Identity and access management for AWS CodePipeline - AWS CodePipeline

Identity and access management for AWS CodePipeline

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is an AWS service that helps an administrator securely control access to AWS resources. IAM administrators control who can be authenticated (signed in) and authorized (have permissions) to use CodePipeline resources. IAM is an AWS service that you can use with no additional charge.


How you use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) differs, depending on the work you do in CodePipeline.

Service user – If you use the CodePipeline service to do your job, then your administrator provides you with the credentials and permissions that you need. As you use more CodePipeline features to do your work, you might need additional permissions. Understanding how access is managed can help you request the right permissions from your administrator. If you cannot access a feature in CodePipeline, see Troubleshooting AWS CodePipeline identity and access.

Service administrator – If you're in charge of CodePipeline resources at your company, you probably have full access to CodePipeline. It's your job to determine which CodePipeline features and resources your employees should access. You must then submit requests to your IAM administrator to change the permissions of your service users. Review the information on this page to understand the basic concepts of IAM. To learn more about how your company can use IAM with CodePipeline, see How AWS CodePipeline works with IAM.

IAM administrator – If you're an IAM administrator, you might want to learn details about how you can write policies to manage access to CodePipeline. To view example CodePipeline identity-based policies that you can use in IAM, see AWS CodePipeline identity-based policy examples.

Authenticating with identities

Authentication is how you sign in to AWS using your identity credentials. For more information about signing in using the AWS Management Console, see The IAM Console and Sign-in Page in the IAM User Guide.

You must be authenticated (signed in to AWS) as the AWS account root user, an IAM user, or by assuming an IAM role. You can also use your company's single sign-on authentication, or even sign in using Google or Facebook. In these cases, your administrator previously set up identity federation using IAM roles. When you access AWS using credentials from another company, you are assuming a role indirectly.

To sign in directly to the AWS Management Console, use your password with your root user email or your IAM user name. You can access AWS programmatically using your root user or IAM user access keys. AWS provides SDK and command line tools to cryptographically sign your request using your credentials. If you don’t use AWS tools, you must sign the request yourself. Do this using Signature Version 4, a protocol for authenticating inbound API requests. For more information about authenticating requests, see Signature Version 4 Signing Process in the AWS General Reference.

Regardless of the authentication method that you use, you might also be required to provide additional security information. For example, AWS recommends that you use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to increase the security of your account. To learn more, see Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in AWS in the IAM User Guide.

AWS account root user

When you first create an AWS account, you begin with a single sign-in identity that has complete access to all AWS services and resources in the account. This identity is called the AWS account root user and is accessed by signing in with the email address and password that you used to create the account. We strongly recommend that you do not use the root user for your everyday tasks, even the administrative ones. Instead, adhere to the best practice of using the root user only to create your first IAM user. Then securely lock away the root user credentials and use them to perform only a few account and service management tasks.

IAM users and groups

An IAM user is an identity within your AWS account that has specific permissions for a single person or application. An IAM user can have long-term credentials such as a user name and password or a set of access keys. To learn how to generate access keys, see Managing Access Keys for IAM Users in the IAM User Guide. When you generate access keys for an IAM user, make sure you view and securely save the key pair. You cannot recover the secret access key in the future. Instead, you must generate a new access key pair.

An IAM group is an identity that specifies a collection of IAM users. You can't sign in as a group. You can use groups to specify permissions for multiple users at a time. Groups make permissions easier to manage for large sets of users. For example, you could have a group named IAMAdmins and give that group permissions to administer IAM resources.

Users are different from roles. A user is uniquely associated with one person or application, but a role is intended to be assumable by anyone who needs it. Users have permanent long-term credentials, but roles provide temporary credentials. To learn more, see When to Create an IAM User (Instead of a Role) in the IAM User Guide.

IAM roles

An IAM role is an identity within your AWS account that has specific permissions. It is similar to an IAM user, but is not associated with a specific person. You can temporarily assume an IAM role in the AWS Management Console by switching roles. You can assume a role by calling an AWS CLI or AWS API operation or by using a custom URL. For more information about methods for using roles, see Using IAM Roles in the IAM User Guide.

