AWS Control Tower - AWS GovCloud (US)

AWS Control Tower

AWS Control Tower offers a straightforward way to set up and govern an AWS multi-account environment, following prescriptive best practices. AWS Control Tower orchestrates the capabilities of several other AWS services, including AWS Organizations, AWS Service Catalog, and IAM Identity Center, to build a landing zone in less than an hour. Resources are set up and managed on your behalf.

You can utilize AWS Control Tower with workloads that require FedRAMP High categorization level in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. AWS Control Tower is in scope for numerous compliance programs and standards, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard), ISO (International Organization for Standardization), SOC 1, 2, and 3 (System and Organization Controls). To learn more, visit the AWS Control Tower homepage or see the AWS Control Tower User Guide.

How AWS Control Tower Differs for AWS GovCloud (US)

The following list details the differences for using this service in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region compared to other AWS Regions:

Overview of differences
  • As in the commercial Region, you must use AWS Control Tower with all features enabled for AWS Organizations in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. However, the consolidated billing feature set is not available in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • You must meet the U.S. regulatory requirements as described in Signing Up for AWS GovCloud (US).

  • Organizations that you create in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions are independent from organizations created in commercial AWS Regions.

  • Creating accounts from within AWS Control Tower operates differently in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions compared to commercial AWS Regions:

    • You start creating AWS GovCloud (US) accounts by calling the CreateGovCloudAccount action from the management account of the landing zone in the commercial Region. Calling account creation APIs from the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions is not supported.

    • When you call the CreateGovCloudAccount API action, you create two accounts: a standalone account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, and an associated account in the commercial Region for billing and support purposes. The account in the commercial Region automatically becomes a member of the organization whose credentials made the request. Both accounts are associated with the same email address.

    • After you create the standalone account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, you can invite it to an organization in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions only.

    • Accounts created in other AWS Regions cannot be members of an organization in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • To learn what AWS services are currently available for trusted access with AWS Control Tower, check the list in the AWS Control Tower console from the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • Landing Zone APIs are not available in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

For more information about AWS Control Tower, see the AWS Control Tower Documentation.

Feature-level differences
  • Inability to create accounts in AWS GovCloud (US)

    AWS Control Tower does not support the ability to create accounts within AWS GovCloud (US). The AWS Organizations CreateGovCloudAccount API is available in the Commercial Region (US East (N. Virginia)) only. Therefore, AWS Control Tower cannot programmatically create accounts with Account Factory, nor during Landing Zone setup. This difference affects setup regarding the creation of the Audit account and the Log Archive account.

  • Must enroll existing AWS GovCloud (US) accounts for Audit and Log Archive

    AWS Control Tower in AWS GovCloud (US) requires you to bring your own, existing Audit and Log Archive accounts during Landing Zone setup. These accounts must exist in your AWS GovCloud (US) organization before you enroll them. AWS Control Tower supports single account enrollment only, for Account Factory.

  • Changes for Account Factory

    The Create account feature in Account Factory is removed in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. During the Create account workflow, you will see an error if the member account does not already exist in AWS GovCloud (US).

  • Home Region

    You are redirected to the appropriate AWS GovCloud (US) home Region (AWS GovCloud (US-West) or AWS GovCloud (US-East)) when running AWS Control Tower in the AWS GovCloud (US) console.

  • Verifying an account email address

    An account in the commercial Region and the associated account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region share an email adress. AWS Control Tower cannot verify account email addresses independently in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • Guardrail changes

    All guardrails are present, but certain guardrails include functionality that has no effect in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, based on other underlying differences. No error messages are reported for the differences in guardrail functionality. These guardrails include:

  • Marketplace

    The Marketplace link in the left navigation of the AWS Control Tower console is not available in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • GDPR compliance

    GDPR compliance is not required for services that reside only in the United States; therefore, it is not implemented in AWS Control Tower in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • Customizations for AWS Control Tower (CfCT) and Account Factory for Terraform (AFT) are unavailable for home Region AWS GovCloud (US-East)

    AFT and CfCT are not available if the home Region is AWS GovCloud (US-East), but these capabilities are available if the home Region is AWS GovCloud (US-West). Customers can use AWS GovCloud (US-West) to customize both AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • Control APIs unavailable in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions

    The AWS Control Tower APIs for managing controls are not available in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. However, the Service Catalog APIs for enrolling an existing account are available.

  • Security Hub controls

    Some controls in the Security Hub standard named Service-Managed Standard: AWS Control Tower are not supported in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. For a complete list of these controls by Region, see Security Hub.

  • Proactive controls are not available in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • Preventive and detective controls that support digital sovereignty

    Preventive and detective controls, including enhanced Region deny capabilities, are available to help meet digital sovereignty requirements. These controls can assist in preventing undesired actions. They can detect resource changes for data residency, granular access restriction, encryption, and resiliency capabilities. View these controls under a digital sovereignty group in the AWS Control Tower console. For more information, see https://docs.aws.amazon.com/controltower/latest/userguide/digital-sovereignty-controls.html.

  • Support for FedRamp Levels 4 and 5

    AWS Control Tower is authorized for Department of Defense Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide Impact Levels 4 and 5 (DoD SRG IL4 and IL5) in the AWS GovCloud (US-East and US-West) Regions.

