AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store - AWS Systems Manager

AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store

Parameter Store, a capability of AWS Systems Manager, provides secure, hierarchical storage for configuration data management and secrets management. You can store data such as passwords, database strings, Amazon Machine Image (AMI) IDs, and license codes as parameter values. You can store values as plain text or encrypted data. You can reference Systems Manager parameters in your scripts, commands, SSM documents, and configuration and automation workflows by using the unique name that you specified when you created the parameter. To get started with Parameter Store, open the Systems Manager console. In the navigation pane, choose Parameter Store.

Parameter Store is also integrated with Secrets Manager. You can retrieve Secrets Manager secrets when using other AWS services that already support references to Parameter Store parameters. For more information, see Referencing AWS Secrets Manager secrets from Parameter Store parameters.


To implement password rotation lifecycles, use AWS Secrets Manager. You can rotate, manage, and retrieve database credentials, API keys, and other secrets throughout their lifecycle using Secrets Manager. For more information, see What is AWS Secrets Manager? in the AWS Secrets Manager User Guide.

How can Parameter Store benefit my organization?

Parameter Store offers these benefits:

  • Use a secure, scalable, hosted secrets management service with no servers to manage.

  • Improve your security posture by separating your data from your code.

  • Store configuration data and encrypted strings in hierarchies and track versions.

  • Control and audit access at granular levels.

  • Store parameters reliably because Parameter Store is hosted in multiple Availability Zones in an AWS Region.

Who should use Parameter Store?

  • Any AWS customer who wants to have a centralized way to manage configuration data.

  • Software developers who want to store different logins and reference streams.

  • Administrators who want to receive notifications when their secrets and passwords are or aren't changed.

What are the features of Parameter Store?

  • Change notification

    You can configure change notifications and invoke automated actions for both parameters and parameter policies. For more information, see Setting up notifications or trigger actions based on Parameter Store events.

  • Organize parameters

    You can tag your parameters individually to help you identify one or more parameters based on the tags you've assigned to them. For example, you can tag parameters for specific environments or departments. For more information, see Tagging Systems Manager parameters.

  • Label versions

    You can associate an alias for versions of your parameter by creating labels. Labels can help you remember the purpose of a parameter version when there are multiple versions.

  • Data validation

    You can create parameters that point to an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance and Parameter Store validates these parameters to make sure that it references expected resource type, that the resource exists, and that the customer has permission to use the resource. For example, you can create a parameter with Amazon Machine Image (AMI) ID as a value with aws:ec2:image data type, and Parameter Store performs an asynchronous validation operation to make sure that the parameter value meets the formatting requirements for an AMI ID, and that the specified AMI is available in your AWS account.

  • Reference secrets

    Parameter Store is integrated with AWS Secrets Manager so that you can retrieve Secrets Manager secrets when using other AWS services that already support references to Parameter Store parameters.

  • Share parameters with other accounts

    You can optionally centralize configuration data in a single AWS account and share parameters with other accounts that need to access them.

  • Accessible from other AWS services

    You can use Parameter Store parameters with other Systems Manager capabilities and AWS services to retrieve secrets and configuration data from a central store. Parameters work with Systems Manager capabilities such as Run Command, Automation, and State Manager, capabilities of AWS Systems Manager. You can also reference parameters in a number of other AWS services, including the following:

    • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

    • Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)

    • AWS Secrets Manager

    • AWS Lambda

    • AWS CloudFormation

    • AWS CodeBuild

    • AWS CodePipeline

    • AWS CodeDeploy

  • Integrate with other AWS services

    Configure integration with the following AWS services for encryption, notification, monitoring, and auditing:

What is a parameter?

A Parameter Store parameter is any piece of data that is saved in Parameter Store, such as a block of text, a list of names, a password, an AMI ID, a license key, and so on. You can centrally and securely reference this data in your scripts, commands, and SSM documents.

When you reference a parameter, you specify the parameter name by using the following convention.



Parameters can't be referenced or nested in the values of other parameters. You can't include {{}} or {{ssm:parameter-name}} in a parameter value.

Parameter Store provides support for three types of parameters: String, StringList, and SecureString.

With one exception, when you create or update a parameter, you enter the parameter value as plaintext, and Parameter Store performs no validation on the text you enter. For String parameters, however, you can specify the data type as aws:ec2:image, and Parameter Store validates that the value you enter is the proper format for an Amazon EC2 AMI; for example: ami-12345abcdeEXAMPLE.

Parameter type: String

By default, String parameters consist of any block of text you enter. For example:

  • abc123

  • Example Corp

  • <img src="images/bannerImage1.png"/>

Parameter type: StringList

StringList parameters contain a comma-separated list of values, as shown in the following examples.



Parameter type: SecureString

A SecureString parameter is any sensitive data that needs to be stored and referenced in a secure manner. If you have data that you don't want users to alter or reference in plaintext, such as passwords or license keys, create those parameters using the SecureString data type.


Don't store sensitive data in a String or StringList parameter. For all sensitive data that must remain encrypted, use only the SecureString parameter type.

For more information, see Create a SecureString parameter (AWS CLI).

We recommend using SecureString parameters for the following scenarios:

  • You want to use data/parameters across AWS services without exposing the values as plaintext in commands, functions, agent logs, or CloudTrail logs.

  • You want to control who has access to sensitive data.

  • You want to be able to audit when sensitive data is accessed (CloudTrail).

  • You want to encrypt your sensitive data, and you want to bring your own encryption keys to manage access.


Only the value of a SecureString parameter is encrypted. Parameter names, descriptions, and other properties aren't encrypted.

You can use the SecureString parameter type for textual data that you want to encrypt, such as passwords, application secrets, confidential configuration data, or any other types of data that you want to protect. SecureString data is encrypted and decrypted using an AWS KMS key. You can use either a default KMS key provided by AWS or create and use your own AWS KMS key. (Use your own AWS KMS key if you want to restrict user access to SecureString parameters. For more information, see IAM permissions for using AWS default keys and customer managed keys.)

You can also use SecureString parameters with other AWS services. In the following example, the Lambda function retrieves a SecureString parameter by using the GetParameters API.

from __future__ import print_function import json import boto3 ssm = boto3.client('ssm', 'us-east-2') def get_parameters(): response = ssm.get_parameters( Names=['LambdaSecureString'],WithDecryption=True ) for parameter in response['Parameters']: return parameter['Value'] def lambda_handler(event, context): value = get_parameters() print("value1 = " + value) return value # Echo back the first key value
AWS KMS encryption and pricing

If you choose the SecureString parameter type when you create your parameter, Systems Manager uses AWS KMS to encrypt the parameter value.


Parameter Store only supports symmetric encryption KMS keys. You can't use an asymmetric encryption KMS key to encrypt your parameters. For help determining whether a KMS key is symmetric or asymmetric, see Identifying symmetric and asymmetric KMS keys in the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide

There is no charge from Parameter Store to create a SecureString parameter, but charges for use of AWS KMS encryption do apply. For information, see AWS Key Management Service pricing.

For more information about AWS managed keys and customer managed keys, see AWS Key Management Service Concepts in the AWS Key Management Service Developer Guide. For more information about Parameter Store and AWS KMS encryption, see How AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store Uses AWS KMS.


To view an AWS managed key, use the AWS KMS DescribeKey operation. This AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) example uses DescribeKey to view an AWS managed key.

aws kms describe-key --key-id alias/aws/ssm