IAM roles with temporary credentials are useful in the following situations:

  • Temporary IAM user permissions – An IAM user can assume an IAM role to temporarily take on different permissions for a specific task.

  • Federated user access – Instead of creating an IAM user, you can use existing identities from AWS Directory Service, your enterprise user directory, or a web identity provider. These are known as federated users. AWS assigns a role to a federated user when access is requested through an identity provider. For more information about federated users, see Federated Users and Roles in the IAM User Guide.

  • Cross-account access – You can use an IAM role to allow someone (a trusted principal) in a different account to access resources in your account. Roles are the primary way to grant cross-account access. However, with some AWS services, you can attach a policy directly to a resource (instead of using a role as a proxy). To learn the difference between roles and resource-based policies for cross-account access, see How IAM Roles Differ from Resource-based Policies in the IAM User Guide.

  • AWS service access – A service role is an IAM role that a service assumes to perform actions in your account on your behalf. When you set up some AWS service environments, you must define a role for the service to assume. This service role must include all the permissions that are required for the service to access the AWS resources that it needs. Service roles vary from service to service, but many allow you to choose your permissions as long as you meet the documented requirements for that service. Service roles provide access only within your account and cannot be used to grant access to services in other accounts. You can create, modify, and delete a service role from within IAM. For example, you can create a role that allows Amazon Redshift to access an Amazon S3 bucket on your behalf and then load data from that bucket into an Amazon Redshift cluster. For more information, see Creating a Role to Delegate Permissions to an AWS Service in the IAM User Guide.

  • Applications running on Amazon EC2 – You can use an IAM role to manage temporary credentials for applications that are running on an EC2 instance and making AWS CLI or AWS API requests. This is preferable to storing access keys within the EC2 instance. To assign an AWS role to an EC2 instance and make it available to all of its applications, you create an instance profile that is attached to the instance. An instance profile contains the role and enables programs that are running on the EC2 instance to get temporary credentials. For more information, see Using an IAM Role to Grant Permissions to Applications Running on Amazon EC2 Instances in the IAM User Guide.

To learn whether to use IAM roles, see When to Create an IAM Role (Instead of a User) in the IAM User Guide.

Managing access using policies

You control access in AWS by creating policies and attaching them to IAM identities or AWS resources. A policy is an object in AWS that, when associated with an identity or resource, defines their permissions. AWS evaluates these policies when an entity (root user, IAM user, or IAM role) makes a request. Permissions in the policies determine whether the request is allowed or denied. Most policies are stored in AWS as JSON documents. For more information about the structure and contents of JSON policy documents, see Overview of JSON Policies in the IAM User Guide.

An IAM administrator can use policies to specify who has access to AWS resources, and what actions they can perform on those resources. Every IAM entity (user or role) starts with no permissions. In other words, by default, users can do nothing, not even change their own password. To give a user permission to do something, an administrator must attach a permissions policy to a user. Or the administrator can add the user to a group that has the intended permissions. When an administrator gives permissions to a group, all users in that group are granted those permissions.

IAM policies define permissions for an action regardless of the method that you use to perform the operation. For example, suppose that you have a policy that allows the iam:GetRole action. A user with that policy can get role information from the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, or the AWS API.

Identity-based policies

Identity-based policies are JSON permissions policy documents that you can attach to an identity, such as an IAM user, role, or group. These policies control what actions that identity can perform, on which resources, and under what conditions. To learn how to create an identity-based policy, see Creating IAM Policies in the IAM User Guide.

Identity-based policies can be further categorized as inline policies or managed policies. Inline policies are embedded directly into a single user, group, or role. Managed policies are standalone policies that you can attach to multiple users, groups, and roles in your AWS account. Managed policies include AWS managed policies and customer managed policies. To learn how to choose between a managed policy or an inline policy, see Choosing Between Managed Policies and Inline Policies in the IAM User Guide.

Resource-based policies

Resource-based policies are JSON policy documents that you attach to a resource such as an Amazon S3 bucket. Service administrators can use these policies to define what actions a specified principal (account member, user, or role) can perform on that resource and under what conditions. Resource-based policies are inline policies. There are no managed resource-based policies.

