New for AWS Control Tower – Comprehensive Controls Management (Preview)

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Today, customers in regulated industries face the challenge of defining and enforcing controls needed to meet compliance and security requirements while empowering engineers to make their design choices. In addition to addressing risk, reliability, performance, and resiliency requirements, organizations may also need to comply with frameworks and standards such as PCI DSS and NIST 800-53.

Building controls that account for service relationships and their dependencies is time-consuming and expensive. Sometimes customers restrict engineering access to AWS services and features until their cloud architects identify risks and implement their own controls.

To make that easier, today we are launching comprehensive controls management in AWS Control Tower. You can use it to apply managed preventative, detective, and proactive controls to accounts and organizational units (OUs) by service, control objective, or compliance framework. AWS Control Tower does the mapping between them on your behalf, saving time and effort.

With this new capability, you can now also use AWS Control Tower to turn on AWS Security Hub detective controls across all accounts in an OU. In this way, Security Hub controls are enabled in every AWS Region that AWS Control Tower governs.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Using AWS Control Tower Comprehensive Controls Management
In the AWS Control Tower console, there is a new Controls library section. There, I choose All controls. There are now more than three hundred controls available. For each control, I see which AWS service it is related to, the control objective this control is part of, the implementation (such as AWS Config rule or AWS CloudFormation Guard rule), the behavior (preventive, detective, or proactive), and the frameworks it maps to (such as NIST 800-53 or PCI DSS).

Console screenshot.

In the Find controls search box, I look for a preventive control called CT.CLOUDFORMATION.PR.1. This control uses a service control policy (SCP) to protect controls that use CloudFormation hooks and is required by the control that I want to turn on next. Then, I choose Enable control.

Console screenshot.

Then, I select the OU for which I want to enable this control.

Console screenshot.

Now that I have set up this control, let’s see how controls are presented in the console in categories. I choose Categories in the navigation pane. There, I can browse controls grouped as Frameworks, Services, and Control objectives. By default, the Frameworks tab is selected.

Console screenshot.

I select a framework (for example, PCI DSS version 3.2.1) to see all the related controls and control objectives. To implement a control, I can select the control from the list and choose Enable control.

Console screenshot.

I can also manage controls by AWS service. When I select the Services tab, I see a list of AWS services and the related control objectives and controls.

Console screenshot.

I choose Amazon DynamoDB to see the controls that I can turn on for this service.

Console screenshot.

I select the Control objectives tab. When I need to assess a control objective, this is where I have access to the list of related controls to turn on.

Console screenshot.

I choose Encrypt data at rest to see and search through the available controls for that control objective. I can also check which services are covered in this specific case. I type RDS in the search bar to find the controls related to Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for this control objective.

I choose CT.RDS.PR.16 – Require an Amazon RDS database cluster to have encryption at rest configured and then Enable control.

Console screenshot.

I select the OU for which I want to enable the control for, and I proceed. All the AWS accounts in this organization’s OU will have this control enabled in all the Regions that AWS Control Tower governs.

Console screenshot.

After a few minutes, the AWS Control Tower setup is updated. Now, the accounts in this OU have proactive control CT.RDS.PR.16 turned on. When an account in this OU deploys a CloudFormation stack, any Amazon RDS database cluster has to have encryption at rest configured. Because this control is proactive, it’ll be checked by a CloudFormation hook before the deployment starts. This saves a lot of time compared to a detective control that would find the issue only when the CloudFormation deployment is in progress or has terminated. This also improves my security posture by preventing something that’s not allowed as opposed to reacting to it after the fact.

Availability and Pricing
Comprehensive controls management is available in preview today in all AWS Regions where AWS Control Tower is offered. These enhanced control capabilities reduce the time it takes you to vet AWS services from months or weeks to minutes. They help you use AWS by undertaking the heavy burden of defining, mapping, and managing the controls required to meet the most common control objectives and regulations.

There is no additional charge to use these new capabilities during the preview. However, when you set up AWS Control Tower, you will begin to incur costs for AWS services configured to set up your landing zone and mandatory controls. For more information, see AWS Control Tower pricing.

Simplify how you implement compliance and security requirements with AWS Control Tower.



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