AWS Organizations

aws-organizations-logo-as-made-of-web-856939108-3 AWS Organizations

In today’s ever-growing cloud computing era, managing multiple AWS accounts can become a complex and daunting task. As an organization expands its cloud infrastructure, ensuring proper governance, access control, and billing management can become a significant challenge. This is where AWS Organizations comes to the rescue, providing a centralized way to manage and govern multiple AWS accounts within your organization.

What are AWS Organizations?

AWS Organizations is a service offered by Amazon Web Services that allows you to consolidate and manage multiple AWS accounts. It acts as an umbrella for your AWS accounts, providing a centralized management console and a set of tools to define, configure, and manage policies across your accounts.

The main goal of AWS Organizations is to simplify the management of your AWS accounts, enabling you to enforce security, compliance, and operational policies consistently across your organization’s cloud infrastructure. It facilitates access control, budget management, and policy deployment, making it an indispensable tool for large enterprises and startups alike.

Key Features of AWS Organizations

1. Consolidated Billing: With AWS Organizations, you can consolidate the billing of all your AWS accounts under a single payment method. It simplifies the billing process, providing a single invoice for all your AWS services. This is particularly beneficial for organizations with multiple departments or teams, as it eliminates the hassle of managing separate payment methods for each account.

2. Account Hierarchy: AWS Organizations allow you to create a hierarchical structure for your AWS accounts. You can create an organization at the top level, with individual accounts grouped under it. This hierarchy facilitates centralized policy management, enabling you to apply policies to multiple accounts simultaneously. It provides granular control over access, permissions, and compliance across your organization.

3. Service Control Policies (SCPs): With AWS Organizations, you can define and enforce Service Control Policies (SCPs) across your accounts. SCPs are a set of policies and permissions that define the actions and services that are allowed or denied within your AWS accounts. By applying SCPs at the organization level, you can ensure consistent security and compliance across all accounts. For example, you can restrict access to certain AWS services or enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts in your organization.

4. Cross-Account Access: AWS Organizations simplifies cross-account access management, enabling you to establish trust relationships between accounts. This allows you to define access roles centrally and grant permissions across multiple AWS accounts. It eliminates the need to manage separate IAM users and roles in individual accounts, providing a more efficient and secure way to manage access control.

5. Account Creation and Management: With AWS Organizations, you can easily create and manage new AWS accounts. You can define account creation templates, enforce naming conventions, and set default configurations for newly created accounts. This streamlines the process of provisioning new accounts within your organization, ensuring consistency and adherence to organizational policies.

Benefits of using AWS Organizations

Implementing AWS Organizations offers several benefits for organizations of all sizes:

1. Simplified Management: AWS Organizations simplify the management of multiple AWS accounts by providing a centralized console and policy management framework. It reduces administrative overhead and enables efficient governance of your cloud infrastructure.

2. Better Security and Compliance: By applying Service Control Policies (SCPs) at the organization level, you can enforce consistent security and compliance across all your AWS accounts. It reduces the risk of unauthorized access, data breaches, and ensures adherence to industry regulations.

3. Cost Optimization: Consolidated billing offered by AWS Organizations allows you to track and manage your AWS spending effectively. It provides a unified view of your usage and costs, enabling you to optimize spending and budget allocation across multiple accounts.

4. Enhanced Collaboration: AWS Organizations simplifies cross-account access management, enabling seamless collaboration between teams and departments. It eliminates the need to create and manage multiple IAM users and roles, streamlining access control and improving productivity.

Deploying infrastructure as code using a multi-account hierarchy

Deploying infrastructure as code (IaC) using a multi-account hierarchy is a powerful approach that allows organizations to effectively manage and scale their cloud resources. By structuring your cloud infrastructure into multiple accounts and leveraging IaC technologies such as AWS CloudFormation or Terraform, you can automate and streamline the deployment process while maintaining granular access control and resource isolation.

One of the key benefits of using a multi-account hierarchy is the ability to achieve better security and compliance. By segregating resources into different accounts based on their function or business unit, you can enforce stricter access controls, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to critical resources. This also allows you to easily trace which resources are being accessed and by whom, simplifying audit and compliance processes.

Another advantage of a multi-account hierarchy is improved resource management and cost optimization. By separating development, testing, and production environments into different accounts, you can allocate resources more efficiently and prevent any unintended impact on production systems. Additionally, with proper tagging and monitoring, you can gain better visibility into resource usage and optimize costs by identifying unused or underutilized resources.

