Tag Archives: SaaS

Throttling a tiered, multi-tenant REST API at scale using API Gateway: Part 2

Post Syndicated from Nick Choi original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/throttling-a-tiered-multi-tenant-rest-api-at-scale-using-api-gateway-part-2/

In Part 1 of this blog series, we demonstrated why tiering and throttling become necessary at scale for multi-tenant REST APIs, and explored tiering strategy and throttling with Amazon API Gateway.

In this post, Part 2, we will examine tenant isolation strategies at scale with API Gateway and extend the sample code from Part 1.

Enhancing the sample code

To enable this functionality in the sample code (Figure 1), we will make manual changes. First, create one API key for the Free Tier and five API keys for the Basic Tier. Currently, these API keys are private keys for your Amazon Cognito login, but we will make a further change in the backend business logic that will promote them to pooled resources. Note that all of these modifications are specific to this sample code’s implementation; the implementation and deployment of a production code may be completely different (Figure 1).

Cloud architecture of the sample code

Figure 1. Cloud architecture of the sample code

Next, in the business logic for thecreateKey(), find the AWS Lambda function in lambda/create_key.js.  It appears like this:

function createKey(tableName, key, plansTable, jwt, rand, callback) {
  const pool = getPoolForPlanId( key.planId ) 
  if (!pool) {
    createSiloedKey(tableName, key, plansTable, jwt, rand, callback);
  } else {
    createPooledKey(pool, tableName, key, jwt, callback);
  }
}

The getPoolForPlanId() function does a search for a pool of keys associated with the usage plan. If there is a pool, we “create” a kind of reference to the pooled resource, rather than a completely new key that is created by the API Gateway service directly. The lambda/api_key_pools.js should be empty.

exports.apiKeyPools = [];

In effect, all usage plans were considered as siloed keys up to now. To change that, populate the data structure with values from the six API keys that were created manually. You will have to look up the IDs of the API keys and usage plans that were created in API Gateway (Figures 2 and 3). Using the AWS console to navigate to API Gateway is the most intuitive.

A view of the AWS console when inspecting the ID for the Basic usage plan

Figure 2. A view of the AWS console when inspecting the ID for the Basic usage plan

A view of the AWS Console when looking up the API key value (not the ID)

Figure 3. A view of the AWS Console when looking up the API key value (not the ID)

When done, your code in lambda/api_key_pools.js should be the following, but instead of ellipses (), the IDs for the user plans and API keys specific to your environment will appear.

exports.apiKeyPools = [{
    planName: "FreePlan"
    planId: "...",
    apiKeys: [ "..." ]
  },
 {
    planName: "BasicPlan"
    planId: "...",
    apiKeys: [ "...", "...", "...", "...", "..." ]
  }];

After making the code changes, run cdk deploy from the command line to update the Lambda functions. This change will only affect key creation and deletion because of the system implementation. Updates affect only the user’s specific reference to the key, not the underlying resource managed by API Gateway.

When the web application is run now, it will look similar to before—tenants should not be aware what tiering strategy they have been assigned to. The only way to notice the difference would be to create two Free Tier keys, test them, and note that the value of the X-API-KEY header is unchanged between the two.

Now, you have a virtually unlimited number of users who can have API keys in the Free or Basic Tier. By keeping the Premium Tier siloed, you are subject to the 10,000-API-key maximum (less any keys allocated for the lower tiers). You may consider additional techniques to continue to scale, such as replicating your service in another AWS account.

Other production considerations

The sample code is minimal, and it illustrates just one aspect of scaling a Software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. There are many other aspects be considered in a production setting that we explore in this section.

The throttled endpoint, GET /api rely only on API key for authorization for demonstration purpose. For any production implementation consider authentication options for your REST APIs. You may explore and extend to require authentication with Cognito similar to /admin/* endpoints in the sample code.

One API key for Free Tier access and five API keys for Basic Tier access are illustrative in a sample code but not representative of production deployments. Number of API keys with service quota into consideration, business and technical decisions may be made to minimize noisy neighbor effect such as setting blast radius upper threshold of 0.1% of all users. To satisfy that requirement, each tier would need to spread users across at least 1,000 API keys. The number of keys allocated to Basic or Premium Tier would depend on market needs and pricing strategies. Additional allocations of keys could be held in reserve for troubleshooting, QA, tenant migrations, and key retirement.

In the planning phase of your solution, you will decide how many tiers to provide, how many usage plans are needed, and what throttle limits and quotas to apply. These decisions depend on your architecture and business.

To define API request limits, examine the system API Gateway is protecting and what load it can sustain. For example, if your service will scale up to 1,000 requests per second, it is possible to implement three tiers with a 10/50/40 split: the lowest tier shares one common API key with a 100 request per second limit; an intermediate tier has a pool of 25 API keys with a limit of 20 requests per second each; and the highest tier has a maximum of 10 API keys, each supporting 40 requests per second.

Metrics play a large role in continuously evolving your SaaS-tiering strategy (Figure 4). They provide rich insights into how tenants are using the system. Tenant-aware and SaaS-wide metrics on throttling and quota limits can be used to: assess tiering in-place, if tenants’ requirements are being met, and if currently used tenant usage profiles are valid (Figure 5).

Tiering strategy example with 3 tiers and requests allocation per tier

Figure 4. Tiering strategy example with 3 tiers and requests allocation per tier

An example SaaS metrics dashboard

Figure 5. An example SaaS metrics dashboard

API Gateway provides options for different levels of granularity required, including detailed metrics, and execution and access logging to enable observability of your SaaS solution. Granular usage metrics combined with underlying resource consumption leads to managing optimal experience for your tenants with throttling levels and policies per method and per client.

Cleanup

To avoid incurring future charges, delete the resources. This can be done on the command line by typing:

cd ${TOP}/cdk
cdk destroy

cd ${TOP}/react
amplify delete

${TOP} is the topmost directory of the sample code. For the most up-to-date information, see the README.md file.

Conclusion

In this two-part blog series, we have reviewed the best practices and challenges of effectively guarding a tiered multi-tenant REST API hosted in AWS API Gateway. We also explored how throttling policy and quota management can help you continuously evaluate the needs of your tenants and evolve your tiering strategy to protect your backend systems from being overwhelmed by inbound traffic.

Further reading:

Throttling a tiered, multi-tenant REST API at scale using API Gateway: Part 1

Post Syndicated from Nick Choi original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/architecture/throttling-a-tiered-multi-tenant-rest-api-at-scale-using-api-gateway-part-1/

Many software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers adopt throttling as a common technique to protect a distributed system from spikes of inbound traffic that might compromise reliability, reduce throughput, or increase operational cost. Multi-tenant SaaS systems have an additional concern of fairness; excessive traffic from one tenant needs to be selectively throttled without impacting the experience of other tenants. This is also known as “the noisy neighbor” problem. AWS itself enforces some combination of throttling and quota limits on nearly all its own service APIs. SaaS providers building on AWS should design and implement throttling strategies in all of their APIs as well.

In this two-part blog series, we will explore tiering and throttling strategies for multi-tenant REST APIs and review tenant isolation models with hands-on sample code. In part 1, we will look at why a tiering and throttling strategy is needed and show how Amazon API Gateway can help by showing sample code. In part 2, we will dive deeper into tenant isolation models as well as considerations for production.

We selected Amazon API Gateway for this architecture since it is a fully managed service that helps developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs. First, let’s focus on how Amazon API Gateway can be used to throttle REST APIs with fine granularity using Usage Plans and API Keys. Usage Plans define the thresholds beyond which throttling should occur. They also enable quotas, which sets a maximum usage per a day, week, or month. API Keys are identifiers for distinguishing traffic and determining which Usage Plans to apply for each request. We limit the scope of our discussion to REST APIs because other protocols that API Gateway supports — WebSocket APIs and HTTP APIs — have different throttling mechanisms that do not employ Usage Plans or API Keys.

SaaS providers must balance minimizing cost to serve and providing consistent quality of service for all tenants. They also need to ensure one tenant’s activity does not affect the other tenants’ experience. Throttling and quotas are a key aspect of a tiering strategy and important for protecting your service at any scale. In practice, this impact of throttling polices and quota management is continuously monitored and evaluated as the tenant composition and behavior evolve over time.

Architecture Overview

Figure 1. Cloud Architecture of the sample code.

Figure 1 – Architecture of the sample code

To get a firm foundation of the basics of throttling and quotas with API Gateway, we’ve provided sample code in AWS-Samples on GitHub. Not only does it provide a starting point to experiment with Usage Plans and API Keys in the API Gateway, but we will modify this code later to address complexity that happens at scale. The sample code has two main parts: 1) a web frontend and, 2) a serverless backend. The backend is a serverless architecture using Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Cognito. As Figure I illustrates, it implements one REST API endpoint, GET /api, that is protected with throttling and quotas. There are additional APIs under the /admin/* resource to provide Read access to Usage Plans, and CRUD operations on API Keys.

All these REST endpoints could be tested with developer tools such as curl or Postman, but we’ve also provided a web application, to help you get started. The web application illustrates how tenants might interact with the SaaS application to browse different tiers of service, purchase API Keys, and test them. The web application is implemented in React and uses AWS Amplify CLI and SDKs.

Prerequisites

To deploy the sample code, you should have the following prerequisites:

For clarity, we’ll use the environment variable, ${TOP}, to indicate the top-most directory in the cloned source code or the top directory in the project when browsing through GitHub.

Detailed instructions on how to install the code are in ${TOP}/INSTALL.md file in the code. After installation, follow the ${TOP}/WALKTHROUGH.md for step-by-step instructions to create a test key with a very small quota limit of 10 requests per day, and use the client to hit that limit. Search for HTTP 429: Too Many Requests as the signal your client has been throttled.

Figure 2: The web application (with browser developer tools enabled) shows that a quick succession of API calls starts returning an HTTP 429 after the quota for the day is exceeded.

Figure 2: The web application (with browser developer tools enabled) shows that a quick succession of API calls starts returning an HTTP 429 after the quota for the day is exceeded.

Responsibilities of the Client to support Throttling

The Client must provide an API Key in the header of the HTTP request, labelled, “X-Api-Key:”. If a resource in API Gateway has throttling enabled and that header is missing or invalid in the request, then API Gateway will reject the request.

Important: API Keys are simple identifiers, not authorization tokens or cryptographic keys. API keys are for throttling and managing quotas for tenants only and not suitable as a security mechanism. There are many ways to properly control access to a REST API in API Gateway, and we refer you to the AWS documentation for more details as that topic is beyond the scope of this post.

Clients should always test for the response to any network call, and implement logic specific to an HTTP 429 response. The correct action is almost always “try again later.” Just how much later, and how many times before giving up, is application dependent. Common approaches include:

  • Retry – With simple retry, client retries the request up to defined maximum retry limit configured
  • Exponential backoff – Exponential backoff uses progressively larger wait time between retries for consecutive errors. As the wait time can become very long quickly, maximum delay and a maximum retry limits should be specified.
  • Jitter – Jitter uses a random amount of delay between retry to prevent large bursts by spreading the request rate.

AWS SDK is an example client-responsibility implementation. Each AWS SDK implements automatic retry logic that uses a combination of retry, exponential backoff, jitter, and maximum retry limit.

SaaS Considerations: Tenant Isolation Strategies at Scale

While the sample code is a good start, the design has an implicit assumption that API Gateway will support as many API Keys as we have number of tenants. In fact, API Gateway has a quota on available per region per account. If the sample code’s requirements are to support more than 10,000 tenants (or if tenants are allowed multiple keys), then the sample implementation is not going to scale, and we need to consider more scalable implementation strategies.

This is one instance of a general challenge with SaaS called “tenant isolation strategies.” We highly recommend reviewing this white paper ‘SasS Tenant Isolation Strategies‘. A brief explanation here is that the one-resource-per-customer (or “siloed”) model is just one of many possible strategies to address tenant isolation. While the siloed model may be the easiest to implement and offers strong isolation, it offers no economy of scale, has high management complexity, and will quickly run into limits set by the underlying AWS Services. Other models besides siloed include pooling, and bridged models. Again, we recommend the whitepaper for more details.

Figure 3. Tiered multi-tenant architectures often employ different tenant isolation strategies at different tiers. Our example is specific to API Keys, but the technique generalizes to storage, compute, and other resources.

Figure 3- Tiered multi-tenant architectures often employ different tenant isolation strategies at different tiers. Our example is specific to API Keys, but the technique generalizes to storage, compute, and other resources.

In this example, we implement a range of tenant isolation strategies at different tiers of service. This allows us to protect against “noisy-neighbors” at the highest tier, minimize outlay of limited resources (namely, API-Keys) at the lowest tier, and still provide an effective, bounded “blast radius” of noisy neighbors at the mid-tier.

A concrete development example helps illustrate how this can be implemented. Assume three tiers of service: Free, Basic, and Premium. One could create a single API Key that is a pooled resource among all tenants in the Free Tier. At the other extreme, each Premium customer would get their own unique API Key. They would protect Premium tier tenants from the ‘noisy neighbor’ effect. In the middle, the Basic tenants would be evenly distributed across a set of fixed keys. This is not complete isolation for each tenant, but the impact of any one tenant is contained within “blast radius” defined.

In production, we recommend a more nuanced approach with additional considerations for monitoring and automation to continuously evaluate tiering strategy. We will revisit these topics in greater detail after considering the sample code.

Conclusion

In this post, we have reviewed how to effectively guard a tiered multi-tenant REST API hosted in Amazon API Gateway. We also explored how tiering and throttling strategies can influence tenant isolation models. In Part 2 of this blog series, we will dive deeper into tenant isolation models and gaining insights with metrics.

If you’d like to know more about the topic, the AWS Well-Architected SaaS Lens Performance Efficiency pillar dives deep on tenant tiers and providing differentiated levels of performance to each tier. It also provides best practices and resources to help you design and reduce impact of noisy neighbors your SaaS solution.

To learn more about Serverless SaaS architectures in general, we recommend the AWS Serverless SaaS Workshop and the SaaS Factory Serverless SaaS reference solution that inspired it.

Zero Trust for SaaS: Deploying mTLS on custom hostnames

Post Syndicated from Dina Kozlov original https://blog.cloudflare.com/zero-trust-for-saas-deploying-mtls-on-custom-hostnames/

Zero Trust for SaaS: Deploying mTLS on custom hostnames

Cloudflare has a large base of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) customers who manage thousands or millions of their customers’ domains that use their SaaS service. We have helped those SaaS providers grow by extending our infrastructure and services to their customer’s domains through a product called Cloudflare for SaaS. Today, we’re excited to give our SaaS providers a new tool that will help their customers add an extra layer of security: they can now enable mutual TLS authentication on their customer’s domains through our Access product.

Primer on Mutual TLS

When you connect to a website, you should see a lock icon in the address bar — that’s your browser telling you that you’re connecting to a website over a secure connection and that the website has a valid public TLS certificate. TLS certificates keep Internet traffic encrypted using a public/private key pair to encrypt and decrypt traffic. They also provide authentication, proving to clients that they are connecting to the correct server.

To make a secure connection, a TLS handshake needs to take place. During the handshake, the client and the server exchange cryptographic keys, the client authenticates the identity of the server, and both the client and the server generate session keys that are later used to encrypt traffic.

A TLS handshake looks like this:

Zero Trust for SaaS: Deploying mTLS on custom hostnames

In a TLS handshake, the client always validates the certificate that is served by the server to make sure that it’s sending requests to the right destination. In the same way that the client needs to authenticate the identity of the server, sometimes the server needs to authenticate the client — to ensure that only authorized clients are sending requests to the server.