Other policy types

AWS supports additional, less-common policy types. These policy types can set the maximum permissions granted to you by the more common policy types.

  • Permissions boundaries – A permissions boundary is an advanced feature in which you set the maximum permissions that an identity-based policy can grant to an IAM entity (IAM user or role). You can set a permissions boundary for an entity. The resulting permissions are the intersection of entity's identity-based policies and its permissions boundaries. Resource-based policies that specify the user or role in the Principal field are not limited by the permissions boundary. An explicit deny in any of these policies overrides the allow. For more information about permissions boundaries, see Permissions Boundaries for IAM Entities in the IAM User Guide.

  • Service control policies (SCPs) – SCPs are JSON policies that specify the maximum permissions for an organization or organizational unit (OU) in AWS Organizations. AWS Organizations is a service for grouping and centrally managing multiple AWS accounts that your business owns. If you enable all features in an organization, then you can apply service control policies (SCPs) to any or all of your accounts. The SCP limits permissions for entities in member accounts, including each AWS account root user. For more information about Organizations and SCPs, see How SCPs Work in the AWS Organizations User Guide.

  • Session policies – Session policies are advanced policies that you pass as a parameter when you programmatically create a temporary session for a role or federated user. The resulting session's permissions are the intersection of the user or role's identity-based policies and the session policies. Permissions can also come from a resource-based policy. An explicit deny in any of these policies overrides the allow. For more information, see Session Policies in the IAM User Guide.

Manage the CodePipeline service role

The CodePipeline service role is configured with one or more policies that control access to the AWS resources used by the pipeline. You might want to attach more policies to this role, edit the policy attached to the role, or configure policies for other service roles in AWS. You might also want to attach a policy to a role when you configure cross-account access to your pipeline.


Modifying a policy statement or attaching another policy to the role can prevent your pipelines from functioning. Be sure that you understand the implications before you modify the service role for CodePipeline in any way. Make sure you test your pipelines after you make any change to the service role.


In the console, service roles created before September 2018 are created with the name oneClick_AWS-CodePipeline-Service_ID-Number.

Service roles created after September 2018 use the service role name format AWSCodePipelineServiceRole-Region-Pipeline_Name. For example, for a pipeline named MyFirstPipeline created in the console in eu-west-2, the service role is named AWSCodePipelineServiceRole-eu-west-2-MyFirstPipeline.

Remove permissions from the CodePipeline service role

You can edit the service role statement to remove access to resources you do not use. For example, if none of your pipelines include Elastic Beanstalk, you can edit the policy statement to remove the section that grants access to Elastic Beanstalk resources.

Similarly, if none of your pipelines includes CodeDeploy, you can edit the policy statement to remove the section that grants access to CodeDeploy resources:

{ "Action": [ "codedeploy:CreateDeployment", "codedeploy:GetApplicationRevision", "codedeploy:GetDeployment", "codedeploy:GetDeploymentConfig", "codedeploy:RegisterApplicationRevision" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

Add permissions to the CodePipeline service role

You must update your service role policy statement with permissions for an AWS service not already included in the default service role policy statement before you can use it in your pipelines.

This is especially important if the service role you use for your pipelines was created before support was added to CodePipeline for an AWS service.

The following table shows when support was added for other AWS services.

AWS Service CodePipeline Support Date
CodeBuild batch builds July 30, 2020
AWS AppConfig June 22, 2020
AWS Step Functions May 27, 2020
AWS CodeStar Connections December 18, 2019
The CodeDeployToECS action November 27, 2018
Amazon ECR November 27, 2018
AWS Service Catalog October 16, 2018
AWS Device Farm July 19, 2018
Amazon ECS December 12, 2017
CodeCommit April 18, 2016
AWS OpsWorks June 2, 2016
AWS CloudFormation November 3, 2016
AWS CodeBuild December 1, 2016

Follow these steps to add permissions for a supported service:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at

  2. In the IAM console, in the navigation pane, choose Roles, and then choose your AWS-CodePipeline-Service role from the list of roles.

  3. On the Permissions tab, in Inline Policies, in the row for your service role policy, choose Edit Policy.


    Your service role has a name in a format similar to oneClick_AWS-CodePipeline-1111222233334.

