Creating a trail for an organization - Amazon CloudTrail
Services or capabilities described in Amazon Web Services documentation might vary by Region. To see the differences applicable to the China Regions, see Getting Started with Amazon Web Services in China (PDF).

Creating a trail for an organization

If you have created an organization in Amazon Organizations, you can create a trail that logs all events for all Amazon Web Services accounts in that organization. This is sometimes called an organization trail.

The management account for the organization can assign a delegated administrator to create new organization trails or manage existing organization trails. For more information on adding a delegated administrator, see Add a CloudTrail delegated administrator.

The management account for the organization can edit an existing trail in their account, and apply it to an organization, making it an organization trail. Organization trails log events for the management account and all member accounts in the organization. For more information about Amazon Organizations, see Organizations Terminology and Concepts.


You must sign in with the management account or a delegated administrator account associated with an organization to create an organization trail. You must also have sufficient permissions for the user or role in the management or delegated administrator account to create the trail. If you don't have sufficient permissions, you won't have the option to apply the trail to an organization.

All organization trails created using the console are multi-Region organization trails that log events from the enabled Amazon Web Services Regions in each member account in the organization. To log events in all Amazon partitions in your organization, create a multi-Region organization trail in each partition. You can create either a single-Region or multi-Region organization trail by using the Amazon CLI. If you create a single-Region trail, you log activity only in the trail's Amazon Web Services Region (also referred to as the Home Region).

Although most Amazon Web Services Regions are enabled by default for your Amazon Web Services account, you must manually enable certain Regions (also referred to as opt-in Regions). For information about which Regions are enabled by default, see Considerations before enabling and disabling Regions in the Amazon Account Management Reference Guide. For the list of Regions CloudTrail supports, see CloudTrail supported Regions.

When you create an organization trail, a copy of the trail with the name that you give it is created in the member accounts that belongs to your organization.

  • If the organization trail is for a single-Region and the trail's home Region is not an opt-Region, a copy of the trail is created in the organization trail's home Region in each member account.

  • If the organization trail is for a single-Region and the trail's home Region is an opt-Region, a copy of the trail is created in the organization trail's home Region in the member accounts that have enabled that Region.

  • If the organization trail is multi-Region and the trail's home Region is not an opt-in Region, a copy of the trail is created in each enabled Amazon Web Services Region in each member account. When a member account enables an opt-in Region, a copy of the multi-Region trail is created in the newly opted in Region for the member account after activation of that Region is complete.

  • If the organization trail is multi-Region and the home Region is an opt-in Region, member accounts will not send activity to the organization trail unless they opt into the Amazon Web Services Region where the multi-Region trail was created. For example, if you create a multi-Region trail and choose the Europe (Spain) Region as the home Region for the trail, only member accounts that enabled the Europe (Spain) Region for their account will send their account activity to the organization trail.


CloudTrail creates organization trails in member accounts even if a resource validation fails. Examples of validation failures include:

  • an incorrect Amazon S3 bucket policy

  • an incorrect Amazon SNS topic policy

  • inability to deliver to a CloudWatch Logs log group

  • insufficient permission to encrypt using a KMS key

A member account with CloudTrail permissions can see any validation failures for an organization trail by viewing the trail's details page on the CloudTrail console, or by running the Amazon CLI get-trail-status command.

Users with CloudTrail permissions in member accounts can see organization trails when they log into the Amazon CloudTrail console from their Amazon Web Services accounts, or when they run Amazon CLI commands such as describe-trails. However, users in member accounts do not have sufficient permissions to delete organization trails, turn logging on or off, change what types of events are logged, or otherwise change an organization trail in any way.

When you create an organization trail in the console, or when you enable CloudTrail as a trusted service in Organizations, this creates a service-linked role to perform logging tasks in your organization's member accounts. This role is named AWSServiceRoleForCloudTrail, and is required for CloudTrail to log events for an organization. If an Amazon Web Services account is added to an organization, the organization trail and service-linked role are added to that Amazon Web Services account, and logging starts for that account automatically in the organization trail. If an Amazon Web Services account is removed from an organization, the organization trail and service-linked role are deleted from the Amazon Web Services account that is no longer part of the organization. However, log files for the removed account that were created before the account's removal remain in the Amazon S3 bucket where log files are stored for the trail.

If the management account for an Amazon Organizations organization creates an organization trail, but then is subsequently removed as the organization's management account, any organization trail created using their account becomes a non-organization trail.

In the following example, the organization's management account 111111111111 creates a trail named MyOrganizationTrail for the organization o-exampleorgid. The trail logs activity for all accounts in the organization in the same Amazon S3 bucket. All accounts in the organization can see MyOrganizationTrail in their list of trails, but member accounts cannot remove or modify the organization trail. Only the management account or delegated administrator account can change or delete the trail for the organization. Only the management account can remove a member account from an organization. Similarly, by default, only the management account has access to the Amazon S3 bucket my-organization-bucket for the trail, and the logs contained within it. The high-level bucket structure for log files contains a folder named with the organization ID, and subfolders named with the account IDs for each account in the organization. Events for each member account are logged in the folder that corresponds to the member account ID. If member account 444444444444 is removed from the organization, MyOrganizationTrail and the service-linked role no longer appear in Amazon account 444444444444, and no further events are logged for that account by the organization trail. However, the 444444444444 folder remains in the Amazon S3 bucket, with all logs created before the removal of the account from the organization.

In this example, the ARN of the trail created in the management account is aws:cloudtrail:us-east-2:111111111111:trail/MyOrganizationTrail. This ARN is the ARN for the trail in all member accounts as well.

Organization trails are similar to regular trails in many ways. You can create multiple trails for your organization, and choose whether to create an organization trail in all Regions or a single Region, and what kinds of events you want logged in your organization trail, just as in any other trail. However, there are some differences. For example, when you create a trail in the console and choose whether to log data events for Amazon S3 buckets or Amazon Lambda functions, the only resources listed in the CloudTrail console are those for the management account, but you can add the ARNs for resources in member accounts. Data events for specified member account resources are logged without having to manually configure cross-account access to those resources. For more information about logging management events, Insights events, and data events, see Logging management events, Logging data events, and Logging Insights events.


In the console, you create a multi-Region trail. This is a recommended best practice; logging activity in all Regions in your Amazon Web Services account helps you keep your Amazon environment more secure. To create a single-Region trail, use the Amazon CLI.

When you view events in Event history for an organization in Amazon Organizations, you can view the events only for the Amazon Web Services account with which you are signed in. For example, if you are signed in with the organization management account, Event history shows the last 90 days of management events for the management account. Organization member account events are not shown in Event history for the management account. To view member account events in Event history, sign in with the member account.

You can configure other Amazon services to further analyze and act upon the event data collected in CloudTrail logs for an organization trail the same way you would for any other trail. For example, you can analyze the data in an organization trail using Amazon Athena. For more information, see Amazon service integrations with CloudTrail logs.