Learn how to use AWS services to store and access one-time fixed license keys in automation scripts and CloudFormation stacks. Find out the best solution and why it is more cost-effective than others.
A company is planning to securely manage one-time fixed license keys in AWS. The company’s development team needs to access the license keys in automaton scripts that run in Amazon EC2 instances and in AWS CloudFormation stacks.
Which solution will meet these requirements MOST cost-effectively?
A. Amazon S3 with encrypted files prefixed with “config”
B. AWS Secrets Manager secrets with a tag that is named SecretString
C. AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store SecureString parameters
D. CloudFormation NoEcho parameters
C. AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store SecureString parameters
The correct answer is C. AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store SecureString parameters.
AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store is a service that provides secure, hierarchical storage for configuration data management and secrets management. You can use Parameter Store to store and manage sensitive information such as database credentials, API keys, and license keys. Parameter Store encrypts the parameter values using AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) keys. You can also rotate, monitor, and audit your parameters using Parameter Store.
To use Parameter Store to store and access one-time fixed license keys in AWS, the company can follow these steps:
- Create a SecureString parameter in Parameter Store and store the license key as the parameter value. Choose an AWS KMS key to encrypt the parameter value.
- Update the IAM role of the EC2 instances and the CloudFormation stacks that need to access the license key with permissions to access Parameter Store and the AWS KMS key. The role should have a policy that allows actions such as GetParameter and Decrypt on the parameter and the key.
- Retrieve the license key from Parameter Store by using the GetParameter API call or the AWS CLI get-parameter command. The response will include the decrypted license key in plain text or in binary format depending on how it was stored.
- Use the decrypted license key in automation scripts or CloudFormation templates as needed.
This solution will meet the requirements most cost-effectively because:
- It will securely store and encrypt the license key at rest and in transit using AWS KMS keys, which provide security and encryption for your data.
- It will allow access from EC2 instances and CloudFormation stacks by using IAM roles and policies, which provide fine-grained control and authorization for your resources.
- It will have minimal management overhead because it uses a fully managed service that scales automatically with your workload.
- It will incur low costs because Parameter Store does not charge for storing parameters or for API calls. You only pay for the AWS KMS keys that you use to encrypt your parameters.
Option A is incorrect because using Amazon S3 with encrypted files prefixed with “config” to store and access license keys in AWS is not a secure or cost-effective solution. Amazon S3 is a service that provides object storage through a web services interface. You can use Amazon S3 to store any type of data, including encrypted files. However, Amazon S3 has some drawbacks compared to Parameter Store for storing secrets, such as:
- It does not provide built-in encryption at rest or in transit for your data. You have to encrypt and decrypt your files yourself by using AWS KMS or other methods, which adds complexity and overhead.
- It does not support hierarchical storage or tagging for your files, which makes it difficult to organize and manage your secrets.
- It does not support automatic rotation, monitoring, or auditing of secrets, which are important features for security and compliance.
- It charges for storage space and API calls, which can increase your costs depending on your usage.
Option B is incorrect because using AWS Secrets Manager secrets with a tag that is named SecretString to store and access license keys in AWS is not a cost-effective solution. AWS Secrets Manager is a service that helps you protect secrets needed to access your applications, services, and IT resources. You can use Secrets Manager to store and manage sensitive information such as database credentials, API keys, and license keys. Secrets Manager encrypts the secret values using AWS KMS customer managed keys. You can also rotate, monitor, and audit your secrets using Secrets Manager.
However, Secrets Manager is more suitable for storing dynamic secrets that need frequent rotation, such as database credentials or OAuth tokens. For storing one-time fixed license keys that do not change often, Secrets Manager is not a cost-effective solution because:
- It charges for storing secrets and for API calls, which can increase your costs depending on your usage.
- It charges for rotating secrets, which is not necessary for one-time fixed license keys.
- It charges for using customer managed keys instead of AWS managed keys, which provide more control but also more costs.
Option D is incorrect because using CloudFormation NoEcho parameters to store and access license keys in AWS is not a secure or scalable solution. CloudFormation NoEcho parameters are parameters that prevent describe stack calls from returning the parameter value. You can use NoEcho parameters to input sensitive information such as passwords or license keys when you create or update a stack. However, NoEcho parameters have some limitations compared to Parameter Store for storing secrets, such as:
- They are only available within the same CloudFormation template that declares them. You cannot reuse them across multiple templates or resources.
- They are only encrypted in transit but not at rest. The parameter value is stored in plain text in CloudFormation stacks.
- They do not support hierarchical storage or tagging for your parameters, which makes it difficult to organize and manage your secrets.
- They do not support automatic rotation, monitoring, or auditing of secrets, which are important features for security and compliance.
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