Customers who adopt and operate the AWS Landing Zone solution as a scalable multi-account environment are starting to migrate to the AWS Control Tower service. They are doing so to enjoy the added benefits of managed services such as stability, feature enhancement, and operational efficiency. Customers who fully use the baseline for governance control provided by AWS Landing Zone for their member accounts may want to apply the baseline of the same feature without omission even when transitioning to AWS Control Tower. To baseline an account is to set up common blueprints and guardrails required for an organization to enable governance at the start of the account.

As shown in Table 1, AWS Control Tower provides most of the features that are mapped with the baseline of the AWS Landing Zone solution through the baseline stacks, guardrails, and account factory, but some features are unique to AWS Landing Zone.

Table 1. AWS Landing Zone and AWS Control Tower Baseline mapping
AWS Landing Zone baseline stackAWS Control Tower baseline stack
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableCloudTrailAWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-CLOUDTRAIL
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-SecurityRolesAWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-ROLES
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfigAWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-CLOUDWATCH
AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-CONFIG
AWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-SERVICE-ROLES
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-ConfigRoleAWSControlTowerBP-BASELINE-SERVICE-ROLES
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfigRuleGuardrails – Enable guardrail on OU
(AWSControlTowerGuardrailAWS-GR-xxxxx)
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableConfigRulesGlobalGuardrails – Enable guardrail on OU
(AWSControlTowerGuardrailAWS-GR-xxxxx)
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-PrimaryVPCAccount Factory – Network Configuration
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-IamPasswordPolicy
AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableNotifications

The baselines uniquely provided by AWS Landing Zone are as follows:

  • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-IamPasswordPolicy
    • AWS Lambda to configure AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) custom password policy (such as minimum password length, password expires period, password complexity, and password history in member accounts).
  • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableNotifications
    • Amazon CloudWatch alarms deliver CloudTrail application programming interface (API) activity such as Security Group changes, Network ACL changes, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance type changes to the security administrator.

AWS provides the AWS Control Tower lifecycle events and Customizations for AWS Control Tower as a way to add features that are not included by default in AWS Control Tower. Customizations for AWS Control Tower is an AWS solution that allows you to easily add customizations using AWS CloudFormation templates and service control polices.

This blog post explains how to modify and deploy the code to apply AWS Landing Zone specific baselines such as IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications into AWS Control Tower using Customizations for the AWS Control Tower.

Overview of solution

Adhering to the package folder structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, modify the AWS Landing Zone IamPasswordPolicy, EnableNotifications template, parameter file, and manifest file to match the AWS Control Tower deployment environment.

When the modified package is uploaded to the source repository, contents of the package are validated and built by launching AWS CodePipeline. The AWS Landing Zone specific baseline is deployed in member accounts through AWS CloudFormation StackSets in the AWS Control Tower management account.

When a new or existing account is enrolled in AWS Control Tower, the same AWS Landing Zone specific baseline is automatically applied to that account by the lifecycle event (CreateManagedAccount status is SUCCEEDED).

Figure 1 shows how the default baseline of AWS Control Tower and the specific baseline of AWS Landing Zone are applied to member accounts.

Figure 1. Default and custom baseline deployment in AWS Control Tower

Figure 1. Default and custom baseline deployment in AWS Control Tower

Walkthrough

This solution follows these steps:

  1. Download and extract the latest version of the AWS Landing Zone Configuration source package. The package contains several functional components including baseline of IamPasswordPolicy, EnableNotifications for applying to accounts in AWS Landing Zone environment. If you are transitioning from AWS Landing Zone to AWS Control Tower, you may use the AWS Landing Zone configuration source package that exists in your management account.
  2. Download and extract the configuration source package of your Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  3. Create templates and parameters folder structure for customizing configuration package source of Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  4.  Copy the template and parameter files of the IamPasswordPolicy baseline from the AWS Landing Zone configuration source to the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration source.
    1. Open the parameter file (JSON), and modify the parameter value to match your organization’s password policy.
  1. Copy the template and parameter files of the EnableNotifications baseline from the AWS Landing Zone configuration source to the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration source.
    1. Open the parameter file (JSON), and change the LogGroupName parameter value to the CloudWatch log group name of your AWS Control Tower environment. Select whether or not to use each alarm in the parameter value.
    2. Open the template file (YAML), and modify the AlarmActions properties of all CloudWatch alarms to refer to the security topic of the Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) that exists in your AWS Control Tower environment.
  1. Open the manifest (YAML) file in the configuration source of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, and update with the modified IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications parameter, template file path, and organizational unit to be applied.
    1. If you have customizations which have already been deployed and operated through Customizations for AWS Control Tower, do not remove existing contents, and consecutively add customized resource in resources section.
  1. Compress the completed source package, and upload it to the source repository of Customizations for AWS Control Tower.
  2. Check the results for applying this solution in AWS Control Tower.
    1. In the management account, wait for all AWS CodePipeline steps in Customizations for AWS Control Tower to be completed.
    2. In the management account, check that the CloudFormation IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications StackSet is deployed.
    3. In a member account, check that the custom password policy is configured in Account Settings of IAM.
    4. In a member account, check that alarms are created in All Alarms of CloudWatch.

