Sydnie  Hansen

Sydnie Hansen


Enable AWS Control Tower for Existing Organizations

In this video, you’ll see how to enable AWS Control Tower for existing organizations. With AWS Control Tower, you can govern and manage your organization’s accounts, apply security guardrails across accounts, and monitor compliance for new and existing accounts.

For more information on this topic, please visit these resources:

Learn more about AWSControlTower -
AWSControlTower User Guide -
Management & Governance Blog on AWSControlTower -

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Enable AWS Control Tower for Existing Organizations
Seamus  Quitzon

Seamus Quitzon


AWS Cost Allocation Tags and Cost Reduction

Bob had just arrived in the office for his first day of work as the newly hired chief technical officer when he was called into a conference room by the president, Martha, who immediately introduced him to the head of accounting, Amanda. They exchanged pleasantries, and then Martha got right down to business:

“Bob, we have several teams here developing software applications on Amazon and our bill is very high. We think it’s unnecessarily high, and we’d like you to look into it and bring it under control.”

Martha placed a screenshot of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) billing report on the table and pointed to it.

“This is a problem for us: We don’t know what we’re spending this money on, and we need to see more detail.”

Amanda chimed in, “Bob, look, we have financial dimensions that we use for reporting purposes, and I can provide you with some guidance regarding some information we’d really like to see such that the reports that are ultimately produced mirror these dimensions — if you can do this, it would really help us internally.”

“Bob, we can’t stress how important this is right now. These projects are becoming very expensive for our business,” Martha reiterated.

“How many projects do we have?” Bob inquired.

“We have four projects in total: two in the aviation division and two in the energy division. If it matters, the aviation division has 75 developers and the energy division has 25 developers,” the CEO responded.

Bob understood the problem and responded, “I’ll see what I can do and have some ideas. I might not be able to give you retrospective insight, but going forward, we should be able to get a better idea of what’s going on and start to bring the cost down.”

The meeting ended with Bob heading to find his desk. Cost allocation tags should help us, he thought to himself as he looked for someone who might know where his office is.

#aws #aws cloud #node js #cost optimization #aws cli #well architected framework #aws cost report #cost control #aws cost #aws tags

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Ruby  Schmitt

Ruby Schmitt


Managing AWS Users and Roles in a Multi-Account Organization

My last post compared different infrastructure tools for creating users and letting them assume roles for cross-account access. I received a few questions about the underlying problem that those scripts were trying to solve, so this post delves a bit deeper into the realm of user management.

The underlying problem: how do you manage multiple AWS deployments? The typical example is development/qa/production, but developer sandboxes — in which developers have the freedom to experiment with services without fear of impacting anyone else — are perhaps even more relevant. The standard answer to this problem is to create multiple AWS accounts, and with the release of AWS Organizations in 2017 it became much easier to implement: in addition to simplifying billing, Organizations gives the master account more control over the children via Service Control Policies.

But if you use multiple accounts, how do you manage users in those accounts? One not-very-good answer is to create separate users in each account. This quickly becomes a management nightmare, both for the organization and your users. For the organization, you need to add users to the appropriate accounts, manage their permissions, and remove them if they leave the company; this can be solved with automation. But for users, it’s harder to solve: I’ve watched coworkers cycle through a list of accounts/passwords until they found the right one for the task they were about to do. And inevitably, if you’re working with multiple accounts you end up with an “oops!” where you did something in the wrong account.

A better solution is Amazon’s Single Sign-On service, also introduced in 2017. With this service, you can manage a single set of users and grant them varying permissions in different AWS accounts. The users sign in via the SSO portal and select their destination account; they can either get temporary credentials for CLI/SDK access, or be redirected to the AWS Console for that account. In addition, you can use SSO as a portal for web applications such as Office365 or your own SAML-based applications. And you can use a corporate Active Directory server as the user database, which is something that larger organizations will like (disclosure: I haven’t configured AD integration, so can’t say how easy or difficult it is).