To deploy infrastructure as code using a multi-account hierarchy, you’ll need to follow some best practices. First, define the account structure that aligns with your organization’s requirements, considering factors such as security, compliance, and resource isolation. This may involve creating separate accounts for development, testing, production, or different business units.

Next, choose an IaC technology that suits your needs, such as AWS CloudFormation or Terraform. These tools allow you to define your infrastructure in a declarative manner using code, which can be version-controlled and automated for consistent and reproducible deployments.

With your multi-account structure in place and your chosen IaC technology set-up, you can now start defining your infrastructure as code templates. These templates describe the desired state of your resources, including networking configurations, security groups, compute instances, and more. By declaring your infrastructure in code, you can version, test, and review the changes before deploying, ensuring that your infrastructure remains in a consistent and reliable state.

Once your templates are ready, you can deploy them using your chosen IaC tool, specifying the target account and region. The tool will then take care of provisioning and configuring the necessary resources based on the defined templates. This process can be automated using continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to ensure rapid and frequent updates to your infrastructure.

In summary, deploying infrastructure as code using a multi-account hierarchy brings numerous benefits such as improved security, resource management, and cost optimization. By leveraging a combination of proper account structure and IaC technologies, organizations can achieve scalability, consistency, and operational efficiency in managing their cloud resources.

Best practices for using AWS Organizations

When it comes to using AWS Organizations effectively, it’s important to follow certain best practices to maximize the benefits and ensure smooth operations. Here are some key best practices to consider:

  1. Define a Well-Structured Organization Hierarchy
    Carefully plan and design your organization’s hierarchy within AWS Organizations. Create a well-defined structure that aligns with your organization’s needs, such as by departments, projects, or business units. Having a clear organization hierarchy will help you manage and control access, permissions, and resources efficiently.
  2. To enhance security, consider implementing the following best practices:
    • Apply appropriate Service Control Policies (SCPs) to restrict access and allocate permissions based on the specific needs of each account.
    • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all AWS IAM users.
    • Regularly rotate access keys and credentials used by IAM users.
    • Monitor and audit AWS activity using services like AWS CloudTrail and enable appropriate security logs.
  1. Leverage Consolidated Billing
    Take advantage of AWS Organizations’ consolidated billing feature to simplify your billing and cost management. Consolidated Billing allows you to view and manage the costs of all accounts within your organization from a single dashboard. Set budgets, establish cost allocation tags, and regularly monitor spending to ensure optimal cost management.
  2. Establish Clear Account Separation and Resource Segmentation
    Maintain a clear separation between accounts within your organization to ensure the isolation of resources, improve security, and minimize the impact of issues that may occur in one account. Establish appropriate resource segmentation, and consider using separate accounts for production, development, and testing environments.
  3. Regularly Review and Update Policies
    Periodically review and update your Service Control Policies (SCPs) and IAM policies to ensure they align with your organization’s changing requirements and security best practices. Regularly assess and refine the access controls and permissions for each account to maintain a secure and compliant AWS environment.
  4. Monitor AWS Resource Usage and Performance
    Implement monitoring and alerting tools, such as Amazon CloudWatch, to track AWS resource usage and performance across your organization. Set up appropriate alerts to notify you when resources are nearing capacity, experiencing performance issues, or when certain events occur that may require attention.
  5. Train and Educate Your Team
    Provide training and ongoing education to your team members about AWS Organizations, its features, and best practices. This will ensure that everyone involved in managing the accounts within your organization understands how to use AWS Organizations effectively, follow security measures, and adhere to compliance requirements.

By following these best practices, you can optimize the use of AWS Organizations, maintain a secure environment, and effectively manage your AWS resources and accounts.

Remember, AWS Organizations is a powerful tool, but it’s important to continuously evaluate and adapt your implementation to meet the evolving needs of your organization.


AWS Organizations is a powerful service that simplifies the management of multiple AWS accounts within your organization. It provides consolidated billing, centralized policy management, access control, and cross-account access, making it an essential tool for organizations looking to streamline their cloud infrastructure. By leveraging AWS Organizations, you can achieve better security, compliance, cost optimization, and collaboration across your entire AWS environment. So, if you’re struggling with managing multiple AWS accounts, it’s time to embrace the benefits of AWS Organizations and take control of your cloud infrastructure.

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