Prerequisites

For this walkthrough, you should have the following prerequisites:

  • AWS Control Tower deployment.
  • An AWS Control Tower member account.
  • Customizations for AWS Control Tower solution deployment.
  • IAM user and roles, and permission to allow use of ‘CustomControlTowerKMSKey’ in AWS Key Management Service Key Policy to access Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as the configuration source.
    • This is not required in case of using CodeCommit as source repository, but it assumes that Amazon S3 is used for this solution.
  • If the IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline for the AWS Landing Zone service has been deployed in the AWS Control Tower environment, it is necessary to delete stack instances and StackSet associated with the following CloudFormation StackSets:
    • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-IamPasswordPolicy
    • AWS-Landing-Zone-Baseline-EnableNotifications
  • An IAM or AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) account with the following settings:
    • Permission with AdministratorAccess
    • Access type with Programmatic access and AWS Management Console access
  • AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) and Linux Zip package installation in work environment.
  • An IAM or AWS SSO user for member account (optional).

Prepare the work environment

Download the AWS Landing Zone configuration package and Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package, and create a folder structure.

  1. Open your terminal AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI).

Note: Confirm that AWS Config and credentials for the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) are properly set as access method (IAM or AWS SSO user) you are using in management account.

  1. Change to home directory and download the aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip file.
cd ~
wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/solutions-reference/aws-landing-zone/latest/aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip
  1.  Extract AWS Landing Zone configuration file to new directory (Named alz).
unzip aws-landing-zone-configuration.zip -d ~/alz
  1. Download _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file in Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration’s S3 bucket. Use your AWS Account Id and home Region in S3 bucket name.

Note: If you have already used the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package, or have the Auto Build parameter set to true, use custom-control-tower-configuration.zip instead of _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip.

aws s3 cp s3://custom-control-tower-configuration-<AWS Account Id >-<AWS Region>/_custom-control-tower-configuration.zip ~/
figure 2 4

Figure 2. Downloading source package of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

  1. Extract Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration file to new directory (Named cfct).
unzip _custom-control-tower-configuration.zip -d ~/cfct
  1. Create templates and parameters directory under Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cd ~/cfct
mkdir templates parameters

Now you will see directories and files under Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.

Note: example-configuration is just an example, and will not be used in this blog post.

 Figure 3. Directory structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Figure 3. Directory structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Customize to include AWS Landing Zone specific baseline

Start customization work by integrating the AWS Landing Zone IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline related files into the structure of Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration package.

  1. Copy the IamPasswordPolicy baseline template and parameter file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cp ~/alz/templates/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.template ~/cfct/templates/
cp ~/alz/parameters/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json ~/cfct/parameters/
  1. Open the copied aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json, then adjust it to be compliant with your optional password policy requirement.
  2. Copy the EnableNotifications baseline template and parameter file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory.
cp ~/alz/templates/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-notifications.template ~/cfct/templates/
cp ~/alz/parameters/aws_baseline/aws-landing-zone-notifications.json ~/cfct/parameters/
  1. Open the copied aws-landing-zone-notifications.template.

Remove the following four lines from the SNSNotificationTopic parameter:

SNSNotificationTopic: Type: AWS::SSM::Parameter::Value<String> Default: /org/member/local_sns_arn Description: "Local Admin SNS Topic for Landing Zone"

Modify AlarmActions under Properties for each of 11 CloudWatch alarms as follows:

AlarmActions: - !Sub 'arn:aws:sns:${AWS::Region}:${AWS::AccountId}:aws-controltower-SecurityNotifications'
  1. Open aws-landing-zone-notifications.json.

