Access control - Amazon Backup
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Access control

You can have valid credentials to authenticate your requests, but unless you have the appropriate permissions, you can't access Amazon Backup resources such as backup vaults. You also can't back up Amazon resources such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes.

Every Amazon resource is owned by an Amazon Web Services account, and permissions to create or access a resource are governed by permissions policies. An account administrator can attach permissions policies to Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) identities (that is, users, groups, and roles). And some services also support attaching permissions policies to resources.


An account administrator (or administrator user) is a user with administrator permissions. For more information, see IAM Best Practices in the IAM User Guide.

When granting permissions, you decide who is getting the permissions, the resources they get permissions for, and the specific actions that you want to allow on those resources.

The following sections cover how access policies work and how you use them to protect your backups.

Resources and operations

A resource is an object that exists within a service. Amazon Backup resources include backup plans, backup vaults, and backups. Backup is a general term that refers to the various types of backup resources that exist in Amazon. For example, Amazon EBS snapshots, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) snapshots, and Amazon DynamoDB backups are all types of backup resources.

In Amazon Backup, backups are also referred to as recovery points. When using Amazon Backup, you also work with the resources from other Amazon services that you are trying to protect, such as Amazon EBS volumes or DynamoDB tables. These resources have unique Amazon Resource Names (ARNs) associated with them. ARNs uniquely identify Amazon resources. You must have an ARN when you need to specify a resource unambiguously across all of Amazon, such as in IAM policies or API calls.

The following table lists resources, subresources, ARN format, and an example unique ID.

Amazon Backup resource ARNs
Resource type ARN format Example unique ID
Backup plan arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:backup-plan:*
Backup vault arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:backup-vault:*
Recovery point for Amazon EBS arn:aws:ec2:region::snapshot/* snapshot/snap-05f426fd8kdjb4224
Recovery point for Amazon EC2 images arn:aws:ec2:region::image/ami-* image/ami-1a2b3e4f5e6f7g890
Recovery point for Amazon RDS arn:aws:rds:region:account-id:snapshot:awsbackup:* awsbackup:job-be59cf2a-2343-4402-bd8b-226993d23453
Recovery point for Aurora arn:aws:rds:region:account-id:cluster-snapshot:awsbackup:* awsbackup:job-be59cf2a-2343-4402-bd8b-226993d23453
Recovery point for Storage Gateway arn:aws:ec2:region::snapshot/* snapshot/snap-0d40e49137e31d9e0
Recovery point for DynamoDB without Advanced DynamoDB backup arn:aws:dynamodb:region:account-id:table/*/backup/* table/MyDynamoDBTable/backup/01547087347000-c8b6kdk3
Recovery point for DynamoDB with Advanced DynamoDB backup enabled arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:recovery-point:* 12a34a56-7bb8-901c-cd23-4567d8e9ef01
Recovery point for Amazon EFS arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:recovery-point:* d99699e7-e183-477e-bfcd-ccb1c6e5455e
Recovery point for Amazon FSx arn:aws:fsx:region:account-id:backup/backup-* backup/backup-1a20e49137e31d9e0
Recovery point for virtual machine arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:recovery-point:* 1801234a-5b6b-7dc8-8032-836f7ffc623b
Recovery point for Amazon S3 continuous backup arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:recovery-point:* my-bucket-5ec207d0
Recovery point for S3 periodic backup arn:aws:backup:region:account-id:recovery-point:* my-bucket-20211231900000-5ec207d0

Resources that support full Amazon Backup management all have recovery points in the format arn:aws:backup:region:account-id::recovery-point:*. making it easier for you to apply permissions policies to protect those recovery points. To see which resources support full Amazon Backup management, see that section of the Feature availability by resource table.

Amazon Backup provides a set of operations to work with Amazon Backup resources. For a list of available operations, see Amazon Backup Actions.

Resource ownership

The Amazon Web Services account owns the resources that are created in the account, regardless of who created the resources. Specifically, the resource owner is the Amazon Web Services account of the principal entity (that is, the Amazon Web Services account root user, an IAM user, or an IAM role) that authenticates the resource creation request. The following examples illustrate how this works:

  • If you use the Amazon Web Services account root user credentials of your Amazon Web Services account to create a backup vault, your Amazon Web Services account is the owner of the vault.

  • If you create an IAM user in your Amazon Web Services account and grant permissions to create a backup vault to that user, the user can create a backup vault. However, your Amazon account, to which the user belongs, owns the backup vault resource.

  • If you create an IAM role in your Amazon Web Services account with permissions to create a backup vault, anyone who can assume the role can create a vault. Your Amazon Web Services account, to which the role belongs, owns the backup vault resource.

Specifying policy elements: actions, effects, and principals

For each Amazon Backup resource (see Resources and operations), the service defines a set of API operations (see Actions). To grant permissions for these API operations, Amazon Backup defines a set of actions that you can specify in a policy. Performing an API operation can require permissions for more than one action.

The following are the most basic policy elements:

  • Resource – In a policy, you use an Amazon Resource Name (ARN) to identify the resource to which the policy applies. For more information, see Resources and operations.

  • Action – You use action keywords to identify resource operations that you want to allow or deny.

