What is AWS Cloudtrail?

AWS Cloudtrail is a service provided by Amazon AWS to enable governance, compliance, risk audit, and operational audit of your AWS infrastructure. A near-to-real-time record is provided of all AWS API calls and CloudTrail events that took place within the AWS account. It can also keep a record of all the changes made to the AWS account, including the changes from the AWS itself on the user's behalf. Cloudtrail enables organizations to investigate suspicious activity, troubleshoot operational issues, and help them meet their compliance requirements.

What are the benefits of having AWS Cloudtrail?

AWS Cloudtrail is considered a highly scalable and reliable service, because of its ability to handle the most in-demand workloads. As AWS Cloudtrail is a managed service, organizations need not worry about the underlying infrastructure. Apart from these, organizations should consider AWS cloudtrail for the following reasons:

  • Compliance: AWS Cloudtrail bridges the gap between security and compliance requirements, by keeping a record of API calls to user accounts. It can play a vital role in demonstrating compliance with regulatory standards like PCI DSS, SOC2, and HIPAA.
  • Security: The ability to gain visibility into user activities and API usage, can help organizations improve their overall cloud security posture. This will enable users to identify problems and act on them.
  • Troubleshooting: Users can troubleshoot operational issues by using the record of AWS resource changes made within their accounts. This helps users identify the problem's source and remediate it.
  • Auditing: Cloudtrail allows users to perform AWS environment audits by providing all the records API calls to your account. With the help of this, organizations can ensure that their resources are in compliance with the set policies.
  • Resource Governance: Organizations can successfully manage their resources by using the records of changes made to their AWS resources. This is also a great way to optimize cloud usage and identify potential threats.

How to utilize AWS Cloudtrail to its full potential?

Here is a list of possible things to utilize AWS Cloudtrail for organizational benefits;

  • Track user activity and API usage: Cloudtrail can log all the API calls made to the AWS account, so users can oversee who made the calls, what was the time, and what resources were affected. This information is enough to identify unauthorized access, troubleshoot operational issues, and meet compliance requirements
  • Audit AWS environment: AWS Cloudtrail can help users ensure that their environment is in compliance with their organizational policies and procedures. By tracking the recorded API calls, users can check for any unauthorized access to their environment.
  • Assess security incidents: If users face any security incident, cloudtrail can help them quickly identify the compromised resources with details like what actions were performed on them.
  • Get compliant: With its feature of recording API calls, it allows organizations to get in compliance with regulatory standards like PCI, HIPAA, or SOC.
In general, AWS Cloudtrail is a powerful tool to keep your AWS account secure and compliant.

How does AWS Cloudtrail work?

By default, AWS Cloudtrail is active from the moment someone creates an AWS account. The moment any activity is noticed, AWS cloudtrail gets triggered and the activity is recorded. It can keep a record of up to 90 days and users can check management events in an AWS Region under Cloudtrail’s “Event history” tab.

For the real-time events taking place, users can create an event data store or a trail. Where trails can store log events for Cloudtrail management, data, and event insights, An Event data store can log Cloudtrail management, data events, AWS Config items, and non-AWS events from integrations.

To get started with AWS CloudTrail, you can use these free tutorials by Amazon Web Services on “How to use Cloudtrail features

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