resolver. This allows customers to leverage Amazon-provided DNS and Route 53 Resolver endpoints to forward a DNS query to the on-premises Active Directory or AWS Managed Microsoft AD. This is ideal for multi-account setups and customers desiring hub/spoke DNS management.

This alternative solution replaces the need to create and manage EC2 instances running as DNS forwarders with a managed and scalable solution, as Route 53 Resolver forwarding rules can be shared with other AWS accounts. Figure 5 demonstrates a Route 53 resolver forwarding a DNS query to on-premises Active Directory.

Route 53 Resolver

Figure 5. Route 53 Resolver


In this post, we described the benefits of using AWS Managed Microsoft AD to integrate with on-premises Active Directory. We also discussed a range of design considerations to explore when architecting hybrid Active Directory service with AWS Managed Microsoft AD. Different design scenarios were reviewed, from a single AWS account and region, to multiple AWS accounts and multi-regions. We have also discussed choosing between the Amazon VPC DHCP option sets and Route 53 Resolver for DNS resolution.

Further reading

Deploy consistent DNS with AWS Service Catalog and AWS Control Tower customizations

Post Syndicated from Shiva Vaidyanathan original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/deploy-consistent-dns-with-aws-service-catalog-and-aws-control-tower-customizations/

Many organizations need to connect their on-premises data centers, remote sites, and cloud resources. A hybrid connectivity approach connects these different environments. Customers with a hybrid connectivity network need additional infrastructure and configuration for private DNS resolution to work consistently across the network. It is a challenge to build this type of DNS infrastructure for a multi-account environment. However, there are several options available to address this problem with AWS. Automating DNS infrastructure using Route 53 Resolver endpoints covers how to use Resolver endpoints or private hosted zones to manage your DNS infrastructure.

This blog provides another perspective on how to manage DNS infrastructure with  Customizations for Control Tower and AWS Service Catalog. Service Catalog Portfolios and products use AWS CloudFormation to abstract the complexity and provide standardized deployments. The solution enables you to quickly deploy DNS infrastructure compliant with standard practices and baseline configuration.

Control Tower Customizations with Service Catalog solution overview

The solution uses the Customizations for Control Tower framework and AWS Service Catalog to provision the DNS resources across a multi-account setup. The Service Catalog Portfolio created by the solution consists of three Amazon Route 53 products: Outbound DNS product, Inbound DNS product, and Private DNS. Sharing this portfolio with the organization makes the products available to both existing and future accounts in your organization. Users who are given access to AWS Service Catalog can choose to provision these three Route 53 products in a self-service or a programmatic manner.

  1. Outbound DNS product. This solution creates inbound and outbound Route 53 resolver endpoints in a Networking Hub account. Deploying the solution creates a set of Route 53 resolver rules in the same account. These resolver rules are then shared with the organization via AWS Resource Access Manager (RAM). Amazon VPCs in spoke accounts are then associated with the shared resolver rules by the Service Catalog Outbound DNS product.
  2. Inbound DNS product. A private hosted zone is created in the Networking Hub account to provide on-premises resolution of Amazon VPC IP addresses. A DNS forwarder for the cloud namespace is required to be configured by the customer for the on-premises DNS servers. This must point to the IP addresses of the Route 53 Inbound Resolver endpoints. Appropriate resource records (such as a CNAME record to a spoke account resource like an Elastic Load Balancer or a private hosted zone) are added. Once this has been done, the spoke accounts can launch the Inbound DNS Service Catalog product. This activates an AWS Lambda function in the hub account to authorize the spoke VPC to be associated to the Hub account private hosted zone. This should permit a client from on-premises to resolve the IP address of resources in your VPCs in AWS.
  3. Private DNS product. For private hosted zones in the spoke accounts, the corresponding Service Catalog product enables each spoke account to deploy a private hosted zone. The DNS name is a subdomain of the parent domain for your organization. For example, if the parent domain is cloud.example.com, one of the spoke account domains could be called spoke3.cloud.example.com. The product uses the local VPC ID (spoke account) and the Network Hub VPC ID. It also uses the Region for the Network Hub VPC that is associated to this private hosted zone. You provide the ARN of the Amazon SNS topic from the Networking Hub account. This creates an association of the Hub VPC to the newly created private hosted zone, which allows the spoke account to notify the Networking Hub account.

The notification from the spoke account is performed via a custom resource that is a part of the private hosted zone product. Processing of the notification in the Networking Hub account to create the VPC association is performed by a Lambda function in the Networking Hub account. We also record each authorization-association within Amazon DynamoDB tables in the Networking Hub account. One table is mapping the account ID with private hosted zone IDs and domain name, and the second table is mapping hosted zone IDs with VPC IDs.

The following diagram (Figure 1) shows the solution architecture:

Figure 1. A Service Catalog based DNS architecture setup with Route 53 Outbound DNS product, Inbound DNS product, and Route 53 Private DNS product

Figure 1. A Service Catalog based DNS architecture setup with Route 53 Outbound DNS product, Inbound DNS product, and Route 53 Private DNS product


Deployment steps

The deployment of this solution has two phases:

  1. Deploy the Route 53 package to the existing Customizations for Control Tower (CfCT) solution in the management account.
  2. Setup user access, and provision Route 53 products using AWS Service Catalog in spoke accounts.

All the code used in this solution can be found in the GitHub repository.

Phase 1: Deploy the Route 53 package to the existing Customizations for Control Tower solution in the management account

Log in to the AWS Management Console of the management account. Select the Region where you want to deploy the landing zone. Deploy the Customizations for Control Tower (CfCT) Solution.

1. Clone your CfCT AWS CodeCommit repository:

2. Create a directory in the root of your CfCT CodeCommit repo called route53. Create a subdirectory called templates and copy the Route53-DNS-Service-Catalog-Hub-Account.yml template and the Route53-DNS-Service-Catalog-Spoke-Account.yml under the templates folder.

3. Edit the parameters present in file Route53-DNS-Service-Catalog-Hub-Account.json with value appropriate to your environment.

4. Create a S3 bucket leveraging s3Bucket.yml template and customizations.

5. Upload the three product template files (OutboundDNSProduct.yml, InboundDNSProduct.yml, PrivateDNSProduct.yml) to the s3 bucket created in step 4.

6. Under the same route53 directory, create another sub-directory called parameters. Place the updated parameter json file from previous step under this folder.

7. Edit the manifest.yaml file in the root of your CfCT CodeCommit repository to include the Route 53 resource, manifest.yml is provided as a reference. Update the Region values in this example to the Region of your Control Tower. Also update the deployment target account name to the equivalent Networking Hub account within your AWS Organization.

8. Create and push a commit for the changes made to the CfCT solution to your CodeCommit repository.

9. Finally, navigate to AWS CodePipeline in the AWS Management Console to monitor the progress. Validate the deployment of resources via CloudFormation StackSets is complete to the target Networking Hub account.

Phase 2: Setup user access, and provision Route 53 products using AWS Service Catalog in spoke accounts

In this section, we walk through how users can vend products from the shared AWS Service Catalog Portfolio using a self-service model. The following steps will walk you through setting up user access and provision products:

1. Sign in to AWS Management Console of the spoke account in which you want to deploy the Route 53 product.

2. Navigate to the AWS Service Catalog service, and choose Portfolios.

3. On the Imported tab, choose your portfolio as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Imported DNS portfolio (spoke account)

Figure 2. Imported DNS portfolio (spoke account)

4. Choose the Groups, roles, and users pane and add the IAM role, user, or group that you want to use to launch the product.

5. In the left navigation pane, choose Products as shown in Figure 3.

6. On the Products page, choose either of the three products, and then choose Launch Product.

Figure 3. DNS portfolio products (Inbound DNS, Outbound DNS, and Private DNS products)

Figure 3. DNS portfolio products (Inbound DNS, Outbound DNS, and Private DNS products)

7. On the Launch Product page, enter a name for your provisioned product, and provide the product parameters:

  • Outbound DNS product:
    • ChildDomainNameResolverRuleId: Rule ID for the Shared Route 53 Resolver rule for child domains.
    • OnPremDomainResolverRuleID: Rule ID for the Shared Route 53 Resolver rule for on-premises DNS domain.
    • LocalVPCID: Enter the VPC ID, which the Route 53 Resolver rules are to be associated with (for example: vpc-12345).
  • Inbound DNS product:
    • NetworkingHubPrivateHostedZoneDomain: Domain of the private hosted zone in the hub account.
    • LocalVPCID: Enter the ID of the VPC from the account and Region where you are provisioning this product (for example: vpc-12345).
    • SNSAuthorizationTopicArn: Enter ARN of the SNS topic belonging to the Networking Hub account.
  • Private DNS product:
    • DomainName: the FQDN for the private hosted zone (for example: account1.parent.internal.com).
    • LocalVPCId: Enter the ID of the VPC from the account and Region where you are provisioning this product.
    • AdditionalVPCIds: Enter the ID of the VPC from the Network Hub account that you want to associate to your private hosted zone.
    • AdditionalAccountIds: Provide the account IDs of the VPCs mentioned in AdditionalVPCIds.
    • NetworkingHubAccountId: Account ID of the Networking Hub account
    • SNSAssociationTopicArn: Enter ARN of the SNS topic belonging to the Networking Hub account.

8. Select Next and Launch Product.

Validation of Control Tower Customizations with Service Catalog solution

For the Outbound DNS product:

  • Validate the successful DNS infrastructure provisioning. To do this, navigate to Route 53 service in the AWS Management Console. Under the Rules section, select the rule you provided when provisioning the product.
  • Under that Rule, confirm that spoke VPC is associated to this rule.
  • For further validation, launch an Amazon EC2 instance in one of the spoke accounts.  Resolve the DNS name of a record present in the on-premises DNS domain using the dig utility.

For the Inbound DNS product:

  • In the Networking Hub account, navigate to the Route 53 service in the AWS Management Console. Select the private hosted zone created here for inbound access from on-premises. Verify the presence of resource records and the VPCs to ensure spoke account VPCs are associated.
  • For further validation, from a client on-premises, resolve the DNS name of one of your AWS specific domains, using the dig utility, for example.

For the Route 53 private hosted zone (Private DNS) product:

  • Navigate to the hosted zone in the Route 53 AWS Management Console.
  • Expand the details of this hosted zone. You should see the VPCs (VPC IDs that were provided as inputs) associated during product provisioning.
  • For further validation, create a DNS A record in the Route 53 private hosted zone of one of the spoke accounts.
  • Spin up an EC2 instance in the VPC of another spoke account.
  • Resolve the DNS name of the record created in the previous step using the dig utility.
  • Additionally, the details of each VPC and private hosted zone association is maintained within DynamoDB tables in the Networking Hub account

Cleanup steps

All the resources deployed through CloudFormation templates should be deleted after successful testing and validation to avoid any unwanted costs.

  • Remove the changes made to the CfCT repo to remove the references to the Route 53 folder in the manifest.yaml and the route53 folder. Then commit and push the changes to prevent future re-deployment.
  • Go to the CloudFormation console, identify the stacks appropriately, and delete them.
  • In spoke accounts, you can shut down the provisioned AWS Service Catalog product(s), which would terminate the corresponding CloudFormation stacks on your behalf.

Note: In a multi account setup, you must navigate through account boundaries and follow the previous steps where products were deployed.


In this post, we showed you how to create a portfolio using AWS Service Catalog. It contains a Route 53 Outbound DNS product, an Inbound DNS product, and a Private DNS product. We described how you can share this portfolio with your AWS Organization. Using this solution, you can provision Route 53 infrastructure in a programmatic, repeatable manner to standardize your DNS infrastructure.

We hope that you’ve found this post informative and we look forward to hearing how you use this feature!

How to automate AWS account creation with SSO user assignment

Post Syndicated from Rafael Koike original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-to-automate-aws-account-creation-with-sso-user-assignment/


AWS Control Tower offers a straightforward way to set up and govern an Amazon Web Services (AWS) multi-account environment, following prescriptive best practices. AWS Control Tower orchestrates the capabilities of several other AWS services, including AWS Organizations, AWS Service Catalog, and AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO), to build a landing zone very quickly. AWS SSO is a cloud-based service that simplifies how you manage SSO access to AWS accounts and business applications using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0. You can use AWS Control Tower to create and provision new AWS accounts and use AWS SSO to assign user access to those newly-created accounts.

