AWS Systems Manager
User Guide

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Enable AWS KMS Key Encryption of Session Data (Console)

Use AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) to create and manage keys. With AWS KMS, you can control the use of encryption across a wide range of AWS services and in your applications. You can specify that session data transmitted between your Amazon EC2 instances and the local machines of users in your AWS account is encrypted using AWS KMS key encryption. (This is in addition to the TLS 1.2 encryption that AWS already provides by default.) AWS KMS key encryption for sessions is accomplished using a customer master key (CMK) that is created in AWS KMS.


You must enable AWS KMS encryption in order to reset passwords on your managed instances from the Systems Manager console. For more information, see Reset a Password on a Managed Instance.

You can use a key that you created in your AWS account. You can also use a key that was created in a different AWS account. The creator of the key in a different AWS account must provide you with the permissions needed to use the key.

After you enable AWS KMS key encryption for your session data, both the users who start sessions and the instances that they connect to must have permission to use the key. You provide permission to use the CMK with Session Manager through IAM policies. For information, see the following topics:

For more information about creating and managing AWS KMS keys, see the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.

For information about using the AWS CLI to enable AWS KMS key encryption of session data in your account, see Create Session Manager Preferences (AWS CLI) or Update Session Manager Preferences (AWS CLI).


There is a charge to use CMKs. For information, see AWS Key Management Service pricing.

To enable AWS KMS key encryption of session data (console)

  1. Open the AWS Systems Manager console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Session Manager.

  3. Choose the Preferences tab, and then choose Edit.

  4. Select the check box next to Key Management Service (KMS).

  5. Do one of the following:

    • Choose the button next to Select an AWS KMS key in my current account, then select a key from the list.


      Choose the button next to Enter a KMS key alias or KMS key ARN. Manually enter an AWS KMS key alias for a key created in your current account, or enter the key ARN for a key in another account. The following are examples.

      • Key alias: alias/my-kms-key-alias

      • Key ARN: arn:aws:kms:us-west-2:111122223333:key/1234abcd-12ab-34cd-56ef-12345EXAMPLE


      Choose Create new key to create a new CMK in your account. After you create the new key, return to the Preferences tab and select the key for encrypting session data in your account.

    For more information about sharing keys, see Allowing External AWS Accounts to Access a CMK in the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide.

  6. Choose Save.