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AWS Control Tower - Governance of Security in the Cloud

AWS Control Tower - Governance of Security in the Cloud

We shall examine the advantages of AWS Control Tower, its features, and its operation in this article. We’ll also look at some of AWS Control Tower’s use cases and how it might assist companies in overcoming typical cloud administration difficulties.

Given below are the topics we are going to discuss:

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What is AWS Control Tower?

AWS Control Tower is a fully managed service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that simplifies the process of setting up and governing a secure, compliant, multi-account environment. It is designed to help organizations establish and manage their AWS workloads with best practices for security, operations, and compliance. It offers a single dashboard with pre-configured templates and policies that enforce security and compliance best practices throughout the business for managing and watching over many AWS accounts.

Administrators may apply standard configurations and settings, control identity and access, establish and manage new AWS accounts, and check compliance uniformly using the AWS Control Tower. The AWS Control Tower enables seamless implementation of “AWS Control Tower guardrails,” which are automatic security and compliance measures. These guardrails promptly identify and correct any potential security issues, ensuring a secure and compliant AWS environment.

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 Key Features of AWS Control Tower

AWS Control Tower offers a robust set of features designed to simplify and streamline the management of your AWS environment. These features are essential for organizations looking to maintain control, compliance, and security across their AWS infrastructure. 

Below are the key features of AWS Control Tower:

  • Landing Zone- AWS Control Tower facilitates the creation of a new landing zone for your AWS environment. It does this by automating the setup process, adhering to best-practice blueprints for identity management, federated access, and account structure. This ensures that your initial AWS setup aligns with industry standards and security best practices.
  • Account Factory- The Account Factory is a highly configurable tool within AWS Control Tower. It serves as an account template, enabling organizations to standardize the provisioning of new AWS accounts. With the Account Factory, you can enforce pre-approved account configurations, ensuring consistency and adherence to your organization’s policies and requirements when creating new accounts.
  • Comprehensive Controls Management (CCM)- CCM is a powerful feature set within AWS Control Tower that helps organizations define, map, and manage the controls necessary to meet common control objectives. This includes enforcing the principle of least privilege, restricting network access, and ensuring data encryption. CCM provides a systematic approach to implementing and monitoring these critical controls across your AWS environment, enhancing overall security and compliance.
  • Dashboard- The AWS Control Tower Dashboard serves as a central hub for continuous oversight and management of your landing zone. This intuitive interface offers valuable insights to your team of central cloud administrators. They can use the Dashboard to monitor account usage, track compliance status, and access various metrics related to your AWS infrastructure.

Getting Started with AWS Control Tower

Getting started with AWS Control Tower involves a few key steps to establish a secure and compliant AWS environment. 

Here is a step-by-step process to begin with AWS Control Tower:

  • Create an AWS Account: If you don’t already have an AWS account, you can initiate the process by visiting the AWS account signup page. This account will serve as the foundation for your AWS Control Tower setup.
  • Enable AWS Control Tower: Once you have your AWS account in place, you can enable AWS Control Tower. To do this, navigate to the AWS Control Tower console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/controltower. There, you’ll find the option to “Enable AWS Control Tower.” Click on it to initiate the setup process.
  • Create a Landing Zone: AWS Control Tower automates the creation of a landing zone, which is a well-architected, multi-account AWS environment designed in accordance with security and compliance best practices. This is a critical step to ensure that your AWS infrastructure adheres to industry standards. AWS Control Tower leverages best-practice blueprints to establish key components such as identity management, federated access, and account structure, streamlining the creation of this landing zone.
  • Manage Your AWS Environment: With your landing zone in place, you can begin managing your AWS environment effectively through AWS Control Tower. 

Why do we need AWS Control Tower?

There are several reasons why an organization might need AWS Control Tower:

Why do We Need AWS Control Tower

AWS Control Tower is essential for organizations to establish standardized, secure, and compliant AWS environments, simplifying governance, automating setup, and ensuring ongoing control and oversight.

Here we have highlighted some of the points that discusses the importance of AWS Control Tower:

  • It simplifies the process of account provisioning and management. By using AWS Control Tower, administrators can manage multiple AWS accounts in a consistent and streamlined way, saving time and effort compared to manual management.
  • AWS Control Tower ensures standardization and consistency across all accounts by providing pre-configured templates and policies that enforce best practices for security, compliance, and operations using the AWS Control Tower Account Factory. This powerful feature facilitates the creation and management of multiple AWS accounts with predefined configurations, reducing the risk of misconfiguration and ensuring that all accounts are consistently set up to adhere to organizational standards.
  • AWS Control Tower offers centralized governance and monitoring through a dashboard that allows administrators to manage and monitor multiple accounts from a single location. This makes it easier to detect and remediate security and compliance issues across the entire organization.
  • AWS Control Tower provides automated guardrails that enforce security and compliance policies automatically, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring that all accounts are compliant with organizational policies.