Some customers need to provision tens, if not hundreds, of new AWS accounts at one time and assign access to many users. If you are using AWS Control Tower, doing this requires that you provision an AWS account in AWS Control Tower, and then assign the user access to the AWS account in AWS SSO before moving to the next AWS account. This process adds complexity and time for administrators who manage the AWS environment while delaying users’ access to their AWS accounts.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to automate creating multiple AWS accounts in AWS Control Tower, and how to automate assigning user access to the AWS accounts in AWS SSO, with the ability to repeat the process easily for subsequent batches of accounts. This solution simplifies the provisioning and assignment processes, while enabling automation for your AWS environment, and allows your builders to start using and experimenting on AWS more quickly.

Services used

This solution uses the following AWS services:

High level solution overview

Figure 1 shows the architecture and workflow of the batch AWS account creation and SSO assignment processes.

Figure 1: Batch AWS account creation and SSO assignment automation architecture and workflow

Figure 1: Batch AWS account creation and SSO assignment automation architecture and workflow

Before starting

This solution is configured to be deployed in the North Virginia Region (us-east-1). But you can change the CloudFormation template to run in any Region that supports all the services required in the solution.

AWS Control Tower Account Factory can take up to 25 minutes to create and provision a new account. During this time, you will be unable to use AWS Control Tower to perform actions such as creating an organizational unit (OU) or enabling a guardrail on an OU. As a recommendation, running this solution during a time period when you do not anticipate using AWS Control Tower’s features is best practice.

Collect needed information

Note: You must have already configured AWS Control Tower, AWS Organizations, and AWS SSO to use this solution.

Before deploying the solution, you need to first collect some information for AWS CloudFormation.

The required information you’ll need to gather in these steps is:

  • AWS SSO instance ARN
  • AWS SSO Identity Store ID
  • Admin email address
  • Amazon S3 bucket
  • AWS SSO user group ARN

Prerequisite information: AWS SSO instance ARN

From the web console

You can find this information under Settings in the AWS SSO web console as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: AWS SSO instance ARN

Figure 2: AWS SSO instance ARN

From the CLI

You can also get this information by running the following CLI command using AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI):

aws sso-admin list-instances

The output is similar to the following:

    "Instances": [
        "InstanceArn": "arn:aws:sso:::instance/ssoins-abc1234567",
        "IdentityStoreId": "d-123456abcd"

Make a note of the InstanceArn value from the output, as this will be used in the AWS SSO instance ARN.

Prerequisite information: AWS SSO Identity Store ID

This is available from either the web console or the CLI.

From the web console

You can find this information in the same screen as the AWS SSO Instance ARN, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: AWS SSO identity store ID

Figure 3: AWS SSO identity store ID

From the CLI

To find this from the AWS CLI command aws sso-admin list-instances, use the IdentityStoreId from the second key-value pair returned.

Prerequisite information: Admin email address

The admin email address notified when a new AWS account is created.

This email address is used to receive notifications when a new AWS account is created.

Prerequisite information: S3 bucket

The name of the Amazon S3 bucket where the AWS account list CSV files will be uploaded to automate AWS account creation.

This globally unique bucket name will be used to create a new Amazon S3 Bucket, and the automation script will receive events from new objects uploaded to this bucket.

Prerequisite information: AWS SSO user group ARN

Go to AWS SSO > Groups and select the user group whose permission set you would like to assign to the new AWS account. Copy the Group ID from the selected user group. This can be a local AWS SSO user group, or a third-party identity provider-synced user group.

Note: For the AWS SSO user group, there is no AWS CLI equivalent; you need to use the AWS web console to collect this information.

Figure 4: AWS SSO user group ARN

Figure 4: AWS SSO user group ARN

Prerequisite information: AWS SSO permission set

The ARN of the AWS SSO permission set to be assigned to the user group.

From the web console

To view existing permission sets using the AWS SSO web console, go to AWS accounts > Permission sets. From there, you can see a list of permission sets and their respective ARNs.

Figure 5: AWS SSO permission sets list

Figure 5: AWS SSO permission sets list

You can also select the permission set name and from the detailed permission set window, copy the ARN of the chosen permission set. Alternatively, create your own unique permission set to be assigned to the intended user group.

Figure 6: AWS SSO permission set ARN

Figure 6: AWS SSO permission set ARN

From the CLI

To get permission set information from the CLI, run the following AWS CLI command:

aws sso-admin list-permission-sets --instance-arn <SSO Instance ARN>

This command will return an output similar to this:

    "PermissionSets": [

If you can’t determine the details for your permission set from the output of the CLI shown above, you can get the details of each permission set by running the following AWS CLI command:

aws sso-admin describe-permission-set --instance-arn <SSO Instance ARN> --permission-set-arn <PermissionSet ARN>

The output will be similar to this:

    "PermissionSet": {
    "Name": "AWSPowerUserAccess",
    "PermissionSetArn": "arn:aws:sso:::permissionSet/ssoins-abc1234567/ps-abc123def4567890",
    "Description": "Provides full access to AWS services and resources, but does not allow management of Users and groups",
    "CreatedDate": "2020-08-28T11:20:34.242000-04:00",
    "SessionDuration": "PT1H"

The output above lists the name and description of each permission set, which can help you identify which permission set ARN you will use.

Solution initiation

The solution steps are in two parts: the initiation, and the batch account creation and SSO assignment processes.

To initiate the solution

  1. Log in to the management account as the AWS Control Tower administrator, and deploy the provided AWS CloudFormation stack with the required parameters filled out.

    Note: To fill out the required parameters of the solution, refer to steps 1 to 6 of the To launch the AWS CloudFormation stack procedure below.

  2. When the stack is successfully deployed, it performs the following actions to set up the batch process. It creates:
    • The S3 bucket where you will upload the AWS account list CSV file.
    • A DynamoDB table. This table tracks the AWS account creation status.
    • A Lambda function, NewAccountHandler.
    • A Lambda function, CreateManagedAccount. This function is triggered by the entries in the Amazon DynamoDB table and initiates the batch account creation process.
    • An Amazon CloudWatch Events rule to detect the AWS Control Tower CreateManagedAccount lifecycle event.
    • Another Lambda function, CreateAccountAssignment. This function is triggered by AWS Control Tower Lifecycle Events via Amazon CloudWatch Events to assign the AWS SSO Permission Set to the specified User Group and AWS account

To create the AWS Account list CSV file

After you deploy the solution stack, you need to create a CSV file based on this sample.csv and upload it to the Amazon S3 bucket created in this solution. This CSV file will be used to automate the new account creation process.

CSV file format

The CSV file must follow the following format:

Test-account-1,[email protected],[email protected],Fname-1,Lname-1,Test-OU-1,,,
Test-account-2,[email protected],[email protected],Fname-2,Lname-2,Test-OU-2,,,
Test-account-3,[email protected],[email protected],Fname-3,Lname-3,Test-OU-1,,,

Where the first line is the column names, and each subsequent line contains the new AWS accounts that you want to create and automatically assign that SSO user group to the permission set.

CSV fields

AccountName: String between 1 and 50 characters [a-zA-Z0-9_-]
SSOUserEmail: String with more than seven characters and be a valid email address for the primary AWS Administrator of the new AWS account
AccountEmail: String with more than seven characters and be a valid email address not used by other AWS accounts
SSOUserFirstName: String with the first name of the primary AWS Administrator of the new AWS account
SSOUserLastName: String with the last name of the primary AWS Administrator of the new AWS account
OrgUnit: String and must be an existing AWS Organizations OrgUnit
Status: String, for future use
AccountId: String, for future use
ErrorMsg: String, for future use

Figure 7 shows the details that are included in our example for the two new AWS accounts that will be created.

Figure 7: Sample AWS account list CSV

Figure 7: Sample AWS account list CSV

  1. The NewAccountHandler function is triggered from an object upload into the Amazon S3 bucket, validates the input file entries, and uploads the validated input file entries to the Amazon DynamoDB table.
  2. The CreateManagedAccount function queries the DynamoDB table to get the details of the next account to be created. If there is another account to be created, then the batch account creation process moves on to Step 4, otherwise it completes.
  3. The CreateManagedAccount function launches the AWS Control Tower Account Factory product in AWS Service Catalog to create and provision a new account.
  4. After Account Factory has completed the account creation workflow, it generates the CreateManagedAccount lifecycle event, and the event log states if the workflow SUCCEEDED or FAILED.
  5. The CloudWatch Events rule detects the CreateManagedAccount AWS Control Tower Lifecycle Event, and triggers the CreateManagedAccount and CreateAccountAssignment functions, and sends email notification to the administrator via AWS SNS.
  6. The CreateManagedAccount function updates the Amazon DynamoDB table with the results of the AWS account creation workflow. If the account was successfully created, it updates the input file entry in the Amazon DynamoDB table with the account ID; otherwise, it updates the entry in the table with the appropriate failure or error reason.
  7. The CreateAccountAssignment function assigns the AWS SSO Permission Set with the appropriate AWS IAM policies to the User Group specified in the Parameters when launching the AWS CloudFormation stack.
  8. When the Amazon DynamoDB table is updated, the Amazon DynamoDB stream triggers the CreateManagedAccount function for subsequent AWS accounts or when new AWS account list CSV files are updated, then steps 1-9 are repeated.

Upload the CSV file

Once the AWS account list CSV file has been created, upload it into the Amazon S3 bucket created by the stack.

Deploying the solution

To launch the AWS CloudFormation stack

Now that all the requirements and the specifications to run the solution are ready, you can launch the AWS CloudFormation stack:

  1. Open the AWS CloudFormation launch wizard in the console.
  2. In the Create stack page, choose Next.

    Figure 8: Create stack in CloudFormation

    Figure 8: Create stack in CloudFormation

  3. On the Specify stack details page, update the default parameters to use the information you captured in the prerequisites as shown in Figure 9, and choose Next.

    Figure 9: Input parameters into AWS CloudFormation

    Figure 9: Input parameters into AWS CloudFormation

  4. On the Configure stack option page, choose Next.
  5. On the Review page, check the box “I acknowledge that AWS CloudFormation might create IAM resources.” and choose Create Stack.
  6. Once the AWS CloudFormation stack has completed, go to the Amazon S3 web console and select the Amazon S3 bucket that you defined in the AWS CloudFormation stack.
  7. Upload the AWS account list CSV file with the information to create new AWS accounts. See To create the AWS Account list CSV file above for details on creating the CSV file.

Workflow and solution details

When a new file is uploaded to the Amazon S3 bucket, the following actions occur:

  1. When you upload the AWS account list CSV file to the Amazon S3 bucket, the Amazon S3 service triggers an event for newly uploaded objects that invokes the Lambda function NewAccountHandler.
  2. This Lambda function executes the following steps:
    • Checks whether the Lambda function was invoked by an Amazon S3 event, or the CloudFormation CREATE event.
    • If the event is a new object uploaded from Amazon S3, read the object.
    • Validate the content of the CSV file for the required columns and values.
    • If the data has a valid format, insert a new item with the data into the Amazon DynamoDB table, as shown in Figure 10 below.

      Figure 10: DynamoDB table items with AWS accounts details

      Figure 10: DynamoDB table items with AWS accounts details

    • Amazon DynamoDB is configured to initiate the Lambda function CreateManagedAccount when insert, update, or delete items are initiated.
    • The Lambda function CreateManagedAccount checks for update event type. When an item is updated in the table, this item is checked by the Lambda function, and if the AWS account is not created, the Lambda function invokes the AWS Control Tower Account Factory from the AWS Service Catalog to create a new AWS account with the details stored in the Amazon DynamoDB item.
    • AWS Control Tower Account Factory starts the AWS account creation process. When the account creation process completes, the status of Account Factory will show as Available in Provisioned products, as shown in Figure 11.

