AWS Security Blog

How to develop an Amazon Security Lake POC

You can use Amazon Security Lake to simplify log data collection and retention for Amazon Web Services (AWS) and non-AWS data sources. To make sure that you get the most out of your implementation requires proper planning.

In this post, we will show you how to plan and implement a proof of concept (POC) for Security Lake to help you determine the functionality and value of Security Lake in your environment, so that your team can confidently design and implement in production. We will walk you through the following steps:

  1. Understand the functionality and value of Security Lake
  2. Determine success criteria for the POC
  3. Define your Security Lake configuration
  4. Prepare for deployment
  5. Enable Security Lake
  6. Validate deployment

Understand the functionality of Security Lake

Figure 1 summarizes the main features of Security Lake and the context of how to use it:

Figure 1: Overview of Security Lake functionality

Figure 1: Overview of Security Lake functionality

As shown in the figure, Security Lake ingests and normalizes logs from data sources such as AWS services, AWS Partner sources, and custom sources. Security Lake also manages the lifecycle, orchestration, and subscribers. Subscribers can be AWS services, such as Amazon Athena, or AWS Partner subscribers.

There are four primary functions that Security Lake provides:

  • Centralize visibility to your data from AWS environments, SaaS providers, on-premises, and other cloud data sources — You can collect log sources from AWS services such as AWS CloudTrail management events, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data events, AWS Lambda data events, Amazon Route 53 Resolver logs, VPC Flow Logs, and AWS Security Hub findings, in addition to log sources from on-premises, other cloud services, SaaS applications, and custom sources. Security Lake automatically aggregates the security data across AWS Regions and accounts.
  • Normalize your security data to an open standard — Security Lake normalizes log sources in a common schema, the Open Security Schema Framework (OCSF), and stores them in compressed parquet files.
  • Use your preferred analytics tools to analyze your security data — You can use AWS tools, such as Athena and Amazon OpenSearch Service, or you can utilize external security tools to analyze the data in Security Lake.
  • Optimize and manage your security data for more efficient storage and query — Security Lake manages the lifecycle of your data with customizable retention settings with automated storage tiering to help provide more cost-effective storage.

Determine success criteria

By establishing success criteria, you can assess whether Security Lake has helped address the challenges that you are facing. Some example success criteria include:

  • I need to centrally set up and store AWS logs across my organization in AWS Organizations for multiple log sources.
  • I need to more efficiently collect VPC Flow Logs in my organization and analyze them in my security information and event management (SIEM) solution.
  • I want to use OpenSearch Service to augment my on-premises SIEM.
  • I want to collect AWS log sources and custom sources for machine learning with Amazon Sagemaker.
  • I need to establish a dashboard in Amazon QuickSight to visualize my Security Hub findings and a custom log source data.

Review your success criteria to make sure that your goals are realistic given your timeframe and potential constraints that are specific to your organization. For example, do you have full control over the creation of AWS services that are deployed in an organization? Do you have resources that can dedicate time to implement and test? Is this time convenient for relevant stakeholders to evaluate the service?

The timeframe of your POC will depend on your answers to these questions.

Important: Security Lake has a 15-day free trial per account that you use from the time that you enable Security Lake. This is the best way to estimate the costs for each Region throughout the trial, which is an important consideration when you configure your POC.

Define your Security Lake configuration

After you establish your success criteria, you should define your desired Security Lake configuration. Some important decisions include the following:

  • Determine AWS log sources — Decide which AWS log sources to collect. For information about the available options, see Collecting data from AWS services.
  • Determine third-party log sources — Decide if you want to include non-AWS service logs as sources in your POC. For more information about your options, see Third-party integrations with Security Lake; the integrations listed as “Source” can send logs to Security Lake.

    Note: You can add third-party integrations after the POC or in a second phase of the POC. Pre-planning will be required to make sure that you can get these set up during the 15-day free trial. Third-party integrations usually take more time to set up than AWS service logs.

