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Daniel Quackenbush
Daniel Quackenbush

Posted on • Updated on

Governance with AWS Config

AWS Config allows you to assess configuration based on predefined rules or custom rules based on lambda functions. The service can analyze rule sets such as encrypted RDS, public access denial, encrypted volumes, etc. These results can then be aggregated to a parent account through a two-way authorization handshake, providing one view for all benchmarks.

Implementation

In testing, I took a sandbox account and put the service to work.

Components Needed:
  • config configuration recorder
    • the mechanism for snapshotting AWS resources
  • config delivery channel
    • the means to deliver data from the recorder to the topic/bucket
  • S3 bucket
    • the place where data is stored
  • SNS topic
  • config rule
    • rules to analyze
Analysis:

Utilizing aggregation, it becomes seamless to view all the non-compliant resources to act on:
aggregate

You can then drill into the respective resource to view the non-compliant resources and determine when the resource compliance changed.
rules
drilldown

Downsides

AWS Config can remove a lot of toil for compliance but can also be troublesome in some cases. Some of the limitations I discovered in researching:

  • Management overhead
    • Code deployments of config rules, bucket, topic, etc. to every account. You must deploy all resources to all accounts; the aggregation feature does not permit the ruleset to be defined in one location.
  • Manual Config
    • AWS provides a large number of rules, but all require manual enablement. If utilizing a vendor, they write the rules for you; moreover, you would become a rule manager.

Example Code

This code only has defined a single delivery channel in the provider region, us-east-1. If implemented, multiple delivery channels should be configured for multi-region support.

Reference:

https://docs.aws.amazon.com/config/latest/developerguide/managed-rules-by-aws-config.html
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/config/latest/developerguide/aggregate-data.html

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