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AWS Organizations

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Key Management Service (KMS)
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What is KMS?
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Components of KMS
PREVIEW11m 6s
AWS Web Application Firewall
AWS Shield

The course is part of this learning path

AWS Organizations
Overview
Difficulty
Beginner
Duration
5h 2m
Students
14
Description

This course looks at the key Security services within AWS relevant to the SysOps Administrator - Associate exam. The core to security is Identity & Access Management, commonly referred to as IAM. This service manages identities and their permissions that are able to access your AWS resources and so understanding how this service works and what you can do with it will help you to maintain a secure AWS environment.  In addition to IAM, this course covers a range of other security services covering encryption and access control

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about identity and access management on AWS including users, groups & roles, IAM policies, MFA, and cross-account access
  • Learn the fundamentals of AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) including what it is, when to use it, how it works, and why use it
  • Learn how to manage data protection through encryption services such as the Key Management Service (KMS) and CloudHSM
  • Learn how to secure your AWS accounts using AWS Organizations
  • Understand how to configure and monitor AWS WAF, Firewall Manager, and Shield
  • Learn the fundamentals of access control via federation using AWS Cognito and AWS SSO
Transcript

Hello and welcome to this lecture where I will start this course by providing an overview of AWS Organizations as a foundation before focusing on the service control policies.

As businesses expand their footprint on AWS and utilize more services to build and deploy their applications, it will soon become apparent that the need for multiple AWS accounts is required to manage the environment and infrastructure effectively.

This multi-account strategy is beneficial for a number of reasons as your organization scales, and for example, multi-account strategies include cost optimization and billing, security and governance, management and control of workloads, resource grouping, and helping to define business units.

As you begin to expand with multiple accounts, it will become increasingly more difficult to manage them as separate entities. The more accounts you have, the more distributed your environment becomes and the associated security risks and exposures increase and multiply.

However, with AWS Organizations, it can provide a means of centrally managing and categorizing multiple AWS accounts that you own, bringing them together into a single organization, which helps to maintain your AWS environment from a security, compliance, and account management perspective.

To understand how AWS Organizations operates, we first need to be aware of the hierarchy of the service’s components.

AWS Organizations uses the following components to help you manage your accounts: Organizations, Root, Organizational Units, Accounts, Service Control Policies.

An Organization is an element that serves to form a hierarchical structure of multiple AWS accounts. You could think of an organization as a family tree which provides a graphical view of your entire AWS account structure. At the very top of this Organization, there will be a Root container.

The Root object is simply a container that resides at the top of your Organization. All of your AWS accounts and Organizational units will then sit underneath this Root. Within any Organization, there will only be one single Root object.

Organizational Units (OUs) provide a means of categorizing your AWS Accounts. Again, like the Root, these are simply containers that allow you to group together specific AWS accounts. An organizational unit (or OU) can connect directly below the Root or even below another OU (which can be nested up to 5 times). This allows you to create a hierarchical structure as I mentioned previously.

Accounts. These are your AWS accounts that you use and create to be able to configure and provision AWS resources. Each of your AWS accounts has a 12 digit account number.

Service control policies, or SCPs, allow you to control what services and features are accessible from within an AWS account. These SCPs can either be associated with the Root, Organizational Units, or individual accounts. When an SCP is applied to any of these objects, its associated controls are fed down to all child objects. Think of it as a permission boundary that sets the maximum permission level for the objects that it is applied to.

Now we have an understanding of what AWS Organizations is exactly, what benefits can this bring to your AWS environment?

The primary benefit that this service brings is its ability to centrally manage multiple Accounts from a single AWS account, known as the master account. You can start by inviting your existing accounts to an Organization and then create new accounts directly from the Master Account.

Greater control of your AWS environment. Through the use of Service Control Policies attached to the Root, Organizational Units or individual accounts, administrators of the master account gain powerful control over which services and features—even down to specific API calls—that an IAM user within those accounts can use, regardless of the user’s identity-based or resource-based permissions. Consolidated Billing. The master account of your AWS Organization can be used to consolidate the billing and costs from all member AWS accounts. This allows for greater overall cost management across your individual AWS accounts. Categorization and grouping of accounts. By leveraging Organizational Units, you can segregate and group-specific AWS accounts together, applying different SCPs associated to each OU. For example, you may have a number of AWS accounts that must not have the ability to access any AWS Analytical services. In this case, you could place these accounts into a single OU and assign an SCP that denies this functionality.

About the Author
Avatar
Stuart Scott
AWS Content Director
Students
157210
Labs
1
Courses
134
Learning Paths
94

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 90+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 140,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.