  • Select a delegated administrator – Identify which account will serve as the delegated administrator. Make sure that you have the appropriate permissions from the organization admin account to identify and enable the account that will be your Security Lake delegated administrator. This account will be the location for the S3 buckets with your security data and where you centrally configure Security Lake. The AWS Security Reference Architecture (AWS SRA) recommends that you use the AWS logging account for this purpose. In addition, make sure to review Important considerations for delegated Security Lake administrators.
  • Select accounts in scope — Define which accounts to collect data from. To get the most realistic estimate of the cost of Security Lake, enable all accounts across your organization during the free trial.
  • Determine analytics tool — Determine if you want to use native AWS analytics tools, such as Athena and OpenSearch Service, or an existing SIEM, where the SIEM is a subscriber to Security Lake.
  • Define log retention and Regions — Define your log retention requirements and Regional restrictions or considerations.

Prepare for deployment

After you determine your success criteria and your Security Lake configuration, you should have an idea of your stakeholders, desired state, and timeframe. Now you need to prepare for deployment. In this step, you should complete as much as possible before you deploy Security Lake. The following are some steps to take:

  • Create a project plan and timeline so that everyone involved understands what success look like and what the scope and timeline is.
  • Define the relevant stakeholders and consumers of the Security Lake data. Some common stakeholders include security operations center (SOC) analysts, incident responders, security engineers, cloud engineers, finance, and others.
  • Define who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed during the deployment. Make sure that team members understand their roles.
  • Make sure that you have access in your management account to delegate and administrator. For further details, see IAM permissions required to designate the delegated administrator.
  • Consider other technical prerequisites that you need to accomplish. For example, if you need roles in addition to what Security Lake creates for custom extract, transform, and load (ETL) pipelines for custom sources, can you work with the team in charge of that process before the POC?

Enable Security Lake

The next step is to enable Security Lake in your environment and configure your sources and subscribers.

  1. Deploy Security Lake across the Regions, accounts, and AWS log sources that you previously defined.
  2. Configure custom sources that are in scope for your POC.
  3. Configure analytics tools in scope for your POC.

Validate deployment

The final step is to confirm that you have configured Security Lake and additional components, validate that everything is working as intended, and evaluate the solution against your success criteria.

  • Validate log collection — Verify that you are collecting the log sources that you configured. To do this, check the S3 buckets in the delegated administrator account for the logs.
  • Validate analytics tool — Verify that you can analyze the log sources in your analytics tool of choice. If you don’t want to configure additional analytics tooling, you can use Athena, which is configured when you set up Security Lake. For sample Athena queries, see Amazon Security Lake Example Queries on GitHub and Security Lake queries in the documentation.
  • Obtain a cost estimate — In the Security Lake console, you can review a usage page to verify that the cost of Security Lake in your environment aligns with your expectations and budgets.
  • Assess success criteria — Determine if you achieved the success criteria that you defined at the beginning of the project.

Next steps

Next steps will largely depend on whether you decide to move forward with Security Lake.

  • Determine if you have the approval and budget to use Security Lake.
  • Expand to other data sources that can help you provide more security outcomes for your business.
  • Configure S3 lifecycle policies to efficiently store logs long term based on your requirements.
  • Let other teams know that they can subscribe to Security Lake to use the log data for their own purposes. For example, a development team that gets access to CloudTrail through Security Lake can analyze the logs to understand the permissions needed for an application.


In this blog post, we showed you how to plan and implement a Security Lake POC. You learned how to do so through phases, including defining success criteria, configuring Security Lake, and validating that Security Lake meets your business needs.

As a customer, this guide will help you run a successful proof of value (POV) with Security Lake. It guides you in assessing the value and factors to consider when deciding to implement the current features.

Further resources

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions about this post, contact AWS Support.

Anna McAbee

Anna McAbee

Anna is a Security Specialist Solutions Architect focused on threat detection and incident response at AWS. Before AWS, she worked as an AWS customer in financial services on both the offensive and defensive sides of security. Outside of work, Anna enjoys cheering on the Florida Gators football team, wine tasting, and traveling the world.


Marshall Jones

Marshall is a Worldwide Security Specialist Solutions Architect at AWS. His background is in AWS consulting and security architecture, focused on a variety of security domains including edge, threat detection, and compliance. Today, he is focused on helping enterprise AWS customers adopt and operationalize AWS security services to increase security effectiveness and reduce risk.

Marc Luescher

Marc Luescher

Marc is a Senior Solutions Architect helping enterprise customers be successful, focusing strongly on threat detection, incident response, and data protection. His background is in networking, security, and observability. Previously, he worked in technical architecture and security hands-on positions within the healthcare sector as an AWS customer. Outside of work, Marc enjoys his 3 dogs, 4 cats, and 20+ chickens.