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AWS Control Tower: What You Need To Know

If you have multiple AWS accounts, set up and governance can be time-consuming. Read on to learn how AWS control tower can help.

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4 min read
AWS Control Tower: What You Need To Know

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Did you know that AWS Control Tower simplifies the management of multiple AWS accounts?

AWS provides companies with many services, but it isn't easy to manage large-scale deploymnets that span multiple accounts.

Control Tower is a solution to provisioning and managing your landing zone. From Control Tower, you can do a variety of things to manage a secure multi-account architecture and associated users. Putting it together doesn't take long, and you can notice the benefits as soon as you set it up.

What Is AWS Control Tower?

Any time a company wants to deploy large-scale AWS, they need to figure out how to manage several applications, environments, and AWS teams. This process can be complicated because, as you add users, there is risk your security standard could fall by the wayside.

Most companies will create numerous AWS accounts to help them keep track of permissions and ensure that users have access to the infrastructure and applications they need to do their jobs, and nothing more. AWS Organizations and its service control policies (SCPs) helps companies organize accounts but it still requires a long time to set up.

AWS Control Tower offers greater control over their accounts. With Control Tower, you can expect to gain a variety of tools to make AWS migration simple and manage accounts with pre-configured settings.

How Control Tower Works

Control Tower in AWS is simple enough to get up to speed quickly. When you launch your landing zone, it will automatically create a security organization unit (OU) that contains a log archive account and an audit account. These are required as they are key best practices for all landing zones in AWS. You need to have an account for centralized logging where logs from the other accounts are stored long-term, and an audit account from which auditors in your company can access the other accounts with permissions specific to their job function. From there you can set up additional organizational units as needed for your company. For example, many companies will set up a production OU for their production and staging environments to which only privileged users have administrative access, and a development OU to use as a developer sandbox. All you need to do is set it up and start governing your accounts, and you can even invite existing accounts to your organization through Control Tower. After setting everything up, you can automate guardrails to keep your accounts secure at all times.

Guardrails come in combinations of either be preventive or detective and mandatory or optional. These guardrails let you create a perfect environment for each of your AWS accounts.

Here are the different types of guardrails explained:

  • Preventive: Prevents resources from being accessed that don't align with your settings.
  • Detective: Detects things like policy violations and provides alerts.
  • Mandatory: Pre-enabled guardrails that can't be disabled when setting up the Control Tower.
  • Optional: Can be used to limit access, but aren't forced to be enabled like mandatory guardrails.

When you've applied the guardrails, you can automate the provisioning process when new accounts are created. Control Tower lets you create pre-approved configurations so that you don't have to manually set them up each time an account is created. You can also provide builders with permission to modify these.

Everything within the service can be managed from a dashboard that lets you see a variety of information. From the dashboard, you can see all of the accounts, users, and guardrails.

These are essentially the basics of Control Tower, so you shouldn't have a hard time setting it up. To set it up, you'll need a new AWS account.

The Benefits of AWS Control Tower

Quick Configuration

While many companies spend weeks or months coming up with a management strategy for their AWS environments, Control Tower lets do that within hours.

Manage All Accounts

When creating accounts, you can give each unique permissions. This customization allows you to put teams together for different tasks without worrying about them, affecting the progress of others.

Apply Guardrails

Guardrails can be applied within seconds by selecting them in the dashboard. From there, you can apply the guardrails to whichever accounts you'd like.

Use Visual Indicators

Visual indicators within the Control Tower's dashboard give you a good idea of what the status of the AWS environment is like. These indicators can be used alongside notifications to make managing the Control Tower simpler.

How to Set Up Control Tower

Setting up AWS Control Tower is a relatively quick process and should take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours to complete. When it comes to setting it up, you'll need to go through 2 main steps: create email accounts and set up the landing zone.

Create Shared Account Emails

Before you can set up your AWS Control Tower, you need to create two email addresses that have a collaborative inbox. One email will be used for those that need access to the audit information in the Control Tower whereas the other will before accessing logging information.

Set Up the Landing Zone

After creating two email accounts, you can start setting up the landing zone in the AWS Console. From there, you'll enter the emails that you've made, but they mustn't be assigned to other AWS accounts. After reviewing and accepting the permissions and agreements, you can launch the Control Tower.

Start Using AWS Control Tower Today

No matter what kind of company you have, you'll need Control Tower if you're managing AWS accounts. At this point, you should have a good understanding of what AWS Control Tower is and its many benefits.

We encourage you to start using it as soon as possible so that you can reap its many benefits. After implementing it, you'll quickly notice a difference in productivity.

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