Say you wanted to do a basic audit of a small AWS account - make sure there are not any glaring holes in the security, make sure you aren’t spending $10k a month without knowing it, make sure your services aren’t out of limits. What sort of things would you assess? Here is a light-weight version of what I look at. Not exhaustive. Yet, in a 5 minute, 30 minute and 2 hour format. Plus a bit of monitoring thrown in to make sure it all stays sane.

And the fact that this audit does not require any special tools: just trusted advisor.

5 Minute Review


  1. Check IAM - are all the security checks done? If not, fix that now.

  2. Password Spec - Lots of different ways to specify the password spec for your account and I won’t judge… just make sure there is a password spec that makes sense.

  3. Has the IAM login URL been customized? This is sort of goofy but if the account has been renamed it is more difficult for random hacker to FIND your console login. Takes about 4.65 seconds to fix.


  1. Can IAM users see the bill? If not enable it.

  2. Billing and Budgets enabled? If not, enable. Set a $1000 budget and track if you spend 1% if this is a free account.

Ok, that isn’t a lot of stuff yet useful and do-able in 5 minutes.

30 Minute Review

  1. For the first 5 minutes of the 30 minute review, do the 5 minute review.

  2. Fire up Trusted Advisor and review its findings.

2 Hour Review

Review IAM In-Depth - Credential Report

Cloud Watch, CloudTrail & log analysis - Having CloudTrail configured to world wide, feeding that data into CloudWatch then doing some sort of log analysis is critical for understanding the security and use of the account. Is this is in place?

AWS Config - AWS Config is a super effective tool for monitoring the changes in the configuration of your environment - it examines what you have running and configured and dumps it to a json file. Over time, you can understand what you have, what has changed and all that good sort of stuff. Is this is in place?

Review Trusted Advisor Best Practices - You don’t get all bells and whistles in the “free” version of the app but a quick glance will show you what you want to look for in the audit.