      Figure 11: AWS Service Catalog provisioned products for AWS account creation

      Figure 11: AWS Service Catalog provisioned products for AWS account creation

    • Based on the Control Tower lifecycle events, the CreateAccountAssignment Lambda function will be invoked when the CreateManagedAccount event is sent to CloudWatch Events. An AWS SNS topic is also triggered to send an email notification to the administrator email address as shown in Figure 12 below.

      Figure 12: AWS email notification when account creation completes

      Figure 12: AWS email notification when account creation completes

    • When invoked, the Lambda function CreateAccountAssignment assigns the AWS SSO user group to the new AWS account with the permission set defined in the AWS CloudFormation stack.

      Figure 13: New AWS account showing user groups with permission sets assigned

      Figure 13: New AWS account showing user groups with permission sets assigned

Figure 13 above shows the new AWS account with the user groups and the assigned permission sets. This completes the automation process. The AWS SSO users that are part of the user group will automatically be allowed to access the new AWS account with the defined permission set.

Handling common sources of error

This solution connects multiple components to facilitate the new AWS account creation and AWS SSO permission set assignment. The correctness of the parameters in the AWS CloudFormation stack is important to make sure that when AWS Control Tower creates a new AWS account, it is accessible.

To verify that this solution works, make sure that the email address is a valid email address, you have access to that email, and it is not being used for any existing AWS account. After a new account is created, it is not possible to change its root account email address, so if you input an invalid or inaccessible email, you will need to create a new AWS account and remove the invalid account.

You can view common errors by going to AWS Service Catalog web console. Under Provisioned products, you can see all of your AWS Control Tower Account Factory-launched AWS accounts.

Figure 14: AWS Service Catalog provisioned product with error

Figure 14: AWS Service Catalog provisioned product with error

Selecting Error under the Status column shows you the source of the error. Figure 15 below is an example of the source of the error:

Figure 15: AWS account creation error explanation

Figure 15: AWS account creation error explanation


In this post, we’ve shown you how to automate batch creation of AWS accounts in AWS Control Tower and batch assignment of user access to AWS accounts in AWS SSO. When the batch AWS accounts creation and AWS SSO user access assignment processes are complete, the administrator will be notified by emails from AWS SNS. We’ve also explained how to handle some common sources of errors and how to avoid them.

As you automate the batch AWS account creation and user access assignment, you can reduce the time you spend on the undifferentiated heavy lifting work, and onboard your users in your organization much more quickly, so they can start using and experimenting on AWS right away.

To learn more about the best practices of setting up an AWS multi-account environment, check out this documentation for more information.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

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Rafael Koike

Rafael is a Principal Solutions Architect supporting Enterprise customers in SouthEast and part of the Storage TFC. Rafael has a passion to build and his expertise in security, storage, networking and application development have been instrumental to help customers move to the cloud secure and fast. When he is not building he like to do Crossfit and target shooting.

Eugene Toh

Eugene Toh is a Solutions Architect supporting Enterprise customers in the Georgia and Alabama areas. He is passionate in helping customers to transform their businesses and take them to the next level. His area of expertise is in cloud migrations and disaster recovery and he enjoys giving public talks on the latest cloud technologies. Outside of work, he loves trying great food and traveling all over the world.

New for AWS Control Tower – Region Deny and Guardrails to Help You Meet Data Residency Requirements

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-for-aws-control-tower-region-deny-and-guardrails-to-help-you-meet-data-residency-requirements/

Many customers, such as those in highly regulated industries and the public sector, want to have control over where their data is stored and processed. AWS already offers many tools and features to comply with local laws and regulations, but we want to provide a simplified way to translate data residency requirements into controls that can be applied to single- and multi-account environments.

Starting today, you can use AWS Control Tower to deploy data residency preventive and detective controls, referred to as guardrails. These guardrails will prevent provisioning resources in unwanted AWS Regions by restricting access to AWS APIs through service control policies (SCPs) built and managed by AWS Control Tower. In this way, content cannot be created or transferred outside of your selected Regions at the infrastructure level. In this context, content can be software (including machine images), data, text, audio, video, or images hosted on AWS for processing or storage. For example, AWS customers in Germany can deny access to AWS services in Regions outside of Frankfurt with the exception of global services such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and AWS Organizations.

AWS Control Tower also offers guardrails to further control data residency in underlying AWS service options, for example, blocking Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) cross-region replication or blocking the creation of internet gateways.

The AWS account used for managing AWS Control Tower is not restricted by the new Region deny settings. That account can be used for remediation if you have data in an unwanted Region before enabling Region deny.

Detective guardrails are implemented via AWS Config rules and can further detect unexpected configuration changes that should not be allowed.

You still retain a shared responsibility model for data residency at the application level, but these controls can help you restrict what infrastructure and application teams can do on AWS.

Using Data Residency Guardrails in AWS Control Tower
To use the new data residency guardrails, you need to have created a landing zone using AWS Control Tower. See Plan your AWS Control Tower landing zone for more information.

To see all the new controls that are available, I select Guardrails on the left pane of the AWS Control Tower console and then find those in the Data Residency category. I sort results by Behavior. Guardrails that have a Prevention behavior are implemented as SCPs. Those that have a Detection behavior are implemented as AWS Config rules.

Console screenshot.

The most interesting guardrail is probably the one denying access to AWS based on the requested AWS Region. I choose it from the list and find that it is different from the other guardrails because it affects all Organizational Units (OUs) and cannot be activated here but must be activated in the landing zone settings.

Console screenshot.

Below the Overview, in the Guardrail components, there is a link to the full SCP for this guardrail, and I can see the list of the AWS APIs that, when this setting is enabled, are still going to be allowed towards non-governed Regions. Depending on your requirements, some of those services, such as Amazon CloudFront or AWS Global Accelerator, can be further limited by a custom SCP.

In the Landing zone settings, the Region deny guardrail is currently not enabled. I choose Modify settings and then enable the Region deny settings.

Console screenshot.

Below the Region deny settings, there is the list of AWS Regions governed by the landing zone. Those will be the regions allowed when I enable Region deny.

Console screenshot.

In my case, I have four governed Regions, two in the US and two in Europe:

  • US East (N. Virginia), which is also the home Region for the landing zone
  • US West (Oregon)
  • Europe (Ireland)
  • Europe (Frankfurt)

I choose Update landing zone at the bottom. The update of the landing zone takes a few minutes to complete. Now, the vast majority of the AWS APIs are blocked if they are not directed to one of those governed Regions. Let’s do a few tests.

Testing Region Deny in a Sandbox Account
Using AWS Single Sign-On, I copy the AWS credentials to use the sandbox account with AWSAdministratorAccess permissions. In a terminal, I paste the commands setting the environment variables to use those credentials.

Console screenshot.

Now, I try to start a new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance in US East (Ohio), one of the non-governed Regions. In a landing zone, the default VPC is replaced by a VPC managed by AWS Control Tower. To start the instance, I need to specify a VPC subnet. Let’s find a subnet ID that I can use.

aws ec2 describe-subnets --query 'Subnets[0].SubnetId' --region us-east-2

An error occurred (UnauthorizedOperation) when calling the DescribeSubnets operation:
You are not authorized to perform this operation.

As expected, I am not authorized to perform this operation in US East (Ohio). Let’s try to start an EC2 instance without passing the subnet ID.

aws ec2 run-instances --image-id ami-0dd0ccab7e2801812 --region us-east-2 \
    --instance-type t3.small                                     

An error occurred (UnauthorizedOperation) when calling the RunInstances operation:
You are not authorized to perform this operation.
Encoded authorization failure message: <ENCODED MESSAGE>

Again, I am not authorized. More information is included in the encoded authorization failure message that I can decode as described in this article:

aws sts decode-authorization-message --encoded-message <ENCODED MESSAGE>

The decoded message (that I have omitted for brevity) tells me that there was an explicit deny to my request and includes the full SCP that caused the deny. This information is really useful for debugging these kind of errors.

Now, let’s try in US East (N. Virginia), one of the four governed regions.

aws ec2 describe-subnets --query 'Subnets[0].SubnetId' --region us-east-1

This time, the command returns the subnet ID of the first subnet returned by the request. Let’s start an instance in US East (N. Virginia) using this subnet.

aws ec2 run-instances --image-id  ami-04ad2567c9e3d7893 --region us-east-1 \
    --instance-type t3.small --subnet-id subnet-0f3580c0c5e56c210

As expected, it works, and I can see the EC2 instance running in the console.

Console screenshot.

Similarly, APIs for other AWS services are limited by the Region deny settings. For example, I can’t create an S3 bucket in a non-governed Region.

Console screenshot.

When I try to create the bucket, I get an access denied error.

Console screenshot.

As expected, the creation of an S3 bucket works in a governed Region.

Even if someone gives this account access to a bucket in a non-governed Region, I would not be able to copy any data into that bucket.

Other preventive guardrails can enforce data residency, for example:

  • Disallow cross-region networking for Amazon EC2, Amazon CloudFront, and AWS Global Accelerator
  • Disallow internet access for an Amazon VPC instance managed by a customer
  • Disallow Amazon Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections

Now, let’s see how detective guardrails work.

Testing Detective Guardrails in a Sandbox Account
I enable the following guardrails for all accounts in the sandbox OU:

  • Detect whether Amazon EBS snapshots are restorable by all AWS accounts
  • Detect whether public routes exist in the route table for an internet gateway

Now, I want to see what happens if I go against these guardrails. In the EC2 console, I create an EBS snapshot for the volume of the EC2 instance I started before. Then, I modify permissions to share it with all AWS accounts.

Console screenshot.

Then, in the VPC console, I create an internet gateway, attach it to the AWS Control Tower managed VPC, and update the route table of one of the private subnets to use the internet gateway.

Console screenshot.

After a few minutes, the noncompliant resources in the sandbox account are found by the detective guardrails.

Console screenshot.

I look at the information provided by the guardrails and update my configuration to fix the issues. In a multi-account setup I’d contact the account owner and ask for remediation.

Availability and Pricing
You can use data-residency guardrails to control resources in any AWS Region. To create a landing zone, you should start from one of the Regions where AWS Control Tower is offered. For more information, see the AWS Regional Services List. There is no additional cost for this feature. You pay the costs of other services used, such as AWS Config.

This feature provides you with a framework of controls and guidance for setting up a multi-account environment that addresses data residency requirements. Depending on your use case, you may use any subset of the new data residency guardrails.

Set up guardrails based on your data residency requirements with AWS Control Tower.


New – AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-aws-control-tower-account-factory-for-terraform/

AWS Control Tower makes it easier to set up and manage a secure, multi-account AWS environment. AWS Control Tower uses AWS Organizations to create what is called a landing zone, bringing ongoing account management and governance based on our experience working with thousands of customers.

If you use AWS CloudFormation to manage your infrastructure as code, you can customize your AWS Control Tower landing zone using Customizations for AWS Control Tower, a solution that helps you deploy custom templates and policies to individual accounts and organizational units (OUs) within your organization.

But what if you use Terraform to manage your AWS infrastructure?

Today, I am happy to share the availability of AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT), a new Terraform module maintained by the AWS Control Tower team that allows you to provision and customize AWS accounts through Terraform using a deployment pipeline. The source code for the development pipeline can be stored in AWS CodeCommit, GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, or BitBucket. With AFT, you can automate the creation of fully functional accounts that have access to all the resources they need to be productive. The module works with Terraform open source, Terraform Enterprise, and Terraform Cloud.