Let’s say that you’re managing a few services: service A writes information to a database. This database is absolutely crucial and should only have entries submitted by service A. Now, what if you have a bug in your system and service B accidentally makes a write call to the database?

You need something that checks whether a service is authorized to make calls to your database — like a bouncer. A bouncer has a VIP list — they can check people’s IDs against the list to see whether they’re allowed to enter a venue. Servers can use a similar model, one that uses TLS certificates as a form of ID.

In the same way that a bouncer has a VIP list, a server can have a Certificate Authority (CA) Root from which they issue certificates. Certificates issued from the CA Root are then provisioned onto clients. These client certificates can then be used to identify and authorize the client. As long as a client presents a valid certificate — one that the server can validate against the Root CA, it’s allowed to make requests. If a client doesn’t present a client certificate (isn’t on the VIP list) or presents an unauthorized client certificate, then the server can choose to reject the request. This process of validating client and server certificates is called mutual TLS authentication (mTLS) and is done during the TLS handshake.

When mTLS isn’t used, only the server is responsible for presenting a certificate, which the client verifies. With mTLS, both the client and the server present and validate one another’s certificates, pictured below.

Zero Trust for SaaS: Deploying mTLS on custom hostnames

mTLS + Access = Zero Trust

A few years ago, we added mTLS support to our Access product, allowing customers to enable a Zero Trust policy on their applications. Access customers can deploy a policy that dictates that all clients must present a valid certificate when making a request. That means that requests made without a valid certificate — usually from unauthorized clients — will be blocked, adding an extra layer of protection. Cloudflare has allowed customers to configure mTLS on their Cloudflare domains by setting up Access policies. The only caveat was that to use this feature, you had to be the owner of the domain. Now, what if you’re not the owner of a domain, but you do manage that domain’s origin? This is the case for a large base of our customers, the SaaS providers that extend their services to their customers’ domains that they do not own.

Extending Cloudflare benefits through SaaS providers

Cloudflare for SaaS enables SaaS providers to extend the benefits of the Cloudflare network to their customers’ domains. These domains are not owned by the SaaS provider, but they do use the SaaS provider’s service, routing traffic back to the SaaS provider’s origin.

By doing this, SaaS providers take on the responsibility of providing their customers with the highest uptime, lightning fast performance, and unparalleled security — something they can easily extend to their customers through Cloudflare.

Cloudflare for SaaS actually started out as SSL for SaaS. We built SSL for SaaS to give SaaS providers the ability to issue TLS certificates for their customers, keeping the SaaS provider’s customers safe and secure.

Since then, our SaaS customers have come to us with a new request: extend the mTLS support that we built out for our direct customers, but to their customers.

Why would SaaS providers want to use mTLS?

As a SaaS provider, there’s a wide range of services that you can provide. Some of these services require higher security controls than others.

Let’s say that the SaaS solution that you’re building is a payment processor. Each customer gets its own API endpoint that their users send requests to, for example, pay.<business_name>.com. As a payment processor, you don’t want any client or device to make requests to your service, instead you only want authorized devices to do so — mTLS does exactly that.

As the SaaS provider, you can configure a Root CA for each of your customers’ API endpoints. Then, have each Root CA issue client certificates that will be installed on authorized devices. Once the client certificates have been installed, all that is left is enforcing a check for valid certificates.

To recap, by doing this, as a SaaS provider, your customers can now ensure that requests bound for their payment processing API endpoint only come from valid devices. In addition, by deploying individual Root CAs for each customer, you also prevent clients that are authorized to make requests to one customers’ API endpoint from making requests to another customers’ API endpoint when they are not authorized to do so.

How can you set this up with Cloudflare?

As a SaaS provider, configure Cloudflare for SaaS and add your customer’s domains as Custom Hostnames. Then, in the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard, add mTLS authentication with a few clicks.

This feature is currently in Beta and is available for Enterprise customers to use. If you have any feedback, please let your Account Team know.

Security for SaaS providers

Post Syndicated from Dina Kozlov original https://blog.cloudflare.com/waf-for-saas/

Security for SaaS providers

Security for SaaS providers

Some of the largest Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers use Cloudflare as the underlying infrastructure to provide their customers with fast loading times, unparalleled redundancy, and the strongest security — all through our Cloudflare for SaaS product. Today, we’re excited to give our SaaS providers new tools that will help them enhance the security of their customers’ applications.

For our Enterprise customers, we’re bringing WAF for SaaS — the ability for SaaS providers to easily create and deploy different sets of WAF rules for their customers. This gives SaaS providers the ability to segment customers into different groups based on their security requirements.

For developers who are getting their application off the ground, we’re thrilled to announce a Free tier of Cloudflare for SaaS for the Free, Pro, and Biz plans, giving our customers 100 custom hostnames free of charge to provision and test across their account. In addition to that, we want to make it easier for developers to scale their applications, so we’re happy to announce that we are lowering our custom hostname price from \$2 to \$0.10 a month.

But that’s not all! At Cloudflare, we believe security should be available for all. That’s why we’re extending a new selection of WAF rules to Free customers — giving all customers the ability to secure both their applications and their customers’.

Making SaaS infrastructure available to all

At Cloudflare, we take pride in our Free tier which gives any customer the ability to make use of our Network to stay secure and online. We are eager to extend the same support to customers looking to build a new SaaS offering, giving them a Free tier of Cloudflare for SaaS and allowing them to onboard 100 custom hostnames at no charge. The 100 custom hostnames will be automatically allocated to new and existing Cloudflare for SaaS customers. Beyond that, we are also dropping the custom hostname price from \$2 to \$0.10 a month, giving SaaS providers the power to onboard and scale their application. Existing Cloudflare for SaaS customers will see the updated custom hostname pricing reflected in their next billing cycle.

Cloudflare for SaaS started as a TLS certificate issuance product for SaaS providers. Now, we’re helping our customers go a step further in keeping their customers safe and secure.

Introducing WAF for SaaS

SaaS providers may have varying customer bases — from mom-and-pop shops to well established banks. No matter the customer, it’s important that as a SaaS provider you’re able to extend the best protection for your customers, regardless of their size.

At Cloudflare, we have spent years building out the best Web Application Firewall for our customers. From managed rules that offer advanced zero-day vulnerability protections to OWASP rules that block popular attack techniques, we have given our customers the best tools to keep themselves protected. Now, we want to hand off the tools to our SaaS providers who are responsible for keeping their customer base safe and secure.

One of the benefits of Cloudflare for SaaS is that SaaS providers can configure security rules and settings on their SaaS zone which their customers automatically inherit. But one size does not fit all, which is why we are excited to give Enterprise customers the power to create various sets of WAF rules that they can then extend as different security packages to their customers — giving end users differing levels of protection depending on their needs.

Getting Started

WAF for SaaS can be easily set up. We have an example below that shows how you can configure different buckets of WAF rules to your various customers.

There’s no limit to the number of rulesets that you can create, so feel free to create a handful of configurations for your customers, or deploy one ruleset per customer — whatever works for you!

End-to-end example

Step 1 – Define custom hostname

Cloudflare for SaaS customers define their customer’s domains by creating custom hostnames. Custom hostnames indicate which domains need to be routed to the SaaS provider’s origin. Custom hostnames can define specific domains, like example.com, or they can extend to wildcards like *.example.com which allows subdomains under example.com to get routed to the SaaS service. WAF for SaaS supports both types of custom hostnames, so that SaaS providers have flexibility in choosing the scope of their protection.

The first step is to create a custom hostname to define your customer’s domain. This can be done through the dashboard or the API.

curl -X POST "https://api.cloudflare.com/client/v4/zones/{zone:id}/custom_hostnames" \
     -H "X-Auth-Email: {email}" -H "X-Auth-Key: {key}"\
     -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
     --data '{

"Hostname":{“example.com”},
"Ssl":{wildcard: true}
}'

Step 2 – Associate custom metadata to a custom hostname

Next, create an association between the custom hostnames — your customer’s domain — and the firewall ruleset that you’d like to attach to it.

This is done by associating a JSON blob to a custom hostname. Our product, Custom Metadata allows customers to easily do this via API.

In the example below, a JSON blob with two fields (“customer_id” and “security_level”) will be associated to each request for *.example.com and example.com.

There is no predetermined schema for custom metadata. Field names and structure are fully customisable based on our customer’s needs. In this example, we have chosen the tag “security_level” to which we expect to assign three values (low, medium or high). These will, in turn, trigger three different sets of rules.

curl -sXPATCH "https://api.cloudflare.com/client/v4/zones/{zone:id}/custom_hostnames/{custom_hostname:id}"\
    -H "X-Auth-Email: {email}" -H "X-Auth-Key: {key}"\
    -H "Content-Type: application/json"\
    -d '{
"Custom_metadata":{
"customer_id":"12345",
“security_level”: “low”
}
}'

Step 3 – Trigger security products based on tags

Finally, you can trigger a rule based on the custom hostname. The custom metadata field e.g. “security_level” is available in the Ruleset Engine where the WAF runs. In this example, “security_level” can be used to trigger different configurations of products such as WAF, Firewall Rules, Advanced Rate Limiting and Transform Rules.

Rules can be built through the dashboard or via the API, as shown below. Here, a rate limiting rule is triggered on traffic with “security_level” set to low.

curl -X PUT "https://api.cloudflare.com/client/v4/zones/{zone:id}/rulesets/phases/http_ratelimit/entrypoint" \
    -H "X-Auth-Email: {email}" -H "X-Auth-Key: {key}"\
    -H "Content-Type: application/json"\
    -d '{

"rules": [
              {
                "action": "block",
                "ratelimit": {
                  "characteristics": [
                    "cf.colo.id",
                    "ip.src"
                  ],
                  "period": 10,
                  "requests_per_period": 2,
                  "mitigation_timeout": 60
                },
                "expression": "lookup_json_string(cf.hostname.metadata, \"security_level\") eq \"low\" and http.request.uri contains \"login\""
              }
            ]
          }}'

If you’d like to learn more about our Advanced Rate Limiting rules, check out our documentation.

Security for SaaS providers

Conclusion

We’re excited to be the provider for our SaaS customers’ infrastructure needs. From custom domains to TLS certificates to Web Application Firewall, we’re here to help. Sign up for Cloudflare for SaaS today, or if you’re an Enterprise customer, reach out to your account team to get started with WAF for SaaS.

Security practices in AWS multi-tenant SaaS environments

Post Syndicated from Keith P original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/security-practices-in-aws-multi-tenant-saas-environments/

Securing software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications is a top priority for all application architects and developers. Doing so in an environment shared by multiple tenants can be even more challenging. Identity frameworks and concepts can take time to understand, and forming tenant isolation in these environments requires deep understanding of different tools and services.

While security is a foundational element of any software application, specific considerations apply to SaaS applications. This post dives into the challenges, opportunities and best practices for securing multi-tenant SaaS environments on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

SaaS application security considerations

Single tenant applications are often deployed for a specific customer, and typically only deal with this single entity. While security is important in these environments, the threat profile does not include potential access by other customers. Multi-tenant SaaS applications have unique security considerations when compared to single tenant applications.

In particular, multi-tenant SaaS applications must pay special attention to identity and tenant isolation. These considerations are in addition to the security measures all applications must take. This blog post reviews concepts related to identity and tenant isolation, and how AWS can help SaaS providers build secure applications.

Identity

SaaS applications are accessed by individual principals (often referred to as users). These principals may be interactive (for example, through a web application) or machine-based (for example, through an API). Each principal is uniquely identified, and is usually associated with information about the principal, including email address, name, role and other metadata.

In addition to the unique identification of each individual principal, a SaaS application has another construct: a tenant. A paper on multi-tenancy defines a tenant as a group of one or more users sharing the same view on an application they use. This view may differ for different tenants. Each individual principal is associated with a tenant, even if it is only a 1:1 mapping. A tenant is uniquely identified, and contains information about the tenant administrator, billing information and other metadata.

When a principal makes a request to a SaaS application, the principal provides their tenant and user identifier along with the request. The SaaS application validates this information and makes an authorization decision. In well-designed SaaS applications, this authorization step should not rely on a centralized authorization service. A centralized authorization service is a single point of failure in an application. If it fails, or is overwhelmed with requests, the application will no longer be able to process requests.

There are two key techniques to providing this type of experience in a SaaS application: using an identity provider (IdP) and representing identity or authorization in a token.

Using an Identity Provider (IdP)

In the past, some web applications often stored user information in a relational database table. When a principal authenticated successfully, the application issued a session ID. For subsequent requests, the principal passed the session ID to the application. The application made authorization decisions based on this session ID. Figure 1 provides an example of how this setup worked.

Figure 1 - An example of legacy application authentication.

Figure 1 – An example of legacy application authentication.

In applications larger than a simple web application, this pattern is suboptimal. Each request usually results in at least one database query or cache look up, creating a bottleneck on the data store holding the user or session information. Further, because of the tight coupling between the application and its user management, federation with external identity providers becomes difficult.

When designing your SaaS application, you should consider the use of an identity provider like Amazon Cognito, Auth0, or Okta. Using an identity provider offloads the heavy lifting required for managing identity by having user authentication, including federation, handled by external identity providers. Figure 2 provides an example of how a SaaS provider can use an identity provider in place of the self-managed solution shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2 – An example of an authentication flow that involves an identity provider.

Figure 2 – An example of an authentication flow that involves an identity provider.

Once a user authenticates with an identity provider, the identity provider issues a standardized token. This token is the same regardless of how a user authenticates, which means your application does not need to build in support for multiple different authentication methods tenants might use.

Identity providers also commonly support federated access. Federated access means that a third party maintains the identities, but the identity provider has a trust relationship with this third party. When a customer tries to log in with an identity managed by the third party, the SaaS application’s identity provider handles the authentication transaction with the third-party identity provider.

This authentication transaction commonly uses a protocol like Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0. The SaaS application’s identity provider manages the interaction with the tenant’s identity provider. The SaaS application’s identity provider issues a token in a format understood by the SaaS application. Figure 3 provides an example of how a SaaS application can provide support for federation using an identity provider.

Figure 3 - An example of authentication that involves a tenant-provided identity provider

Figure 3 – An example of authentication that involves a tenant-provided identity provider

For an example, see How to set up Amazon Cognito for federated authentication using Azure AD.

Representing identity with tokens

Identity is usually represented by signed tokens. JSON Web Signatures (JWS), often referred to as JSON Web Tokens (JWT), are signed JSON objects used in web applications to demonstrate that the bearer is authorized to access a particular resource. These JSON objects are signed by the identity provider, and can be validated without querying a centralized database or service.

The token contains several key-value pairs, called claims, which are issued by the identity provider. Besides several claims relating to the issuance and expiration of the token, the token can also contain information about the individual principal and tenant.

Sample access token claims

The example below shows the claims section of a typical access token issued by Amazon Cognito in JWT format.

{
  "sub": "aaaaaaaa-bbbb-cccc-dddd-eeeeeeeeeeee",
  "cognito:groups": [
"TENANT-1"
  ],
  "token_use": "access",
  "auth_time": 1562190524,
  "iss": "https://cognito-idp.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/us-west-2_example",
  "exp": 1562194124,
  "iat": 1562190524,
  "origin_jti": "bbbbbbbbb-cccc-dddd-eeee-aaaaaaaaaaaa",
  "jti": "cccccccc-dddd-eeee-aaaa-bbbbbbbbbbbb",
  "client_id": "12345abcde",

The principal, and the tenant the principal is associated with, are represented in this token by the combination of the user identifier (the sub claim) and the tenant ID in the cognito:groups claim. In this example, the SaaS application represents a tenant by creating a Cognito group per tenant. Other identity providers may allow you to add a custom attribute to a user that is reflected in the access token.