  4. Add the required permissions in the Policy Document box.


    When you create IAM policies, follow the standard security advice of granting least privilege—that is, granting only the permissions required to perform a task. Some API calls support resource-based permissions and allow access to be limited. For example, in this case, to limit permissions when calling DescribeTasks and ListTasks, you can replace the wildcard character (*) with a resource ARN or with a resource ARN that contains a wildcard character (*).

    For example, for CodeCommit support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "codecommit:GetBranch", "codecommit:GetCommit", "codecommit:UploadArchive", "codecommit:GetUploadArchiveStatus", "codecommit:CancelUploadArchive" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    For AWS OpsWorks support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "opsworks:CreateDeployment", "opsworks:DescribeApps", "opsworks:DescribeCommands", "opsworks:DescribeDeployments", "opsworks:DescribeInstances", "opsworks:DescribeStacks", "opsworks:UpdateApp", "opsworks:UpdateStack" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    For AWS CloudFormation support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "cloudformation:CreateStack", "cloudformation:DeleteStack", "cloudformation:DescribeStacks", "cloudformation:UpdateStack", "cloudformation:CreateChangeSet", "cloudformation:DeleteChangeSet", "cloudformation:DescribeChangeSet", "cloudformation:ExecuteChangeSet", "cloudformation:SetStackPolicy", "cloudformation:ValidateTemplate", "iam:PassRole" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    For CodeBuild support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "codebuild:BatchGetBuilds", "codebuild:StartBuild" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    Support for batch builds was added at a later date. See step 11 for the permissions to add to the service role for batch builds.

    For AWS Device Farm support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "devicefarm:ListProjects", "devicefarm:ListDevicePools", "devicefarm:GetRun", "devicefarm:GetUpload", "devicefarm:CreateUpload", "devicefarm:ScheduleRun" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    For AWS Service Catalog support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "servicecatalog:ListProvisioningArtifacts", "servicecatalog:CreateProvisioningArtifact", "servicecatalog:DescribeProvisioningArtifact", "servicecatalog:DeleteProvisioningArtifact", "servicecatalog:UpdateProduct" ], "Resource": "*" }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "cloudformation:ValidateTemplate" ], "Resource": "*" }
  5. For Amazon ECR support, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "ecr:DescribeImages" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  6. For Amazon ECS, the following are the minimum permissions needed to create pipelines with an Amazon ECS deploy action.

    { "Action": [ "ecs:DescribeServices", "ecs:DescribeTaskDefinition", "ecs:DescribeTasks", "ecs:ListTasks", "ecs:RegisterTaskDefinition", "ecs:UpdateService" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  7. For the CodeDeployToECS action (blue/green deployments), the following are the minimum permissions needed to create pipelines with a CodeDeploy to Amazon ECS blue/green deployment action.

    { "Action": [ "codedeploy:CreateDeployment", "codedeploy:GetDeployment", "codedeploy:GetApplication", "codedeploy:GetApplicationRevision", "codedeploy:RegisterApplicationRevision", "codedeploy:GetDeploymentConfig", "ecs:RegisterTaskDefinition", "iam:PassRole" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  8. For AWS CodeStar connections, the following permission is required to create pipelines with a source that uses a connection, such as Bitbucket.

    { "Action": [ "codestar-connections:UseConnection" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },

    For more information about the IAM permissions for connections, see Connections permissions reference.

  9. For the StepFunctions action, the following are the minimum permissions needed to create pipelines with a Step Functions invoke action.

    { "Action": [ "states:DescribeStateMachine", "states:DescribeExecution", "states:StartExecution" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  10. For the AppConfig action, the following are the minimum permissions needed to create pipelines with an AWS AppConfig invoke action.

    { "Action": [ "appconfig:StartDeployment", "appconfig:GetDeployment", "appconfig:StopDeployment" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  11. For CodeBuild support for batch builds, add the following to your policy statement:

    { "Action": [ "codebuild:BatchGetBuildBatches", "codebuild:StartBuildBatch" ], "Resource": "*", "Effect": "Allow" },
  12. Choose Validate Policy to ensure the policy contains no errors. When the policy is error-free, choose Apply Policy.