    This capability builds on the existing FedRamp High categorization level, as well as numerous compliance programs and standards, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard), ISO (International Organization for Standardization), SOC 1, 2, and 3 (System and Organization for Standardization), SOC 1, 2, and 3 (System and Organization Controls). To learn more, visit the AWS Control Tower homepage or see the AWS Control Tower User Guide.

Creating your accounts

AWS Control Tower must be set up in the commercial Region before you can sign in to the AWS Control Tower management account to create AWS Control Tower accounts in AWS GovCloud (US).

When you create an account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions from AWS Control Tower, an associated account in the commercial Region is created for billing and support purposes, automatically. The account in the commercial Region and the account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions are linked.

The account in the commercial Region is a member of the organization whose credentials made the request, automatically, but the account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions is a standalone account until you invite it to an organization in that same Region.

Before creating accounts in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions from AWS Control Tower, make sure that you meet specific U.S. regulatory requirements as described in Signing Up for AWS GovCloud (US).

For more information about getting started with AWS GovCloud (US) see AWS GovCloud (US) Sign Up.

To create an account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions from AWS Control Tower
  1. From the management account of your organization in the commercial Region, sign in and authenticate to the AWS Control Tower console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/controltower

  2. While signed into your management account in a commercial Region, with AWS CloudShell, or by means of a CLI script, you can call the the CreateGovCloudAccount API action.

  3. Go to your AWS GovCloud (US) Region and invite the new standalone account to an organization.

Accounts and roles are created as follows
  • An account is created in the commercial Region and it automatically is a member of the organization whose credentials made the request.

  • A role is created in the new account in the commercial Region, which the management account in this same Region can assume.

  • The account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions is created, and it links to the associated account that was created at the same time in the commercial Region.

  • The account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions is a standalone account. It is not yet a member of an organization.

  • The AWS GovCloud (US) account, which is linked to the management account in the commercial Region, can assume the role that is created during setup of that AWS GovCloud (US) account.

Inviting accounts to an organization

After creating a standalone account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, you can invite it to an organization in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. You cannot invite accounts in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to organizations in other AWS Regions.

The following diagram shows how account access works, so that you can invite standalone accounts in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to an organization in the same Region.

Example: Account 1 invites Account 2 in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to an Organization
  1. In this example, AWS GovCloud (US) Account 1 is the AWS GovCloud (US) account that’s associated with the management account of your organization in the commercial Region. AWS GovCloud (US) Account 2 is going to become a member account in the organization of AWS GovCloud (US) Account 1.

    • Sign into AWS GovCloud (US) Account 1. Assume the administrative role of the AWS GovCloud (US) account you just created in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

    • Send an invitation to Account 2. Sign out of Account 1.

    • Sign into and assume the IAM role that was created in AWS GovCloud (US) Account 2.

    • Accept the invitation.

  2. Alternatively, another AWS GovCloud (US) Account 2 user can sign into Account 2 with the IAM user credentials you provided, then view and accept the invitation.

For more information, see the procedure described in Sending Invitations to AWS Accounts in the AWS Organizations User Guide to invite the account in the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to the AWS GovCloud (US) organization.

Setting up your landing zone

Here's an overview and a recommended sequence of steps for setting up an AWS Control Tower landing zone in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. It is slightly different than the process for commercial Regions, because of the way you must create accounts.

AWS Control Tower setup process overview
  1. In the commercial Region: Create the two AWS accounts you'll require in AWS GovCloud (US), which will become log archive and audit accounts for your AWS GovCloud (US) organization.

  2. In the AWS GovCloud (US) home Region: Create an organization in your AWS GovCloud (US) home Region, or choose which organization and Region you’ll require for your AWS Control Tower landing zone. In AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, you can deploy AWS Control Tower in an existing AWS GovCloud (US) organization.

  3. In the AWS GovCloud (US) home Region: Invite the two new accounts into your selected AWS GovCloud (US) organization. Go to those accounts and accept the invitations.

  4. In the AWS GovCloud (US) home Region: Follow the procedure to set up AWS Control Tower in an existing organization. Specify the two existing accounts, which you've already created in the first step and just invited to your organization, as your audit and log archive accounts.

  5. In the AWS GovCloud (US) home Region: Use AWS Control Tower to set up OUs in your landing zone, for your AWS Control Tower workloads in AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. (Use AWS Organizations to set up any other required organizations. AWS Control Tower supports one landing zone per organization.)

  6. In the commercial Region: Create the necessary member accounts to run your AWS GovCloud (US) Regions workloads.

  7. In the AWS GovCloud (US) home Region: Invite each account that you created in the previous step into its proper organization and OU, presumably into the organization in which you have already set up the AWS Control Tower landing zone.

After you've performed these tasks, it's a good idea to check the guardrails (also called controls) that are enabled on your OUs, and apply any optional controls that are applicable to your business requirements.

Documentation for AWS Control Tower

AWS Control Tower documentation.

Export-Controlled Content

For AWS Services architected within the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions, the following list explains how certain components of data may leave the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions in the normal course of the service offerings. The list can be used as a guide to help meet applicable customer compliance obligations. Data not included in the following list remains within the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions.

  • AWS Control Tower metadata is not permitted to contain export-controlled data. This metadata includes all of the configuration data that you enter when creating and maintaining your AWS Control Tower landing zone and AWS accounts, including AWS account names and email addresses, or Organizational Unit names.