When a SaaS application receives a JWT as part of a request, the application validates the token and unpacks its contents to make authorization decisions. The claims within the token set what is known as the tenant context. Much like the way environment variables can influence a command line application, the tenant context influences how the SaaS application processes the request.

By using a JWT, the SaaS application can process a request without frequent reference to an external identity provider or other centralized service.

Tenant isolation

Tenant isolation is foundational to every SaaS application. Each SaaS application must ensure that one tenant cannot access another tenant’s resources. The SaaS application must create boundaries that adequately isolate one tenant from another.

Determining what constitutes sufficient isolation depends on your domain, deployment model and any applicable compliance frameworks. The techniques for isolating tenants from each other depend on the isolation model and the applications you use. This section provides an overview of tenant isolation strategies.

Your deployment model influences isolation

How an application is deployed influences how tenants are isolated. SaaS applications can use three types of isolation: silo, pool, and bridge.

Silo deployment model

The silo deployment model involves customers deploying one set of infrastructure per tenant. Depending on the application, this may mean a VPC-per-tenant, a set of containers per tenant, or some other resource that is deployed for each tenant. In this model, there is one deployment per tenant, though there may be some shared infrastructure for cross-tenant administration. Figure 4 shows an example of a siloed deployment that uses a VPC-per-tenant model.

Figure 4 - An example of a siloed deployment that provisions a VPC-per-tenant

Figure 4 – An example of a siloed deployment that provisions a VPC-per-tenant

Pool deployment model

The pool deployment model involves a shared set of infrastructure for all tenants. Tenant isolation is implemented logically in the application through application-level constructs. Rather than having separate resources per tenant, isolation enforcement occurs within the application. Figure 5 shows an example of a pooled deployment model that uses serverless technologies.

Figure 5 - An example of a pooled deployment model using serverless technologies

Figure 5 – An example of a pooled deployment model using serverless technologies

In Figure 5, an AWS Lambda function that retrieves an item from an Amazon DynamoDB table shared by all tenants needs temporary credentials issued by the AWS Security Token Service. These credentials only allow the requester to access items in the table that belong to the tenant making the request. A requester gets these credentials by assuming an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role. This allows a SaaS application to share the underlying infrastructure, while still isolating tenants from one another. See Isolation enforcement depends on service below for more details on this pattern.

Bridge deployment model

The bridge model combines elements of both the silo and pool models. Some resources may be separate, others may be shared. For example, suppose your application has a shared application layer and an Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) instance per tenant. The application layer evaluates each request and connects to the database for the tenant that made the request.

This model is useful in a situation where each tenant may require a certain response time and one set of resources acts as a bottleneck. In the RDS example, the application layer could handle the requests imposed by the tenants, but a single RDS instance could not.

The decision on which isolation model to implement depends on your customer’s requirements, compliance needs or industry needs. You may find that some customers can be deployed onto a pool model, while larger customers may require their own silo deployment.

Your tiering strategy may also influence the type of isolation model you use. For example, a basic tier customer might be deployed onto pooled infrastructure, while an enterprise tier customer is deployed onto siloed infrastructure.

For more information about different tenant isolation models, read the tenant isolation strategies whitepaper.

Isolation enforcement depends on service

Most SaaS applications will need somewhere to store state information. This could be a relational database, a NoSQL database, or some other storage medium which persists state. SaaS applications built on AWS use various mechanisms to enforce tenant isolation when accessing a persistent storage medium.

IAM provides fine grain access controls access for the AWS API. Some services, like Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and DynamoDB, provide the ability to control access to individual objects or items with IAM policies. When possible, your application should use IAM’s built-in functionality to limit access to tenant resources. See Isolating SaaS Tenants with Dynamically Generated IAM Policies for more information about using IAM to implement tenant isolation.

AWS IAM also offers the ability to restrict access to resources based on tags. This is known as attribute-based access control (ABAC). This technique allows you to apply tags to supported resources, and make access control decisions based on which tags are applied. This is a more scalable access control mechanism than role-based access control (RBAC), because you do not need to modify an IAM policy each time a resource is added or removed. See How to implement SaaS tenant isolation with ABAC and AWS IAM for more information about how this can be applied to a SaaS application.

Some relational databases offer features that can enforce tenant isolation. For example, PostgreSQL offers a feature called row level security (RLS). Depending on the context in which the query is sent to the database, only tenant-specific items are returned in the results. See Multi-tenant data isolation with PostgreSQL Row Level Security for more information about row level security in PostgreSQL.

Other persistent storage mediums do not have fine grain permission models. They may, however, offer some kind of state container per tenant. For example, when using MongoDB, each tenant is assigned a MongoDB user and a MongoDB database. The secret associated with the user can be stored in AWS Secrets Manager. When retrieving a tenant’s data, the SaaS application first retrieves the secret, then authenticates with MongoDB. This creates tenant isolation because the associated credentials only have permission to access collections in a tenant-specific database.

Generally, if the persistent storage medium you’re using offers its own permission model that can enforce tenant isolation, you should use it, since this keeps you from having to implement isolation in your application. However, there may be cases where your data store does not offer this level of isolation. In this situation, you would need to write application-level tenant isolation enforcement. Application-level tenant isolation means that the SaaS application, rather than the persistent storage medium, makes sure that one tenant cannot access another tenant’s data.

Conclusion

This post reviews the challenges, opportunities and best practices for the unique security considerations associated with a multi-tenant SaaS application, and describes specific identity considerations, as well as tenant isolation methods.

If you’d like to know more about the topics above, the AWS Well-Architected SaaS Lens Security pillar dives deep on performance management in SaaS environments. It also provides best practices and resources to help you design and improve performance efficiency in your SaaS application.

Get Started with the AWS Well-Architected SaaS Lens

The AWS Well-Architected SaaS Lens focuses on SaaS workloads, and is intended to drive critical thinking for developing and operating SaaS workloads. Each question in the lens has a list of best practices, and each best practice has a list of improvement plans to help guide you in implementing them.

The lens can be applied to existing workloads, or used for new workloads you define in the tool. You can use it to improve the application you’re working on, or to get visibility into multiple workloads used by the department or area you’re working with.

The SaaS Lens is available in all Regions where the AWS Well-Architected Tool is offered, as described in the AWS Regional Services List. There are no costs for using the AWS Well-Architected Tool.

If you’re an AWS customer, find current AWS Partners that can conduct a review by learning about AWS Well-Architected Partners and AWS SaaS Competency Partners.

 
If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions about this post, start a new thread on the Security Hub forum. To start your 30-day free trial of Security Hub, visit AWS Security Hub.

Want more AWS Security how-to content, news, and feature announcements? Follow us on Twitter.

Keith P

Keith is a senior partner solutions architect on the SaaS Factory team.

Andy Powell

Andy is the global lead partner for solutions architecture on the SaaS Factory team.

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

Post Syndicated from Dina Kozlov original https://blog.cloudflare.com/whats-new-with-cloudflare-for-saas/

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

This past April, we announced the Cloudflare for SaaS Beta which makes our SSL for SaaS product available to everyone. This allows any customer — from first-time developers to large enterprises — to use Cloudflare for SaaS to extend our full product suite to their own customers. SSL for SaaS is the subset of Cloudflare for SaaS features that focus on a customer’s Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) needs.

Today, we’re excited to announce all the customizations that our team has been working on for our Enterprise customers — for both Cloudflare for SaaS and SSL for SaaS.

Let’s start with the basics — the common SaaS setup

If you’re running a SaaS company, your solution might exist as a subdomain of your SaaS website, e.g. template.<mysaas>.com, but ideally, your solution would allow the customer to use their own vanity hostname for it, such as example.com.

The most common way to begin using a SaaS company’s service is to point a CNAME DNS record to the subdomain that the SaaS provider has created for your application. This ensures traffic gets to the right place, and it allows the SaaS provider to make infrastructure changes without involving your end customers.

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

We kept this in mind when we built our SSL for SaaS a few years ago. SSL for SaaS takes away the burden of certificate issuance and management from the SaaS provider by proxying traffic through Cloudflare’s edge. All the SaaS provider needs to do is onboard their zone to Cloudflare and ask their end customers to create a CNAME to the SaaS zone — something they were already doing.

The big benefit of giving your customers a CNAME record (instead of a fixed IP address) is that it gives you, the SaaS provider, more flexibility and control. It allows you to seamlessly change the IP address of your server in the background. For example, if your IP gets blocked by ISP providers, you can update that address on your customers’ behalf with a CNAME record. With a fixed A record, you rely on each of your customers to make a change.

While the CNAME record works great for most customers, some came back and wanted to bypass the limitation that CNAME records present. RFC 1912 states that CNAME records cannot coexist with other DNS records, so in most cases, you cannot have a CNAME at the root of your domain, e.g. example.com. Instead, the CNAME needs to exist at the subdomain level, i.e. www.example.com. Some DNS providers (including Cloudflare) bypass this restriction through a method called CNAME flattening.

Since SaaS providers have no control over the DNS provider that their customers are using, the feedback they got from their customers was that they wanted to use the apex of their zone and not the subdomain. So when our SaaS customers came back asking us for a solution, we delivered. We call it Apex Proxying.

Apex Proxying

For our SaaS customers who want to allow their customers to proxy their apex to their zone, regardless of which DNS provider they are using, we give them the option of Apex Proxying. Apex Proxying is an SSL for SaaS feature that gives SaaS providers a pair of IP addresses to provide to their customers when CNAME records do not work for them.

Cloudflare starts by allocating a dedicated set of IPs for the SaaS provider. The SaaS provider then gives their customers these IPs that they can add as A or AAAA DNS records, allowing them to proxy traffic directly from the apex of their zone.

While this works for most, some of our customers want more flexibility. They want to have multiple IPs that they can change, or they want to assign different sets of customers to different buckets of IPs. For those customers, we give them the option to bring their own IP range, so they control the IP allocation for their application.

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

Bring Your Own IPs

Last year, we announced Bring Your Own IP (BYOIP), which allows customers to bring their own IP range for Cloudflare to announce at our edge. One of the benefits of BYOIP is that it allows SaaS customers to allocate that range to their account and then, instead of having a few IPs that their customers can point to, they can distribute all the IPs in their range.

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

SaaS customers often require granular control of how their IPs are allocated to different zones that belong to different customers. With 256 IPs to use, you have the flexibility to either group customers together or to give them dedicated IPs. It’s up to you!

While we’re on the topic of grouping customers, let’s talk about how you might want to do this when sending traffic to your origin.

Custom Origin Support

When setting up Cloudflare for SaaS, you indicate your fallback origin, which defines the origin that all of your Custom Hostnames are routed to. This origin can be defined by an IP address or point to a load balancer defined in the zone. However, you might not want to route all customers to the same origin. Instead, you want to route different customers (or custom hostnames) to different origins — either because you want to group customers together or to help you scale the origins supporting your application.

Our Enterprise customers can now choose a custom origin that is not the default fallback origin for any of their Custom Hostnames. Traditionally, this has been done by emailing your account manager and requesting custom logic at Cloudflare’s edge, a very cumbersome and outdated practice. But now, customers can easily indicate this in the UI or in their API requests.

Wildcard Support

Oftentimes, SaaS providers have customers that don’t just want their domain to stay protected and encrypted, but also the subdomains that fall under it.

We wanted to give our Enterprise customers the flexibility to extend this benefit to their end customers by offering wildcard support for Custom Hostnames.

Wildcard Custom Hostnames extend the Custom Hostname’s configuration from a specific hostname — e.g. “blog.example.com” — to the next level of subdomains of that hostname, e.g. “*.blog.example.com”.

To create a Custom Hostname with a wildcard, you can either indicate Enable wildcard support when creating a Custom Hostname in the Cloudflare dashboard or when you’re creating a Custom Hostname through the API, indicate wildcard: “true”.

What’s new with Cloudflare for SaaS?

Now let’s switch gears to TLS certificate management and the improvements our team has been working on.

TLS Management for All

SSL for SaaS was built to reduce the burden of certificate management for SaaS providers. The initial functionality was meant to serve most customers and their need to issue, maintain, and renew certificates on their customers’ behalf. But one size does not fit all, and some of our customers have more specific needs for their certificate management — and we want to make sure we accommodate them.

CSR Support/Custom certs

One of the superpowers of SSL for SaaS is that it allows Cloudflare to manage all the certificate issuance and renewals on behalf of our customers and their customers. However, some customers want to allow their end customers to upload their own certificates.

For example, a bank may only trust certain certificate authorities (CAs) for their certificate issuance. Alternatively, the SaaS provider may have initially built out TLS support for their customers and now their customers expect that functionality to be available. Regardless of the reasoning, we have given our customers a few options that satisfy these requirements.

For customers who want to maintain control over their TLS private keys or give their customers the flexibility to use their certification authority (CA) of choice, we allow the SaaS provider to upload their customer’s certificate.

If you are a SaaS provider and one of your customers does not allow third parties to generate keys on their behalf, then you want to allow that customer to upload their own certificate. Cloudflare allows SaaS providers to upload their customers’ certificates to any of their custom hostnames — in just one API call!

Some SaaS providers never want a person to see private key material, but want to be able to use the CA of their choice. They can do so by generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for their Custom Hostnames, and then either use those CSRs themselves to order certificates for their customers or relay the CSRs to their customers so that they can provision their own certificates. In either case, the SaaS provider is able to then upload the certificate for the Custom Hostname after the certificate has been issued from their customer’s CA for use at Cloudflare’s edge.

Custom Metadata

For our customers who need to customize their configuration to handle specific rules for their customer’s domains, they can do so by using Custom Metadata and Workers.

By adding metadata to an individual custom hostname and then deploying a Worker to read the data, you can use the Worker to customize per-hostname behavior.

Some customers use this functionality to add a customer_id field to each custom hostname that they then send in a request header to their origin. Another way to use this is to set headers like HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) on a per-customer basis.

Saving the best for last: Analytics!

Tomorrow, we have a very special announcement about how you can now get more visibility into your customers’ traffic and — more importantly —  how you can share this information back to them.

Interested? Reach out!

If you’re an Enterprise customer, and you’re interested in any of these features, reach out to your account team to get access today!

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

Post Syndicated from Kenny Johnson original https://blog.cloudflare.com/access-saas-integrations/

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

Most teams start that journey by moving the applications that lived on their private networks into this Zero Trust model. Instead of a private network where any user on the network is assumed to be trusted, the applications that use Cloudflare Access now check every attempt against the rules you create. For your end users, this makes these applications just feel like regular SaaS apps, while your security teams have full control and logs.

However, we kept hearing from teams that wanted to use their Access control plane to apply consistent security controls to their SaaS apps, and consolidate logs from self-hosted and SaaS in one place.

We’re excited to give your team the tools to solve that challenge. With Access in front of your SaaS applications, you can build Zero Trust rules that determine who can reach your SaaS applications in the same place where your rules for self-hosted applications and network access live. To make that easier, we are launching guided integrations with the Amazon Web Services (AWS) management console, Zendesk, and Salesforce. In just a few minutes, your team can apply a Zero Trust layer over every resource you use and ensure your logs never miss a request.

How it works

Cloudflare Access secures applications that you host by becoming the authoritative DNS for the application itself. All DNS queries, and subsequent HTTP requests, hit Cloudflare’s network first. Once there, Cloudflare can apply the types of identity-aware and context-driven rules that make it possible to move to a Zero Trust model. Enforcing these rules in our network means your application doesn’t need to change. You can secure it on Cloudflare, integrate your single sign-on (SSO) provider and other systems like Crowdstrike and Tanium, and begin building rules.

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

SaaS applications pose a different type of challenge. You do not control where your SaaS applications are hosted — and that’s a big part of the value. You don’t need to worry about maintaining the hardware or software of the application.

