How Amazon CloudTrail works with IAM - Amazon CloudTrail
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How Amazon CloudTrail works with IAM

Before you use IAM to manage access to CloudTrail, learn what IAM features are available to use with CloudTrail.

To get a high-level view of how CloudTrail and other Amazon services work with most IAM features, see Amazon services that work with IAM in the IAM User Guide.

Identity-based policies for CloudTrail

Supports identity-based policies


Identity-based policies are JSON permissions policy documents that you can attach to an identity, such as an IAM user, group of users, or role. These policies control what actions users and roles can perform, on which resources, and under what conditions. To learn how to create an identity-based policy, see Creating IAM policies in the IAM User Guide.

With IAM identity-based policies, you can specify allowed or denied actions and resources as well as the conditions under which actions are allowed or denied. You can't specify the principal in an identity-based policy because it applies to the user or role to which it is attached. To learn about all of the elements that you can use in a JSON policy, see IAM JSON policy elements reference in the IAM User Guide.

Identity-based policy examples for CloudTrail

To view examples of CloudTrail identity-based policies, see Identity-based policy examples for Amazon CloudTrail.

Resource-based policies within CloudTrail

Supports resource-based policies


Resource-based policies are JSON policy documents that you attach to a resource. Examples of resource-based policies are IAM role trust policies and Amazon S3 bucket policies. In services that support resource-based policies, service administrators can use them to control access to a specific resource. For the resource where the policy is attached, the policy defines what actions a specified principal can perform on that resource and under what conditions. You must specify a principal in a resource-based policy. Principals can include accounts, users, roles, federated users, or Amazon Web Services.

To enable cross-account access, you can specify an entire account or IAM entities in another account as the principal in a resource-based policy. Adding a cross-account principal to a resource-based policy is only half of establishing the trust relationship. When the principal and the resource are in different Amazon Web Services accounts, an IAM administrator in the trusted account must also grant the principal entity (user or role) permission to access the resource. They grant permission by attaching an identity-based policy to the entity. However, if a resource-based policy grants access to a principal in the same account, no additional identity-based policy is required. For more information, see How IAM roles differ from resource-based policies in the IAM User Guide.

CloudTrail supports resource-based policies on channels used for CloudTrail Lake integrations with event sources outside of Amazon. The resource-based policy for the channel defines which principal entities (accounts, users, roles, and federated users) can call PutAuditEvents on the channel to deliver events to the destination event data store. For more information about creating integrations with CloudTrail Lake, see Create an integration with an event source outside of Amazon.


To view examples of CloudTrail resource-based policies, see Amazon CloudTrail resource-based policy examples.

Policy actions for CloudTrail

Supports policy actions


Administrators can use Amazon JSON policies to specify who has access to what. That is, which principal can perform actions on what resources, and under what conditions.

The Action element of a JSON policy describes the actions that you can use to allow or deny access in a policy. Policy actions usually have the same name as the associated Amazon API operation. There are some exceptions, such as permission-only actions that don't have a matching API operation. There are also some operations that require multiple actions in a policy. These additional actions are called dependent actions.

Include actions in a policy to grant permissions to perform the associated operation.

To see a list of CloudTrail actions, see Actions Defined by Amazon CloudTrail in the Service Authorization Reference.

Policy actions in CloudTrail use the following prefix before the action:


For example, to grant someone permission to list tags for a trail with the ListTags API operation, you include the cloudtrail:ListTags action in their policy. Policy statements must include either an Action or NotAction element. CloudTrail defines its own set of actions that describe tasks that you can perform with this service.

To specify multiple actions in a single statement, separate them with commas as follows:

"Action": [ "cloudtrail:AddTags", "cloudtrail:ListTags", "cloudtrail:RemoveTags

You can specify multiple actions using wildcards (*). For example, to specify all actions that begin with the word Get, include the following action:

"Action": "cloudtrail:Get*"

Policy resources for CloudTrail

Supports policy resources


Administrators can use Amazon JSON policies to specify who has access to what. That is, which principal can perform actions on what resources, and under what conditions.

The Resource JSON policy element specifies the object or objects to which the action applies. Statements must include either a Resource or a NotResource element. As a best practice, specify a resource using its Amazon Resource Name (ARN). You can do this for actions that support a specific resource type, known as resource-level permissions.

For actions that don't support resource-level permissions, such as listing operations, use a wildcard (*) to indicate that the statement applies to all resources.

"Resource": "*"

To see a list of CloudTrail resource types and their ARNs, see Resources Defined by Amazon CloudTrail in the Service Authorization Reference. To learn with which actions you can specify the ARN of each resource, see Actions Defined by Amazon CloudTrail.

In CloudTrail, there are three resource types: trails, event data stores, and channels. Each resource has a unique Amazon Resource Name (ARN) associated with it. In a policy, you use an ARN to identify the resource that the policy applies to. CloudTrail does not currently support other resource types, which are sometimes referred to as subresources.

The CloudTrail trail resource has the following ARN:


The CloudTrail event data store resource has the following ARN:


The CloudTrail channel resource has the following ARN:


For more information about the format of ARNs, see Amazon Resource Names (ARNs) and Amazon Service Namespaces.

For example, for an Amazon Web Services account with the ID 123456789012, to specify a trail named My-Trail that exists in the US East (Ohio) Region in your statement, use the following ARN:

"Resource": "arn:aws:cloudtrail:us-east-2:123456789012:trail/My-Trail"

To specify all trails that belong to a specific account in that Amazon Web Services Region, use the wildcard (*):

"Resource": "arn:aws:cloudtrail:us-east-2:123456789012:trail/*"

Some CloudTrail actions, such as those for creating resources, can't be performed on a specific resource. In those cases, you must use the wildcard (*).