Architectural diagram.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Using AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform
First, I create a main.tf file that uses the AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT) module:

module "aft" {
  source = "[email protected]:aws-ia/terraform-aws-control_tower_account_factory.git"

  # Required Parameters
  ct_management_account_id    = "123412341234"
  log_archive_account_id      = "234523452345"
  audit_account_id            = "345634563456"
  aft_management_account_id   = "456745674567"
  ct_home_region              = "us-east-1"
  tf_backend_secondary_region = "us-west-2"

  # Optional Parameters
  terraform_distribution = "oss"
  vcs_provider           = "codecommit"

  # Optional Feature Flags
  aft_feature_delete_default_vpcs_enabled = false
  aft_feature_cloudtrail_data_events      = false
  aft_feature_enterprise_support          = false

The first six parameters are required. As a prerequisite, I need to pass the ID of four AWS accounts in my AWS organization:

  • ct_management_account_id – AWS Control Tower management account
  • log_archive_account_id – Log Archive account
  • audit_account_id – Audit account
  • aft_management_account_id – AFT management account

Then, I have to pass two AWS Regions:

  • ct_home_region – The Region from which this module will be executed. This must be the same Region where AWS Control Tower is deployed.
  • tf_backend_secondary_region – The backend primary Region is the same as the AFT Region. This parameter defines the secondary Region to replicate to. AFT creates a backend for state tracking for its own state. It is also used for Terraform when using the open-source version.

The other parameters are optional and are set to their default value in the previous main.tf file:

  • terraform_distribution – To select between Terraform open source (default), Enterprise, or Cloud
  • vcs_provider – To choose the version control system to use between AWS CodeCommit (default), GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, or BitBucket.

These feature flags are disabled by default and can be omitted unless you want to enable them:

  • aft_feature_delete_default_vpcs_enabled – To automatically delete the default VPC for new accounts.
  • aft_feature_cloudtrail_data_events – To enable AWS CloudTrail data events for new accounts. Be aware that this option, usually required for compliance in highly regulated environments, can have an impact on your costs.
  • aft_feature_enterprise_support – To automatically enroll new accounts with Enterprise Support (if you have an Enterprise Support Plan).

First, I initialize the project and download the plugins:

terraform init

Then, I use AWS Single Sign-On to log in with the AWS Control Tower management account and start the deployment:

terraform apply

I confirm with a yes and, after some time, the deployment is complete.

Now, I use AWS SSO again to log in with the AFT management account. In the AWS CodeCommit console, I find four repositories that I can use to customize the accounts created with AFT.

Console screenshot.

These repositories are used by pipelines managed by AWS CodePipeline to automate the account creation:

  • xaft-account-request – This is where I place requests for accounts provisioned and managed by AFT.
  • aft-global-customizations – I can use this repository to customize all provisioned accounts with customer-defined resources. The resources can be created through Terraform or through Python.
  • aft-account-customizations – Here, I can customize provisioned accounts depending on the value of the account_customizations_name parameter in the aft-account-request repository. In this way, I can create different sets of customizations depending on the role the account will be used for.
  • aft-account-provisioning-customizations – This repository uses AWS Step Functions to customize the provisioning process for new accounts and simplify the integration with additional environments. State machines can use AWS Lambda functions, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) or AWS Fargate tasks, custom activities hosted either on AWS or on-premises, or Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) to communicate with external applications.

Currently, these four repositories are all empty. To start, I use the code in the sources/aft-customizations-repos folder in the GitHub repo of the AFT Terraform module.

Using the example in the aft-account-request repository, I prepare a template to create a couple of AWS accounts. One of the two accounts is for a software developer.

To help software developers be productive quickly, I create a specific account customization. In the template, I set the parameter account_customizations_name equal to developer-customization.

Then, in the aft-account-customizations repository, I create a developer-customization folder where I put a Terraform template to automatically create an AWS Cloud9 EC2-based development environment for new accounts of that type. Optionally, I can extend that with my Python code, for example, to invoke internal or external APIs. Using this approach, all new accounts for software developers will have their development environment ready as they go through the delivery pipeline.

I push the changes to the main branch (first for the aft-account-customizations repository, then for the aft-account-request). This triggers the execution of the pipeline. After a few minutes, the two new accounts are ready to be used.

You can customize accounts created by AFT based on your unique requirements. For example, you can provide each account with its own specific security setup (such as IAM roles or security groups) and storage (for example, pre-configured Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets).

Availability and Pricing
AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform (AFT) works in any Region where AWS Control Tower is available. There are no additional costs when using AFT. You pay for the services used by the solution. For example, when you set up AWS Control Tower, you will begin to incur costs for AWS services configured to set up your landing zone and mandatory guardrails.

When building this solution, we worked together with HashiCorp. Armon Dadgar, HashiCorp Co-Founder and CTO, told us: “Managing cloud environments with hundreds or thousands of users can be a complex and time-consuming process. Using a software delivery pipeline integrating Terraform and AWS Control Tower makes it easier to achieve consistent governance and compliance requirements across all accounts.”

The pipeline provides an account creation process that monitors when account provisioning is complete and then triggers additional Terraform modules to enhance the account with further customizations. You can configure the pipeline to use your own custom Terraform modules or pick from pre-published Terraform modules for common products and configurations.

Simplify and standardize AWS account creation using AWS Control Tower Account Factory for Terraform.


Field Notes: Clear Unused AWS SSO Mappings Automatically During AWS Control Tower Upgrades

Post Syndicated from Gaurav Gupta original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-clear-unused-aws-sso-mappings-automatically-during-aws-control-tower-upgrades/

Increasingly organizations are using AWS Control Tower to manage their multiple accounts as well as an external third-party identity source for their federation needs. Cloud architects who use these external identity sources, needed an automated way to clear the unused maps created by AWS Control Tower landing zone as part of the launch, or during update and repair operations. Though the AWS SSO mappings are inaccessible once the external identity source is configured, customers prefer to clear any unused mappings in the directory.

You can remove the permissions sets and mappings that AWS Control Tower deployment creates in AWS SSO. However, when the landing zone is updated or repaired, the default permission sets and mappings are recreated in AWS SSO. In this blog post, we show you how to use AWS Control Tower Lifecycle events to automatically remove these permission sets and mappings when AWS Control Tower is upgraded or repaired. An AWS Lambda function runs on every upgrade and automatically removes the permission sets and mappings.

Overview of solution

Using this CloudFormation template, you can deploy the solution that automatically removes the AWS SSO permission sets and mappings when you upgrade your AWS Control Tower environment. We use AWS CloudFormation, AWS Lambda, AWS SSO and Amazon CloudWatch services to implement this solution.

Figure 1 - Architecture showing how AWS services are used to automatically remove the AWS SSO permission sets and mappings when you upgrade your AWS Control Tower environment

Figure 1 – Architecture showing how AWS services are used to automatically remove the AWS SSO permission sets and mappings when you upgrade your AWS Control Tower environment

To clear the AWS SSO entities and leave the service enabled with no active mappings, we recommend the following steps. This is mainly for those who do not want to use the default AWS SSO deployed by AWS Control Tower.

  • Log in to the AWS Control Tower Management Account and make sure you are in the AWS Control Tower Home Region.
  • Launch AWS CloudFormation stack, which creates:
    • An AWS Lambda function that:
      • Checks/Delete(s) the permission sets mappings created by AWS Control Tower, and
      • Deletes the permission sets created by AWS Control Tower.
  • An AWS IAM role that is assigned to the preceding AWS Lambda Function with minimum required permissions.
  • An Amazon CloudWatch Event Rule that is invoked upon UpdateLandingZone API and triggers the ClearMappingsLambda Lambda function


For this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:

  • Administrator access to AWS Control Tower management account


  1. Log in to the AWS account where AWS Control Tower is deployed.
  2. Make sure you are in the home Region of AWS Control Tower.
  3. Deploy the provided CloudFormation template.
    • Download the CloudFormation template.
    • Select AWS CloudFormation service in the AWS Console
    • Select Create Stack and select With new resources (standard)
    • Upload the template file downloaded in Step 1
    • Enter the stack name and choose Next
    • Use the default values in the next page and choose Next
    • Choose Create Stack

By default, in your AWS Control Tower Landing Zone you will see the permission sets and mappings in your AWS SSO service page as shown in the following screenshots:

Figure 2 – Permission sets created by AWS Control Tower

Figure 3 – Account to Permission set mapping created by AWS Control Tower

Now, you can update the AWS Control Tower Landing Zone which will invoke the Lambda function deployed using the CloudFormation template.

Steps to update/repair Control Tower:

  1. Log in to the AWS account where AWS Control Tower is deployed.
  2. Select Landing zone settings from the left-hand pane of the Control Tower dashboard
  3. Select the latest version as seen in the screenshot below.
  4. Select Repair or Update, whichever option is available.
  5. Select Update Landing Zone.

Figure 4 – Updating AWS Control Tower Landing zone

Once the update is complete, you can go to AWS SSO service page and check that the permission sets and the mappings have been removed as shown in the following screenshots:

Figure 5 -Permission sets cleared automatically after Landing zone update

Figure 6 -Mappings cleared after Landing zone update

Cleaning up

If you are only testing this solution, make sure to delete the CloudFormation template, which will remove the relevant resources to stop incurring charges.


In this post, we provided a solution to clear AWS SSO Permission Sets and Mappings when you upgrade your AWS Control Tower Landing Zone. Remember, AWS SSO permission sets are added every time you upgrade AWS Control Tower Landing Zone. With this this solution you don’t have to manage any settings since the AWS Lambda function runs on every upgrade and removes the permission sets and mappings.

Give it a try and let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.

Field Notes: Extending the Baseline in AWS Control Tower to Accelerate the Transition from AWS Landing Zone

Post Syndicated from MinWoo Lee original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-extending-the-baseline-in-aws-control-tower-to-accelerate-the-transition-from-aws-landing-zone/

Customers who adopt and operate the AWS Landing Zone solution as a scalable multi-account environment are starting to migrate to the AWS Control Tower service. They are doing so to enjoy the added benefits of managed services such as stability, feature enhancement, and operational efficiency. Customers who fully use the baseline for governance control provided by AWS Landing Zone for their member accounts may want to apply the baseline of the same feature without omission even when transitioning to AWS Control Tower. To baseline an account is to set up common blueprints and guardrails required for an organization to enable governance at the start of the account.

As shown in Table 1, AWS Control Tower provides most of the features that are mapped with the baseline of the AWS Landing Zone solution through the baseline stacks, guardrails, and account factory, but some features are unique to AWS Landing Zone.

Table 1. AWS Landing Zone and
AWS Control Tower Baseline mapping
AWS Landing Zone baseline stack AWS Control Tower baseline stack
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableCloudTrail AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-CLOUDTRAIL
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-SecurityRoles AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-ROLES
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfig AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-CLOUDWATCH
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-ConfigRole AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-SERVICE-ROLES
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfigRule Guardrails – Enable guardrail on OU
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfigRulesGlobal Guardrails – Enable guardrail on OU
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-PrimaryVPC Account Factory – Network Configuration

The baselines uniquely provided by AWS Landing Zone are as follows:

  • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-IamPasswordPolicy
    • AWS Lambda to configure AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) custom password policy (such as minimum password length, password expires period, password complexity, and password history in member accounts).
  • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableNotifications
    • Amazon CloudWatch alarms deliver CloudTrail application programming interface (API) activity such as Security Group changes, Network ACL changes, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance type changes to the security administrator.

AWS provides the AWS Control Tower lifecycle events and Customizations for AWS Control Tower as a way to add features that are not included by default in AWS Control Tower. Customizations for AWS Control Tower is an AWS solution that allows you to easily add customizations using AWS CloudFormation templates and service control polices.

This blog post explains how to modify and deploy the code to apply AWS Landing Zone specific baselines such as IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications into AWS Control Tower using Customizations for the AWS Control Tower.

Overview of solution

Adhering to the package folder structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, modify the AWS Landing Zone IamPasswordPolicy, EnableNotifications template, parameter file, and manifest file to match the AWS Control Tower deployment environment.

When the modified package is uploaded to the source repository, contents of the package are validated and built by launching AWS CodePipeline. The AWS Landing Zone specific baseline is deployed in member accounts through AWS CloudFormation StackSets in the AWS Control Tower management account.

When a new or existing account is enrolled in AWS Control Tower, the same AWS Landing Zone specific baseline is automatically applied to that account by the lifecycle event (CreateManagedAccount status is SUCCEEDED).

Figure 1 shows how the default baseline of AWS Control Tower and the specific baseline of AWS Landing Zone are applied to member accounts.