However, that also means that your team cannot control how users reach those resources. In most cases, any user on the Internet can attempt to log in. Even if you incorporate SSO authentication or IP-based allowlisting, you might not have the ability to add location or device rules. You also have no way to centrally capture logs of user behavior on a per-request basis. Logging and permissions vary across SaaS applications — some are quite granular while others have non-existent controls and logging.

Cloudflare Access for SaaS solves that problem by injecting Zero Trust checks into the SSO flow for any application that supports SAML authentication. When users visit your SaaS application and attempt to log in, they are redirected through Cloudflare and then to your identity provider. They authenticate with your identity provider and are sent back to Cloudflare, where we layer on additional rules like device posture, multi factor method, and country of login. If the user meets all the requirements, Cloudflare converts the user’s authentication with your identity provider into a SAML assertion that we send to the SaaS application.

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

We built support for SaaS applications by using Workers to take the JWT and convert its content into SAML assertions that are sent to the SaaS application. The application thinks that Cloudflare Access is the identity provider, even though we’re just aggregating identity signals from your SSO provider and other sources into the JWT, and sending that summary to the app via SAML. All of this leverages Cloudflare’s global network and ensures users do not see a performance penalty.

Enforcing managed devices and Gateway for SaaS applications

COVID-19 made it commonplace for employees to work from anywhere and, more concerning, from any device. Many SaaS applications contain sensitive data that should only be accessed with a corporately managed device. A benefit of SaaS tools is that they’re readily available from any device, it’s up to security administrators to enforce which devices can be used to log in.

Once Access for SaaS has been configured as the SSO provider for SaaS applications, policies that verify a device can be configured. You can then lock a tool like Salesforce down to only users with a device that has a known serial number, hard auth key plugged in, an up to date operating system and much more.

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

Cloudflare Gateway keeps your users and data safe from threats on the Internet by filtering Internet-bound connections that leave laptops and offices. Gateway gives administrators the ability to block, allow, or log every connection and request to SaaS applications.

However, users are connecting from personal devices and home WiFi networks, potentially bypassing Internet security filtering available on corporate networks. If users have their password and MFA token, they can bypass security requirements and reach into SaaS applications from their own, unprotected devices at home.

Zero Trust controls for your SaaS applications

To ensure traffic to your SaaS apps only connects over Gateway-protected devices, Cloudflare Access will add a new rule type that requires Gateway when users login to your SaaS applications. Once enabled, users will only be able to connect to your SaaS applications when they use Cloudflare Gateway. Gateway will log those connections and provide visibility into every action within SaaS apps and the Internet.

Getting started and what’s next

It’s easy to get started with setting up Access for SaaS application. Visit the Cloudflare for Teams Dashboard and follow one of our published guides.

We will make it easier to protect SaaS applications and will soon be supporting configuration via metadata files. We will also continue to publish SaaS app specific integration guides. Are there specific applications you’ve been trying to integrate? Let us know in the community!

Implement tenant isolation for Amazon S3 and Aurora PostgreSQL by using ABAC

Post Syndicated from Ashutosh Upadhyay original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/implement-tenant-isolation-for-amazon-s3-and-aurora-postgresql-by-using-abac/

In software as a service (SaaS) systems, which are designed to be used by multiple customers, isolating tenant data is a fundamental responsibility for SaaS providers. The practice of isolation of data in a multi-tenant application platform is called tenant isolation. In this post, we describe an approach you can use to achieve tenant isolation in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition databases by implementing attribute-based access control (ABAC). You can also adapt the same approach to achieve tenant isolation in other AWS services.

ABAC in Amazon Web Services (AWS), which uses tags to store attributes, offers advantages over the traditional role-based access control (RBAC) model. You can use fewer permissions policies, update your access control more efficiently as you grow, and last but not least, apply granular permissions for various AWS services. These granular permissions help you to implement an effective and coherent tenant isolation strategy for your customers and clients. Using the ABAC model helps you scale your permissions and simplify the management of granular policies. The ABAC model reduces the time and effort it takes to maintain policies that allow access to only the required resources.

The solution we present here uses the pool model of data partitioning. The pool model helps you avoid the higher costs of duplicated resources for each tenant and the specialized infrastructure code required to set up and maintain those copies.

Solution overview

In a typical customer environment where this solution is implemented, the tenant request for access might land at Amazon API Gateway, together with the tenant identifier, which in turn calls an AWS Lambda function. The Lambda function is envisaged to be operating with a basic Lambda execution role. This Lambda role should also have permissions to assume the tenant roles. As the request progresses, the Lambda function assumes the tenant role and makes the necessary calls to Amazon S3 or to an Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database. This solution helps you to achieve tenant isolation for objects stored in Amazon S3 and data elements stored in an Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster.

Figure 1 shows the tenant isolation architecture for both Amazon S3 and Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible databases.

Figure 1: Tenant isolation architecture diagram

Figure 1: Tenant isolation architecture diagram

As shown in the numbered diagram steps, the workflow for Amazon S3 tenant isolation is as follows:

  1. AWS Lambda sends an AWS Security Token Service (AWS STS) assume role request to AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM).
  2. IAM validates the request and returns the tenant role.
  3. Lambda sends a request to Amazon S3 with the assumed role.
  4. Amazon S3 sends the response back to Lambda.

The diagram also shows the workflow steps for tenant isolation for Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible databases, as follows:

  1. Lambda sends an STS assume role request to IAM.
  2. IAM validates the request and returns the tenant role.
  3. Lambda sends a request to IAM for database authorization.
  4. IAM validates the request and returns the database password token.
  5. Lambda sends a request to the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database with the database user and password token.
  6. Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database returns the response to Lambda.

Prerequisites

For this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:

  1. An AWS account for your workload.
  2. An Amazon S3 bucket.
  3. An Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible cluster with a database created.

    Note: Make sure to note down the default master database user and password, and make sure that you can connect to the database from your desktop or from another server (for example, from Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances).

  4. A security group and inbound rules that are set up to allow an inbound PostgreSQL TCP connection (Port 5432) from Lambda functions. This solution uses regular non-VPC Lambda functions, and therefore the security group of the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster should allow an inbound PostgreSQL TCP connection (Port 5432) from anywhere (0.0.0.0/0).

Make sure that you’ve completed the prerequisites before proceeding with the next steps.

Deploy the solution

The following sections describe how to create the IAM roles, IAM policies, and Lambda functions that are required for the solution. These steps also include guidelines on the changes that you’ll need to make to the prerequisite components Amazon S3 and the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster.

Step 1: Create the IAM policies

In this step, you create two IAM policies with the required permissions for Amazon S3 and the Aurora PostgreSQL database.

To create the IAM policies

  1. Open the AWS Management Console.
  2. Choose IAM, choose Policies, and then choose Create policy.
  3. Use the following JSON policy document to create the policy. Replace the placeholder <111122223333> with the bucket name from your account.
    {
        "Version": "2012-10-17",
        "Statement": [
            {
                "Effect": "Allow",
                "Action": [
                    "s3:Get*",
                    "s3:List*"
                ],
                "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::sts-ti-demo-<111122223333>/${aws:PrincipalTag/s3_home}/*"
            }
        ]
    }
    

  4. Save the policy with the name sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy.

    Figure 2: Create the IAM policy for Amazon S3 (sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy)

    Figure 2: Create the IAM policy for Amazon S3 (sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy)

  5. Open the AWS Management Console.
  6. Choose IAM, choose Policies, and then choose Create policy.
  7. Use the following JSON policy document to create a second policy. This policy grants an IAM role permission to connect to an Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database through a database user that is IAM authenticated. Replace the placeholders with the appropriate Region, account number, and cluster resource ID of the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster, respectively.
{
    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
        {
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Action": [
                "rds-db:connect"
            ],
            "Resource": [
                "arn:aws:rds-db:<us-west-2>:<111122223333>:dbuser:<cluster- ZTISAAAABBBBCCCCDDDDEEEEL4>/${aws:PrincipalTag/dbuser}"
            ]
        }
    ]
}
  • Save the policy with the name sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy.

    Figure 3: Create the IAM policy for Aurora PostgreSQL database (sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy)

    Figure 3: Create the IAM policy for Aurora PostgreSQL database (sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy)

Note: Make sure that you use the cluster resource ID for the clustered database. However, if you intend to adapt this solution for your Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible non-clustered database, you should use the instance resource ID instead.

Step 2: Create the IAM roles

In this step, you create two IAM roles for the two different tenants, and also apply the necessary permissions and tags.

To create the IAM roles

  1. In the IAM console, choose Roles, and then choose Create role.
  2. On the Trusted entities page, choose the EC2 service as the trusted entity.
  3. On the Permissions policies page, select sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy and sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy.
  4. On the Tags page, add two tags with the following keys and values.

    Tag key Tag value
    s3_home tenant1_home
    dbuser tenant1_dbuser
  5. On the Review screen, name the role assumeRole-tenant1, and then choose Save.
  6. In the IAM console, choose Roles, and then choose Create role.
  7. On the Trusted entities page, choose the EC2 service as the trusted entity.
  8. On the Permissions policies page, select sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy and sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy.
  9. On the Tags page, add two tags with the following keys and values.

    Tag key Tag value
    s3_home tenant2_home
    dbuser tenant2_dbuser
  10. On the Review screen, name the role assumeRole-tenant2, and then choose Save.

Step 3: Create and apply the IAM policies for the tenants

In this step, you create a policy and a role for the Lambda functions. You also create two separate tenant roles, and establish a trust relationship with the role that you created for the Lambda functions.

To create and apply the IAM policies for tenant1

  1. In the IAM console, choose Policies, and then choose Create policy.
  2. Use the following JSON policy document to create the policy. Replace the placeholder <111122223333> with your AWS account number.
    {
        "Version": "2012-10-17",
        "Statement": [
            {
                "Sid": "VisualEditor0",
                "Effect": "Allow",
                "Action": "sts:AssumeRole",
                "Resource": [
                    "arn:aws:iam::<111122223333>:role/assumeRole-tenant1",
                    "arn:aws:iam::<111122223333>:role/assumeRole-tenant2"
                ]
            }
        ]
    }
    

  3. Save the policy with the name sts-ti-demo-assumerole-policy.
  4. In the IAM console, choose Roles, and then choose Create role.
  5. On the Trusted entities page, select the Lambda service as the trusted entity.
  6. On the Permissions policies page, select sts-ti-demo-assumerole-policy and AWSLambdaBasicExecutionRole.
  7. On the review screen, name the role sts-ti-demo-lambda-role, and then choose Save.
  8. In the IAM console, go to Roles, and enter assumeRole-tenant1 in the search box.
  9. Select the assumeRole-tenant1 role and go to the Trust relationship tab.
  10. Choose Edit the trust relationship, and replace the existing value with the following JSON document. Replace the placeholder <111122223333> with your AWS account number, and choose Update trust policy to save the policy.
    {
      "Version": "2012-10-17",
      "Statement": [
        {
          "Effect": "Allow",
          "Principal": {
            "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::<111122223333>:role/sts-ti-demo-lambda-role"
          },
          "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"
        }
      ]
    }
    

To verify that the policies are applied correctly for tenant1

In the IAM console, go to Roles, and enter assumeRole-tenant1 in the search box. Select the assumeRole-tenant1 role and on the Permissions tab, verify that sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy and sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy appear in the list of policies, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: The assumeRole-tenant1 Permissions tab

Figure 4: The assumeRole-tenant1 Permissions tab

On the Trust relationships tab, verify that sts-ti-demo-lambda-role appears under Trusted entities, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5: The assumeRole-tenant1 Trust relationships tab

Figure 5: The assumeRole-tenant1 Trust relationships tab

On the Tags tab, verify that the following tags appear, as shown in Figure 6.

Tag key Tag value
dbuser tenant1_dbuser
s3_home tenant1_home

 

Figure 6: The assumeRole-tenant1 Tags tab

Figure 6: The assumeRole-tenant1 Tags tab

To create and apply the IAM policies for tenant2

  1. In the IAM console, go to Roles, and enter assumeRole-tenant2 in the search box.
  2. Select the assumeRole-tenant2 role and go to the Trust relationship tab.
  3. Edit the trust relationship, replacing the existing value with the following JSON document. Replace the placeholder <111122223333> with your AWS account number.
    {
      "Version": "2012-10-17",
      "Statement": [
        {
          "Effect": "Allow",
          "Principal": {
            "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::<111122223333>:role/sts-ti-demo-lambda-role"
          },
          "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"
        }
      ]
    }
    

  4. Choose Update trust policy to save the policy.

To verify that the policies are applied correctly for tenant2

In the IAM console, go to Roles, and enter assumeRole-tenant2 in the search box. Select the assumeRole-tenant2 role and on the Permissions tab, verify that sts-ti-demo-dbuser-policy and sts-ti-demo-s3-access-policy appear in the list of policies, you did for tenant1. On the Trust relationships tab, verify that sts-ti-demo-lambda-role appears under Trusted entities.

On the Tags tab, verify that the following tags appear, as shown in Figure 7.

Tag key Tag value
dbuser tenant2_dbuser
s3_home tenant2_home
Figure 7: The assumeRole-tenant2 Tags tab

Figure 7: The assumeRole-tenant2 Tags tab

Step 4: Set up an Amazon S3 bucket

Next, you’ll set up an S3 bucket that you’ll use as part of this solution. You can either create a new S3 bucket or re-purpose an existing one. The following steps show you how to create two user homes (that is, S3 prefixes, which are also known as folders) in the S3 bucket.

  1. In the AWS Management Console, go to Amazon S3 and select the S3 bucket you want to use.
  2. Create two prefixes (folders) with the names tenant1_home and tenant2_home.
  3. Place two test objects with the names tenant.info-tenant1_home and tenant.info-tenant2_home in the prefixes that you just created, respectively.

Step 5: Set up test objects in Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database

In this step, you create a table in Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition, insert tenant metadata, create a row level security (RLS) policy, create tenant users, and grant permission for testing purposes.

To set up Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible

  1. Connect to Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible through a client of your choice, using the master database user and password that you obtained at the time of cluster creation.
  2. Run the following commands to create a table for testing purposes and to insert a couple of testing records.
    CREATE TABLE tenant_metadata (
        tenant_id VARCHAR(30) PRIMARY KEY,
        email     VARCHAR(50) UNIQUE,
        status    VARCHAR(10) CHECK (status IN ('active', 'suspended', 'disabled')),
        tier      VARCHAR(10) CHECK (tier IN ('gold', 'silver', 'bronze')));
    
    INSERT INTO tenant_metadata (tenant_id, email, status, tier) 
    VALUES ('tenant1_dbuser','[email protected]','active','gold');
    INSERT INTO tenant_metadata (tenant_id, email, status, tier) 
    VALUES ('tenant2_dbuser','[email protected]','suspended','silver');
    ALTER TABLE tenant_metadata ENABLE ROW LEVEL SECURITY;
    

  3. Run the following command to query the newly created database table.
    SELECT * FROM tenant_metadata;
    

    Figure 8: The tenant_metadata table content

    Figure 8: The tenant_metadata table content

  4. Run the following command to create the row level security policy.
    CREATE POLICY tenant_isolation_policy ON tenant_metadata
    USING (tenant_id = current_user);
    

  5. Run the following commands to establish two tenant users and grant them the necessary permissions.
    CREATE USER tenant1_dbuser WITH LOGIN;
    CREATE USER tenant2_dbuser WITH LOGIN;
    GRANT rds_iam TO tenant1_dbuser;
    GRANT rds_iam TO tenant2_dbuser;
    
    GRANT select, insert, update, delete ON tenant_metadata to tenant1_dbuser, tenant2_dbuser;
    

  6. Run the following commands to verify the newly created tenant users.
    SELECT usename AS role_name,
      CASE
         WHEN usesuper AND usecreatedb THEN
           CAST('superuser, create database' AS pg_catalog.text)
         WHEN usesuper THEN
            CAST('superuser' AS pg_catalog.text)
         WHEN usecreatedb THEN
            CAST('create database' AS pg_catalog.text)
         ELSE
            CAST('' AS pg_catalog.text)
      END role_attributes
    FROM pg_catalog.pg_user
    WHERE usename LIKE (‘tenant%’)
    ORDER BY role_name desc;
    

    Figure 9: Verify the newly created tenant users output

    Figure 9: Verify the newly created tenant users output

Step 6: Set up the AWS Lambda functions

Next, you’ll create two Lambda functions for Amazon S3 and Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible. You also need to create a Lambda layer for the Python package PG8000.

