Security in AWS AppConfig - AWS AppConfig

Security in AWS AppConfig

Cloud security at AWS is the highest priority. As an AWS customer, you benefit from a data center and network architecture that are built to meet the requirements of the most security-sensitive organizations.

Security is a shared responsibility between AWS and you. The shared responsibility model describes this as security of the cloud and security in the cloud:

  • Security of the cloud – AWS is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs AWS services in the AWS Cloud. AWS also provides you with services that you can use securely. Third-party auditors regularly test and verify the effectiveness of our security as part of the AWS Compliance Programs. To learn about the compliance programs that apply to AWS Systems Manager, see AWS Services in Scope by Compliance Program.

  • Security in the cloud – Your responsibility is determined by the AWS service that you use. You are also responsible for other factors including the sensitivity of your data, your company’s requirements, and applicable laws and regulations.

AWS AppConfig is a capability of AWS Systems Manager. To understand how to apply the shared responsibility model when using AWS AppConfig, see Security in AWS Systems Manager. That section describes how to configure Systems Manager to meet the security and compliance objectives for AWS AppConfig.

Implement least privilege access

As a security best practice, grant the minimum required permissions that identities require to perform specific actions on specific resources under specific conditions. AWS AppConfig Agent offers two features that enable the agent to access the filesystem of an instance or container: backup and write to disk. If you enable these features, verify that only the AWS AppConfig Agent has permissions to write to the designated configuration files on the filesystem. Also verify that only the processes required to read from these configuration files have the ability to do so. Implementing least privilege access is fundamental in reducing security risk and the impact that could result from errors or malicious intent.

For more information about implementing least privilege access, see SEC03-BP02 Grant least privilege access in the AWS Well-Architected Tool User Guide. For more information about the AWS AppConfig Agent features mentioned in this section, see Additional retrieval features.

Data encryption at rest for AWS AppConfig

AWS AppConfig provides encryption by default to protect customer data at rest using AWS owned keys.

AWS owned keys — AWS AppConfig uses these keys by default to automatically encrypt data deployed by the service and hosted in the AWS AppConfig data store. You can't view, manage, or use AWS owned keys, or audit their use. However, you don't have to take any action or change any programs to protect the keys that encrypt your data. For more information, see AWS owned keys in the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.

While you can't disable this layer of encryption or select an alternate encryption type, you can specify a customer managed key to be used when you save configuration data hosted in the AWS AppConfig data store and when you deploy your configuration data.

Customer managed keys — AWS AppConfig supports the use of a symmetric customer managed key that you create, own, and manage to add a second layer of encryption over the existing AWS owned key. Because you have full control of this layer of encryption, you can perform such tasks as:

  • Establishing and maintaining key policies and grants

  • Establishing and maintaining IAM policies

  • Enabling and disabling key policies

  • Rotating key cryptographic material

  • Adding tags

  • Creating key aliases

  • Scheduling keys for deletion

For more information, see Customer managed key in the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.

AWS AppConfig supports customer managed keys

AWS AppConfig offers support for customer managed key encryption for configuration data. For configuration versions saved to the AWS AppConfig hosted data store, customers can set a KmsKeyIdentifier on the corresponding configuration profile. Each time a new version of configuration data is created using the CreateHostedConfigurationVersion API operation, AWS AppConfig generates an AWS KMS data key from the KmsKeyIdentifier to encrypt the data before storing it. When the data is later accessed, either during the GetHostedConfigurationVersion or StartDeployment API operations, AWS AppConfig decrypts the configuration data using information about the generated data key.

AWS AppConfig also offers support for customer managed key encryption for deployed configuration data. To encrypt configuration data, customers can provide a KmsKeyIdentifier to their deployment. AWS AppConfig generates the AWS KMS data key with this KmsKeyIdentifier to encrypt data on the StartDeployment API operation.

