Identity and access management for IAM Identity Center - AWS IAM Identity Center (successor to AWS Single Sign-On)

Identity and access management for IAM Identity Center

Access to IAM Identity Center requires credentials that AWS can use to authenticate your requests. Those credentials must have permissions to access AWS resources, such as an IAM Identity Center application.

Authentication to the AWS access portal is controlled by the directory that you have connected to IAM Identity Center. However, authorization to the AWS accounts that are available to end users from within the AWS access portal is determined by two factors:

  1. Who has been assigned access to those AWS accounts in the IAM Identity Center console. For more information, see Single sign-on access to AWS accounts.

  2. What level of permissions have been granted to the end users in the IAM Identity Center console to allow them the appropriate access to those AWS accounts. For more information, see Create and manage permission sets.

The following sections explain how you as an administrator can control access to the IAM Identity Center console or can delegate administrative access for day-to-day tasks from the IAM Identity Center console.

Authentication

You can access AWS as any of the following types of identities:

  • AWS account root user

    When you create an AWS account, you begin with one 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 don't use the root user for your everyday tasks. Safeguard your root user credentials and use them to perform the tasks that only the root user can perform. For the complete list of tasks that require you to sign in as the root user, see Tasks that require root user credentials in the AWS Account Management Reference Guide.

  • IAM users and groups

    An IAM user is an identity within your AWS account that has specific permissions for a single person or application. Where possible, we recommend relying on temporary credentials instead of creating IAM users who have long-term credentials such as passwords and access keys. However, if you have specific use cases that require long-term credentials with IAM users, we recommend that you rotate access keys. For more information, see Rotate access keys regularly for use cases that require long-term credentials in the IAM User Guide.

    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 role

    An IAM role is an IAM identity that you can create in your account that has specific permissions. An IAM role is similar to an IAM user in that it is an AWS identity with permissions policies that determine what the identity can and cannot do in AWS. However, instead of being uniquely associated with one person, a role is intended to be assumable by anyone who needs it. Also, a role does not have standard long-term credentials such as a password or access keys associated with it. Instead, when you assume a role, it provides you with temporary security credentials for your role session. IAM roles with temporary credentials are useful in the following situations:

    • Federated user access – To assign permissions to a federated identity, you create a role and define permissions for the role. When a federated identity authenticates, the identity is associated with the role and is granted the permissions that are defined by the role. For information about roles for federation, see Creating a role for a third-party Identity Provider in the IAM User Guide. If you use IAM Identity Center, you configure a permission set. To control what your identities can access after they authenticate, IAM Identity Center correlates the permission set to a role in IAM. For information about permissions sets, see Permission sets in the AWS IAM Identity Center (successor to AWS Single Sign-On) User Guide.

    • AWS service access – A service role is an IAM role that a service assumes to perform actions on your behalf. An IAM administrator can create, modify, and delete a service role from within IAM. 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.

Access control

You can have valid credentials to authenticate your requests, but unless you have permissions you cannot create or access IAM Identity Center resources. For example, you must have permissions to create an IAM Identity Center connected directory.

The following sections describe how to manage permissions for IAM Identity Center. We recommend that you read the overview first.