When I first wrote this post, I pointed out that SSO did not support TOTP for multi-factor authentication. This changed in October 2019, and you can now use any MFA token provider with SSO that you could use with IAM. However, my second concern remains: SSO is not scriptable (at least as-of this writing) via either CloudFormation or Terraform. So you have to enter your users and configure their permissions manually. And SSO “permission sets” translate directly to IAM roles, so you’ll end up with a mix of scripted and unscripted roles, losing the benefit of source-control for your infrastructure.

With all that said, I still think that SSO is a good choice for many organizations. But I prefer the following architecture, in which all users are defined in the organization’s master account, and have the ability to assume roles in the child accounts (note: each account has a made-up account ID that’s used in subsequent examples):

#aws-role #amazon-web-services #aws #aws-deployment #aws-organizations

Christa  Stehr

Christa Stehr


How To Unite AWS KMS with Serverless Application Model (SAM)

The Basics

AWS KMS is a Key Management Service that let you create Cryptographic keys that you can use to encrypt and decrypt data and also other keys. You can read more about it here.

Important points about Keys

Please note that the customer master keys(CMK) generated can only be used to encrypt small amount of data like passwords, RSA key. You can use AWS KMS CMKs to generate, encrypt, and decrypt data keys. However, AWS KMS does not store, manage, or track your data keys, or perform cryptographic operations with data keys.

You must use and manage data keys outside of AWS KMS. KMS API uses AWS KMS CMK in the encryption operations and they cannot accept more than 4 KB (4096 bytes) of data. To encrypt application data, use the server-side encryption features of an AWS service, or a client-side encryption library, such as the AWS Encryption SDK or the Amazon S3 encryption client.


We want to create signup and login forms for a website.

Passwords should be encrypted and stored in DynamoDB database.

What do we need?

  1. KMS key to encrypt and decrypt data
  2. DynamoDB table to store password.
  3. Lambda functions & APIs to process Login and Sign up forms.
  4. Sign up/ Login forms in HTML.

Lets Implement it as Serverless Application Model (SAM)!

Lets first create the Key that we will use to encrypt and decrypt password.

    Type: AWS::KMS::Key
      Description: CMK for encrypting and decrypting
        Version: '2012-10-17'
        Id: key-default-1
        - Sid: Enable IAM User Permissions
          Effect: Allow
            AWS: !Sub arn:aws:iam::${AWS::AccountId}:root
          Action: kms:*
          Resource: '*'
        - Sid: Allow administration of the key
          Effect: Allow
            AWS: !Sub arn:aws:iam::${AWS::AccountId}:user/${KeyAdmin}
          - kms:Create*
          - kms:Describe*
          - kms:Enable*
          - kms:List*
          - kms:Put*
          - kms:Update*
          - kms:Revoke*
          - kms:Disable*
          - kms:Get*
          - kms:Delete*
          - kms:ScheduleKeyDeletion
          - kms:CancelKeyDeletion
          Resource: '*'
        - Sid: Allow use of the key
          Effect: Allow
            AWS: !Sub arn:aws:iam::${AWS::AccountId}:user/${KeyUser}
          - kms:DescribeKey
          - kms:Encrypt
          - kms:Decrypt
          - kms:ReEncrypt*
          - kms:GenerateDataKey
          - kms:GenerateDataKeyWithoutPlaintext
          Resource: '*'

The important thing in above snippet is the KeyPolicy. KMS requires a Key Administrator and Key User. As a best practice your Key Administrator and Key User should be 2 separate user in your Organisation. We are allowing all permissions to the root users.

So if your key Administrator leaves the organisation, the root user will be able to delete this key. As you can see **KeyAdmin **can manage the key but not use it and KeyUser can only use the key. ${KeyAdmin} and **${KeyUser} **are parameters in the SAM template.

You would be asked to provide values for these parameters during SAM Deploy.

#aws #serverless #aws-sam #aws-key-management-service #aws-certification #aws-api-gateway #tutorial-for-beginners #aws-blogs

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