Figure 1. Default and custom baseline deployment in AWS Control Tower

Figure 1. Default and custom baseline deployment in AWS Control Tower


This solution follows these steps:

  1. Download and extract the latest version of the AWS Landing Zone Configuration source package. The package contains several functional components including baseline of IamPasswordPolicy, EnableNotifications for applying to accounts in AWS Landing Zone environment. If you are transitioning from AWS Landing Zone to AWS Control Tower, you may use the AWS Landing Zone configuration source package that exists in your management account.
  2. Download and extract the configuration source package of your Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  3. Create templates and parameters folder structure for customizing configuration package source of Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  4.  Copy the template and parameter files of the IamPasswordPolicy baseline from the AWS Landing Zone configuration source to the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration source.
    1. Open the parameter file (JSON), and modify the parameter value to match your organization’s password policy.
  1. Copy the template and parameter files of the EnableNotifications baseline from the AWS Landing Zone configuration source to the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration source.
    1. Open the parameter file (JSON), and change the LogGroupName parameter value to the CloudWatch log group name of your AWS Control Tower environment. Select whether or not to use each alarm in the parameter value.
    2. Open the template file (YAML), and modify the AlarmActions properties of all CloudWatch alarms to refer to the security topic of the Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) that exists in your AWS Control Tower environment.
  1. Open the manifest (YAML) file in the configuration source of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, and update with the modified IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications parameter, template file path, and organizational unit to be applied.
    1. If you have customizations which have already been deployed and operated through Customizations for AWS Control Tower, do not remove existing contents, and consecutively add customized resource in resources section.
  1. Compress the completed source package, and upload it to the source repository of Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  2. Check the results for applying this solution in AWS Control Tower.
    1. In the management account, wait for all AWS CodePipeline steps in Customizations for AWS Control Tower to be completed.
    2. In the management account, check that the CloudFormation IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications StackSet is deployed.
    3. In a member account, check that the custom password policy is configured in Account Settings of IAM.
    4. In a member account, check that alarms are created in All Alarms of CloudWatch.


For this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:

  • AWS Control Tower deployment.
  • An AWS Control Tower member account.
  • Customizations for AWS Control Tower solution deployment.
  • IAM user and roles, and permission to allow use of ‘CustomControlTowerKMSKey’ in AWS Key Management Service Key Policy to access Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as the configuration source.
    • This is not required in case of using CodeCommit as source repository, but it assumes that Amazon S3 is used for this solution.
  • If the IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline for the AWS Landing Zone service has been deployed in the AWS Control Tower environment, it is necessary to delete stack instances and StackSet associated with the following CloudFormation StackSets:
    • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-IamPasswordPolicy
    • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableNotifications
  • An IAM or AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) account with the following settings:
    • Permission with AdministratorAccess
    • Access type with Programmatic access and AWS Management Console access
  • AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) and Linux Zip package installation in work environment.
  • An IAM or AWS SSO user for member account (optional).

Prepare the work environment

Download the AWS Landing Zone configuration package and Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package, and create a folder structure.

  1. Open your terminal AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI).

Note: Confirm that AWS Config and credentials for the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) are properly set as access method (IAM or AWS SSO user) you are using in management account.

  1. Change to home directory and download the aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip file.
cd ~
wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/solutions-reference/aws-landing-zone/latest/aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip
  1.  Extract AWS Landing Zone configuration file to new directory (Named alz).
unzip aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip -d ~/alz
  1. Download _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file in Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration’s S3 bucket. Use your AWS Account Id and home Region in S3 bucket name.

Note: If you have already used the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package, or have the Auto Build parameter set to true, use custom-control-tower-configuration.zip instead of _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip.

aws s3 cp s3://custom-control-tower-configuration-<AWS Account Id >-<AWS Region>/_custom-control-tower-configuration.zip ~/

Figure 2. Downloading source package of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

  1. Extract Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration file to new directory (Named cfct).
unzip _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip -d ~/cfct
  1. Create templates and parameters directory under Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cd ~/cfct
mkdir templates parameters

Now you will see directories and files under Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.

Note: example-configuration is just an example, and will not be used in this blog post.

 Figure 3. Directory structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Figure 3. Directory structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Customize to include AWS Landing Zone specific baseline

Start customization work by integrating the AWS Landing Zone IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline related files into the structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package.

  1. Copy the IamPasswordPolicy baseline template and parameter file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cp ~/alz/templates/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.template ~/cfct/templates/
cp ~/alz/parameters/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json ~/cfct/parameters/
  1. Open the copied aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json, then adjust it to be compliant with your optional password policy requirement.
  2. Copy the EnableNotifications baseline template and parameter file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cp ~/alz/templates/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-notifications.template ~/cfct/templates/
cp ~/alz/parameters/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-notifications.json ~/cfct/parameters/
  1. Open the copied aws-landing-zone-notifications.template.

Remove the following four lines from the SNSNotificationTopic parameter:

    Type: AWS::SSM::Parameter::Value<String>
    Default: /org/member/local_sns_arn
    Description: "Local Admin SNS Topic for Landing Zone"

Modify AlarmActions under Properties for each of 11 CloudWatch alarms as follows:

      - !Sub 'arn:aws:sns:${AWS::Region}:${AWS::AccountId}:aws-controltower-SecurityNotifications'
  1. Open aws-landing-zone-notifications.json.

Remove the following five lines from the SNSNotificationTopic parameter key, and parameter value at the bottom of file. Make sure to remove the including comma preceding the JSON syntax.

    "ParameterKey": "SNSNotificationTopic",
    "ParameterValue": "/org/member/local_sns_arn"

     Modify the parameter value of LogGroupName parameter key as follows:

"ParameterKey": "LogGroupName",
"ParameterValue": "aws-controltower/CloudTrailLogs"

6. Open the manifest.yaml under root of the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory, then modify it to include IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline. If there are customizations that  have been previously used in the manifest file of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, add them at the end.

7. Properly adjust region, resource_file, parameter_file, and organizational_units for your AWS Control Tower environment.

Note: Choose the proper organizational units because Customizations for AWS Control Tower will try to deploy customization resources to all AWS accounts within operational units defined in organizational_units property. If you want to select specific accounts, consider using accounts property instead of organizational_units property.

Review the following sample manifest file:

#Default region for deploying Custom Control Tower: Code Pipeline, Step functions, Lambda, SSM parameters, and StackSets
region: ap-northeast-2
version: 2021-03-15

# Control Tower Custom Resources (Service Control Policies or CloudFormation)
  - name: IamPasswordPolicy
    resource_file: templates/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.template
    parameter_file: parameters/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json
    deploy_method: stack_set
        - Security
        - Infrastructure
        - app-services
        - app-reports

  - name: EnableNotifications
    resource_file: templates/aws-landing-zone-notifications.template
    parameter_file: parameters/aws-landing-zone-notifications.json
    deploy_method: stack_set
        - Security
        - Infrastructure
        - app-services
        - app-reports
  1. Compress all files within the root of the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory into the custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file.
cd ~/cfct/
zip -r custom-control-tower-configuration.zip ./
  1. Upload the custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration S3 bucket. Use your AWS Account Id and Home Region in the S3 bucket name.
aws s3 cp ~/cfct/custom-control-tower-configuration.zip s3://custom-control-tower-configuration-<AWS Account Id>-<AWS Region>/

Figure 4. Uploading source package of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Verify solution

Now, you can verify the results for applying this solution.

  1. Log in to your AWS Control Tower management account.
  2.  Navigate to AWS CodePipeline service, then select Custom-Control-Tower-CodePipeline.
  3. Wait for all pipeline stages to complete.
  4. Go to AWS CloudFormation, then choose StackSets.
  5.  Search with the keyword custom. This will result in two custom StackSets.

Figure 5. Custom StackSet of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

  1. Log in to your AWS Control Tower member account.

Note: You need an IAM or AWS SSO user, or simply switch the role to AWSControlTowerExecution in the member account.

  1. Go to IAM, then choose Account settings. You will see a configured custom password policy.
Figure 6. IAM custom password policy of member account

Figure 6. IAM custom password policy of member account

  1. Go to Amazon CloudWatch, then choose All alarms. You will see 11 configured alarms.

Figure 7. Amazon CloudWatch alarms of member account

Cleaning up

Resources deployed to member accounts by this solution can be removed through the CloudFormation Stack function in the management account.

Run Delete stack from StackSet, followed by Delete StackSet, for the following two StackSets.

  • CustomControlTower-IamPasswordPolicy
  • CustomControlTower-EnableNotifications


In this blog post, you learned how to extend the baseline in AWS Control Tower to include the baseline specific to AWS Landing Zone. The principal idea is to use Customizations for AWS Control Tower, and additionally add guardrails, such as AWS Config rule and service control policy, which are not included by default in AWS Control Tower. This helps the transition of AWS Landing Zone to the AWS Control Tower, and enhances the governance control capability of the enterprise.

Related reading: Seamless Transition from an AWS Landing Zone to AWS Control Tower

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.

AWS Control Tower Account vending through Amazon Lex ChatBot

Post Syndicated from Marco Fischer original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/aws-control-tower-account-vending-through-amazon-lex-chatbot/

In this blog post you will learn about a multi-environment solution that uses a cloud native CICD pipeline to build, test, and deploy a Serverless ChatOps bot that integrates with AWS Control Tower Account Factory for AWS account vending. This solution can be used and integrated with any of your favourite request portal or channel that allows to call a RESTFUL API endpoint, for you to offer AWS Account vending at scale for your enterprise.


Most of the AWS Control Tower customers use the AWS Control Tower Account Factory (a Service Catalog product), and the ServiceCatalog service to vend standardized AWS Services and Products into AWS Accounts. ChatOps is a collaboration model that interconnects a process with people, tools, and automation. It combines a Bot that can fulfill service requests (the work needed) and be augmented by Ops and Engineering staff in order to allow approval processes or corrections in the case of exception request. Major tasks in the public Cloud go toward building a proper foundation (the so called LandingZone). The main goals of this foundation are providing not only an AWS Account access (with the right permissions), but also the correct Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) approved products and services. This post demonstrates how to utilize the existing AWS Control Tower Account Factory, extending the Service Catalog portfolio in Control Tower with additional products, and executing Account vending and Product vending through an easy ChatBot interface. You will also learn how to utilize this Solution with Slack. But it can also be easily utilized with Chime/MS Teams or a normal Web-frontend, as the integration is channel-agnostig through an API Gateway integration layer. Then, you will combine all of this, integrating a ChatBot frontend where users can issue requests against the CCoE and Ops team to fulfill AWS services easily and transparently. As a result, you experience a more efficient process for vending AWS Accounts and Products and taking away the burden on your Cloud Operations team.


  • An AWS Account Factory Account account is an AWS account provisioned using account factory in AWS Control Tower.
  • AWS Service Catalog lets you to centrally manage commonly deployed IT services. For this blog, account factory utilizes AWS Service Catalog to provision new AWS accounts.
  • Control Tower provisioned product is an instance of the Control Tower Account Factory product that is provisioned by AWS Service Catalog. In this post, any new AWS account created through the ChatOps solution will be a provisioned product and visible in Service Catalog.
  • Amazon Lex: is a service for building conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text

Architecture Overview

The following architecture shows the overview of the solution which will be built with the code provided through Github.

Multi-Environment CICD Architecture

The multi-environment pipeline is building 3 environments (Dev, Staging, Production) with different quality gates to push changes on this solution from a “Development Environment” up to a “Production environment”. This will make sure that your AWS ChatBot and the account vending is scalable and fully functional before you release it to production and make it available to your end-users.

