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Introducing AWS Control Tower 

Introduction

Managing Multiple AWS accounts can be challenging, especially when maintaining consistent security, compliance, and efficiency across all accounts.

Traditionally, organizations have relied on a single AWS account to handle all their workloads. However, this approach often leads to various issues, including limited governance, lack of separation of duties, and difficulty scaling. Fortunately, AWS Control Tower provides a real solution to these problems.

Issues with a single Account

Using a single AWS account may seem convenient initially, but it quickly becomes problematic as the organization grows. Here are some common issues faced by organizations using a single account.

With a single account, enforcing consistent policies and ensuring compliance across different workloads is challenging. Organizations may expose themselves to security risks and regulatory violations without proper governance measures.

Assigning distinct roles and responsibilities to different teams or departments in a single account setup is challenging. This lack of separation of duties can lead to confusion, conflicts, and potential security breaches.

As the organization expands, managing a single account becomes increasingly complex. Tracking costs, monitoring resources, and controlling growing workloads become more challenging

Temporary Solutions

Before the introduction of AWS Control Tower, organizations had to resort to temporary solutions to address the challenges posed by a single account. These solutions included.

Organizations manually create separate accounts for different teams or workloads. While this approach provided some separation, it needed more central governance and significant administrative efforts.

Some organizations developed custom scripts or used third-party tools to automate the provisioning and management of multiple AWS accounts. However, these solutions often required specialized knowledge and were challenging to maintain.

Organizations tried to mitigate issues by implementing IAM roles and policies within a single account. While this approach improved security and access control, it still needed to improve overall governance and scalability.

AWS Control Tower: The Real Solution

AWS Control Tower offers a comprehensive solution to the challenges associated with a single account setup. It provides a centralized hub for managing multiple AWS accounts, enabling organizations to achieve consistent governance, Separation of duties, and Scalability.

Control Tower Architecture

AWS Control Tower creates two Organizational Units (OUs) under AWS Organizations for shared and user-created accounts. OUs group accounts for governance. Customizations for AWS Control Tower enable scalable deployment of resources and governance in your managed landing zone.

To deploy the solution, you must use an AWS CloudFormation template in the same AWS Region and management account as your AWS Control Tower landing zone. After deployment, you can customize the solution using a configuration package. The package contains a manifest file, templates, and related files stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) by default. The manifest describes the AWS resources to deploy to your OU or account(s) in specific AWS Regions. 

The solution deploys AWS CloudFormation StackSets and AWS Organizations SCPs across multiple accounts and Regions. It follows a DevOps approach using AWS CodePipeline for continuous integration and delivery. When creating a new managed account using the AWS Control Tower Account Factory, the solution uses the AWS Control Tower Lifecycle Event to initiate the CodePipeline workflow. The workflow deploys the existing stack of AWS resources to the new account.

Key Features of AWS Control Tower

AWS control tower offers several key features that address the issues organizations face using a single account.

With AWS Control Tower, organizations can easily set up and provision multiple AWS accounts with predefined security and governance policies.

The Account Factory automates the account creation process, ensuring consistency and reducing administrative overhead.

AWS Control Tower enforces predefined guardrails that establish Security and compliance control across all accounts. These Guardrails include identity and access management policies, logging monitoring, and networking. Organizations can also define custom guardrails to meet their specific requirements.

AWS Control Tower provides a consolidated view of logs and monitoring data across all accounts. This centralized approach simplifies troubleshooting, enhances security incident response, and improves overall organization infrastructure visibility.

Lifecycle Management. With AWS Control Tower, organizations can easily manage the entire lifecycle of their accounts. This includes automated provisioning, de-provisioning, and ongoing management tasks. It enables organizations to maintain control and governance as their workloads evolve.

Benefits of AWS Control Tower

By adopting AWS Control Tower, organizations can reap numerous benefits, including

AWS Control Tower ensures consistent and centralized governance across all accounts, reducing security risks and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.

With predefined guardrails and centralized monitoring AWS Control Tower strengthens the security posture of organizations. It enables quick identification and response to security threats or vulnerabilities.

AWS Control Tower simplifies provisioning and managing multiple accounts, reducing administrative efforts and increasing operational efficiency.

By providing visibility into costs and usage across all accounts, AWS Control Tower helps organizations optimize their AWS spending. it enables better resource allocation and cost management.

Cost of AWS Control Tower

AWS Control Tower is accessible, but you’ll incur costs for AWS services that you configure to set up your landing zone and controls. Services like AWS Organizations and IAM Identity Center come at no additional charge. Still, you’ll pay for services such as AWS Service Catalog, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon S3 based on your usage. For example, enabling private subnets will configure Amazon VPC to create a NAT Gateway, and you’ll be billed for your usage. Using ephemeral workloads from AWS Control Tower accounts may increase AWS Config costs.

Conclusion

Using a single AWS account to manage multiple workloads can lead to significant challenges in governance, separation of duties, and scalability. However, AWS Control Tower Offers a natural solution to these issues by providing a centralized hub for managing multiple accounts and enforcing consistent policies. AWS Control Tower empowers organizations to achieve better security, compliance, and efficiency. With its automated provisioning, predefined guardrails 

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