  • Effect – You specify the effect when the user requests the specific action—this can be either allow or deny. If you don't explicitly grant access to (allow) a resource, access is implicitly denied. You can also explicitly deny access to a resource, which you might do to make sure that a user cannot access it, even if a different policy grants access.

  • Principal – In identity-based policies (IAM policies), the user that the policy is attached to is the implicit principal. For resource-based policies, you specify the user, account, service, or other entity that you want to receive permissions (applies to resource-based policies only).

To learn more about IAM policy syntax and descriptions, see IAM JSON Policy Reference in the IAM User Guide.

For a table showing all of the Amazon Backup API actions, see API permissions: actions, resources, and conditions reference.

Specifying conditions in a policy

When you grant permissions, you can use the IAM policy language to specify the conditions when a policy should take effect. For example, you might want a policy to be applied only after a specific date. For more information about specifying conditions in a policy language, see Condition in the IAM User Guide.

To express conditions, you use predefined condition keys. There are no condition keys specific to Amazon Backup. However, there are Amazon-wide condition keys that you can use as appropriate. For a complete list of Amazon-wide keys, see Amazon Global Condition Context Keys in the IAM User Guide.


Amazon Backup does not support tag or context key conditions in access policies for any of its actions.

API permissions: actions, resources, and conditions reference

When you are setting up Access control and writing a permissions policy that you can attach to an IAM identity (identity-based policies), you can use the following table as a reference. The table lists each Amazon Backup API operation, the corresponding actions for which you can grant permissions to perform the action, and the Amazon resource for which you can grant the permissions. You specify the actions in the policy's Action field, and you specify the resource value in the policy's Resource field. If Resource field is blank, you can use the wildcard (*) to include all resources.

You can use Amazon-wide condition keys in your Amazon Backup policies to express conditions. For a complete list of Amazon-wide keys, see Available Keys in the IAM User Guide.

If you see an expand arrow () in the upper-right corner of the table, you can open the table in a new window. To close the window, choose the close button (X) in the lower-right corner.

Copy tags permissions

When Amazon Backup performs a backup or copy job, it attempts to copy the tags from your source resource (or recovery point in the case of copy) to your recovery point.


Amazon Backup does not natively copy tags during restore jobs. For an event-driven architecture that will copy tags during restore jobs, see How to retain resource tags in Amazon Backup restore jobs.

During a backup or copy job, Amazon Backup aggregates the tags you specify in your backup plan (or copy plan, or on-demand backup) with the tags from your source resource. However, Amazon enforces a limit of 50 tags per resource, which Amazon Backup cannot exceed. When a backup or copy job aggregates tags from the plan and the source resource, it might discover more than 50 total tags, it will be unable to complete the job, and will fail the job. This is consistent with Amazon-wide tagging best practices. To learn more, see Tag limits in the Amazon General Reference Guide.

  • Your resource has more than 50 tags after aggregating your backup job tags with your source resource tags. Amazon supports up to 50 tags per resource. For more information, see Tag limits.

  • The IAM role you provide to Amazon Backup lacks permissions to read the source tags or set the destination tags. For more information and sample IAM role policies, see Managed Policies.

You can use your backup plan to create tags that contradict your source resource tags. When the two conflict, the tags from your backup plan take precedence. Use this technique if you prefer not to copy a tag value from your source resource. Specify the same tag key, but different or empty value, using your backup plan.

Permissions Required to assign tags to backups
Resource type Required permission
Amazon EFS file system


Amazon FSx file system


Amazon RDS database and Amazon Aurora cluster



Storage Gateway volume


Amazon EC2 instance and Amazon EBS volume



DynamoDB does not support assigning tags to backups unless you first enable Advanced DynamoDB backup.

When an Amazon EC2 backup creates an Image Recovery Point and a set of snapshots, Amazon Backup copies tags to the resulting AMI. Amazon Backup also copies the tags from the volumes associated with the Amazon EC2 instance to the resulting snapshots.

Access policies

A permissions policy describes who has access to what. Policies attached to an IAM identity are referred to as identity-based policies (IAM policies). Policies attached to a resource are referred to as resource-based policies. Amazon Backup supports both identity-based policies and resource-based policies.


This section discusses using IAM in the context of Amazon Backup. It doesn't provide detailed information about the IAM service. For complete IAM documentation, see What Is IAM? in the IAM User Guide. For information about IAM policy syntax and descriptions, see IAM JSON Policy Reference in the IAM User Guide.

Identity-based policies (IAM policies)

Identity-based policies are policies that you can attach to IAM identities, such as users or roles. For example, you can define a policy that allows a user to view and back up Amazon resources, but prevents them from restoring backups.

For more information about users, groups, roles, and permissions, see Identities (Users, Groups, and Roles) in the IAM User Guide.

For information about how to use IAM policies to control access to backups, see Managed policies for Amazon Backup.

Resource-based policies

Amazon Backup supports resource-based access policies for backup vaults. This enables you to define an access policy that can control which users have what kind of access to any of the backups organized in a backup vault. Resource-based access policies for backup vaults provide an easy way to control access to your backups.

Backup vault access policies control user access when you use Amazon Backup APIs. Some backup types, such as Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) snapshots, can also be accessed using those services' APIs. You can create separate access policies in IAM that control access to those APIs in order to fully control access to backups.

To learn how to create an access policy for backup vaults, see Set access policies on backup vaults.