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How does AWS Control Tower Work?

To manage multiple AWS accounts effectively, AWS Control Tower offers a centralized dashboard and automated tools. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

  • To begin, establish an AWS Control Tower environment as a central command center for administering multiple AWS accounts. This environment comes equipped with pre-configured policies, guardrails, and templates that enforce top-tier practices for security, compliance, and operational excellence.
  • From this central hub, administrators can easily create and manage multiple AWS accounts, using automated tools for streamlined account provisioning and configuration.
  • AWS Control Tower enforces organizational policies and guardrails, providing pre-configured settings that can be customized to meet specific organizational needs. Automated remediation ensures non-compliant resources are addressed quickly, reducing the risk of security and compliance issues.
  • Finally, the AWS Control Tower provides a centralized dashboard for monitoring and managing multiple AWS accounts in real-time. This enables administrators to identify and remediate issues as they arise, ensuring optimal security and compliance across all accounts.

Difference between AWS Landing Zone and AWS Control Tower

Let us see the basic difference between AWS Landing Zone and Control Tower to have a better understanding of it:

AWS Landing ZoneAWS Control Tower
A program that aids users in setting up and configuring an AWS environment with multiple accounts in accordance with best practices.A managed solution that automates the construction of an AWS environment with many accounts that are properly designed.
Provides a scalable and adaptable method for creating and controlling numerous AWS accounts.
Offers pre-configured instructions, including security and compliance best practices, for building and administering multi-account AWS systems.
Allows customers to set up and configure a custom set of AWS services based on their specific needs.Offers governance controls and a centralized dashboard for monitoring and managing all accounts in the multi-account environment.
Provides a set of core landing zone components, including networking, security, and account structure.Enables the deployment of policies and guardrails for compliance and security across all accounts in the environment.
Offers a set of foundational AWS services, including AWS Config, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Organizations.Offers integration with other AWS services, such as AWS Security Hub and AWS Config Rules, to enhance security and compliance monitoring.

Benefits of AWS Control Tower

Organizations that deploy and manage applications on AWS can greatly benefit from AWS Control Tower, which is a robust service with various advantages. Among the benefits of AWS Control Tower are:

Benefits of AWS Control Tower
  • Streamlined Account Management: AWS Control Tower offers a centralized management platform for multiple AWS accounts, enabling easier account management and guaranteeing adherence to the organization’s security and compliance standards.
  • Uniform Compliance: Pre-configured compliance policies and rules provided by AWS Control Tower can be applied across all accounts, ensuring consistent configurations that meet regulatory requirements.
  • Automated Setup: AWS Control Tower automates the setup of new AWS accounts and configures them with appropriate security and compliance policies. This leads to faster setup times and ensures that new accounts are compliant and secure.
  • Customizable Accounts: Organizations can customize their AWS accounts using their own guidelines, branding, and policies, promoting consistency and adherence to organizational standards.
  • Cost-effective Management: AWS Control Tower provides features that help organizations optimize their AWS costs, such as cost allocation tags and cost and usage reports. This allows organizations to manage and monitor their AWS spending more effectively.

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Common Errors While Using AWS Control Tower

While using AWS Control Tower, users may encounter various common errors that can impact their provisioning, control application, and landing zone management processes. 

Here are some common errors that you may encounter while using AWS Control Tower:

  • Account Factory Errors- These errors often arise when attempting to provision new AWS accounts using the Account Factory feature. Some common causes include:
    • Template Configuration Issues: Errors can occur if the Account Factory template is not configured correctly. This could result in misconfigured accounts that don’t align with organizational requirements.
    • Insufficient Permissions: If you lack the necessary permissions to create new accounts or manage the Account Factory settings, you may encounter errors during the provisioning process.
  • Control Errors- When applying controls to AWS accounts and organizational units (OUs), errors can occur for various reasons:
    • Compatibility Issues: Certain controls may not be compatible with specific AWS services or configurations. Attempting to apply an incompatible control can lead to errors and operational issues.
    • Permission Mismatches: If you don’t have the required permissions to apply controls, you may encounter errors when trying to enforce security policies or compliance standards.
  • Landing Zone Errors- Landing zone management is a critical aspect of AWS Control Tower, and errors can disrupt this process. Common landing zone-related errors include:
    • Template Misconfiguration: Errors can occur if the landing zone template is not configured correctly during the initial setup. This can impact the proper functioning of your landing zone’s security and compliance features.
    • Permission Issues: If you lack the necessary permissions to create or manage landing zones, you may encounter errors when attempting to configure or modify your AWS Control Tower landing zone.

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Conclusion

AWS Control Tower is always evolving to meet the growing needs of organizations! As cloud environments become more complex, there will be even greater demand for robust security and compliance controls, as well as advanced automation and customization features. With AWS Control Tower, you can rest assured that you’ll always have access to the latest and greatest tools to manage your AWS environment. It’s an exciting time to use AWS Control Tower!

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