  • AWS Code Commit: There are two repositories used, one repository where Amazon Lex bot is created through a Java-Lambda function and installed in STEP 1. And one for the Amazon Lex bot APIs that are running and capturing the Account vending requests behind API Gateway and then communicating with the Amazon Lex Bot.
  • AWS Code Pipeline: It integrates CodeCommit and CodeBuild and CodeDeploy, to be manage your release pipelines moving from Dev to Production.
  • AWS Code Build: Each different activity executed inside the pipeline is a CodeBuild activity. Inside the source code repository there are different files with the prefix buildspec-. Each of these files contains the exact commands that the code build must execute on each of the stages: build/test.
  • AWS Code Deploy: Tthis is an AWS service that manages the deployment of the serverless application stack. In this solution it implements a canary deployment where in the first minute we switch 10% of the requests to the new version of it which will allow to test the scaling of the solution. (CodeDeployDefaultLambdaCanary10Percent5Minutes)

AWS ControlTower Account Vending integration and ChatOps bot architecture

AWS ControlTower Account Vending integration and ChatOps bot architecture

The actual Serverless Application architecture built with Amazon Lex and the Application code in Lambda accessible through Amazon API Gateway, which will allow you to integrate this solution with almost any front-end (Slack, MS Teams, Website).

  • Amazon Lex: With Amazon Lex, the same deep learning technologies that power Amazon Alexa are now available to any developer, enabling you to quickly and easily build sophisticated, natural language, conversational bots (“chatbots”). As Amazon lex is not available yet in all AWS regions that currently AWS Control Tower is supported, it may be that you want to deploy Amazon Lex in another region than you have AWS Control Tower deployed.
  • Amazon API Gateway / AWS Lambda: The API Gateway is used as a central entry point for the Lambda functions (AccountVendor) that are capturing the Account vending requests from a frontend (e.g. Slack or Website). As Lambda functions can not be exposed directly as a REST service, they need a trigger which in this case API Gateway does.
  • Amazon SNS: Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) is a fully managed messaging service. SNS is used to send notifications via e-mail channel to an approver mailbox.
  • Amazon DynamoDB: Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. It’s a fully managed, multi-region, multi-active, durable database. Amazon DynamoDB will store the Account vending requests from the Lambda code that get triggered by the Lex-bot interaction.

Solution Overview and Prerequisites

Solution Overview

Start with building these 2 main components of the Architecture through an automated script. This will be split into “STEP 1”, and “STEP 2” in this walkthrough. “STEP 3” and “STEP 4” will be testing the solution and then integrating the solution with a frontend, in this case we use Slack as an example and also provide you with the Slack App manifest file to build the solution quickly.

  • STEP 1) “Install Amazon Lex Bot”: The key part of the left side of the Architecture, the Amazon Lex Bot called (“ChatOps” bot) will be built in a first step, then
  • STEP 2) “Build of the multi-environment CI/CD pipeline”: Build and deploy a full load testing DevOps pipeline that will stresstest the Lex bot and its capabilities to answer to requests. This will build the supporting components that are needed to integrate with Amazon Lex and are described below (Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SNS).
  • STEP 3) “Testing the ChatOps Bot”: We will execute some test scripts through Postman, that will trigger Amazon API Gateway and trigger a sample Account request that will require a feedback from the ChatOps Lex Bot.
  • STEP 4) “Integration with Slack”: The final step is an end-to-end integration with an communication platform solution such as Slack.

The DevOps pipeline (using CodePipeline, CodeCommit, CodeBuild and CodeDeploy) is automatically triggered when the stack is deployed and the AWS CodeCommit repository is created inside the account. The pipeline builds the Amazon Lex ChatOps bot from the source code. The Step 2 integrates the surrounding components with the ChatOps Lex bot in 3 different environments: Dev/Staging/Prod. In addition to that, we use canary deployment to promote updates in the lambda code from the AWS CodeCommit repository. During the canary deployment we implemented the rollback procedure using a log metric filter that scans the word Exception inside the log file in CloudWatch. When the word is found, an alarm is triggered and deployment is automatically rolled back. Usually, the rollback will occur automatically during the load test phase. This would prevent faulty code from being promoted into the production environment.


For this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites ready. What you’ll need:

  • An AWS account
  • A ready AWS ControlTower deployment (needs 3 AWS Accounts/e-mail addresses)
  • AWS Cloud9 IDE or a development environment with access to download/run the scripts provided through Github
  • You need to log into the AWS Control Tower management account with AWSAdministratorAccess role if using AWS SSO or equivalent permissions if you are using other federations.


To get started, you can use Cloud9 IDE or log into your AWS SSO environment within AWS Control Tower.

  1. Prepare: Set up the sample solution

Log in to your AWS account and open Cloud9.

1.1. Clone the GitHub repository to your Cloud9 environment.

The complete solution can be found at the GitHub repository here. The actual deployment and build are scripted in shell, but the Serverless code is in Java and uses Amazon Serverless services to build this solution (Amazon API Gateway, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SNS).

git clone https://github.com/aws-samples/multi-environment-chatops-bot-for-controltower

  1. STEP 1: Install Amazon Lex Bot

Amazon Lex is currently not deployable natively with Amazon CloudFormation. Therefore the solution is using a custom Lambda resource in Amazon CloudFormation to create the Amazon Lex bot. We will create the Lex bot, along some sample utterances, three custom slots (Account Type, Account E-Mail and Organizational OU) and one main intent (“Control Tower Account Vending Intent”) to capture the request to trigger an AWS Account vending process.

2.1. Start the script, “deploy.sh” and provide the below inputs. Select a project name. You can override it if you wan’t to choose a custom name and select the bucket name accordingly (we recommend to use the default names)


Choose a project name [chatops-lex-bot-xyz]:

Choose a bucket name for source code upload [chatops-lex-bot-xyz]:

2.2. To confirm, double check the AWS region you have specificed.

Attention: Make sure you have configured your AWS CLI region! (use either 'aws configure' or set your 'AWS_DEFAULT_REGION' variable).

Using region from $AWS_DEFAULT_REGION: eu-west-1

2.3. Then, make sure you choose the region where you want to install Amazon Lex (make sure you use an available AWS region where Lex is available), or use the default and leave empty. The Amazon Lex AWS region can be different as where you have AWS ControlTower deployed.

Choose a region where you want to install the chatops-lex-bot [eu-west-1]:

Using region eu-west-1

2.4. The script will create a new S3 bucket in the specified region in order to upload the code to create the Amazon Lex bot.

Creating a new S3 bucket on eu-west-1 for your convenience...
make_bucket: chatops-lex-bot-xyz
Bucket chatops-lex-bot-xyz successfully created!

2.5. We show a summary of the bucket name and the project being used.

Using project name................chatops-lex-bot-xyz
Using bucket name.................chatops-lex-bot-xyz

2.6 Make sure that if any of these names or outputs are wrong, you can still stop here by pressing Ctrl+c.

If these parameters are wrong press ctrl+c to stop now...

2.7 The script will upload the source code to the S3 bucket specified, you should see a successful upload.

Waiting 9 seconds before continuing
upload: ./chatops-lex-bot-xyz.zip to s3://chatops-lex-bot-xyz/chatops-lex-bot-xyz.zip

2.8 Then, the script will trigger an aws cloudformation package command, that will use the uploaded zip file, reference it and generate a ready CloudFormation yml file for deployment. The output of the generated package-file (devops-packaged.yml) will be stored locally and used to executed the aws cloudformation deploy command.

Successfully packaged artifacts and wrote output template to file devops-packaged.yml.

Note: You can ignore this part below as the shell script will execute the “aws cloudformation deploy” command for you.

Execute the following command to deploy the packaged template

aws cloudformation deploy --template-file devops-packaged.yml --stack-name <YOUR STACK NAME>

2.9 The AWS CloudFormation scripts should be running in the background

Waiting for changeset to be created..
Waiting for stack create/update to complete
Successfully created/updated stack - chatops-lex-bot-xyz-cicd

2.10 Once you see the successful output of the CloudFormation script “chatops-lex-bot-xyz-cicd”, everything is ready to continue.

ChatOps Lex Bot Pipeline is installed
Will install the ChatOps API as an Add-On to the Vending Machine

2.11 Before we continue, confirm the output of the AWS CloudFormation called “chatops-lex-bot-xyz-cicd”. You should find three outputs from the CloudFormation template.

  • A CodePipeline, CodeCommit Repository with the same naming convention (chatops-lex-bot-xyz), and a CodeBuild execution with one stage (Prod). The execution of this pipeline should show as “Succeeded” within CodePipeline.
  • As a successful result of the execution of the Pipeline, you should find another CloudFormation that was triggered, which you should find in the output of CodeBuild or the CloudFormation Console (chatops-lex-bot-xyz-Prod).
  • The created resource of this CloudFormation will be the Lambda function (chatops-lex-bot-xyz-Prod-AppFunction-abcdefgh) that will create the Amazon Lex Bot. You can find the details in Amazon Lambda in the Mgmt console. For more information on CloudFormation and custom resources, see the CloudFormation documentation.
  • You can find the successful execution in the CloudWatch Logs:

Adding Slot Type:: AccountTypeValues
Adding Slot Type:: AccountOUValues
Adding Intent:: AWSAccountVending
Adding LexBot:: ChatOps
Adding LexBot Alias:: AWSAccountVending

  • Check if the Amazon Lex bot has been created in the Amazon Lex console, you should see an Amazon Lex bot called “ChatOps” with the status “READY”.

2.12. This means you have successfully installed the ChatOps Lex Bot. You can now continue with STEP 2.

  1. STEP 2. Build of the multi-environment CI/CD pipeline

In this section, we will finalize the set up by creating a full CI/CD Pipeline, the API Gateway and Lambda functions that can capture requests for Account creation (AccountVendor) and interact with Amazon Lex, and a full testing cycle to do a Dev-Staging-Production build pipeline that does a stress test on the whole set of Infrastructure created.

3.1 You should see the same name of the bucket and project as used previously. If not, please override the input here. Otherwise, leave empty (we recommend to use the default names).

Choose a bucket name for source code upload [chatops-lex-xyz]:

3.2. This means that the Amazon Lex Bot was successfully deployed, and we just confirm the deployed AWS region.

ChatOps-Lex-Bot is already deployed in region eu-west-1

3.3 Please specify a mailbox that you have access in order to approve new ChatOps (e.g. Account vending) vending requests as a manual approver step.

Choose a mailbox to receive approval e-mails for new accounts: [email protected]

3.4 Make sure you have the right AWS region where AWS Control Tower has deployed its Account Factory Portfolio product in Service Catalog (to double check you can log into AWS Service Catalog and confirm that you see the AWS Control Tower Account Factory)

Choose the AWS region where your vending machine is installed [eu-west-1]:
Using region eu-west-1

Creating a new S3 bucket on eu-west-1 for your convenience...
"Location": "http://chatops-lex-xyz.s3.amazonaws.com/"

Bucket chatops-lex-xyz successfully created!

3.5 Now the script will identify if you have Control Tower deployed and if it can identify the Control Tower Account Factory Product.

Trying to find the AWS Control Tower Account Factory Portfolio

Using project name....................chatops-lex-xyz
Using bucket name.....................chatops-lex-xyz
Using mailbox for approvals...........approvermail+chatops-lex-bot-xyz@yourdomain.com
Using lexbot region...................eu-west-1
Using service catalog portfolio-id....port-abcdefghijklm

If these parameters are wrong press ctrl+c to stop now…

3.6 If something is wrong or has not been set and you see an empty line for any of the, stop here and press ctr+c. Check the Q&A section if you might have missed some errors previously. These values need to be filled to proceed.

Waiting 1 seconds before continuing
[INFO] Scanning for projects...
[INFO] Building Serverless Jersey API 1.0-SNAPSHOT

3.7 You should see a “BUILD SUCCESS” message.

[INFO] Total time:  0.190 s

3.8 Then the package built locally will be uploaded to the S3 bucket, and then again prepared for Amazon CloudFormation to package- and deploy.

upload: ./chatops-lex-xyz.zip to s3://chatops-lex-xyz/chatops-lex-xyz.zip

Successfully packaged artifacts and wrote output template to file devops-packaged.yml.
Execute the following command to deploy the packaged template
aws cloudformation deploy --template-file devops-packaged.yml --stack-name <YOUR STACK NAME>

3.9 You can neglect the above message, as the shell script will execute the Cloudformation API for you. The AWS CloudFormation scripts should be running in the background, and you can double check in the AWS Mgmt Console.