To set up the Lambda function for Amazon S3

  1. Navigate to the Lambda console, and choose Create function.
  2. Choose Author from scratch. For Function name, enter sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda.
  3. For Runtime, choose Python 3.7.
  4. Change the default execution role to Use an existing role, and then select sts-ti-demo-lambda-role from the drop-down list.
  5. Keep Advanced settings as the default value, and then choose Create function.
  6. Copy the following Python code into the lambda_function.py file that is created in your Lambda function.
    import json
    import os
    import time 
    
    def lambda_handler(event, context):
        import boto3
        bucket_name     =   os.environ['s3_bucket_name']
    
        try:
            login_tenant_id =   event['login_tenant_id']
            data_tenant_id  =   event['s3_tenant_home']
        except:
            return {
                'statusCode': 400,
                'body': 'Error in reading parameters'
            }
    
        prefix_of_role  =   'assumeRole'
        file_name       =   'tenant.info' + '-' + data_tenant_id
    
        # create an STS client object that represents a live connection to the STS service
        sts_client = boto3.client('sts')
        account_of_role = sts_client.get_caller_identity()['Account']
        role_to_assume  =   'arn:aws:iam::' + account_of_role + ':role/' + prefix_of_role + '-' + login_tenant_id
    
        # Call the assume_role method of the STSConnection object and pass the role
        # ARN and a role session name.
        RoleSessionName = 'AssumeRoleSession' + str(time.time()).split(".")[0] + str(time.time()).split(".")[1]
        try:
            assumed_role_object = sts_client.assume_role(
                RoleArn         = role_to_assume, 
                RoleSessionName = RoleSessionName, 
                DurationSeconds = 900) #15 minutes
    
        except:
            return {
                'statusCode': 400,
                'body': 'Error in assuming the role ' + role_to_assume + ' in account ' + account_of_role
            }
    
        # From the response that contains the assumed role, get the temporary 
        # credentials that can be used to make subsequent API calls
        credentials=assumed_role_object['Credentials']
        
        # Use the temporary credentials that AssumeRole returns to make a connection to Amazon S3  
        s3_resource=boto3.resource(
            's3',
            aws_access_key_id=credentials['AccessKeyId'],
            aws_secret_access_key=credentials['SecretAccessKey'],
            aws_session_token=credentials['SessionToken']
        )
    
        try:
            obj = s3_resource.Object(bucket_name, data_tenant_id + "/" + file_name)
            return {
                'statusCode': 200,
                'body': obj.get()['Body'].read()
            }
        except:
            return {
                'statusCode': 400,
                'body': 'error in reading s3://' + bucket_name + '/' + data_tenant_id + '/' + file_name
            }
    

  7. Under Basic settings, edit Timeout to increase the timeout to 29 seconds.
  8. Edit Environment variables to add a key called s3_bucket_name, with the value set to the name of your S3 bucket.
  9. Configure a new test event with the following JSON document, and save it as testEvent.
    {
      "login_tenant_id": "tenant1",
      "s3_tenant_home": "tenant1_home"
    }
    

  10. Choose Test to test the Lambda function with the newly created test event testEvent. You should see status code 200, and the body of the results should contain the data for tenant1.

    Figure 10: The result of running the sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda function

    Figure 10: The result of running the sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda function

Next, create another Lambda function for Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible. To do this, you first need to create a new Lambda layer.

To set up the Lambda layer

  1. Use the following commands to create a .zip file for Python package pg8000.

    Note: This example is created by using an Amazon EC2 instance running the Amazon Linux 2 Amazon Machine Image (AMI). If you’re using another version of Linux or don’t have the Python 3 or pip3 packages installed, install them by using the following commands.

    sudo yum update -y 
    sudo yum install python3 
    sudo pip3 install pg8000 -t build/python/lib/python3.8/site-packages/ 
    cd build 
    sudo zip -r pg8000.zip python/
    

  2. Download the pg8000.zip file you just created to your local desktop machine or into an S3 bucket location.
  3. Navigate to the Lambda console, choose Layers, and then choose Create layer.
  4. For Name, enter pgdb, and then upload pg8000.zip from your local desktop machine or from the S3 bucket location.

    Note: For more details, see the AWS documentation for creating and sharing Lambda layers.

  5. For Compatible runtimes, choose python3.6, python3.7, and python3.8, and then choose Create.

To set up the Lambda function with the newly created Lambda layer

  1. In the Lambda console, choose Function, and then choose Create function.
  2. Choose Author from scratch. For Function name, enter sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda.
  3. For Runtime, choose Python 3.7.
  4. Change the default execution role to Use an existing role, and then select sts-ti-demo-lambda-role from the drop-down list.
  5. Keep Advanced settings as the default value, and then choose Create function.
  6. Choose Layers, and then choose Add a layer.
  7. Choose Custom layer, select pgdb with Version 1 from the drop-down list, and then choose Add.
  8. Copy the following Python code into the lambda_function.py file that was created in your Lambda function.
    import boto3
    import pg8000
    import os
    import time
    import ssl
    
    connection = None
    assumed_role_object = None
    rds_client = None
    
    def assume_role(event):
        global assumed_role_object
        try:
            RolePrefix  = os.environ.get("RolePrefix")
            LoginTenant = event['login_tenant_id']
        
            # create an STS client object that represents a live connection to the STS service
            sts_client      = boto3.client('sts')
            # Prepare input parameters
            role_to_assume  = 'arn:aws:iam::' + sts_client.get_caller_identity()['Account'] + ':role/' + RolePrefix + '-' + LoginTenant
            RoleSessionName = 'AssumeRoleSession' + str(time.time()).split(".")[0] + str(time.time()).split(".")[1]
        
            # Call the assume_role method of the STSConnection object and pass the role ARN and a role session name.
            assumed_role_object = sts_client.assume_role(
                RoleArn         =   role_to_assume, 
                RoleSessionName =   RoleSessionName,
                DurationSeconds =   900) #15 minutes 
            
            return assumed_role_object['Credentials']
        except Exception as e:
            print({'Role assumption failed!': {'role': role_to_assume, 'Exception': 'Failed due to :{0}'.format(str(e))}})
            return None
    
    def get_connection(event):
        global rds_client
        creds = assume_role(event)
    
        try:
            # create an RDS client using assumed credentials
            rds_client = boto3.client('rds',
                aws_access_key_id       = creds['AccessKeyId'],
                aws_secret_access_key   = creds['SecretAccessKey'],
                aws_session_token       = creds['SessionToken'])
    
            # Read the environment variables and event parameters
            DBEndPoint   = os.environ.get('DBEndPoint')
            DatabaseName = os.environ.get('DatabaseName')
            DBUserName   = event['dbuser']
    
            # Generates an auth token used to connect to a database with IAM credentials.
            pwd = rds_client.generate_db_auth_token(
                DBHostname=DBEndPoint, Port=5432, DBUsername=DBUserName, Region='us-west-2'
            )
    
            ssl_context             = ssl.SSLContext()
            ssl_context.verify_mode = ssl.CERT_REQUIRED
            ssl_context.load_verify_locations('rds-ca-2019-root.pem')
    
            # create a database connection
            conn = pg8000.connect(
                host        =   DBEndPoint,
                user        =   DBUserName,
                database    =   DatabaseName,
                password    =   pwd,
                ssl_context =   ssl_context)
            
            return conn
        except Exception as e:
            print ({'Database connection failed!': {'Exception': "Failed due to :{0}".format(str(e))}})
            return None
    
    def execute_sql(connection, query):
        try:
            cursor = connection.cursor()
            cursor.execute(query)
            columns = [str(desc[0]) for desc in cursor.description]
            results = []
            for res in cursor:
                results.append(dict(zip(columns, res)))
            cursor.close()
            retry = False
            return results    
        except Exception as e:
            print ({'Execute SQL failed!': {'Exception': "Failed due to :{0}".format(str(e))}})
            return None
    
    
    def lambda_handler(event, context):
        global connection
        try:
            connection = get_connection(event)
            if connection is None:
                return {'statusCode': 400, "body": "Error in database connection!"}
    
            response = {'statusCode':200, 'body': {
                'db & user': execute_sql(connection, 'SELECT CURRENT_DATABASE(), CURRENT_USER'), \
                'data from tenant_metadata': execute_sql(connection, 'SELECT * FROM tenant_metadata')}}
            return response
        except Exception as e:
            try:
                connection.close()
            except Exception as e:
                connection = None
            return {'statusCode': 400, 'statusDesc': 'Error!', 'body': 'Unhandled error in Lambda Handler.'}
    

  9. Add a certificate file called rds-ca-2019-root.pem into the Lambda project root by downloading it from https://s3.amazonaws.com/rds-downloads/rds-ca-2019-root.pem.
  10. Under Basic settings, edit Timeout to increase the timeout to 29 seconds.
  11. Edit Environment variables to add the following keys and values.

    Key Value
    DBEndPoint Enter the database cluster endpoint URL
    DatabaseName Enter the database name
    RolePrefix assumeRole
    Figure 11: Example of environment variables display

    Figure 11: Example of environment variables display

  12. Configure a new test event with the following JSON document, and save it as testEvent.
    {
      "login_tenant_id": "tenant1",
      "dbuser": "tenant1_dbuser"
    }
    

  13. Choose Test to test the Lambda function with the newly created test event testEvent. You should see status code 200, and the body of the results should contain the data for tenant1.

    Figure 12: The result of running the sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda function

    Figure 12: The result of running the sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda function

Step 7: Perform negative testing of tenant isolation

You already performed positive tests of tenant isolation during the Lambda function creation steps. However, it’s also important to perform some negative tests to verify the robustness of the tenant isolation controls.

To perform negative tests of tenant isolation

  1. In the Lambda console, navigate to the sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda function. Update the test event to the following, to mimic a scenario where tenant1 attempts to access other tenants’ objects.
    {
      "login_tenant_id": "tenant1",
      "s3_tenant_home": "tenant2_home"
    }
    

  2. Choose Test to test the Lambda function with the updated test event. You should see status code 400, and the body of the results should contain an error message.

    Figure 13: The results of running the sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda function (negative test)

    Figure 13: The results of running the sts-ti-demo-s3-lambda function (negative test)

  3. Navigate to the sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda function and update the test event to the following, to mimic a scenario where tenant1 attempts to access other tenants’ data elements.
    {
      "login_tenant_id": "tenant1",
      "dbuser": "tenant2_dbuser"
    }
    

  4. Choose Test to test the Lambda function with the updated test event. You should see status code 400, and the body of the results should contain an error message.

    Figure 14: The results of running the sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda function (negative test)

    Figure 14: The results of running the sts-ti-demo-pgdb-lambda function (negative test)

Cleaning up

To de-clutter your environment, remove the roles, policies, Lambda functions, Lambda layers, Amazon S3 prefixes, database users, and the database table that you created as part of this exercise. You can choose to delete the S3 bucket, as well as the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster that we mentioned in the Prerequisites section, to avoid incurring future charges.

Update the security group of the Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible database cluster to remove the inbound rule that you added to allow a PostgreSQL TCP connection (Port 5432) from anywhere (0.0.0.0/0).

Conclusion

By taking advantage of attribute-based access control (ABAC) in IAM, you can more efficiently implement tenant isolation in SaaS applications. The solution we presented here helps to achieve tenant isolation in Amazon S3 and Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible databases by using ABAC with the pool model of data partitioning.

If you run into any issues, you can use Amazon CloudWatch and AWS CloudTrail to troubleshoot. If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

To learn more, see these AWS Blog and AWS Support articles:

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Author

Ashutosh Upadhyay

Ashutosh works as a Senior Security, Risk, and Compliance Consultant in AWS Professional Services (GFS) and is based in Singapore. Ashutosh started off his career as a developer, and for the past many years has been working in the Security, Risk, and Compliance field. Ashutosh loves to spend his free time learning and playing with new technologies.

Author

Chirantan Saha

Chirantan works as a DevOps Engineer in AWS Professional Services (GFS) and is based in Singapore. Chirantan has 20 years of development and DevOps experience working for large banking, financial services, and insurance organizations. Outside of work, Chirantan enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and helping his children with their science projects.

How to implement SaaS tenant isolation with ABAC and AWS IAM

Post Syndicated from Michael Pelts original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-to-implement-saas-tenant-isolation-with-abac-and-aws-iam/

Multi-tenant applications must be architected so that the resources of each tenant are isolated and cannot be accessed by other tenants in the system. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is often a key element in achieving this goal. One of the challenges with using IAM, however, is that the number and complexity of IAM policies you need to support your tenants can grow rapidly and impact the scale and manageability of your isolation model. The attribute-based access control (ABAC) mechanism of IAM provides developers with a way to address this challenge.

In this blog post, we describe and provide detailed examples of how you can use ABAC in IAM to implement tenant isolation in a multi-tenant environment.

Choose an IAM isolation method

IAM makes it possible to implement tenant isolation and scope down permissions in a way that is integrated with other AWS services. By relying on IAM, you can create strong isolation foundations in your system, and reduce the risk of developers unintentionally introducing code that leads to a violation of tenant boundaries. IAM provides an AWS native, non-invasive way for you to achieve isolation for those cases where IAM supports policies that align with your overall isolation model.

There are several methods in IAM that you can use for isolating tenants and restricting access to resources. Choosing the right method for your application depends on several parameters. The number of tenants and the number of role definitions are two important dimensions that you should take into account.

Most applications require multiple role definitions for different user functions. A role definition refers to a minimal set of privileges that users or programmatic components need in order to do their job. For example, business users and data analysts would typically have different set of permissions to allow minimum necessary access to resources that they use.

In software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, in addition to functional boundaries, there are also boundaries between tenant resources. As a result, the entire set of role definitions exists for each individual tenant. In highly dynamic environments (e.g., collaboration scenarios with cross-tenant access), new role definitions can be added ad-hoc. In such a case, the number of role definitions and their complexity can grow significantly as the system evolves.

There are three main tenant isolation methods in IAM. Let’s briefly review them before focusing on the ABAC in the following sections.

Figure 1: IAM tenant isolation methods

Figure 1: IAM tenant isolation methods

RBAC – Each tenant has a dedicated IAM role or static set of IAM roles that it uses for access to tenant resources. The number of IAM roles in RBAC equals to the number of role definitions multiplied by the number of tenants. RBAC works well when you have a small number of tenants and relatively static policies. You may find it difficult to manage multiple IAM roles as the number of tenants and the complexity of the attached policies grows.

Dynamically generated IAM policies – This method dynamically generates an IAM policy for a tenant according to user identity. Choose this method in highly dynamic environments with changing or frequently added role definitions (e.g., tenant collaboration scenario). You may also choose dynamically generated policies if you have a preference for generating and managing IAM policies by using your code rather than relying on built-in IAM service features. You can find more details about this method in the blog post Isolating SaaS Tenants with Dynamically Generated IAM Policies.