Remove the following five lines from the SNSNotificationTopic parameter key, and parameter value at the bottom of file. Make sure to remove the including comma preceding the JSON syntax.

 , { "ParameterKey": "SNSNotificationTopic", "ParameterValue": "/org/member/local_sns_arn" }

     Modify the parameter value of LogGroupName parameter key as follows:

{ "ParameterKey": "LogGroupName", "ParameterValue": "aws-controltower/CloudTrailLogs"
},

6. Open the manifest.yaml under root of the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory, then modify it to include IamPasswordPolicy and EnableNotifications baseline. If there are customizations that  have been previously used in the manifest file of Customizations for AWS Control Tower, add them at the end.

7. Properly adjust region, resource_file, parameter_file, and organizational_units for your AWS Control Tower environment.

Note: Choose the proper organizational units because Customizations for AWS Control Tower will try to deploy customization resources to all AWS accounts within operational units defined in organizational_units property. If you want to select specific accounts, consider using accounts property instead of organizational_units property.

Review the following sample manifest file:

---
#Default region for deploying Custom Control Tower: Code Pipeline, Step functions, Lambda, SSM parameters, and StackSets
region: ap-northeast-2
version: 2021-03-15 # Control Tower Custom Resources (Service Control Policies or CloudFormation)
resources: - name: IamPasswordPolicy resource_file: templates/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.template parameter_file: parameters/aws-landing-zone-iam-password-policy.json deploy_method: stack_set deployment_targets: organizational_units: - Security - Infrastructure - app-services - app-reports - name: EnableNotifications resource_file: templates/aws-landing-zone-notifications.template parameter_file: parameters/aws-landing-zone-notifications.json deploy_method: stack_set deployment_targets: organizational_units: - Security - Infrastructure - app-services - app-reports
  1. Compress all files within the root of the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration directory into the custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file.
cd ~/cfct/
zip -r custom-control-tower-configuration.zip ./
  1. Upload the custom-control-tower-configuration.zip file into the Customizations for AWS Control Tower configuration S3 bucket. Use your AWS Account Id and Home Region in the S3 bucket name.
aws s3 cp ~/cfct/custom-control-tower-configuration.zip s3://custom-control-tower-configuration-<AWS Account Id>-<AWS Region>/
figure 4 4

Figure 4. Uploading source package of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

Verify solution

Now, you can verify the results for applying this solution.

  1. Log in to your AWS Control Tower management account.
  2.  Navigate to AWS CodePipeline service, then select Custom-Control-Tower-CodePipeline.
  3. Wait for all pipeline stages to complete.
  4. Go to AWS CloudFormation, then choose StackSets.
  5.  Search with the keyword custom. This will result in two custom StackSets.
figure 5 3

Figure 5. Custom StackSet of Customizations for AWS Control Tower

  1. Log in to your AWS Control Tower member account.

Note: You need an IAM or AWS SSO user, or simply switch the role to AWSControlTowerExecution in the member account.

  1. Go to IAM, then choose Account settings. You will see a configured custom password policy.
Figure 6. IAM custom password policy of member account

Figure 6. IAM custom password policy of member account

  1. Go to Amazon CloudWatch, then choose All alarms. You will see 11 configured alarms.
figure 7 1

Figure 7. Amazon CloudWatch alarms of member account

Cleaning up

Resources deployed to member accounts by this solution can be removed through the CloudFormation Stack function in the management account.

Run Delete stack from StackSet, followed by Delete StackSet, for the following two StackSets.

  • CustomControlTower-IamPasswordPolicy
  • CustomControlTower-EnableNotifications

Conclusion

In this blog post, you learned how to extend the baseline in AWS Control Tower to include the baseline specific to AWS Landing Zone. The principal idea is to use Customizations for AWS Control Tower, and additionally add guardrails, such as AWS Config rule and service control policy, which are not included by default in AWS Control Tower. This helps the transition of AWS Landing Zone to the AWS Control Tower, and enhances the governance control capability of the enterprise.

Related reading: Seamless Transition from an AWS Landing Zone to AWS Control Tower

Field Notes provides hands-on technical guidance from AWS Solutions Architects, consultants, and technical account managers, based on their experiences in the field solving real-world business problems for customers.
Categories: Architecture