Turbot and AWS SCPs

Can Turbot work with SCPs that limit Region Access?

With the introduction of AWS Service Control Policies many organizations use them to limit the resources that their users deploy in unapproved regions. The security and cost management gains are considerable, but these restrictions can cause false alarms within the Turbot console if certain policies are misconfigured.

Generally, SCPs are used to restrict the creation of resources outside of approved regions. Under normal operation, this could cause Turbot to display errors in attempting to perform discovery in the unapproved regions, leading to alarms and errors in the console. Turbot policy settings allow you to edit a list of available regions available in AWS. Any region outside of this list will be invisible to Turbot; however, Turbot recommends a defense-in-depth strategy as it pertains to region restrictions. SCPs are preventative controls, Turbot can also provide detective and corrective controls across unapproved regions that would allow for a greater security and flexibility in the following situations:

  • Watch the watchers: In any organization, there will be one or more individuals with the ability to create exceptions to SCPs. Detective controls allow security, compliance and finance auditors to check for any resources that may be created accidentally or maliciously by users with elevated access.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: M&As and joint ventures will often carry with them new IT infrastructure requirements.
  • Pre-existing accounts and shadow IT: AWS accounts outside of standard practice might need monitoring and assessment prior to being brought under enterprise control.
  • Service linked roles: SCPs do not affect any service-linked role. Service-linked roles enable other AWS services to integrate with AWS Organizations and can't be restricted by SCPs. SCPs affect only principals that are managed by accounts that are part of the organization.
  • Removal of Default VPCs: It is a well-documented best practice to remove default VPCs from unused regions. Turbot's automation to delete these VPCs can not be used to do this if those regions are removed from visibility.

To "turn off" a region in Turbot, the policy AWS > Account > Regions [Default] can be configured to list only allowed regions. This policy can be configured at almost any level within the hierarchy, with the region itself being the lowest level.

Setting the policy:

  1. Navigate to the level at which the policy should be set in Turbot. This will often be done at the Turbot level, but the scope of the policy will be determined based on the scope of the SCP across the organization.
  2. Select the Policies tab.
  3. Click on the New setting button on the right side.
  4. In the new window, click Browse -> AWS -> Account -> Regions [Default], then click Select.
  5. Ensure that the Scope is set correctly. If not, click Browse and navigate to the appropriate level in a similar way to navigating the policy type.
  6. List the approved regions in the Setting field. Each region will be on a new line, starting with a hyphen and space. The screenshot below is an example for approving both US East 1 and US West 1 regions in AWS. policy yaml

Turbot will suspend action within unapproved regions immediately after setting the policy. Once again - this setting turns off Turbot in unapproved regions and as such stops discovery and remediation.

If you have additional questions regarding Turbot and AWS SCPs, reach out to Turbot support at help@turbot.com