Policy Values & Settings

Policy Settings

Each policy type may have many settings for different resources.

The policy type AWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved may be set to `Enforce: Delete unapproved if new & empty` for development accounts, but deliberately limited to `Check: Approved` for production accounts.

Policy Settings are inherited down through the hierarchy of resources.

AWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved may be set to `Enforce: Delete unapproved if new & empty` at Turbot level - ensuring all buckets are deleted if they don't meet the approval criteria (e.g. in approved region).

Policy settings are only valid for target resources and their ancestors.

The Policy TypeAWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved may be set at any resource level from Turbot down to the specific S3 Bucket such as Turbot > Folder A > AWS 1111 > us-east-1 > my-bucket.

Policy Values

A Policy Value is the effective policy setting on an instance of a resource type. Every resource that is targeted by a given policy setting will have its own value for that policy, which will be the resultant calculated policy for the "winning" policy in the hierarchy.

Policy settings are inherited through the resource hierarchy, and values for a resource are calculated according to policy settings at or above it in the resource hierarchy. For example, a policy setting at the Turbot level will be inherited by all resources below.

While policy settings can exist above the target in the resource hierarchy, policy values exist only on the target.

AWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved
  • A Policy Setting for AWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved can be made on an AWS Account, Region, or individual bucket.
  • Every S3 bucket has a Policy Value for AWS > S3 > Bucket > Approved. The policy value may have been set at the AWS account, region, and/or individual bucket - this is the effective value for this instance.


Policy settings can be set to only be valid for a period of time. This is often useful for setting temporary exceptions. You can, for instance, specify that an exception should expire in 30 days, or that a policy should only be in effect this Saturday from 1:00am to 4:00am to coincide with your organization's change control policy.

Calculating Policy Values for a Resource

Policy settings are defined as templates. Policy values are calculated from the policy setting. In most cases the policy setting is a static data value (e.g. "Check: Approved") which is simply copied to the policy value. But, in some cases, the template may include variables or calculations allowing the policy value to change dynamically - e.g. tag templates that pull information about the AWS Account or Region.

To create a calculated policy value, you must specify:

  • An Input Query. This must be a valid graphql query. For example:
    resources(filter: "resourceType:bucket") {
    items {
  • A Template. The template can use the results of the input query (reference with the $ variable) and transform them into the format expected by the policy. For example:
    {% for item in $.resourceList.items %}
    - {{item.title}}
    {% endfor %}`


Policies often have settings that are applicable to a wide number of resources. There are, however, inevitably exceptions that exist, where the account wide policy does not apply to that specific resource.

For example, an AWS account might house S3 buckets that have public access disabled. This account also has a bucket that must have public access enabled. In Guardrails, we accomplish this with the concept of exceptions.

Exceptions allow you to override a required setting on a resource lower in the policy hierarchy. In the above example, S3 public access policies are set to block, but we can set one specific bucket to allow public access.

When set, the overriding policy setting will be signified with Effective Setting and a check mark.

Head over to our guide detailing how to create an exception.