ABAC – This method is suitable for a wide range of SaaS applications, unless your use case requires support for frequently changed or added role definitions, which are easier to manage with dynamically generated IAM policies. Unlike Dynamically generated IAM policies, where you manage and apply policies through a self-managed mechanism, ABAC lets you rely more directly on IAM.

ABAC for tenant isolation

ABAC is achieved by using parameters (attributes) to control tenant access to resources. Using ABAC for tenant isolation results in temporary access to resources, which is restricted according to the caller’s identity and attributes.

One of the key advantages of the ABAC model is that it scales to any number of tenants with a single role. This is achieved by using tags (such as the tenant ID) in IAM polices and a temporary session created specifically for accessing tenant data. The session encapsulates the attributes of the requesting entity (for example, a tenant user). At policy evaluation time, IAM replaces these tags with session attributes.

Another component of ABAC is the assignation of attributes to tenant resources by using special naming conventions or resource tags. The access to a resource is granted when session and resource attributes match (for example, a session with the TenantID: yellow attribute can access a resource that is tagged as TenantID: yellow).

For more information about ABAC in IAM, see What is ABAC for AWS?

ABAC in a typical SaaS architecture

To demonstrate how you can use ABAC in IAM for tenant isolation, we will walk you through an example of a typical microservices-based application. More specifically, we will focus on two microservices that implement a shipment tracking flow in a multi-tenant ecommerce application.

Our sample tenant, Yellow, which has many users in many roles, has exclusive access to shipment data that belongs to this particular tenant. To achieve this, all microservices in the call chain operate in a restricted context that prevents cross-tenant access.

Figure 2: Sample shipment tracking flow in a SaaS application

Figure 2: Sample shipment tracking flow in a SaaS application

Let’s take a closer look at the sequence of events and discuss the implementation in detail.

A shipment tracking request is initiated by an authenticated Tenant Yellow user. The authentication process is left out of the scope of this discussion for the sake of brevity. The user identity expressed in the JSON Web Token (JWT) includes custom claims, one of which is a TenantID. In this example, TenantID equals yellow.

The JWT is delivered from the user’s browser in the HTTP header of the Get Shipment request to the shipment service. The shipment service then authenticates the request and collects the required parameters for getting the shipment estimated time of arrival (ETA). The shipment service makes a GetShippingETA request using the parameters to the tracking service along with the JWT.

The tracking service manages shipment tracking data in a data repository. The repository stores data for all of the tenants, but each shipment record there has an attached TenantID resource tag, for instance yellow, as in our example.

An IAM role attached to the tracking service, called TrackingServiceRole in this example, determines the AWS resources that the microservice can access and the actions it can perform.

Note that TrackingServiceRole itself doesn’t have permissions to access tracking data in the data store. To get access to tracking records, the tracking service temporarily assumes another role called TrackingAccessRole. This role remains valid for a limited period of time, until credentials representing this temporary session expire.

To understand how this works, we need to talk first about the trust relationship between TrackingAccessRole and TrackingServiceRole. The following trust policy lists TrackingServiceRole as a trusted entity.

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Principal": {
        "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::<account-id>:role/TrackingServiceRole"
      },
      "Action": "sts:AssumeRole"
    },
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Principal": {
        "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::<account-id>:role/TrackingServiceRole"
      },
      "Action": "sts:TagSession",
      "Condition": {
        "StringLike": {
          "aws:RequestTag/TenantID": "*"
        }
      }
    }
  ]
}

This policy needs to be associated with TrackingAccessRole. You can do that on the Trust relationships tab of the Role Details page in the IAM console or via the AWS CLI update-assume-role-policy method. That association is what allows the tracking service with the attached TrackingServiceRole role to assume TrackingAccessRole. The policy also allows TrackingServiceRole to attach the TenantID session tag to the temporary sessions it creates.

Session tags are principal tags that you specify when you request a session. This is how you inject variables into the request context for API calls executed during the session. This is what allows IAM policies evaluated in subsequent API calls to reference TenantID with the aws:PrincipalTag context key.

Now let’s talk about TrackingAccessPolicy. It’s an identity policy attached to TrackingAccessRole. This policy makes use of the aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID key to dynamically scope access to a specific tenant.

Later in this post, you can see examples of such data access policies for three different data storage services.

Now the stage is set to see how the tracking service creates a temporary session and injects TenantID into the request context. The following Python function does that by using AWS SDK for Python (Boto3). The function gets the TenantID (extracted from the JWT) and the TrackingAccessRole Amazon Resource Name (ARN) as parameters and returns a scoped Boto3 session object.

import boto3

def create_temp_tenant_session(access_role_arn, session_name, tenant_id, duration_sec):
    """
    Create a temporary session
    :param access_role_arn: The ARN of the role that the caller is assuming
    :param session_name: An identifier for the assumed session
    :param tenant_id: The tenant identifier the session is created for
    :param duration_sec: The duration, in seconds, of the temporary session
    :return: The session object that allows you to create service clients and resources
    """
    sts = boto3.client('sts')
    assume_role_response = sts.assume_role(
        RoleArn=access_role_arn,
        DurationSeconds=duration_sec,
        RoleSessionName=session_name,
        Tags=[
            {
                'Key': 'TenantID',
                'Value': tenant_id
            }
        ]
    )
    session = boto3.Session(aws_access_key_id=assume_role_response['Credentials']['AccessKeyId'],
                    aws_secret_access_key=assume_role_response['Credentials']['SecretAccessKey'],
                    aws_session_token=assume_role_response['Credentials']['SessionToken'])
    return session

Use these parameters to create temporary sessions for a specific tenant with a duration that meets your needs.

access_role_arn – The assumed role with an attached templated policy. The IAM policy must include the aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID tag key.

session_name – The name of the session. Use the role session name to uniquely identify a session. The role session name is used in the ARN of the assumed role principal and included in the AWS CloudTrail logs.

tenant_id – The tenant identifier that describes which tenant the session is created for. For better compatibility with resource names in IAM policies, it’s recommended to generate non-guessable alphanumeric lowercase tenant identifiers.

duration_sec – The duration of your temporary session.

Note: The details of token management can be abstracted away from the application by extracting the token generation into a separate module, as described in the blog post Isolating SaaS Tenants with Dynamically Generated IAM Policies. In that post, the reusable application code for acquiring temporary session tokens is called a Token Vending Machine.

The returned session can be used to instantiate IAM-scoped objects such as a storage service. After the session is returned, any API call performed with the temporary session credentials contains the aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID key-value pair in the request context.

When the tracking service attempts to access tracking data, IAM completes several evaluation steps to determine whether to allow or deny the request. These include evaluation of the principal’s identity-based policy, which is, in this example, represented by TrackingAccessPolicy. It is at this stage that the aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID tag key is replaced with the actual value, policy conditions are resolved, and access is granted to the tenant data.

Common ABAC scenarios

Let’s take a look at some common scenarios with different data storage services. For each example, a diagram is included that illustrates the allowed access to tenant data and how the data is partitioned in the service.

These examples rely on the architecture described earlier and assume that the temporary session context contains a TenantID parameter. We will demonstrate different versions of TrackingAccessPolicy that are applicable to different services. The way aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID is used depends on service-specific IAM features, such as tagging support, policy conditions and ability to parameterize resource ARN with session tags. Examples below illustrate these techniques applied to different services.

Pooled storage isolation with DynamoDB

Many SaaS applications rely on a pooled data partitioning model where data from all tenants is combined into a single table. The tenant identifier is then introduced into each table to identify the items that are associated with each tenant. Figure 3 provides an example of this model.

Figure 3: DynamoDB index-based partitioning

Figure 3: DynamoDB index-based partitioning

In this example, we’ve used Amazon DynamoDB, storing each tenant identifier in the table’s partition key. Now, we can use ABAC and IAM fine-grained access control to implement tenant isolation for the items in this table.

The following TrackingAccessPolicy uses the dynamodb:LeadingKeys condition key to restrict permissions to only the items whose partition key matches the tenant’s identifier as passed in a session tag.

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
        "dynamodb:GetItem",
        "dynamodb:BatchGetItem",
        "dynamodb:Query"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "arn:aws:dynamodb:<region>:<account-id>:table/TrackingData"
      ],
      "Condition": {
        "ForAllValues:StringEquals": {
          "dynamodb:LeadingKeys": [
            "${aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID}"
          ]
        }
      }
    }
  ]
}

This example uses the dynamodb:LeadingKeys condition key in the policy to describe how you can control access to tenant resources. You’ll notice that we haven’t bound this policy to any specific tenant. Instead, the policy relies on the aws:PrincipalTag tag to resolve the TenantID parameter at runtime.

This approach means that you can add new tenants without needing to create any new IAM constructs. This reduces the maintenance burden and limits your chances that any IAM quotas will be exceeded.

Siloed storage isolation with Amazon Elasticsearch Service

Let’s look at another example that illustrates how you might implement tenant isolation of Amazon Elasticsearch Service resources. Figure 4 illustrates a silo data partitioning model, where each tenant of your system has a separate Elasticsearch index for each tenant.

Figure 4: Elasticsearch index-per-tenant strategy

Figure 4: Elasticsearch index-per-tenant strategy

You can isolate these tenant resources by creating a parameterized identity policy with the principal TenantID tag as a variable (similar to the one we created for DynamoDB). In the following example, the principal tag is a part of the index name in the policy resource element. At access time, the principal tag is replaced with the tenant identifier from the request context, yielding the Elasticsearch index ARN as a result.

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": [
        "es:ESHttpGet",
        "es:ESHttpPut"
      ],
      "Resource": [
        "arn:aws:es:<region>:<account-id>:domain/test/${aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID}*/*"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

In the case where you have multiple indices that belong to the same tenant, you can allow access to them by using a wildcard. The preceding policy allows es:ESHttpGet and es:ESHttpPut actions to be taken on documents if the documents belong to an index with a name that matches the pattern.

Important: In order for this to work, the tenant identifier must follow the same naming restrictions as indices.

Although this approach scales the tenant isolation strategy, you need to keep in mind that this solution is constrained by the number of indices your Elasticsearch cluster can support.

Amazon S3 prefix-per-tenant strategy

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets are commonly used as shared object stores with dedicated prefixes for different tenants. For enhanced security, you can optionally use a dedicated customer master key (CMK) per tenant. If you do so, attach a corresponding TenantID resource tag to a CMK.

By using ABAC and IAM, you can make sure that each tenant can only get and decrypt objects in a shared S3 bucket that have the prefixes that correspond to that tenant.

Figure 5: S3 prefix-per-tenant strategy

Figure 5: S3 prefix-per-tenant strategy

In the following policy, the first statement uses the TenantID principal tag in the resource element. The policy grants s3:GetObject permission, but only if the requested object key begins with the tenant’s prefix.

The second statement allows the kms:Decrypt operation on a KMS key that the requested object is encrypted with. The KMS key must have a TenantID resource tag attached to it with a corresponding tenant ID as a value.

{
  "Version": "2012-10-17",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": "s3:GetObject",
      "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::sample-bucket-12345678/${aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID}/*"
    },
    {
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Action": "kms:Decrypt",
       "Resource": "arn:aws:kms:<region>:<account-id>:key/*",
       "Condition": {
           "StringEquals": {
           "aws:PrincipalTag/TenantID": "${aws:ResourceTag/TenantID}"
        }
      }
    }
  ]
}

Important: In order for this policy to work, the tenant identifier must follow the S3 object key name guidelines.

With the prefix-per-tenant approach, you can support any number of tenants. However, if you choose to use a dedicated customer managed KMS key per tenant, you will be bounded by the number of KMS keys per AWS Region.

Conclusion

The ABAC method combined with IAM provides teams who build SaaS platforms with a compelling model for implementing tenant isolation. By using this dynamic, attribute-driven model, you can scale your IAM isolation policies to any practical number of tenants. This approach also makes it possible for you to rely on IAM to manage, scale, and enforce isolation in a way that’s integrated into your overall tenant identity scheme. You can start experimenting with IAM ABAC by using either the examples in this blog post, or this resource: IAM Tutorial: Define permissions to access AWS resources based on tags.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions about this post, start a new thread on the AWS IAM forum or contact AWS Support.

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Author

Michael Pelts

As a Senior Solutions Architect at AWS, Michael works with large ISV customers, helping them create innovative solutions to address their cloud challenges. Michael is passionate about his work, enjoys the creativity that goes into building solutions in the cloud, and derives pleasure from passing on his knowledge.

Author

Oren Reuveni

Oren is a Principal Solutions Architect and member of the SaaS Factory team. He helps guide and assist AWS partners with building their SaaS products on AWS. Oren has over 15 years of experience in the modern IT and Cloud domains. He is passionate about shaping the right dynamics between technology and business.

Building an automated knowledge repo with Amazon EventBridge and Zendesk

Post Syndicated from Benjamin Smith original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/building-an-automated-knowledge-repo-with-amazon-eventbridge-and-zendesk/

Zendesk Guide is a smart knowledge base that helps customers harness the power of institutional knowledge. It enables users to build a customizable help center and customer portal.

This post shows how to implement a bidirectional event orchestration pattern between AWS services and an Amazon EventBridge third-party integration partner. This example uses support ticket events to build a customer self-service knowledge repository. It uses the EventBridge partner integration with Zendesk to accelerate the growth of a customer help center.

The examples in this post are part of a serverless application called FreshTracks. This is built in Vue.js and demonstrates SaaS integrations with Amazon EventBridge. To test this example, ask a question on the Fresh Tracks application.

The backend components for this EventBridge integration with Zendesk have been extracted into a separate example application in this GitHub repo.

How the application works

Routing Zendesk events with Amazon EventBridge.

Routing Zendesk events with Amazon EventBridge.

  1. A user searches the knowledge repository via a widget embedded in the web application.
  2. If there is no answer, the user submits the question via the web widget.
  3. Zendesk receives the question as a support ticket.
  4. Zendesk emits events when the support ticket is resolved.
  5. These events are streamed into a custom SaaS event bus in EventBridge.
  6. Event rules match events and send them downstream to an AWS Step Functions Express Workflow.
  7. The Express Workflow orchestrates Lambda functions to retrieve additional information about the event with the Zendesk API.
  8. A Lambda function uses the Zendesk API to publish a new help article from the support ticket data.
  9. The new article is searchable on the website widget for other users to read.

Before deploying this application, you must generate an API key from within Zendesk.

Creating the Zendesk API resource

Use an API to execute events on your Zendesk account from AWS. Follow these steps to generate a Zendesk API token. This is used by the application to authenticate Zendesk API calls.

To generate an API token

  1. Log in to the Zendesk dashboard.
  2. Click the Admin icon in the sidebar, then select Channels > API.
  3. Click the Settings tab, and make sure that Token Access is enabled.
  4. Click the + button to the right of Active API Tokens.

    Creating a Zendesk API token.

    Creating a Zendesk API token.

  5. Copy the token, and store it securely. Once you close this window, the full token is not displayed again.
  6. Click Save to return to the API page, which shows a truncated version of the token.

    Zendesk API token.

    Zendesk API token.

Configuring Zendesk with Amazon EventBridge

Step 1. Configuring your Zendesk event source.

  1. Go to your Zendesk Admin Center and select Admin Center > Integrations.
  2. Choose Connect in events Connector for Amazon EventBridge to open the page to configure your Zendesk event source.

    Zendesk integrations

    Zendesk integrations

  3. Enter your AWS account ID in the Amazon Web Services account ID field, and select the Region to receive events.
  4. Choose Save.

    Zendesk Amazon EventBridge configuration.

Step 2. Associate the Zendesk event source with a new event bus: 

  1. Log into the AWS Management Console and navigate to services > Amazon EventBridge > Partner event sources
    New event source

    New event source

     

  2. Select the radio button next to the new event source and choose Associate with event bus.
    Associating event source with event bus.

