Gartner Research

Identity and Access Management Within Amazon Web Services' Public Cloud

Published: 05 February 2013

ID: G00247561

Analyst(s): Ian Glazer, Nick Nikols


Amazon Web Services has amplified its capability in IAM, providing better management and security for the services it offers. However, AWS should be considered as a complex, self-contained environment when integrating with existing enterprise IAM infrastructure and governance processes.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • What AWS IAM Brings to the Table
    • Continued Identity Evolution
    • Support for Simple Federated Single Sign-on
    • Support for Multifactor Authentication
    • Comprehensive API
    • Reporting on Account Usage and Activity
  • Challenges for IAM Professionals With AWS
    • Challenges With User Management
    • Challenges With Working With Existing Enterprise Federation and Authorization Infrastructure
    • Challenges With Access Governance
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Limit the Use of the AWS Root Account
  • Limit the Permissions of the IAM User Account Used for Interactions With Federated Users
  • Consider Using a Privileged Account Management Tool
  • Manage IAM With a Mix of Custom, Third-Party and AWS Tools

The Details

  • Accounts, Users and Roles: Oh My!
    • AWS Account (the Root Account)
    • IAM User
    • Federated Users
    • Roles
  • User Identification and Authentication
    • User Identifiers
    • Security Credentials
    • Authentication Methods
  • Authorization
    • Policy Statements
    • Groups in AWS
    • Authorization With Federated Users
  • Managing Entitlements Within AWS

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