What is AWS Identity And Access Management (IAM)?

In this article, I will explain What is AWS Identity And Access Management (IAM).

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a web service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enables you to securely manage access to your AWS resources. IAM allows you to create and control users, groups, and permissions, making it easier to manage access and enforce security policies within your AWS environment. With IAM, you can define who has access to which resources and what actions they are allowed to perform.

Key Points

The following list shows some key points to understand about AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM).

  1. Users and Groups. IAM allows you to create individual users and groups of users. Users represent individual people or entities accessing AWS resources, while groups provide a way to manage permissions collectively for a set of users.
  2. Roles. IAM roles are similar to users but are designed for use cases where an entity (such as an AWS service or application) needs temporary access to resources. Roles are often used to grant permissions to AWS services running within your environment.
  3. Permissions. IAM permissions are policies that define what actions (e.g., read, write, delete) are allowed or denied on specific AWS resources. Permissions can be attached to users, groups, and roles.
  4. Policy-Based Access Control. Access in IAM is defined using JSON-based policies that specify the actions, resources, and conditions under which those actions are allowed. Policies can be attached to users, groups, and roles.
  5. Least Privilege. The principle of least privilege is central to IAM. It encourages granting only the minimum required permissions to perform necessary tasks, reducing the potential impact of security breaches.
  6. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). IAM supports Multi-Factor Authentication, adding an extra layer of security to user sign-ins. MFA requires users to provide an additional authentication factor beyond just a password.
  7. Credential Management. IAM users can generate access keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) for programmatic access to AWS resources. IAM also supports password policies for enforcing strong passwords.
  8. Identity Federation. IAM supports identity federation, allowing you to grant temporary access to AWS resources to users from other trusted identity providers (such as your corporate directory or social media accounts).
  9. Integration with AWS Services. IAM integrates seamlessly with various AWS services. For example, you can use IAM roles to grant AWS Lambda functions permissions to access specific resources.
  10. Access Analyzer. AWS IAM Access Analyzer helps you identify unintended public and cross-account access to your resources.


In short, IAM is a crucial tool for managing security and access control in AWS environments. It helps you implement the principle of least privilege, adhere to compliance requirements, and maintain a secure and well-organized AWS infrastructure.

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