Create a trail to log management events - AWS CloudTrail

Create a trail to log management events

For your first trail, we recommend creating a trail that logs all management events and does not log any data events or Insights events. Examples of management events include security events such as IAM CreateUser and AttachRolePolicy events, resource events such as RunInstances and CreateBucket, and many more. You will create an Amazon S3 bucket where you will store the log files for the trail as part of creating the trail in the CloudTrail console.


AWS Control Tower sets up a new CloudTrail trail logging management events when you set up a landing zone. It is an organization-level trail, which means that it logs all management events for the management account and all member accounts in the organization. For more information, see About logging in AWS Control Tower in the AWS CloudTrail User Guide.

This tutorial assumes you are creating your first trail. Depending on the number of trails you have in your AWS account, and how those trails are configured, the following procedure might or might not incur expenses. CloudTrail stores log files in an Amazon S3 bucket, which incurs costs. For more information about pricing, see AWS CloudTrail Pricing and Amazon S3 Pricing.

To create a trail
  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the CloudTrail console at

  2. In the Region selector, choose the AWS Region where you want your trail to be created. This is the home Region for the trail.


    The home Region is the only AWS Region where you can update the trail after it is created.

  3. On the CloudTrail service home page, the Trails page, or the Trails section of the Dashboard page, choose Create trail.

  4. In Trail name, give your trail a name, such as management-events. As a best practice, use a name that quickly identifies the purpose of the trail. In this case, you're creating a trail that logs management events.

  5. Leave the default setting for Enable for all accounts in my organization. This option won't be available to change unless you have accounts configured in Organizations.

  6. For Storage location, choose Create new S3 bucket to create a bucket. When you create a bucket, CloudTrail creates and applies the required bucket policies. If you choose to create a new S3 bucket, your IAM policy needs to include permission for the s3:PutEncryptionConfiguration action because by default server-side encryption is enabled for the bucket. Give your bucket a name that makes it easy to identify.

    To make it easier to find your logs, create a new folder (also known as a prefix) in an existing bucket to store your CloudTrail logs.


    The name of your Amazon S3 bucket must be globally unique. For more information, see Bucket naming rules in the Amazon Simple Storage Service User Guide.

  7. Clear the check box to disable Log file SSE-KMS encryption. By default, your log files are encrypted with SSE-S3 encryption. For more information about this setting, see Using server-side encryption with Amazon S3 managed keys (SSE-S3).

  8. Leave default settings in Additional settings.

  9. Leave the default settings for CloudWatch Logs. For now, do not send logs to Amazon CloudWatch Logs.

  10. (Optional) In Tags, you can add up to 50 tag key pairs to help you identify, sort, and control access to your trail. Tags can help you identify your CloudTrail trails and other resources, such as the Amazon S3 buckets that contain CloudTrail log files. For example, you could attach a tag with the name Compliance and the value Auditing.


    Though you can add tags to trails when you create them in the CloudTrail console, and you can create an Amazon S3 bucket to store your log files in the CloudTrail console, you cannot add tags to the Amazon S3 bucket from the CloudTrail console. For more information about viewing and changing the properties of an Amazon S3 bucket, including adding tags to a bucket, see the Amazon S3 User Guide.

    When you are finished creating tags, choose Next.

  11. On the Choose log events page, select event types to log. For this trail, keep the default, Management events. In the Management events area, choose to log both Read and Write events, if they are not already selected. Leave the check boxes for Exclude AWS KMS events and Exclude Amazon RDS Data API events empty, to log all management events.

    The Create trail page, Event type settings
  12. Leave default settings for Data events and Insights events. This trail will not log any data or CloudTrail Insights events. Choose Next.

  13. On the Review and create page, review the settings you've chosen for your trail. Choose Edit for a section to go back and make changes. When you are ready to create your trail, choose Create trail.

  14. The Trails page shows your new trail in the table. Note that the trail is set to Multi-region trail by default, and that logging is turned on for the trail by default.

    The Create trail page, Event type settings

For more information about trails, see Working with CloudTrail trails.