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Landing Zones, Organizations, OUs and Multi-Account Environments

This Post is a notes-summary of AWS Best Practices for:

  • Governance, risk, and compliance when establishing your cloud presence (AWS Blog Page)

  • Organizational Units with AWS Organizations (AWS Blog Page)

  • Managing the multi-account environment using AWS Organizations and AWS Control Tower (AWS Blog Page)


PART 1. Best Practices for... Governance, risk, and compliance when establishing your cloud presence

AWS Blog Page

  • Check the Management and Governance Lens (A Well-Architected Lens extension) This is built up from years of migrations and best practices learned along the way

Introducing a Landing Zone

  • Separation of concerns get more important and also difficult as companies grow in AWS
  • Separate costs for budgets and billing
  • Security enforcement, resource isolation

A Landing Zone is a...Well-architected multi-account AWS environment that is stable and secure

It is:

  • The starting point for your cloud journey
  • Built on AWS Organization w/ multiple accounts

Landing Zone Framework

Landing Zone Framework

Foundational OUs

Shared Services OU is for things like log archival, networking - Usually the responsibility of central teams

  • Infrastructure - Shared IT Services & Networking
  • Security - Log Archival, security tools, break-glass / forensics

Additional OUs

  • Sandbox OU to allow developers to have their own accountsa to spike/experiment
  • Workloads OU to isolate and tightly control production/app services
  • etc - These are a guide, pick which fits the company the best

Landing Zone Automation

2 Tools to assist here...

  • AWS Control Tower - AWS Managed Service to setup and govern multi-account env ** It uses AWS Organizations and a number of other services to automate the orchestration ** Easier option, minimal customisations; Still allows your to centrally manage governance and has preconfigured best practices
  • AWS Organizations - Use this directly, high levels of customisation Personal Note: Check out org-formation or Terraform

PART 2. Best Practices for... Organizational Units with AWS Organizations

AWS Blog Page

  • Apply SCPs at an OU Level
  • SDLC OUs - Think of having SCPs at each stage of the lifecycle of the application
    SDLC OUs
    e.g Different Policies in different Stages/Environments (Dev vs Test)

  • Deployments OU - If you have different governance and operational models for CICD compared to accounts in Workloads OU (Prod / SDLC)
    ** Reduces dependency on shared CI/CD environments
    ** Pipelines and CICD should match the operational model of the software service it builds and deploys
    Deployments OUs

  • Infra OU may looks like this:
    Infra OU

  • Security OU for hosting security-related services, should be managed by Security team(s)
    Security OU

  • Log Archive - Audits

  • ReadOnlyAccess - Humans for Read-Only permission, cross-account role from here

  • Breakglass - Humans in rare scenarios/security incidents, special authorisation would be required, all access to this logged in detail

  • Tooling - MINIMAL Humans, Master Account for Guard Duty, Security Hub and Amazon Detective...Human Access for Admin purposes only, infrequent
    ** IaC should be heavily used

  • Sandbox OU for individuals wanting to play, should limit internet access if possible
    ** Individuals Accounts created in here e.g ColinWillisAccount

  • Workloads OUs
    Workloads OUs

  • Suspended OU - Accounts that are to be deleted from the Organisation
    ** Apply an SCP to deny all actions, add Tags for traceability if they need to be restored
    ** Accounts are permanent deleted after 90 days

  • Exceptions OU - Accounts that warrant exceptions to Security or Auditing conditions
    ** SCP may be applied directly to the accounts here

Think Top-Secret Project Account; it may have MORE scrutiny than standard accounts


PART 3. Best Practices for... Managing the multi-account environment using AWS Organizations and AWS Control Tower

AWS Blog Page

Permissions Management

** Preventative guardrails are SCPs that limit actions based on your policies.

** Detection guardrails are AWS Config rules paired with AWS Lambda

*** These detect noncompliant resources and alert you through the Control Tower dashboard for remediation

Security

  • AWS offers a feature called Delegated Administration, which allows you to designate an account (such as via Security Tooling Account) ** Use this to then manage the following AWS security and audit services on behalf of the entire organization
AWS Audit Manager - automates the continuous collection of evidence to help you audit your use of cloud services.
AWS Config - detects and provides mitigation recommendations for incorrectly configured resources.
Amazon GuardDuty - detects unexpected and potentially unauthorized and malicious activity in your AWS environment.
Amazon Macie - continuously evaluates your content to identify business-critical or potentially confidential data.
AWS Trusted Advisor - identifies opportunities to improve stability, save money, or help close security gaps.
IAM Access Analyzer - helps you identify any resources or data in your AWS environment that are shared with external entities.
AWS Security Hub - provides you with security checks and recommendations across your organization.
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  • Security users can then centrally view and manage security events
  • NOTE: You may need to enable certain Security Services at the management/organizational account level

Account Management

  • After initial Organization setup, new or invited Accounts can be assigned to OUs
  • Integrated into AWS Organizations, these help you get accounts ready to use:

** AWS Resource Access Manager - Make resources available cross-account e.g EC2 Capacity Reservation, VPC Endpoints

** AWS CloudFormation StackSets - Share Stacks cross account e.g Automatically delete or create resources when an Account joins or leaves the Organization

Top comments (1)

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edeastwood profile image
edeastwood

Useful summary. One of those things that seems like too much effort when getting started; a decision that’s regretted 18 months later when trying to untangle inconsistent point solutions. Any thoughts on how to get there from a mature (in terms of time rather than best practice) brown field estate?

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