    Associating event source with event bus.

     

  3. Choose Associate.

Deploying the backend application

After associating the Event source with a new partner event bus, you can deploy backend services to receive events.

To set up the example application, visit the GitHub repo and follow the instructions in the README.md file.

When deploying the application stack, make sure to provide the custom event bus name, and Zendesk API credentials with --parameter-overrides.

sam deploy --parameter-overrides ZendeskEventBusName=aws.partner/zendesk.com/123456789/default ZenDeskDomain=MydendeskDomain ZenDeskPassword=myAPITOken ZenDeskUsername=myZendeskAgentUsername

You can find the name of the new Zendesk custom event bus in the custom event bus section of the EventBridge console.

Routing events with rules

When a support ticket is updated in Zendesk, a number of individual events are streamed to EventBridge, these include an event for each of:

  • Agent Assignment Changed
  • Comment Created
  • Status Changed
  • Brand Changed
  • Subject Changed

An EventBridge rule is used filter for events. The AWS Serverless Application Model (SAM) template defines the rule with the `AWS::Events::Rule` resource type. This routes the event downstream to an AWS Step Functions Express Workflow.  The EventPattern is shown below:

  ZendeskNewWebQueryClosed: 
    Type: AWS::Events::Rule
    Properties: 
      Description: "New Web Query"
      EventBusName: 
         Ref: ZendeskEventBusName
      EventPattern: 
        account:
        - !Sub '${AWS::AccountId}'
        detail-type: 
        - "Support Ticket: Comment Created"
        detail:
          ticket_event:
            ticket:
              status: 
              - solved
              tags:
              - web_widget
              tags: 
              - guide
      Targets: 
        - RoleArn: !GetAtt [ MyStatesExecutionRole, Arn ]
          Arn: !Ref FreshTracksZenDeskQueryMachine
          Id: NewQuery

The tickets must have two specific tags (web_widget and guide) for this pattern to match. These are defined as separate fields to create an AND  matching rule, instead of declaring within the same array field to create an OR rule. A new comment on a support ticket triggers the event.

The Step Functions Express Workflow

The application routes events to a Step Functions Express Workflow that is defined in the application’s SAM template:

FreshTracksZenDeskQueryMachine:
    Type: "AWS::StepFunctions::StateMachine"
    Properties:
      StateMachineType: EXPRESS
      DefinitionString: !Sub |
               {
                    "Comment": "Create a new article from a zendeskTicket",
                    "StartAt": "GetFullZendeskTicket",
                    "States": {
                      "GetFullZendeskTicket": {
                      "Comment": "Get Full Ticket Details",
                      "Type": "Task",
                      "ResultPath": "$.FullTicket",
                      "Resource": "${GetFullZendeskTicket.Arn}",
                      "Next": "GetFullZendeskUser"
                      },
                      "GetFullZendeskUser": {
                      "Comment": "Get Full User Details",
                      "Type": "Task",
                      "ResultPath": "$.FullUser",
                      "Resource": "${GetFullZendeskUser.Arn}",
                      "Next": "PublishArticle"
                      },
                      "PublishArticle": {
                      "Comment": "Publish as an article",
                      "Type": "Task",
                      "Resource": "${CreateZendeskArticle.Arn}",
                      "End": true
                      }
                    }
                }
      RoleArn: !GetAtt [ MyStatesExecutionRole, Arn ]

This application is suited for a Step Functions Express Workflow because it is orchestrating short duration, high-volume, event-based workloads.  Each workflow task is idempotent and stateless. The Express Workflow carries the workload’s state by passing the output of one task to the input of the next. The Amazon States Language ResultPath definition is used to control where each tasks output is appended to workflow’s state before it is passed to the next task.

 

AWS StepFunctions Express workflow

AWS StepFunctions Express workflow

Lambda functions

Each task in this Express Workflow invokes a Lambda function defined within the example application’s SAM template. The Lambda functions use the Node.js Axios package to make a request to Zendesk’s API.  The Zendesk API credentials are stored in the Lambda function’s environment variables and accessible via ‘process.env’.

The first two Lambda functions in the workflow make a GET request to Zendesk. This retrieves additional data about the support ticket, the author, and the agent’s response.

The final Lambda function makes a POST request to Zendesk API. This creates and publishes a new article using this data.  The permission_group and section defined in this function must be set to your Zendesk account’s default permission group ID and FAQ section ID.

AWS Lambda function code

AWS Lambda function code

Integrating with your front-end application

Follow the instructions in the Fresh Tracks repo on GitHub to deploy the front-end application. This application includes Zendesk’s web widget script in the index.html page. The widget has been customized using Zendesk’s javascript API. This is implemented in the navigation component to insert custom forms into the widget and prefill the email address field for authenticated users. The backend application starts receiving Zendesk emitted events immediately.

The video below demonstrates the implementation from end to end.

Conclusion

This post explains how to set up EventBridge’s third-party integration with Zendesk to capture events. The example backend application demonstrates how to filter these events, and send downstream to a Step Functions Express Workflow. The Express Workflow orchestrates a series of stateless Lambda functions to gather additional data about the event. Zendesk’s API is then used to publish a new help guide article from this data.

This pattern provides a framework for bidirectional event orchestration between AWS services, custom web applications and third party integration partners. This can be replicated and applied to any number of third party integration partners.

This is implemented with minimal code to provide near real-time streaming of events and without adding latency to your application.

The possibilities are vast. I am excited to see how builders use this bidirectional serverless pattern to add even more value to their third party services.

Start here to learn about other SaaS integrations with Amazon EventBridge.

Integrating Applications As Heroku Add-Ons

Post Syndicated from Bozho original https://techblog.bozho.net/integrating-applications-as-heroku-add-ons/

Heroku is a popular Platform-as-a-Service provider and it offers vendors the option to be provided as add-ons. Add-ons can be used by Heroku customers in different ways, but a typical scenario would be “Start a database”, “Start an MQ”, or “Start a logging solution”. After you add the add-on to your account, you can connect to the chosen database, MQ, logging solution or whatever.

Integrating as Heroku add-on is allegedly simple, and Heroku provides good documentation on how to do it. However, there are some pitfalls and so I’d like to share my experience in providing our services (Sentinel Trails and SentinelDB) as Heroku add-ons.

Both are SaaS (one is a logging solution, the other one – a cloud datastore), and so when a Heroku customer wants to add it to their account, we have to just create an account for them on our end.

In order to integrate with Heroku, you need to implement several endpoints:

  • provisioning – the initial creation of the resources (= account)
  • plan change – since Heroku supports multiple subscription plans, this should also be reflected on your end
  • deprovisioning – if a user stops using your service, you may want to free some resources
  • SSO – allows users to log in your service by clicking an icon in the Heroku console.

Implementing these endpoints following the tutorial should be straightforward, but it isn’t exactly. Hence I’m sharing our Spring MVC controller that handles it – you can check it here.

A few important bits:

  • You may choose not to obtain a token if you don’t plan to interact with the Heroku API further.
  • We are registering the user with a fake email in the form of <resourceId>@heroku.com. However, you may choose to use the token to fetch the emails of team members and collaborators, as described here.
  • The most important piece of data is the resource_id – store it in your users (or organizations) table and consider adding an index to be able to retrieve records by it quickly.
  • Return your keys and secrets as part of the provisioning request. They will be set as environment variables in Heroku
  • All of the requests are made from the Heroku servers to your server directly, except the SSO call. It is invoked in the browsers and so you should set the session cookie/token in the response. That way the user will be logged in your service.
  • When you generate your addon manifest, make sure you update the endpoint URLs

After you’re done, the alpha version appears in the marketplace (e.g. here and here). You should then have some alpha users to test the add-ons before it can be visible in the marketplace.

Integrating SaaS solutions with existing cloud providers is a good thing, and I’m happy that Heroku provides an automated way to do that. (AWS, for example, also has a marketplace, but integration there feels a bit strange and unpolished (I’ve hit some issues that were manually resolved by the AWS team).

Since many companies are choosing IaaS or PaaS for their services, having the ability to easily integrate an add-on service is very useful. I’d even go further and propose some level standardization for cloud add-ons, but I guess time will tell if we really need it, or we can spare a few days per provider.

The post Integrating Applications As Heroku Add-Ons appeared first on Bozho's tech blog.

Hiring a Director of Sales

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hiring-a-director-of-sales/

Backblaze is hiring a Director of Sales. This is a critical role for Backblaze as we continue to grow the team. We need a strong leader who has experience in scaling a sales team and who has an excellent track record for exceeding goals by selling Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. In addition, this leader will need to be highly motivated, as well as able to create and develop a highly-motivated, success oriented sales team that has fun and enjoys what they do.

The History of Backblaze from our CEO
In 2007, after a friend’s computer crash caused her some suffering, we realized that with every photo, video, song, and document going digital, everyone would eventually lose all of their information. Five of us quit our jobs to start a company with the goal of making it easy for people to back up their data.

Like many startups, for a while we worked out of a co-founder’s one-bedroom apartment. Unlike most startups, we made an explicit agreement not to raise funding during the first year. We would then touch base every six months and decide whether to raise or not. We wanted to focus on building the company and the product, not on pitching and slide decks. And critically, we wanted to build a culture that understood money comes from customers, not the magical VC giving tree. Over the course of 5 years we built a profitable, multi-million dollar revenue business — and only then did we raise a VC round.

Fast forward 10 years later and our world looks quite different. You’ll have some fantastic assets to work with:

  • A brand millions recognize for openness, ease-of-use, and affordability.
  • A computer backup service that stores over 500 petabytes of data, has recovered over 30 billion files for hundreds of thousands of paying customers — most of whom self-identify as being the people that find and recommend technology products to their friends.
  • Our B2 service that provides the lowest cost cloud storage on the planet at 1/4th the price Amazon, Google or Microsoft charges. While being a newer product on the market, it already has over 100,000 IT and developers signed up as well as an ecosystem building up around it.
  • A growing, profitable and cash-flow positive company.
  • And last, but most definitely not least: a great sales team.

You might be saying, “sounds like you’ve got this under control — why do you need me?” Don’t be misled. We need you. Here’s why:

  • We have a great team, but we are in the process of expanding and we need to develop a structure that will easily scale and provide the most success to drive revenue.
  • We just launched our outbound sales efforts and we need someone to help develop that into a fully successful program that’s building a strong pipeline and closing business.
  • We need someone to work with the marketing department and figure out how to generate more inbound opportunities that the sales team can follow up on and close.
  • We need someone who will work closely in developing the skills of our current sales team and build a path for career growth and advancement.
  • We want someone to manage our Customer Success program.

So that’s a bit about us. What are we looking for in you?

Experience: As a sales leader, you will strategically build and drive the territory’s sales pipeline by assembling and leading a skilled team of sales professionals. This leader should be familiar with generating, developing and closing software subscription (SaaS) opportunities. We are looking for a self-starter who can manage a team and make an immediate impact of selling our Backup and Cloud Storage solutions. In this role, the sales leader will work closely with the VP of Sales, marketing staff, and service staff to develop and implement specific strategic plans to achieve and exceed revenue targets, including new business acquisition as well as build out our customer success program.

Leadership: We have an experienced team who’s brought us to where we are today. You need to have the people and management skills to get them excited about working with you. You need to be a strong leader and compassionate about developing and supporting your team.

Data driven and creative: The data has to show something makes sense before we scale it up. However, without creativity, it’s easy to say “the data shows it’s impossible” or to find a local maximum. Whether it’s deciding how to scale the team, figuring out what our outbound sales efforts should look like or putting a plan in place to develop the team for career growth, we’ve seen a bit of creativity get us places a few extra dollars couldn’t.

Jive with our culture: Strong leaders affect culture and the person we hire for this role may well shape, not only fit into, ours. But to shape the culture you have to be accepted by the organism, which means a certain set of shared values. We default to openness with our team, our customers, and everyone if possible. We love initiative — without arrogance or dictatorship. We work to create a place people enjoy showing up to work. That doesn’t mean ping pong tables and foosball (though we do try to have perks & fun), but it means people are friendly, non-political, working to build a good service but also a good place to work.

Do the work: Ideas and strategy are critical, but good execution makes them happen. We’re looking for someone who can help the team execute both from the perspective of being capable of guiding and organizing, but also someone who is hands-on themselves.

Additional Responsibilities needed for this role:

  • Recruit, coach, mentor, manage and lead a team of sales professionals to achieve yearly sales targets. This includes closing new business and expanding upon existing clientele.
  • Expand the customer success program to provide the best customer experience possible resulting in upsell opportunities and a high retention rate.
  • Develop effective sales strategies and deliver compelling product demonstrations and sales pitches.
  • Acquire and develop the appropriate sales tools to make the team efficient in their daily work flow.
  • Apply a thorough understanding of the marketplace, industry trends, funding developments, and products to all management activities and strategic sales decisions.
  • Ensure that sales department operations function smoothly, with the goal of facilitating sales and/or closings; operational responsibilities include accurate pipeline reporting and sales forecasts.
  • This position will report directly to the VP of Sales and will be staffed in our headquarters in San Mateo, CA.

Requirements:

  • 7 – 10+ years of successful sales leadership experience as measured by sales performance against goals.
    Experience in developing skill sets and providing career growth and opportunities through advancement of team members.
  • Background in selling SaaS technologies with a strong track record of success.
  • Strong presentation and communication skills.
  • Must be able to travel occasionally nationwide.
  • BA/BS degree required

Think you want to join us on this adventure?
Send an email to jobscontact@backblaze.com with the subject “Director of Sales.” (Recruiters and agencies, please don’t email us.) Include a resume and answer these two questions:

  1. How would you approach evaluating the current sales team and what is your process for developing a growth strategy to scale the team?
  2. What are the goals you would set for yourself in the 3 month and 1-year timeframes?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that this sounds like the opportunity for which you’ve been waiting.

Backblaze is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The post Hiring a Director of Sales appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Replacing macOS Server with Synology NAS

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/replacing-macos-server-with-synology-nas/

Synology NAS boxes backed up to the cloud

Businesses and organizations that rely on macOS server for essential office and data services are facing some decisions about the future of their IT services.

Apple recently announced that it is deprecating a significant portion of essential network services in macOS Server, as they described in a support statement posted on April 24, 2018, “Prepare for changes to macOS Server.” Apple’s note includes:

macOS Server is changing to focus more on management of computers, devices, and storage on your network. As a result, some changes are coming in how Server works. A number of services will be deprecated, and will be hidden on new installations of an update to macOS Server coming in spring 2018.

The note lists the services that will be removed in a future release of macOS Server, including calendar and contact support, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name Services (DNS), mail, instant messages, virtual private networking (VPN), NetInstall, Web server, and the Wiki.

Apple assures users who have already configured any of the listed services that they will be able to use them in the spring 2018 macOS Server update, but the statement ends with links to a number of alternative services, including hosted services, that macOS Server users should consider as viable replacements to the features it is removing. These alternative services are all FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software).

As difficult as this could be for organizations that use macOS server, this is not unexpected. Apple left the server hardware space back in 2010, when Steve Jobs announced the company was ending its line of Xserve rackmount servers, which were introduced in May, 2002. Since then, macOS Server has hardly been a prominent part of Apple’s product lineup. It’s not just the product itself that has lost some luster, but the entire category of SMB office and business servers, which has been undergoing a gradual change in recent years.

Some might wonder how important the news about macOS Server is, given that macOS Server represents a pretty small share of the server market. macOS Server has been important to design shops, agencies, education users, and small businesses that likely have been on Macs for ages, but it’s not a significant part of the IT infrastructure of larger organizations and businesses.