AWS AppConfig encryption access

When creating a customer managed key, use the following key policy to ensure that the key can be used.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "Allow use of the key", "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::account_ID:role/role_name" }, "Action": [ "kms:Decrypt", "kms:GenerateDataKey" ], "Resource": "*" } ]

To encrypt hosted configuration data with a customer managed key, the identity calling CreateHostedConfigurationVersion needs the following policy statement which can be assigned to a user, group, or role:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "kms:GenerateDataKey, "Resource": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:key_ID" } ] }

If you are using a Secrets Manager secret or any other configuration data encrypted with a customer managed key, your retrievalRoleArn will need kms:Decrypt to decrypt and retrieve the data.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "kms:Decrypt", "Resource": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:configuration source/object" } ] }

When calling the AWS AppConfig StartDeployment API operation, the identity calling StartDeployment needs the following IAM policy which can be assigned to a user, group, or role:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "kms:GenerateDataKey*" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:key_ID" } ] }

When calling the AWS AppConfig GetLatestConfiguration API operation, the identity calling GetLatestConfiguration needs the following policy which can be assigned to a user, group, or role:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "kms:Decrypt, "Resource": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:key_ID" } ] }

Encryption context

An encryption context is an optional set of key-value pairs that contain additional contextual information about the data.

AWS KMS uses the encryption context as additional authenticated data to support authenticated encryption. When you include an encryption context in a request to encrypt data, AWS KMS binds the encryption context to the encrypted data. To decrypt data, you include the same encryption context in the request.

AWS AppConfig encryption context: AWS AppConfig uses an encryption context in all AWS KMS cryptographic operations for encrypted hosted configuration data and deployments. The context contains a key corresponding to the type of data and a value that identifies the specific data item.

Monitoring your encryption keys for AWS

When you use an AWS KMS customer managed keys with AWS AppConfig, you can use AWS CloudTrail or Amazon CloudWatch Logs to track requests that AWS AppConfig sends to AWS KMS.

The following example is a CloudTrail event for Decrypt to monitor AWS KMS operations called by AWS AppConfig to access data encrypted by your customer managed key:

{ "eventVersion": "1.08", "userIdentity": { "type": "AWSService", "invokedBy": "" }, "eventTime": "2023-01-03T02:22:28z", "eventSource": "", "eventName": "Decrypt", "awsRegion": "Region", "sourceIPAddress": "", "userAgent": "ExampleDesktop/1.0 (V1; OS)", "requestParameters": { "encryptionContext": { "aws:appconfig:deployment:arn": "arn:aws:appconfig:Region:account_ID:application/application_ID/environment/environment_ID/deployment/deployment_ID" }, "keyId": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:key/key_ID", "encryptionAlgorithm": "SYMMETRIC_DEFAULT" }, "responseElements": null, "requestID": "ff000af-00eb-00ce-0e00-ea000fb0fba0SAMPLE", "eventID": "ff000af-00eb-00ce-0e00-ea000fb0fba0SAMPLE", "readOnly": true, "resources": [ { "accountId": "account_ID", "type": "AWS::KMS::Key", "ARN": "arn:aws:kms:Region:account_ID:key_ID" } ], "eventType": "AwsApiCall", "managementEvent": true, "eventCategory": "Management", "recipientAccountId": "account_ID", "sharedEventID": "dc129381-1d94-49bd-b522-f56a3482d088" }

Access AWS AppConfig using an interface endpoint (AWS PrivateLink)

You can use AWS PrivateLink to create a private connection between your VPC and AWS AppConfig. You can access AWS AppConfig as if it were in your VPC, without the use of an internet gateway, NAT device, VPN connection, or AWS Direct Connect connection. Instances in your VPC don't need public IP addresses to access AWS AppConfig.

You establish this private connection by creating an interface endpoint, powered by AWS PrivateLink. We create an endpoint network interface in each subnet that you enable for the interface endpoint. These are requester-managed network interfaces that serve as the entry point for traffic destined for AWS AppConfig.

For more information, see Access AWS services through AWS PrivateLink in the AWS PrivateLink Guide.

Considerations for AWS AppConfig

Before you set up an interface endpoint for AWS AppConfig, review Considerations in the AWS PrivateLink Guide.

AWS AppConfig supports making calls to the appconfig and appconfigdata services through the interface endpoint.