Waiting for changeset to be created..
Waiting for stack create/update to complete

Successfully created/updated stack - chatops-lex-xyz-cicd
ChatOps Lex Pipeline and Chatops Lex Bot Pipelines successfully installed

3.10 This means that the Cloud Formation scripts have executed successfully. Lets confirm in the Amazon CloudFormation console, and in Code Pipeline if we have a successful outcome and full test-run of the CICD pipeline. To remember, have a look at the AWS Architecture overview and the resources / components created.

You should find the successful Cloud Formation artefacts named:

  • chatops-lex-xyz-cicd: This is the core CloudFormation that we created and uploaded that built a full CI/CD pipeline with three phases (DEV/STAGING/PROD). All three stages will create a similar set of AWS resources (e.g. Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB), but only the Staging phase will run an additional Load-Test prior to doing the production release.
  • chatops-lex-xyz-DEV: A successful build, creation and deployment of the DEV environment.
  • chatops-lex-xyz-STAGING: The staging phase will run a set of load tests, for a full testing and through io (an open-source load testing framework)
  • chatops-lex-xyz-PROD: A successful build, creation and deployment of the Production environment.

3.11 For further confirmation, you can check the Lambda-Functions (chatops-lex-xyz-pipeline-1-Prod-ChatOpsLexFunction-), Amazon DynamoDB (chatops-lex-xyz-pipeline-1_account_vending_) and Amazon SNS (chatops-lex-xyz-pipeline-1_aws_account_vending_topic_Prod) if all the resources as shown in the Architecture picture have been created.

Within Lambda and/or Amazon API Gateway, you will find the API Gateway execution endpoints, same as in the Output section from CloudFormation:

  • ApiUrl: https://apiId.execute-api.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/Prod/account
  • ApiApproval https://apiId.execute-api.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/Prod/account/confirm

3.11 This means you have successfully installed the Amazon Lex ChatOps bot, and the surrounding test CI/CD pipeline. Make sure you have accepted the SNS subscription confirmation.

AWS Notification - Subscription Confirmation

You have chosen to subscribe to the topic:
To confirm this subscription, click or visit the link below (If this was in error no action is necessary)

  1. STEP 3: Testing the ChatOps Bot

In this section, we provided a test script to test if the Amazon Lex Bot is up and if Amazon API Gateway/Lambda are correctly configured to handle the requests.

4.1 Use the Postman script under the /test folder postman-test.json, before you start integrating this solution with a Chat or Web- frontend such as Slack or a custom website in Production.

4.2. You can import the JSON file into Postman and execute a RESTful test call to the API Gateway endpoint.

4.3 Once the script is imported in Postman, you should execute the two commands below and replace the HTTP URL of the two requests (Vending API and Confirmation API) by the value of APIs recently created in the Production environment. Alternatively, you can also access these values directly from the Output tab in the CloudFormation stack with a name similar to chatops-lex-xyz-Prod:

aws cloudformation describe-stacks --query "Stacks[0].Outputs[?OutputKey=='ApiUrl'].OutputValue" --output text

aws cloudformation describe-stacks --query "Stacks[0].Outputs[?OutputKey=='ApiApproval'].OutputValue" --output text

4.4 Execute an API call against the PROD API

  • Use the Amazon API Gateaway endpoint to trigger a REST call against the endpoint, an example would be https://apiId.execute-api.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/Prod/account/. Make sure you change the “apiId” with your Amazon Gateway API ID endpoint found in the above sections (CloudFormation Output or within the Lambda), see here the start of the parameters that you have to change in the postman-test.json file:

"url": {
"raw": "https://apiId.execute-api.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/Prod/account",
"protocol": "https",

  • Request Input, fill out and update the values on each of the JSON sections:

{ “UserEmail”: “[email protected]”, “UserName”:“TestUser-Name”, “UserLastname”: “TestUser-LastName”, “UserInput”: “Hi, I would like a new account please!”}

  • If the test response is SUCCESSFUL, you should see the following JSON as a return:

{"response": "Hi TestUser-Name, what account type do you want? Production or Sandbox?","initial-params": "{\"UserEmail\": \"[email protected]\",\"UserName\":\"TestUser-Name\",\"UserLastname\": \"TestUser-LastName\",\"UserInput\": \"Hi, I would like a new account please!\"}"}

4.5 Test the “confirm” action. To confirm the Account vending request, you can easily execute the /confirm API, which is similar to if you would confirm the action through the e-mail confirmation that you receive via Amazon SNS.

Make sure you change the following sections in Postman (Production-Confirm-API) and use the ApiApproval-apiID that has the /confirm path.


  1. STEP 4: Slack Integration Example

We will demonstrate you how to integrate with a Slack channel but any other request portal (Jira), Website or App that allows REST API integrations (e.g. Amazon Chime) could be used for this.

5.1 Use the attached YAML slack App manifest file to create a new Slack Application within your Organization. Go to “https://api.slack.com/apps?new_app=1” and choose “Create New App”.

5.2 Choose the “From an app manifest” to create a new Slack App and paste the sample code from the /test folder slack-app-manifest.yml .

  • Note: Make sure you first overwrite the request_url parameter for your Slack App that will point to the Production API Gateway endpoint.

request_url: https://apiId.execute-api.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/Prod/account"

5.3 Choose to deploy and re-install the Slack App to your workspace and then access the ChatBot Application within your Slack workspace. If everything is successful, you can see a working Serverless ChatBot as shown below.

Slack Example

Conclusion and Cleanup


In this blog post, you have learned how to create a multi-environment CICD pipeline that builds a fully Serverless AWS account vending solution using an AI powered Amazon Lex bot integrated with AWS Control Tower Account Factory. This solution will help you enable standardized account vending on AWS through an easy way by exposing a ChatBot to your AWS consumers coming from various channels. This solution can be extended with AWS ServiceCatalog to allow to launch not just AWS accounts, but almost any AWS Service by using IaC (CloudFormation) templates provided through the CCoE Ops and Architecture teams.


For a proper cleanup, you can just go into AWS CloudFormation and choose the deployed Stacks and choose to “delete Stack”. If you incur issues while deleting, see below troubleshooting solutions for a fix. Also make sure you delete your integration Apps (e.g. Slack) for a full cleanup.


  1. An error occurred (BucketAlreadyOwnedByYou) when calling the CreateBucket operation: Your previous request to create the named bucket succeeded and you already own it.
    Solution: Make sure you use a distinct name for the S3 bucket used in this project, for the Amazon Lex Bot and the CICD pipeline
  2. When you delete and rollback of the CloudFormation stacks and you get an error (Code: 409; Error Code: BucketNotEmpty).
    Solution: Delete the S3 build bucket and its content “delete permanently” and then delete the associated CloudFormation stack that has created the CICD pipeline.

Field Notes: Perform Automations in Ungoverned Regions During Account Launch Using AWS Control Tower Lifecycle Events

Post Syndicated from Amit Kumar original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/field-notes-perform-automations-in-ungoverned-regions-during-account-launch-using-aws-control-tower-lifecycle-events/

This post was co-authored by Amit Kumar; Partner Solutions Architect at AWS, Pavan Kumar Alladi; Senior Cloud Architect at Tech Mahindra, and Thooyavan Arumugam; Senior Cloud Architect at Tech Mahindra.

Organizations use AWS Control Tower to set up and govern secure, multi-account AWS environments. Frequently enterprises with a global presence want to use AWS Control Tower to perform automations during the account creation including in AWS Regions where AWS Control Tower service is not available. To review the current list of Regions where AWS Control Tower is available, visit the AWS Regional Services List.

This blog post shows you how we can use AWS Control Tower lifecycle events, AWS Service Catalog, and AWS Lambda to perform automation in the Region where AWS Control Tower service is unavailable. This solution depicts the scenario for a single Region and the solution need to be changed to work with a multi-Regions scenario.

We use an AWS CloudFormation template to create a virtual private cloud (VPC) with subnet and internet gateway as an example and use it in shared service catalog products at the organization level to make it available in child accounts. Every time AWS Control Tower lifecycle events related to account creation occurs, a Lambda function is initiated to perform automation activities in AWS Regions that are not governed by AWS Control Tower.

The solution in this blog post uses the following AWS services:

Figure 1. Solution architecture

Figure 1. Solution architecture


For this walkthrough, you need the following prerequisites:

  • AWS Control Tower configured with AWS Organizations defined and registered within AWS Control Tower. For this blog post, AWS Control Tower is deployed in AWS Mumbai Region and with an AWS Organizations structure as depicted in Figure 2.
  • Working knowledge of AWS Control Tower.
Figure 2. AWS Organizations structure

Figure 2. AWS Organizations structure

Create an AWS Service Catalog product and portfolio, and share at the AWS Organizations level

  1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator, and select an AWS Region which is not governed by AWS Control Tower (for this blog post, we will use AWS us-west-1 (N. California) as the Region because at this time it is unavailable in AWS Control Tower).
  2. In the AWS Service Catalog console, in the left navigation menu, choose Products.
  3. Choose upload new product. For Product Name enter customvpcautomation, and for Owner enter organizationabc. For method, choose Use a template file.
  4. In Upload a template file, select Choose file, and then select the CloudFormation template you are going to use for automation. In this example, we are going to use a CloudFormation template which creates a VPC with CIDR, Public Subnet, and Internet Gateway.
Figure 3. AWS Service Catalog product

Figure 3. AWS Service Catalog product

CloudFormation template: save this as a YAML file before selecting this in the console.

AWSTemplateFormatVersion: 2010-09-09
Description: Template to create a VPC with CIDR with a Public Subnet and Internet Gateway. 

    Type: AWS::EC2::VPC
      EnableDnsSupport: true
      EnableDnsHostnames: true
        - Key: Name
          Value: VPC

    Type: AWS::EC2::InternetGateway
        - Key: Name
          Value: IGW

    Type: AWS::EC2::VPCGatewayAttachment
      - IGW
      - VPC
      InternetGatewayId: !Ref IGW
      VpcId: !Ref VPC

    Type: AWS::EC2::RouteTable
    DependsOn: VPC
      VpcId: !Ref VPC
        - Key: Name
          Value: Public Route Table

    Type: AWS::EC2::Route
      - PublicRouteTable
      - VPCtoIGWConnection
      GatewayId: !Ref IGW
      RouteTableId: !Ref PublicRouteTable

    Type: AWS::EC2::Subnet
    DependsOn: VPC
      VpcId: !Ref VPC
      MapPublicIpOnLaunch: true
      AvailabilityZone: !Select
        - 0
        - !GetAZs
          Ref: AWS::Region
        - Key: Name
          Value: Public Subnet

    Type: AWS::EC2::SubnetRouteTableAssociation
      - PublicRouteTable
      - PublicSubnet
      RouteTableId: !Ref PublicRouteTable
      SubnetId: !Ref PublicSubnet


    Description: Public subnet ID
      Ref: PublicSubnet
        'Fn::Sub': '${AWS::StackName}-SubnetID'

    Description: The VPC ID
      Ref: VPC
        'Fn::Sub': '${AWS::StackName}-VpcID'
  1. After the CloudFormation template is selected, choose Review, and then choose Create Product.
Figure 4. AWS Service Catalog product

Figure 4. AWS Service Catalog product

  1. In the AWS Service Catalog console, in the left navigation menu, choose Portfolios, and then choose Create portfolio.
  2. For Portfolio name, enter customvpcportfolio, for Owner, enter organizationabc, and then choose Create.
Figure 5. AWS Service Catalog portfolio

Figure 5. AWS Service Catalog portfolio

  1. After the portfolio is created, select customvpcportfolio. In the actions dropdown, select Add product to portfolio. Then select customvpcautomation product, and choose Add Product to Portfolio.
  2. Navigate back to customvpcportfolio, and select the portfolio name to see all the details. On the portfolio details page, expand the Groups, roles, and users tab, and choose Add groups, roles, users. Next, select the Roles tab and search for AWSControlTowerAdmin role, and choose Add access.
Figure 6. AWS Service Catalog portfolio role selection

Figure 6. AWS Service Catalog portfolio role selection

  1. Navigate to the Share section in portfolio details, and choose Share option. Select AWS Organization, and choose Share.