"Resource": "*"

Many CloudTrail API actions involve multiple resources. For example, CreateTrail requires an Amazon S3 bucket for storing log files, so a user must have permissions to write to the bucket. To specify multiple resources in a single statement, separate the ARNs with commas.

"Resource": [ "resource1", "resource2"

Policy condition keys for CloudTrail

Supports service-specific policy condition keys


Administrators can use Amazon JSON policies to specify who has access to what. That is, which principal can perform actions on what resources, and under what conditions.

The Condition element (or Condition block) lets you specify conditions in which a statement is in effect. The Condition element is optional. You can create conditional expressions that use condition operators, such as equals or less than, to match the condition in the policy with values in the request.

If you specify multiple Condition elements in a statement, or multiple keys in a single Condition element, Amazon evaluates them using a logical AND operation. If you specify multiple values for a single condition key, Amazon evaluates the condition using a logical OR operation. All of the conditions must be met before the statement's permissions are granted.

You can also use placeholder variables when you specify conditions. For example, you can grant an IAM user permission to access a resource only if it is tagged with their IAM user name. For more information, see IAM policy elements: variables and tags in the IAM User Guide.

Amazon supports global condition keys and service-specific condition keys. To see all Amazon global condition keys, see Amazon global condition context keys in the IAM User Guide.

CloudTrail doesn't define its own condition keys, but it supports using some global condition keys. To see all Amazon global condition keys, see Amazon Global Condition Context Keys in the IAM User Guide.

To see a list of CloudTrail condition keys, see Condition Keys for Amazon CloudTrail in the Service Authorization Reference. To learn with which actions and resources you can use a condition key, see Actions Defined by Amazon CloudTrail.

ACLs in CloudTrail

Supports ACLs


Access control lists (ACLs) control which principals (account members, users, or roles) have permissions to access a resource. ACLs are similar to resource-based policies, although they do not use the JSON policy document format.

ABAC with CloudTrail

Supports ABAC (tags in policies)


Attribute-based access control (ABAC) is an authorization strategy that defines permissions based on attributes. In Amazon, these attributes are called tags. You can attach tags to IAM entities (users or roles) and to many Amazon resources. Tagging entities and resources is the first step of ABAC. Then you design ABAC policies to allow operations when the principal's tag matches the tag on the resource that they are trying to access.

ABAC is helpful in environments that are growing rapidly and helps with situations where policy management becomes cumbersome.

To control access based on tags, you provide tag information in the condition element of a policy using the aws:ResourceTag/key-name, aws:RequestTag/key-name, or aws:TagKeys condition keys.

If a service supports all three condition keys for every resource type, then the value is Yes for the service. If a service supports all three condition keys for only some resource types, then the value is Partial.

For more information about ABAC, see What is ABAC? in the IAM User Guide. To view a tutorial with steps for setting up ABAC, see Use attribute-based access control (ABAC) in the IAM User Guide.

Although you can attach tags to CloudTrail resources, CloudTrail only supports controlling access to CloudTrail Lake event data stores and channels based on tags. You cannot control access to trails based on tags.

You can attach tags to CloudTrail resources or pass tags in a request to CloudTrail. For more information about tagging CloudTrail resources, see Creating a trail and Creating, updating, and managing trails with the Amazon Command Line Interface.

Using temporary credentials with CloudTrail

Supports temporary credentials


Some Amazon Web Services don't work when you sign in using temporary credentials. For additional information, including which Amazon Web Services work with temporary credentials, see Amazon Web Services that work with IAM in the IAM User Guide.

You are using temporary credentials if you sign in to the Amazon Web Services Management Console using any method except a user name and password. For example, when you access Amazon using your company's single sign-on (SSO) link, that process automatically creates temporary credentials. You also automatically create temporary credentials when you sign in to the console as a user and then switch roles. For more information about switching roles, see Switching to a role (console) in the IAM User Guide.

You can manually create temporary credentials using the Amazon CLI or Amazon API. You can then use those temporary credentials to access Amazon. Amazon recommends that you dynamically generate temporary credentials instead of using long-term access keys. For more information, see Temporary security credentials in IAM.

Forward access sessions for CloudTrail

Supports forward access sessions (FAS)


When you use an IAM user or role to perform actions in Amazon, you are considered a principal. When you use some services, you might perform an action that then initiates another action in a different service. FAS uses the permissions of the principal calling an Amazon Web Service, combined with the requesting Amazon Web Service to make requests to downstream services. FAS requests are only made when a service receives a request that requires interactions with other Amazon Web Services or resources to complete. In this case, you must have permissions to perform both actions. For policy details when making FAS requests, see Forward access sessions.

Service roles for CloudTrail

Supports service roles


A service role is an IAM role that a service assumes to perform actions on your behalf. An IAM administrator can create, modify, and delete a service role from within IAM. For more information, see Creating a role to delegate permissions to an Amazon Web Service in the IAM User Guide.


Changing the permissions for a service role might break CloudTrail functionality. Edit service roles only when CloudTrail provides guidance to do so.

Service-linked roles for CloudTrail

Supports service-linked roles


A service-linked role is a type of service role that is linked to an Amazon Web Service. The service can assume the role to perform an action on your behalf. Service-linked roles appear in your Amazon Web Services account and are owned by the service. An IAM administrator can view, but not edit the permissions for service-linked roles.

CloudTrail supports a service-linked role for integration with Amazon Organizations. This role is required for the creation of an organization trail or event data store. Organization trails and event data stores log events for all Amazon Web Services accounts in an organization. For more information about creating or managing CloudTrail service-linked roles, see Using service-linked roles for Amazon CloudTrail.