What Comes After macOS Server?

Lovers of macOS Server don’t have to fear having their Mac minis pried from their cold, dead hands quite yet. Installed services will continue to be available. In the fall of 2018, new installations and upgrades of macOS Server will require users to migrate most services to other software. Since many of the services of macOS Server were already open-source, this means that a change in software might not be required. It does mean more configuration and management required from those who continue with macOS Server, however.

Users can continue with macOS Server if they wish, but many will see the writing on the wall and look for a suitable substitute.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

For many people working in organizations, what is significant about this announcement is how it reflects the move away from the once ubiquitous server-based IT infrastructure. Services that used to be centrally managed and office-based, such as storage, file sharing, communications, and computing, have moved to the cloud.

In selecting the next office IT platforms, there’s an opportunity to move to solutions that reflect and support how people are working and the applications they are using both in the office and remotely. For many, this means including cloud-based services in office automation, backup, and business continuity/disaster recovery planning. This includes Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service (Saas, PaaS, IaaS) options.

IT solutions that integrate well with the cloud are worth strong consideration for what comes after a macOS Server-based environment.

Synology NAS as a macOS Server Alternative

One solution that is becoming popular is to replace macOS Server with a device that has the ability to provide important office services, but also bridges the office and cloud environments. Using Network-Attached Storage (NAS) to take up the server slack makes a lot of sense. Many customers are already using NAS for file sharing, local data backup, automatic cloud backup, and other uses. In the case of Synology, their operating system, Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM), is Linux based, and integrates the basic functions of file sharing, centralized backup, RAID storage, multimedia streaming, virtual storage, and other common functions.

Synology NAS box

Synology NAS

Since DSM is based on Linux, there are numerous server applications available, including many of the same ones that are available for macOS Server, which shares conceptual roots with Linux as it comes from BSD Unix.

Synology DiskStation Manager Package Center screenshot

Synology DiskStation Manager Package Center

According to Ed Lukacs, COO at 2FIFTEEN Systems Management in Salt Lake City, their customers have found the move from macOS Server to Synology NAS not only painless, but positive. DSM works seamlessly with macOS and has been faster for their customers, as well. Many of their customers are running Adobe Creative Suite and Google G Suite applications, so a workflow that combines local storage, remote access, and the cloud, is already well known to them. Remote users are supported by Synology’s QuickConnect or VPN.

Business continuity and backup are simplified by the flexible storage capacity of the NAS. Synology has built-in backup to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage with Synology’s Cloud Sync, as well as a choice of a number of other B2-compatible applications, such as Cloudberry, Comet, and Arq.

Customers have been able to get up and running quickly, with only initial data transfers requiring some time to complete. After that, management of the NAS can be handled in-house or with the support of a Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Are You Sticking with macOS Server or Moving to Another Platform?

If you’re affected by this change in macOS Server, please let us know in the comments how you’re planning to cope. Are you using Synology NAS for server services? Please tell us how that’s working for you.

The post Replacing macOS Server with Synology NAS appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Introducing the AWS Machine Learning Competency for Consulting Partners

Post Syndicated from Randall Hunt original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/introducing-the-aws-machine-learning-competency-for-consulting-partners/

Today I’m excited to announce a new Machine Learning Competency for Consulting Partners in the Amazon Partner Network (APN). This AWS Competency program allows APN Consulting Partners to demonstrate a deep expertise in machine learning on AWS by providing solutions that enable machine learning and data science workflows for their customers. This new AWS Competency is in addition to the Machine Learning comptency for our APN Technology Partners, that we launched at the re:Invent 2017 partner summit.

These APN Consulting Partners help organizations solve their machine learning and data challenges through:

  • Providing data services that help data scientists and machine learning practitioners prepare their enterprise data for training.
  • Platform solutions that provide data scientists and machine learning practitioners with tools to take their data, train models, and make predictions on new data.
  • SaaS and API solutions to enable predictive capabilities within customer applications.

Why work with an AWS Machine Learning Competency Partner?

The AWS Competency Program helps customers find the most qualified partners with deep expertise. AWS Machine Learning Competency Partners undergo a strict validation of their capabilities to demonstrate technical proficiency and proven customer success with AWS machine learning tools.

If you’re an AWS customer interested in machine learning workloads on AWS, check out our AWS Machine Learning launch partners below:

 

Interested in becoming an AWS Machine Learning Competency Partner?

APN Partners with experience in Machine Learning can learn more about becoming an AWS Machine Learning Competency Partner here. To learn more about the benefits of joining the AWS Partner Network, see our APN Partner website.

Thanks to the AWS Partner Team for their help with this post!
Randall

10 visualizations to try in Amazon QuickSight with sample data

Post Syndicated from Karthik Kumar Odapally original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/10-visualizations-to-try-in-amazon-quicksight-with-sample-data/

If you’re not already familiar with building visualizations for quick access to business insights using Amazon QuickSight, consider this your introduction. In this post, we’ll walk through some common scenarios with sample datasets to provide an overview of how you can connect yuor data, perform advanced analysis and access the results from any web browser or mobile device.

The following visualizations are built from the public datasets available in the links below. Before we jump into that, let’s take a look at the supported data sources, file formats and a typical QuickSight workflow to build any visualization.

Which data sources does Amazon QuickSight support?

At the time of publication, you can use the following data methods:

  • Connect to AWS data sources, including:
    • Amazon RDS
    • Amazon Aurora
    • Amazon Redshift
    • Amazon Athena
    • Amazon S3
  • Upload Excel spreadsheets or flat files (CSV, TSV, CLF, and ELF)
  • Connect to on-premises databases like Teradata, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL
  • Import data from SaaS applications like Salesforce and Snowflake
  • Use big data processing engines like Spark and Presto

This list is constantly growing. For more information, see Supported Data Sources.

Answers in instants

SPICE is the Amazon QuickSight super-fast, parallel, in-memory calculation engine, designed specifically for ad hoc data visualization. SPICE stores your data in a system architected for high availability, where it is saved until you choose to delete it. Improve the performance of database datasets by importing the data into SPICE instead of using a direct database query. To calculate how much SPICE capacity your dataset needs, see Managing SPICE Capacity.

Typical Amazon QuickSight workflow

When you create an analysis, the typical workflow is as follows:

  1. Connect to a data source, and then create a new dataset or choose an existing dataset.
  2. (Optional) If you created a new dataset, prepare the data (for example, by changing field names or data types).
  3. Create a new analysis.
  4. Add a visual to the analysis by choosing the fields to visualize. Choose a specific visual type, or use AutoGraph and let Amazon QuickSight choose the most appropriate visual type, based on the number and data types of the fields that you select.
  5. (Optional) Modify the visual to meet your requirements (for example, by adding a filter or changing the visual type).
  6. (Optional) Add more visuals to the analysis.
  7. (Optional) Add scenes to the default story to provide a narrative about some aspect of the analysis data.
  8. (Optional) Publish the analysis as a dashboard to share insights with other users.

The following graphic illustrates a typical Amazon QuickSight workflow.

Visualizations created in Amazon QuickSight with sample datasets

Visualizations for a data analyst

Source:  https://data.worldbank.org/

Download and Resources:  https://datacatalog.worldbank.org/dataset/world-development-indicators

Data catalog:  The World Bank invests into multiple development projects at the national, regional, and global levels. It’s a great source of information for data analysts.

The following graph shows the percentage of the population that has access to electricity (rural and urban) during 2000 in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

The following graph shows the share of healthcare costs that are paid out-of-pocket (private vs. public). Also, you can maneuver over the graph to get detailed statistics at a glance.

Visualizations for a trading analyst

Source:  Deutsche Börse Public Dataset (DBG PDS)

Download and resources:  https://aws.amazon.com/public-datasets/deutsche-boerse-pds/

Data catalog:  The DBG PDS project makes real-time data derived from Deutsche Börse’s trading market systems available to the public for free. This is the first time that such detailed financial market data has been shared freely and continually from the source provider.

The following graph shows the market trend of max trade volume for different EU banks. It builds on the data available on XETRA engines, which is made up of a variety of equities, funds, and derivative securities. This graph can be scrolled to visualize trade for a period of an hour or more.

The following graph shows the common stock beating the rest of the maximum trade volume over a period of time, grouped by security type.

Visualizations for a data scientist

Source:  https://catalog.data.gov/

Download and resources:  https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/road-weather-information-stations-788f8

Data catalog:  Data derived from different sensor stations placed on the city bridges and surface streets are a core information source. The road weather information station has a temperature sensor that measures the temperature of the street surface. It also has a sensor that measures the ambient air temperature at the station each second.

The following graph shows the present max air temperature in Seattle from different RWI station sensors.

The following graph shows the minimum temperature of the road surface at different times, which helps predicts road conditions at a particular time of the year.

Visualizations for a data engineer

Source:  https://www.kaggle.com/

Download and resources:  https://www.kaggle.com/datasnaek/youtube-new/data

Data catalog:  Kaggle has come up with a platform where people can donate open datasets. Data engineers and other community members can have open access to these datasets and can contribute to the open data movement. They have more than 350 datasets in total, with more than 200 as featured datasets. It has a few interesting datasets on the platform that are not present at other places, and it’s a platform to connect with other data enthusiasts.

The following graph shows the trending YouTube videos and presents the max likes for the top 20 channels. This is one of the most popular datasets for data engineers.

The following graph shows the YouTube daily statistics for the max views of video titles published during a specific time period.

Visualizations for a business user

Source:  New York Taxi Data

Download and resources:  https://data.cityofnewyork.us/Transportation/2016-Green-Taxi-Trip-Data/hvrh-b6nb

Data catalog: NYC Open data hosts some very popular open data sets for all New Yorkers. This platform allows you to get involved in dive deep into the data set to pull some useful visualizations. 2016 Green taxi trip dataset includes trip records from all trips completed in green taxis in NYC in 2016. Records include fields capturing pick-up and drop-off dates/times, pick-up and drop-off locations, trip distances, itemized fares, rate types, payment types, and driver-reported passenger counts.

The following graph presents maximum fare amount grouped by the passenger count during a period of time during a day. This can be further expanded to follow through different day of the month based on the business need.

The following graph shows the NewYork taxi data from January 2016, showing the dip in the number of taxis ridden on January 23, 2016 across all types of taxis.

A quick search for that date and location shows you the following news report:

Summary

Using Amazon QuickSight, you can see patterns across a time-series data by building visualizations, performing ad hoc analysis, and quickly generating insights. We hope you’ll give it a try today!

 


Additional Reading

If you found this post useful, be sure to check out Amazon QuickSight Adds Support for Combo Charts and Row-Level Security and Visualize AWS Cloudtrail Logs Using AWS Glue and Amazon QuickSight.


Karthik Odapally is a Sr. Solutions Architect in AWS. His passion is to build cost effective and highly scalable solutions on the cloud. In his spare time, he bakes cookies and cupcakes for family and friends here in the PNW. He loves vintage racing cars.

 

 

 

Pranabesh Mandal is a Solutions Architect in AWS. He has over a decade of IT experience. He is passionate about cloud technology and focuses on Analytics. In his spare time, he likes to hike and explore the beautiful nature and wild life of most divine national parks around the United States alongside his wife.

 

 

 

 

Innovation Flywheels and the AWS Serverless Application Repository

Post Syndicated from Tim Wagner original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/innovation-flywheels-and-the-aws-serverless-application-repository/

At AWS, our customers have always been the motivation for our innovation. In turn, we’re committed to helping them accelerate the pace of their own innovation. It was in the spirit of helping our customers achieve their objectives faster that we launched AWS Lambda in 2014, eliminating the burden of server management and enabling AWS developers to focus on business logic instead of the challenges of provisioning and managing infrastructure.

 

In the years since, our customers have built amazing things using Lambda and other serverless offerings, such as Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Cognito, and Amazon DynamoDB. Together, these services make it easy to build entire applications without the need to provision, manage, monitor, or patch servers. By removing much of the operational drudgery of infrastructure management, we’ve helped our customers become more agile and achieve faster time-to-market for their applications and services. By eliminating cold servers and cold containers with request-based pricing, we’ve also eliminated the high cost of idle capacity and helped our customers achieve dramatically higher utilization and better economics.

After we launched Lambda, though, we quickly learned an important lesson: A single Lambda function rarely exists in isolation. Rather, many functions are part of serverless applications that collectively deliver customer value. Whether it’s the combination of event sources and event handlers, as serverless web apps that combine APIs with functions for dynamic content with static content repositories, or collections of functions that together provide a microservice architecture, our customers were building and delivering serverless architectures for every conceivable problem. Despite the economic and agility benefits that hundreds of thousands of AWS customers were enjoying with Lambda, we realized there was still more we could do.

How Customer Feedback Inspired Us to Innovate

We heard from our customers that getting started—either from scratch or when augmenting their implementation with new techniques or technologies—remained a challenge. When we looked for serverless assets to share, we found stellar examples built by serverless pioneers that represented a multitude of solutions across industries.

There were apps to facilitate monitoring and logging, to process image and audio files, to create Alexa skills, and to integrate with notification and location services. These apps ranged from “getting started” examples to complete, ready-to-run assets. What was missing, however, was a unified place for customers to discover this diversity of serverless applications and a step-by-step interface to help them configure and deploy them.

We also heard from customers and partners that building their own ecosystems—ecosystems increasingly composed of functions, APIs, and serverless applications—remained a challenge. They wanted a simple way to share samples, create extensibility, and grow consumer relationships on top of serverless approaches.

 

We built the AWS Serverless Application Repository to help solve both of these challenges by offering publishers and consumers of serverless apps a simple, fast, and effective way to share applications and grow user communities around them. Now, developers can easily learn how to apply serverless approaches to their implementation and business challenges by discovering, customizing, and deploying serverless applications directly from the Serverless Application Repository. They can also find libraries, components, patterns, and best practices that augment their existing knowledge, helping them bring services and applications to market faster than ever before.

How the AWS Serverless Application Repository Inspires Innovation for All Customers

Companies that want to create ecosystems, share samples, deliver extensibility and customization options, and complement their existing SaaS services use the Serverless Application Repository as a distribution channel, producing apps that can be easily discovered and consumed by their customers. AWS partners like HERE have introduced their location and transit services to thousands of companies and developers. Partners like Datadog, Splunk, and TensorIoT have showcased monitoring, logging, and IoT applications to the serverless community.

Individual developers are also publishing serverless applications that push the boundaries of innovation—some have published applications that leverage machine learning to predict the quality of wine while others have published applications that monitor crypto-currencies, instantly build beautiful image galleries, or create fast and simple surveys. All of these publishers are using serverless apps, and the Serverless Application Repository, as the easiest way to share what they’ve built. Best of all, their customers and fellow community members can find and deploy these applications with just a few clicks in the Lambda console. Apps in the Serverless Application Repository are free of charge, making it easy to explore new solutions or learn new technologies.

Finally, we at AWS continue to publish apps for the community to use. From apps that leverage Amazon Cognito to sync user data across applications to our latest collection of serverless apps that enable users to quickly execute common financial calculations, we’re constantly looking for opportunities to contribute to community growth and innovation.

At AWS, we’re more excited than ever by the growing adoption of serverless architectures and the innovation that services like AWS Lambda make possible. Helping our customers create and deliver new ideas drives us to keep inventing ways to make building and sharing serverless apps even easier. As the number of applications in the Serverless Application Repository grows, so too will the innovation that it fuels for both the owners and the consumers of those apps. With the general availability of the Serverless Application Repository, our customers become more than the engine of our innovation—they become the engine of innovation for one another.

To browse, discover, deploy, and publish serverless apps in minutes, visit the Serverless Application Repository. Go serverless—and go innovate!

Dr. Tim Wagner is the General Manager of AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway.