Configure user access with the default IAM Identity Center directory - AWS IAM Identity Center

Configure user access with the default IAM Identity Center directory

When you enable IAM Identity Center for the first time, it's automatically configured with an Identity Center directory as your default identity source, so you don't need to choose an identity source. If your organization uses another identity provider such as AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Entra ID, or Okta consider integrating that identity source with IAM Identity Center instead of using the default configuration.


In this tutorial, you will use the default directory as your identity source and set up and test user access. In this scenario, you manage all users and groups in IAM Identity Center. Users sign in through the AWS access portal. This tutorial is intended for users that are new to AWS or that have been using IAM to manage users and groups. In the next steps, you will create the following:

  • An administrative user named Nikki Wolf

  • A group named Admin team

  • A permission set named AdminAccess

To verify everything was created correctly, you will sign in and set the administrative user's password. After completing this tutorial you can use the administrative user to add more users in IAM Identity Center, create additional permission sets, and set up organizational access to applications.

If you haven't enabled IAM Identity Center yet, see Enabling AWS IAM Identity Center.

Do either of the following to sign in to the AWS Management Console.

  • New to AWS (root user) – Sign in as the account owner by choosing AWS account root user and entering your AWS account email address. On the next page, enter your password.

  • Already using AWS (IAM credentials) – Sign in using your IAM credentials with administrative permissions.

Open the IAM Identity Center console.

  1. In the IAM Identity Center navigation pane, choose Users, then select Add user.

  2. On the Specify user details page, complete the following information:

    • Username - For this tutorial, enter nikkiw.

      When creating users, choose usernames that are easy to remember. Your users must remember the username to sign in to the AWS access portal and you can't change it later.

    • Password - Choose Send an email to this user with password setup instructions (Recommended).

      This option sends the user an email addressed from Amazon Web Services, with the subject line Invitation to join IAM Identity Center (successor to AWS Single Sign-On). The email comes from either or Add these email addresses to your approved senders list.

    • Email address - Enter an email address for the user where you can receive the email. Then, enter it again to confirm it. Each user must have a unique email address.

    • First name - Enter the first name for the user. For this tutorial, enter Nikki.

    • Last name - Enter the last name for the user. For this tutorial, enter Wolf.

    • Display name - The default value is the first and last name of the user. If you want to change the display name, you can enter something different. The display name is visible in the sign-in portal and users list.

    • Complete the optional information if desired. It isn’t used during this tutorial and you can change it later.

  3. Choose Next. The Add user to groups page appears. We're going to create a group to assign administrative permissions to instead of giving them directly to Nikki.

    Choose Create group

    A new browser tab opens to display the Create group page.

    1. Under Group details, in Group name enter a name for the group. We recommend a group name that identifies the role of the group. For this tutorial, enter Admin team.

    2. Choose Create group

    3. Close the Groups browser tab to return to the Add user browser tab

  4. In the Groups area, select the Refresh button. The Admin team group appears in the list.

    Select the check box next to Admin team, and then choose Next.

  5. On the Review and add user page, confirm the following:

    • Primary information appears as you intended

    • Groups shows the user added to the group you created

    If you want to make changes, choose Edit. When all details are correct choose Add user.

    A notification message informs you that the user was added.

Next, you will add administrative permissions for the Admin team group so that Nikki has access to resources.

  1. In the IAM Identity Center navigation pane, under Multi-account permissions, choose AWS accounts.

  2. On the AWS accounts page the Organizational structure displays your organization with your accounts underneath it in the hierarchy. Select the check box for your management account, then select Assign users or groups.

  3. The Assign users and groups workflow displays. It consists of three steps:

    1. For Step 1: Select users and groups choose the Admin team group you created. Then choose Next.

    2. For Step 2: Select permission sets choose Create permission set to open a new tab that steps you through the three sub-steps involved in creating a permission set.

      1. For Step 1: Select permission set type complete the following:

        • In Permission set type, choose Predefined permission set.

        • In Policy for predefined permission set, choose AdministratorAccess.

        Choose Next.

      2. For Step 2: Specify permission set details, keep the default settings, and choose Next.

        The default settings create a permission set named AdministratorAccess with session duration set to one hour. You can change the name of the permission set by entering a new name in the Permission set name field.

      3. For Step 3: Review and create, verify that the Permission set type uses the AWS managed policy AdministratorAccess. Choose Create. On the Permission sets page a notification appears informing you that the permission set was created. You can close this tab in your web browser now.

      On the Assign users and groups browser tab, you are still on Step 2: Select permission sets from which you started the create permission set workflow.

      In the Permissions sets area, choose the Refresh button. The AdministratorAccess permission set you created appears in the list. Select the check box for that permission set and then choose Next.

    3. On the Step 3: Review and submit assignments page, confirm that the Admin team group is selected and that the AdministratorAccess permission set is selected, then choose Submit.

      The page updates with a message that your AWS account is being configured. Wait until the process completes.

      You are returned to the AWS accounts page. A notification message informs you that your AWS account has been reprovisioned and the updated permission set applied.


You have successfully set up your first user, group, and permission set.

In the next portion of this tutorial you will test Nikki's access by signing in to the AWS access portal with their administrative credentials and set their password. Sign out of the console now.

Now that Nikki Wolf is a user in your organization, they can sign in and access the resources to which they're granted permission according to their permission set. To verify that the user is correctly configured, in this next step you will use Nikki's credentials to sign in and set up their password. When you added the user Nikki Wolf in step 1 you chose to have Nikki receive an email with password setup instructions. It's time to open that email and do the following:

  1. In the email, select the Accept invitation link to accept the invitation.


    The email also includes Nikki's user name and the AWS access portal URL that they will use to sign in to the organization. Record this information for future use.

    You are taken to the New user sign up page where you can set Nikki's password.

  2. After setting Nikki's password, you are navigated to the Sign in page. Enter nikkiw and choose Next, then enter Nikki's password and choose Sign in.

  3. The AWS access portal opens displaying the organization and applications you can access.

    Select the organization to expand it into a list of AWS accounts then select the account to display the roles that you can use to access resources in the account.

    Each permission set has two management methods you can use, either Role or Access keys.

    • Role, for example AdministratorAccess - Opens the AWS Console Home.

    • Access keys - Provides credentials that you can use with the AWS CLI or and AWS SDK. Includes the information for using either short-term credentials that automatically refresh or short-term access keys. For more information, see Getting IAM Identity Center user credentials for the AWS CLI or AWS SDKs.

  4. Choose the Role link to sign in to the AWS Console Home.

You are signed in and navigated to the AWS Console Home page. Explore the console and confirm that you have the access you expected.

Now that you've created an administrative user in IAM Identity Center, you can:

  • Assign applications

  • Add other users

  • Assign users to accounts

  • Configure additional permission sets


    You can assign multiple permission sets to the same user. To follow the best practice of applying least-privilege permissions, after you create your administrative user, create a more restrictive permission set and assign it to the same user. That way, you can access your AWS account with only the permissions that you require, rather than administrative permissions.

After your users accept their invitation to activate their account and they sign into the AWS access portal, the only items that appear in the portal are for the AWS accounts, roles, and applications to which they're assigned.


We strongly recommend that you enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your users. For more information, see Multi-factor authentication for Identity Center users.