Note: If you get a warning stating “AWS Organizations sharing is not enabled”, then choose Enable and select the organizational unit (OU) where you want this portfolio to be shared. In this case, we have shared at Workload OU where all workload account is created.

Figure 7. AWS Service Catalog portfolio sharing

Figure 7. AWS Service Catalog portfolio sharing

Create an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role

  1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator and navigate to IAM Service.
  2. In the IAM console, choose Policies in the navigation pane, then choose Create Policy.
  3. Click on Choose a service, and select STS. In the Actions menu, choose All STS Actions, in Resources, choose All resources, and then choose Next: Tags.
  4. Skip the Tag section, go to the Review section, and for Name enter lambdacrossaccountSTS, and then choose Create policy.
  5. In the navigation pane of the IAM console, choose Roles, and then choose Create role. For the use case, select Lambda, and then choose Next: Permissions.
  6. Select AWSServiceCatalogAdminFullAccess and AmazonSNSFullAccess, then choose Next: Tags (skip tag screen if needed), then choose Next: Review.
  7. For Role name, enter Automationnongovernedregions, and then choose Create role.
Figure 8. AWS IAM role permissions

Figure 8. AWS IAM role permissions

Create an Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) topic

  1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator and select AWS Mumbai Region (Home Region for AWS CT). Navigate to Amazon SNS Service, and on the navigation panel, choose Topics.
  2. On the Topics page, Choose Create topic. On the Create topic page, in the Details section, for Type select Standard, and for Name enter ControlTowerNotifications. Keep default for other options, and then choose Create topic.
  3. In the Details section, in the left navigation pane, choose Subscriptions.
  4. On the Subscriptions page, choose Create subscription. For Protocol, choose Email and for Endpoint mention the email id where notification need to come and choose Create Subscription.

You will receive an email stating that the subscription is in pending status. Follow the email instructions to confirm the subscription. Check in the Amazon SNS Service console to verify subscription confirmation.

Figure 9. Amazon SNS topic creation and subscription

Figure 9. Amazon SNS topic creation and subscription

Create an AWS Lambda function

  1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator and select AWS Mumbai Region (Home Region for AWS Control Tower). Open the Functions page on the Lambda console, and choose Create function.
  2.  In the Create function section, choose Author from scratch.
  3. In the Basic information section:
    1. For Function name, enter NonGovernedCrossAccountAutomation.
    2. For Runtime, choose Python 3.8.
    3. For Role, select Choose an existing role.
    4. For Existing role, select the Lambda role that you created earlier.
  1. Choose Create function.
  2. Copy and paste the following code in to the Lambda editor (replace the existing code).
  3. In the File menu, choose Save.

Lambda function code: The Lambda function is developed to initiate the AWS Service Catalog product, shared at Organizations level from AWS Control Tower management account, onto all member accounts in a hub and spoke model. Key activities performed by the Lambda function are:

    • Assume role – Provides the mechanism to assume AWSControlTowerExecution role in the child account.
    • Launch product – Launch the AWS Service Catalog product shared in the non-governed Region with the member account.
    • Email notification – Send notifications to the subscribed recipients.

When this Lambda function is invoked by the AWS Control Tower lifecycle event, it performs the activity of provisioning the AWS Service Catalog products in the Region which is not governed by AWS Control Tower.

# Decription:This Lambda used execute service catalog products in unmanaged ControlTower 
# regions while creation of AWS accounts
# Environment: Control Tower Env
# Version 1.0

import boto3
import os
import time

SSM_Master = boto3.client('ssm')
STS_Master = boto3.client('sts')
SC_Master = boto3.client('servicecatalog',region_name = 'us-west-1')
SNS_Master = boto3.client('sns')

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    if event['detail']['serviceEventDetails']['createManagedAccountStatus']['state'] == 'SUCCEEDED':
        account_name = event['detail']['serviceEventDetails']['createManagedAccountStatus']['account']['accountName']
        account_id = event['detail']['serviceEventDetails']['createManagedAccountStatus']['account']['accountId']
        ##Assume role to member account
            print("-- Executing Service Catalog Procduct in the account: ", account_name)
            ##Launch Product in member account
            launch_product(os.environ['ProductName'], SC_Member)
            sendmail(f'-- Product Launched successfully ')

        except Exception as err:
            print(f'-- Error in Executing Service Catalog Procduct in the account: : {err}')
            sendmail(f'-- Error in Executing Service Catalog Procduct in the account: : {err}')   
 ##Function to Assume Role and create session in the Member account.                       
def assume_role(account_id):
    global SC_Member, IAM_Member, role_arn
    ## Assume the Member account role to execute the SC product.
    role_arn = "arn:aws:iam::$ACCOUNT_NUMBER$:role/AWSControlTowerExecution".replace("$ACCOUNT_NUMBER$", account_id)
    ##Assuming Member account Service Catalog.
    Assume_Member_Acc = STS_Master.assume_role(RoleArn=role_arn,RoleSessionName="Member_acc_session")

    #Session to Connect to IAM and Service Catalog in Member Account                          
    IAM_Member = boto3.client('iam',aws_access_key_id=aws_access_key_id, aws_secret_access_key=aws_secret_access_key,aws_session_token=aws_session_token)
    SC_Member = boto3.client('servicecatalog', aws_access_key_id=aws_access_key_id, aws_secret_access_key=aws_secret_access_key,aws_session_token=aws_session_token,region_name = "us-west-1")
    ##Accepting the portfolio share in the Member account.
    print("-- Accepting the portfolio share in the Member account.")
    length = 0
    while length == 0:
            search_product = SC_Member.search_products()
            length = len(search_product['ProductViewSummaries'])
        except Exception as err:
        if length == 0:
            print("The shared product is still not available. Hence waiting..")
            ##Accept portfolio share in member account
            Accept_portfolio = SC_Member.accept_portfolio_share(PortfolioId=os.environ['portfolioID'],PortfolioShareType='AWS_ORGANIZATIONS')
            Associate_principal = SC_Member.associate_principal_with_portfolio(PortfolioId=os.environ['portfolioID'],PrincipalARN=role_arn, PrincipalType='IAM')
            print("The products are listed in account.")
    print("-- The portfolio share has been accepted and has been assigned the IAM Role principal.")
    return SC_Member

##Function to execute product in the Member account.    
def launch_product(ProductName, session):
    describe_product = SC_Master.describe_product_as_admin(Name=ProductName)
    created_time = []
    version_ID = []
    for version in describe_product['ProvisioningArtifactSummaries']:
        describe_provisioning_artifacts = SC_Master.describe_provisioning_artifact(ProvisioningArtifactId=version['Id'],Verbose=True,ProductName=ProductName,)
        if describe_provisioning_artifacts['ProvisioningArtifactDetail']['Active'] == True:
    latest_version = dict(zip(created_time, version_ID))
    latest_time = max(created_time)
    launch_provisioned_product = session.provision_product(ProductName=ProductName,ProvisionedProductName=ProductName,ProvisioningArtifactId=latest_version[latest_time],ProvisioningParameters=[
            'Key': 'string',
            'Value': 'string'
    print("-- The provisioned product ID is : ", launch_provisioned_product['RecordDetail']['ProvisionedProductId'])
def sendmail(message):
     sendmail = SNS_Master.publish(
     Subject="Alert - Attention Required",
  1. Choose Configuration, then choose Environment variables.
  2. Choose Edit, and then choose Add environment variable for each of the following:
    1. Variable 1: Key as ProductName, and Value as “customvpcautomation” (name of the product created in the previous step).
    2. Variable 2: Key as SNSTopicARN, and Value as “arn:aws:sns:ap-south-1:<accountid>:ControlTowerNotifications” (ARN of the Amazon SNS topic created in the previous step).
    3. Variable 3: Key as portfolioID, and Value as “port-tbmq6ia54yi6w” (ID for the portfolio which was created in the previous step).
Figure 10. AWS Lambda function environment variable

Figure 10. AWS Lambda function environment variable

  1. Choose Save.
  2. On the function configuration page, on the General configuration pane, choose Edit.
  3. Change the Timeout value to 5 min.
  4. Go to Code Section, and choose the Deploy option to deploy all the changes.

Create an Amazon EventBridge rule and initiate with a Lambda function

  1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator, and select AWS Mumbai Region (Home Region for AWS Control Tower).
  2. On the navigation bar, choose Services, select Amazon EventBridge, and in the left navigation pane, select Rules.
  3. Choose Create rule, and for Name enter NonGovernedRegionAutomation.
  4. Choose Event pattern, and then choose Pre-defined pattern by service.
  5. For Service provider, choose AWS.
  6. For Service name, choose Control Tower.
  7. For Event type, choose AWS Service Event via CloudTrail.
  8. Choose Specific event(s) option, and select CreateManagedAccount.
  9. In Select targets, for Target, choose Lambda. Select the Lambda function which was created earlier named as NonGovernedCrossAccountAutomation in Function dropdown.
  10. Choose Create.
Figure 11. Amazon EventBridge rule initiated with AWS Lambda

Figure 11. Amazon EventBridge rule initiated with AWS Lambda

Solution walkthrough

    1. Sign in to AWS Control Tower management account as an administrator, and select AWS Mumbai Region (Home Region for AWS Control Tower).
    2. Navigate to the AWS Control Tower Account Factory page, and select Enroll account.
    3. Create a new account and complete the Account Details section. Enter the Account email, Display name, AWS SSO email, and AWS SSO user name, and select the Organizational Unit dropdown. Choose Enroll account.
Figure 12. AWS Control Tower new account creation

Figure 12. AWS Control Tower new account creation

      1. Wait for account creation and enrollment to succeed.
Figure 13. AWS Control Tower new account enrollment

Figure 13. AWS Control Tower new account enrollment

      1. Sign out of the AWS Control Tower management account, and log in to the new account. Select the AWS us-west-1 (N. California) Region. Navigate to AWS Service Catalog and then to Provisioned products. Select the Access filter as Account and you will observe that one provisioned product is created and available.
Figure 14. AWS Service Catalog provisioned product

Figure 14. AWS Service Catalog provisioned product

      1. Go to VPC service to verify if a new VPC is created by the AWS Service Catalog product with a CIDR of
Figure 15. AWS VPC creation validation

Figure 15. AWS VPC creation validation

      1. Step 4 and Step 5 validates that you are able to perform the automation during account creation through the AWS Control Tower lifecycle events in non-governed Regions.

Cleaning up

To avoid incurring future charges, clean up the resources created as part of this blog post.

  • Delete the AWS Service Catalog product and portfolio you created.
  • Delete the IAM role, Amazon SNS topic, Amazon EventBridge rule, and AWS Lambda function you created.
  • Delete the AWS Control Tower setup (if created).


In this blog post, we demonstrated how to use AWS Control Tower lifecycle events to perform automation tasks during account creation in Regions not governed by AWS Control Tower. AWS Control Tower provides a way to set up and govern a secure, multi-account AWS environment. With this solution, customers can use AWS Control Tower to automate various tasks during account creation in Regions regardless if AWS Control Tower is available in that Region.

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.
Daniel Cordes

Pavan Kumar Alladi

Pavan Kumar Alladi is a Senior Cloud Architect with Tech Mahindra and is based out of Chennai, India. He is working on AWS technologies from past 10 years as a specialist in designing and architecting solutions on AWS Cloud. He is ardent in learning and implementing cloud based cutting edge solutions and is extremely zealous about applying cloud services to resolve complex real world business problems. Currently, he leads customer engagements to deliver solutions for Platform Engineering, Cloud Migrations, Cloud Security and DevOps.

Gaurav Jain

Thooyavan Arumugam

Thooyavan Arumugam is a Senior Cloud Architect at Tech Mahindra’s AWS Practice team. He has over 16 years of industry experience in Cloud infrastructure, network, and security. He is passionate about learning new technologies and helping customers solve complex technical problems by providing solutions using AWS products and services. He provides advisory services to customers and solution design for Cloud Infrastructure (Security, Network), new platform design and Cloud Migrations.