AWS News Blog

CloudTrail Integration with CloudWatch in Four More Regions

My colleague Sivakanth Mundru sent me a guest post with CloudTrail and CloudWatch integration news, along with information about a new CloudFormation template to help you to get going more quickly.

— Jeff;

At re: Invent 2014, we launched AWS CloudTrail integration with Amazon CloudWatch Logs in the US East (N. Virginia), Europe (Ireland), and US West (Oregon) regions. With this integration, you can monitor for specific API calls that are made in your AWS account and receive email notifications when those API calls are made.

Today, we are making this feature available in Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Europe (Frankfurt) regions with more regions to come in the future! We also created a AWS CloudFormation template to easily create CloudWatch alarms for API activity captured by CloudTrail.

CloudFormation Template
In this blog post, I will show you how you can use CloudFormation to configure CloudWatch alarms for monitoring critical network and security related API activity and receive an email notification when those API calls are made in your AWS account. This CloudFormation template contains predefined metric filters that monitor for critical network and security related API calls made to create, delete, and update Security Groups, Network ACL’s, Internet Gateways, EC2 instances, and IAM policy changes.

For more details, refer to the CloudTrail documentation  that explains the alarms defined in the CloudFormation template. You can configure the CloudWatch alarms individually or you can tweak the metric filters to fit your own scenario.

You need to configure CloudTrail log file delivery to CloudWatch Logs. The CloudTrail console provides secure default values for your configuration so that you can easily configure CloudTrail to send log files to CloudWatch Logs. Go to the CloudTrail Console or refer the CloudTrail documentation. If you use AWS in multiple regions, you can use the same process and CloudFormation template in those regions to monitor specific API calls and receive email notifications. If you are not using the default CloudWatch Logs log group, note the name to use in the CloudFormation template.

Step 1 – Download the CloudFormation Template
Download the template from and save it locally. The template is ready to go, but you are welcome to open it using your favorite text editor or an online JSON editing tool. Here’s a peek inside:

Step 2 – Upload the CloudFormation Template
Go to the CloudFormation Console and create a stack for uploading the template. Give the stack a name that is meaningful to you and upload the CloudFormation template from the location you used in Step 1.

Step 3 – Specify Parameters
Click Next in the above screen to specify parameters. The parameters you need to specify are an email address where you would like to receive notifications and the CloudWatch Logs log group that you configured in step 1.  The CloudFormation template will create an SNS topic and subscribe your email to that topic. Make sure you use the same CloudWatch Logs log group you specified in step 1.

Click Next for other options such as creating tags or other advanced options. In this case, I am not doing either one. In the next screen, you can review parameters and create the alarm stack.

Step 4 – Review Parameters and Create

Verify that your email address and log group name are correct and click Create. Your CloudFormation stack will be created in few minutes.

Step  5 – Confirm Email Subscription from your Email
Once the CloudFormation stack creation process has completed, you will receive an email message that contains a request to validate your email address. Click Confirm Subscription in your email so that you can receive email notifications when alarms are triggered:

Step 6 – Receive Email Notifications
For example, the email I received below is a hint that an API call was made to create, update or delete a security group in my account:

If you would like us to add more alarms to the CloudFormation template, you can share that and other feedback in the CloudTrail forum.

You may also want to read the documentation for Using a AWS CloudFormation Template to Create CloudWatch Alarms and Creating CloudWatch Alarms for CloudTrail Events: Examples.

— Sivakanth Mundru, Senior Product Manager