Create an interface endpoint for AWS AppConfig

You can create an interface endpoint for AWS AppConfig using either the Amazon VPC console or the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI). For more information, see Create an interface endpoint in the AWS PrivateLink Guide.

Create an interface endpoint for AWS AppConfig using the following service names:


If you enable private DNS for the interface endpoint, you can make API requests to AWS AppConfig using its default Regional DNS name. For example, and

Create an endpoint policy for your interface endpoint

An endpoint policy is an IAM resource that you can attach to an interface endpoint. The default endpoint policy allows full access to AWS AppConfig through the interface endpoint. To control the access allowed to AWS AppConfig from your VPC, attach a custom endpoint policy to the interface endpoint.

An endpoint policy specifies the following information:

  • The principals that can perform actions (AWS accounts, IAM users, and IAM roles).

  • The actions that can be performed.

  • The resources on which the actions can be performed.

For more information, see Control access to services using endpoint policies in the AWS PrivateLink Guide.

Example: VPC endpoint policy for AWS AppConfig actions

The following is an example of a custom endpoint policy. When you attach this policy to your interface endpoint, it grants access to the listed AWS AppConfig actions for all principals on all resources.

{ "Statement": [ { "Principal": "*", "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "appconfig:CreateApplication", "appconfig:CreateEnvironment", "appconfig:CreateConfigurationProfile", "appconfig:StartDeployment", "appconfig:GetLatestConfiguration" "appconfig:StartConfigurationSession" ], "Resource":"*" } ] }

Secrets Manager key rotation

This section describes important security information about AWS AppConfig integration with Secrets Manager. For information about Secrets Manager, see What is AWS Secrets Manager? in the AWS Secrets Manager User Guide.

Setting up automatic rotation of Secrets Manager secrets deployed by AWS AppConfig

Rotation is the process of periodically updating a secret stored in Secrets Manager. When you rotate a secret, you update the credentials in both the secret and the database or service. You can configure automatic secrets rotation in Secrets Manager by using an AWS Lambda function to update the secret and the database. For more information, see Rotate AWS Secrets Manager secrets in the AWS Secrets Manager User Guide.

To enable key rotation of Secrets Manager secrets deployed by AWS AppConfig, update your rotation Lambda function and deploy the rotated secret.


Deploy you AWS AppConfig configuration profile after your secret has been rotated and fully updated to the new version. You can determine if the secret rotated because the status of VersionStage changes from AWSPENDING to AWSCURRENT. Secret rotation completion occurs within the Secrets Manager Rotation Templates finish_secret function.

Here is an example function that starts an AWS AppConfig deployment after a secret is rotated.

import time import boto3 client = boto3.client('appconfig') def finish_secret(service_client, arn, new_version): """Finish the rotation by marking the pending secret as current This method finishes the secret rotation by staging the secret staged AWSPENDING with the AWSCURRENT stage. Args: service_client (client): The secrets manager service client arn (string): The secret ARN or other identifier new_version (string): The new version to be associated with the secret """ # First describe the secret to get the current version metadata = service_client.describe_secret(SecretId=arn) current_version = None for version in metadata["VersionIdsToStages"]: if "AWSCURRENT" in metadata["VersionIdsToStages"][version]: if version == new_version: # The correct version is already marked as current, return"finishSecret: Version %s already marked as AWSCURRENT for %s" % (version, arn)) return current_version = version break # Finalize by staging the secret version current service_client.update_secret_version_stage(SecretId=arn, VersionStage="AWSCURRENT", MoveToVersionId=new_version, RemoveFromVersionId=current_version) # Deploy rotated secret response = client.start_deployment( ApplicationId='TestApp', EnvironmentId='TestEnvironment', DeploymentStrategyId='TestStrategy', ConfigurationProfileId='ConfigurationProfileId', ConfigurationVersion=new_version, KmsKeyIdentifier=key, Description='Deploy secret rotated at ' + str(time.time()) )"finishSecret: Successfully set AWSCURRENT stage to version %s for secret %s." % (new_version, arn))