How does AWS Config assist in maintaining compliance with security policies?

AWS Config is a service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that helps customers assess, audit, and evaluate the configurations of their AWS resources. It is designed to assist in maintaining compliance with security policies by continuously monitoring and recording the configurations of AWS resources, and by providing insights into changes over time. Here's a technical breakdown of how AWS Config achieves this:

  1. Resource Tracking and Configuration History:
    • AWS Config continuously tracks and records configuration details of AWS resources in your account.
    • It maintains a historical record of changes to the configuration settings, allowing you to see how the configurations of resources have evolved over time.
  2. Configuration Items (CIs):
    • AWS Config represents each AWS resource as a Configuration Item (CI).
    • A CI is a collection of attributes that describe the resource, such as its settings, relationships with other resources, and metadata.
    • CIs are organized in a configuration history timeline.
  3. Rules and Compliance Checks:
    • AWS Config allows you to define rules, which are essentially compliance checks that evaluate whether a resource's configuration complies with a specified policy.
    • Custom or predefined AWS managed rules can be configured to check for compliance with industry standards or best practices.
  4. Config Rules Execution:
    • Config Rules are evaluated based on the configuration changes recorded by AWS Config.
    • When a configuration change occurs, AWS Config triggers the execution of relevant Config Rules to assess the compliance of the affected resource.
  5. Notifications and Remediation:
    • AWS Config provides notifications when a resource configuration violates a rule.
    • Automated remediation workflows can be implemented using AWS Lambda functions to bring non-compliant resources back into compliance.
  6. Inventory and Relationship Tracking:
    • AWS Config provides an inventory of resources and their configurations, allowing you to have a comprehensive view of the resources in your account.
    • It captures relationships between resources, helping you understand dependencies and impact analysis.
  7. Snapshot and Comparison:
    • Snapshot capabilities allow you to capture the current state of your AWS resources at a specific point in time.
    • You can compare snapshots to identify configuration drift and ensure that resources remain compliant with your security policies.
  8. Integration with AWS CloudTrail:
    • AWS Config integrates with AWS CloudTrail to capture API events related to configuration changes.
    • This integration enhances the visibility into who made the changes, when they were made, and what actions were performed.

By leveraging these capabilities, AWS Config assists in maintaining compliance with security policies by providing continuous monitoring, automated compliance checks, and a comprehensive historical record of resource configurations within your AWS environment.