Data perimeters on AWS

What is a data perimeter?

A data perimeter is a set of permissions guardrails in your AWS environment you use to help ensure that only your trusted identities are accessing trusted resources from expected networks. Data perimeter guardrails are meant to serve as always-on boundaries to help protect your data across a broad set of AWS accounts and resources. These organization-wide guardrails do not replace your existing fine-grained access controls. Instead, they help improve your security strategy by ensuring that all AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) users, roles, and resources adhere to a set of defined security standards.

Trusted identities: Principals (IAM roles or users) within your AWS accounts, or AWS services acting on your behalf.

Trusted resources: Resources owned by your AWS accounts or by AWS services acting on your behalf.

Expected networks: Your on-premises data centers and virtual private clouds (VPCs), or networks of AWS services acting on your behalf.

Set, verify, and refine data perimeters

How it works

To establish data perimeters, define your control objectives first and implement those objectives by using resource-based policies, service control policies, and VPC endpoint policies. Then, apply these policies as data perimeter guardrails within your AWS organization.

A "How it works" diagram showing how data perimeters work

Data perimeter control objectives and capabilities

Data perimeter coarse-grained controls help you achieve six distinct security objectives through the implementation of different combinations of IAM policy type and condition keys.

Table showing six distinct security objectives you can achieve with data perimeters


Meet security and compliance requirements

Implement organization-wide permissions guardrails that help prevent AWS accounts, organizational units, or an entire organization from taking actions that do not meet your security and compliance policies. By using preventive controls, you can establish that only your trusted identities are accessing trusted resources from expected networks.

Improve your data loss prevention strategies

Use data perimeters in your data loss prevention strategies to detect and help prevent intentional or unintentional transfers of sensitive information for unauthorized use. Data perimeters provide cloud-native preventive controls to restrict access to trusted identities accessing sensitive data as you intend.

Establish an organization-wide data perimeter

With an organization-wide data perimeter in place, you can start by granting broader permissions to developers to get them started quickly on their projects. After the workload is well defined, work your way toward specific permissions and least privilege.

Use cases

Allow data access to only those you want to have access

Establish an organization-wide data perimeter to allow data access to only those you want to have access. For example, they can help you ensure that data is accessed only by your employees and only from your corporate network, including your on-premises data centers or VPCs. Also, they can help prevent resources from being shared with external roles and users.

Help protect sensitive information

Help protect sensitive information with organization-wide data perimeters. Also help prevent employees from using noncorporate credentials to access noncorporate resources, which could lead to intentional or unintentional data loss. Help ensure that your employees can access only company-approved data stores.

Help prevent credential use outside of your corporate environment

Help prevent employees from using corporate credentials outside of your corporate environment, including your on-premises data centers and VPCs. Create an organization-wide perimeter that helps prevent your identities from performing any actions outside of your corporate network.


Blog posts

Blog Post Series: Establishing a Data Perimeter on AWS

The purpose of the Data Perimeters Blog Post Series is to provide prescriptive guidance about establishing your data perimeter at scale, including key security and implementation considerations. These blog posts cover in depth the objectives and foundational elements needed to enforce identity, resource, and network data perimeters and how to use a risk-based approach to apply the relevant controls.


AWS re:Inforce 2024 - Establishing a data perimeter on AWS, featuring Capital One (IAM305)


AWS re:Inforce 2023 - Establishing a data perimeter on AWS, featuring USAA (IAM301)


AWS re:Inforce 2022 - Establishing a data perimeter on AWS, featuring Vanguard (IAM304)


AWS re:Inforce 2022 - Streamlining identity and access management for innovation (SEC207-L)

Tech talk

Building a data perimeter on AWS


Building a data perimeter on AWS

GitHub repo

Data perimeter policy examples


Data perimeter workshop


Data perimeter in action