Understanding AWS IAM

Let's learn about a few Important AWS IAM Interview Q/A


2 min read

Understanding AWS IAM

What is AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)?
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is a service within Amazon Web Services designed to securely manage and control access to various AWS resources. IAM enables centralized management of permissions dictating which users can access specific AWS resources. It handles authentication (confirming user identity) and authorization (granting appropriate permissions) for resource usage.

What functionalities does IAM offer?
IAM offers several key features:

  1. Shared Access: Allows granting permissions for others to manage and use AWS resources without sharing passwords or access keys.

  2. Granular Permissions: This enables assigning diverse permissions to different individuals for distinct resources. For instance, providing full access to certain AWS services for some users while restricting others to read-only access for specific resources.

  3. Secure Access for EC2 Applications: Provides secure credentials for applications running on Amazon EC2 instances, granting permissions to access other AWS resources like S3 buckets or DynamoDB tables.

  4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Adds an extra layer of security by requiring not just passwords or access keys but also a unique code from a configured device.

  5. Identity Federation: Allows users with existing passwords from corporate networks or internet identity providers to gain temporary access to AWS accounts.

  6. Identity Information Tracking: If utilizing AWS CloudTrail, log records contain details about resource requests linked to IAM identities.

  7. PCI DSS Compliance: Supports the processing, storage, and transmission of credit card data in compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

  8. Integration with Various AWS Services: Works in conjunction with numerous AWS services for seamless access management.

How is IAM accessed?
IAM can be accessed through several means:

  1. AWS Management Console: A browser-based interface facilitating IAM and AWS resource management.

  2. AWS Command Line Tools: Enables issuing commands through the system's command line for IAM and AWS operations, offering speed and convenience.

  3. AWS SDKs: Software Development Kits providing libraries and sample code in various programming languages for programmatic access to IAM and AWS services.

  4. IAM HTTP API: Allows programmatic access via HTTPS requests directly to the IAM service, necessitating code inclusion for digitally signing requests using credentials.

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