What is AWS IAM?
It offers companies to specify the permissions for their users with who can access, which service, and under which conditions.
IAM has certain policies for organizations to manage authentication and permission to their workforce and systems for ensuring the least privileges.
In simple terms, the IAM of AWS ensures the right people of the organization access the exact resources for their job efficiently.
Here we are going to discuss What is AWS IAM along with its use cases and how it works for the organization.
Use cases of AWS IAM
IAM allows organizations to manage AWS permissions for workforce and workloads.
Workforce users can utilize AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) for managing access to AWS accounts and permissions within their accounts and AWS SSO enables the easier provision and management of the IAM roles and policies throughout the organization.
Workload permissions, on the other hand, can use IAM roles and policies for granting required access according to the workloads.
IAM Single Sign-On
IAM SSO is used to create or connect the workforce identities in Amazon Web Services for managing the access centrally across the organization.
It helps in getting a unified administration experience to define, customize, and assign fine-grained access for accessing AWS accounts, Amazon EC2 Windows Instances, or Cloud Applications.
Benefits of IAM SSO
- Centralized access to create or connect the workforce identities
- Easy to manage access to multiple AWS accounts from one place
- Easy to manage access to the AWS cloud applications
Steps to use AWS IAM
Following are the comprehensive steps to use AWS IAM for the organization
- Step 1: Enable AWS Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Step 2: Choose the identity source from the options like ‘AWS SSO’, ‘Active Directory’, or ‘SAML 2.0 IdP.
- Step 3: Manage User Permissions Centrally for AWS accounts, AWS applications, and SAML applications.
- Step 4: Users will get single-click access
Use cases of AWS SSO
Following are the applications of AWS SSO that empower the organization with access controls
- Enabling single sign-on access to the AWS accounts through directory credentials of AWS, AWS CLI (Command Line Interface), AWS SDKs, or Mobile Console App.
- Enabling easy access to integrated applications like Amazon SageMaker Studio, AWS Systems Manager Change Manager, and AWS IoT SiteWise with zero-configuration authentication and authorization.
- Enabling single sign-on access to the cloud applications like Salesforce, Box, Microsoft 365, and so on that support the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML 2.0) with SSO.
Features of AWS IAM
AWS offers IAM with the following features
- IAM Access Analyzer
- IAM Permissions
- IAM Roles
IAM Access Analyzer
IAM Access Analyzer is used to guide the organization for the least-privileged permissions that grant the right and fine-grained access controls as per the requirements of the jobs.
It helps organizations streamline the permission management across the lifecycle of IAM including set, verifying, and refining.
- Set Permissions involve two steps that are policy generation and policy validation. Policy generation is used to generate fine-grained policies as per the access activity that is captured in the logs. Policy validation is the analyzer that guides the organization to the author and validates secure and functional policies with more than 100 policy checks.
- Verify the Intended Permissions involve in the findings of the IAM Access Analyzer guide to verify that the previous access meets the intent. It offers users provable security for analyzing all access paths to offer a comprehensive analysis of external access to their resources.
- Refine Permissions by removing unused access for providing data of when AWS services were last used to discover the opportunities for tightening the permissions.
IAM Permissions enable organizations to specify access to AWS resources and the permissions will be granted to IAM entities like users, groups, and roles.
The default permission for all the entities is no permission.
It means IAM entities can’t do anything in Amazon Web Services until the organization grants them desired and required permission.
Following are the policies that the organization specifies and assign permissions to the user, group, or role.
- Actions: Which AWS actions are to be allowed. For instance, an organization has to allow a user to use Amazon S3 ListBucket action and all other AWS actions are denied.
- Resources: Which AWS resources are to be used. For instance, In Amazon S3 ListBucket, what action is allowed for users to perform as other resources are restricted.
- Effect: The organization can allow or deny access. Here the access will be denied by default until the organization gives policies where the effect is to allow
- Conditions: Which conditions are to be present for the policy to take effect. For instance, an organization might enable the specific S3 bucket for the user.
IAM roles give the organization to delegate authorization to its users that are generally don’t have access to the resources of AWS.
IAM users can assume a role to get security credentials temporarily for using AWS API calls.
It will not be long-term credentials or permissions for entities that require access to the resources. It will serve with the following scenarios for addressing the challenges through delegating access to AWS resources.
- Allowing applications that run on Amazon EC2 instances access to AWS resources. The developers must distribute their credentials for every instance. It allows applications to use the credentials for accessing resources like Amazon S3 Buckets or Amazon DynamoDB data.
- Cross-account access is used to access or manage access to resources like isolating the development environment from a production department with AWS accounts. Users from one account might require to access resources in the other account for promoting an update.
- Enabling permissions to AWS Services. It can be done before AWS services perform actions for the organization by granting permissions to the users. IAM roles can be used to grant permissions for accessing AWS resources to call other AWS services for an organization or they can create and manage AWS resources for the organization in their account. Amazon Lex is such a service that offers service-linked roles for predefining by that specific service.
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