As the complexity of a growing cloud infrastructure expands, so does the complicated challenge of setting up and governing a secure multi-account environment. As a result, Amazon Web Services developed its AWS Control Tower solution to simplify the management of multiple teams and accounts in the cloud.
Unlike the challenge it solves, AWS Control Tower is fairly easy to use, and the service supports the full automation of setup processes for multi-account environments as well as governance policies. Unique to AWS, the service also cuts down the time-consuming element of such lengthy processes by simplifying AWS accounts creation while supporting your cloud environment to remain compliant with all governance policies.
Let’s dig deep and explore how using AWS Control Tower can optimise these functions.
What Is AWS Control Tower?
AWS Control Tower contributes to the formation of well-architected cloud infrastructure by minimizing all tedious account setup tasks for administrators. In this way, the solution allows organizations instead to shift their focus and spend energy on other revenue-generating aspects of their business.
AWS Control Tower also helps you to apply preventive or detective controls using guardrails. The platform is renowned for its facilitation of best practice support and services for compliance and optimal setup for governance practices. The platform has compiled innumerable whitepapers and architectural drawings from work with thousands of enterprises to support companies in all sectors to create well-architected cloud infrastructure. AWS Control Tower is one of many best-practice services that support this endeavor.
Organizations can use Control Tower to automate their setup processes for multi-account environments by simply using a few clicks. Leverage a four-step formula for operating AWS Control Tower:
- Automated setup of your landing zone
- Applying guardrails
- Account workflow automation
- Get dashboard visibility
AWS provides best practice blueprints from various enterprises to help you easily configure and set up your landing zone. It is then easy to apply robust governance policies by using guardrails that are readily available. The process derails any resources that are not compliant with policies.
Lastly, AWS provides you with deep insights in an interactive dashboard to monitor all your compliance policies, guardrails and accounts. Now let’s move to the actual usage and components of AWS Control Tower.
How to Use AWS Control Tower to Simplify Multi-Account Management
AWS Control Tower is all about saving time through automation and gaining better visibility and control over your multi-account environment. Here’s an outlook of this solution:
AWS Control Tower Dashboard
The dashboard gives you a single view consisting of three sections that include your accounts, guardrails and compliance status. Gain a clear picture of all your relevant accounts along with all associated guardrails.
On the dashboard, there is also a separate section for all organizational units (OUs) along with their compliance status. The account section includes account name, email, OU details, ownership, compliance status and account activation status.
The dashboard also lists non-compliant resources on the dashboard. The non-compliant resources and account remediation occurs after team provisions. This section consists of the resource ID, resource type, service, region, account name, organizational unit information and guardrail info. By properly provisioning such resources, the team can easily resolve any issues that occur.
Configuring Organizational Units
While configuring Organizational Units in Control Tower, the service allots default names to the OUs. The names of organizational units can be changed later. The default OUs are:
- Foundational OU — Control Tower uses this unit as its foundation and by default, this unit is called “Security OU”. The name is customizable during initial setup, or administrators can use the OU details page. The Security OU consists of a log archive account and an audit account (shared accounts).
- Additional OU — AWS Control Tower gives you an option to add additional OUs depending on your requirements. They also recommend adding at least one OU in your landing zones. It is also possible to skip additional OUs if your enterprise already has created some OUs.
Configuring Shared Accounts
Once you reach the configuration step for a shared account, then AWS provides you a list of your available shared account options. These accounts are necessary, and they should not be modified or deleted at this configuration moment. Still, AWS gives you the opportunity to change the names of these accounts for better records.
The service further asks you to provide email addresses for audit accounts and log archives. It is also possible to verify these emails when configuring accounts by clicking on the “Edit” button.
While configuring these accounts, AWS will ask you to fill in some important information:
- You can change the account name at the console. Initially, the account is called the log archive account by default. Many users keep their default account name.
- Set up an email address that is unique to this account.
- Name the account that was originally called the audit account. AWS users often refer to it as the Security account.
- The administrator needs to provide a unique email address for this account as well.
These configuration steps are enough to get you started at AWS Control Tower. However, there are a lot more details to set up guardrails and enable other security features inside the Control Tower. You can explore the AWS Control Tower User Guide for further explanation.
Why Use AWS Control Tower?
If we see above and beyond automation, then AWS Control Tower certainly has a lot more to offer. The service also allows you to apply already-established guardrails along with compliance policies. These applied guardrails are efficient enough to derail any resources or accounts that are non-compliant.
The team can provision non-compliant resources and accounts. Moreover, the automated and easy compliance handling prevents any governance issues and potential risks to your organization’s resources.
Overall, Control Tower is a complete solution for multi-account management that offers complete governance with a blend of automation in account creation and set up processes.
AWS Control Tower is all about simplification, creating standardization, governance, and streamlining visibility. The solution targets management for multi-account environments where administrators find it difficult to manually handle account creation processes as well as compliance policies. Also, Control Tower is well-trained because it has served thousands of enterprises, and it already has various blueprints to apply under varying circumstances.
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