AWS Security Blog

Introducing new central configuration capabilities in AWS Security Hub

As cloud environments—and security risks associated with them—become more complex, it becomes increasingly critical to understand your cloud security posture so that you can quickly and efficiently mitigate security gaps. AWS Security Hub offers close to 300 automated controls that continuously check whether the configuration of your cloud resources aligns with the best practices identified by Amazon Web Services (AWS) security experts and with industry standards. Furthermore, you can manage your cloud security posture at scale by using a single action to enable Security Hub across your organization with the default settings, and by aggregating findings across your organization accounts and Regions to a single account and Region of your choice.

With the release of the new central configuration feature of Security Hub, the setup and management of control and policy configurations is simplified and centralized to the same account you have already been using to aggregate findings. In this blog post, we will explain the benefits of the new feature and describe how you can quickly onboard to it.

Central configuration overview

With the release of the new central configuration capabilities in Security Hub, you are now able to use your delegated administrator (DA) account (an AWS Organizations account designated to manage Security Hub throughout your organization) to centrally manage Security Hub controls and standards and to view your Security Hub configuration throughout your organization from a single place. To facilitate this functionality, central configuration allows you to set up policies that specify whether or not Security Hub should be enabled and which standards and controls should be turned on. You can then choose to associate your policies with your entire organization or with specific accounts or organizational units (OUs), with your policies applying automatically across linked Regions. Policies applied to specific OUs (or to the entire organization) are inherited by child accounts. This not only applies to existing accounts, but also to new accounts added to those OUs (or to the entire organization) after you created the policy. Furthermore, when you add a new linked Region to Security Hub, your existing policies will be applied to that Region immediately. This allows you to stop maintaining manual lists of accounts and Regions to which you’d like to apply your custom configurations; instead, you can maintain several policies for your organization, with each one being associated to a different set of accounts in your organization. As a result, by using the central configuration capabilities, you can significantly reduce the time spent on configuring Security Hub and switch your focus to remediating its findings.

After applying your policies, Security Hub also provides you with a view of your organization that shows the policy status per OU and account while also preventing drift. This means that after you set up your organization by using central configuration, account owners will not be able to deviate from your chosen settings—your policies will serve as the source of truth for your organizational configuration, and you can use them to understand how Security Hub is configured for your organization.

The use of the new central configuration feature is now the recommended approach to configuring Security Hub, and its standards and controls, across some or all AWS accounts in your AWS Organizations structure.


To get started with central configuration, you need to complete three prerequisites:

  1. Enable AWS Config in the accounts and Regions where you plan to enable Security Hub. (For more information on how to optimize AWS Config configuration for Security Hub usage, see this blog post.)
  2. Turn on Security Hub in your AWS Organizations management account at least in one Region where you plan to use Security Hub.
  3. Use your Organizations management account to delegate an administrator account for Security Hub.

If you are new to Security Hub, simply navigate to it in the AWS Management Console from your organization management account, and the console will walk you through setting the last two prerequisites listed here. If you already use Security Hub, these can be configured from the Settings page in Security Hub. In both cases, upon completing these three prerequisites, you can proceed with the central configuration setup from the account you set as the DA.

Recommended setup

To begin the setup, open the Security Hub console from your AWS Organizations management account or from your Security Hub delegated administrator account. In the left navigation menu, choose Configuration to open the new Configuration page, shown in Figure 1. Choose Start central configuration.

Figure 1: The new Configuration page, where you can see your current organizational configuration and start using the new capabilities

Figure 1: The new Configuration page, where you can see your current organizational configuration and start using the new capabilities

If you signed in to Security Hub using the AWS Organizations management account, you will be brought to step 1, Designate delegated administrator, where you will be able to designate a new delegated administrator or confirm your existing selection before continuing the setup. If you signed in to Security Hub using your existing delegated administrator account, you will be brought directly to step 2, Centralize organization, which is shown in Figure 2. In step 2, you are first asked to choose your home Region, which is the AWS Region you will use to create your configuration policies. By default, the current Region is selected as your home Region, unless you already use cross-Region finding aggregation — in which case, your existing aggregation Region is pre-selected as your home Region.

You are then prompted to select your linked Regions, which are the Regions you will configure by using central configuration. Regions that were already linked as part of your cross-Region aggregation settings will be pre-selected. You will also be able to add additional Regions or choose to include all AWS Regions, including future Regions. If your selection includes opt-in Regions, note that Security Hub will not be enabled in them until you enable those Regions directly.

Figure 2: The Centralize organization page

Figure 2: The Centralize organization page

Step 3, Configure organization, is shown in Figure 3. You will see a recommendation that you use the AWS recommended Security Hub configuration policy (SHCP) across your entire organization. This includes enabling the AWS Foundational Security Best Practices (FSBP) v1.0.0 standard and enabling new and existing FSBP controls in accounts in your AWS Organizations structure. This is the recommended configuration for most customers, because the AWS FSBP have been carefully curated by AWS security experts and represent trusted security practices for customers to build on.

Alternatively, if you already have a custom configuration in Security Hub and would like to import it into the new capabilities, choose Customize my Security Hub configuration and then choose Pre-populate configuration.

Figure 3: Step 3 – creating your first policy

Figure 3: Step 3 – creating your first policy

Step 4, Review and apply, is where you can review the policy you just created. Until you complete this step, your organization’s configuration will not be changed. This step will override previous account configurations and create and apply your new policy. After you choose Create policy and apply, you will be taken to the new Configuration page, which was previously shown in Figure 1. The user interface will now be updated to include three tabs — Organization, Policies, and Invitation account — where you can do the following:

  • On the Organization tab, which serves as a single pane of glass for your organization configuration in Security Hub, you can see the policy status for each account and OU and verify that your desired configuration is in effect.
  • On the Policies tab, you can view your policies, update them, and create new ones.
  • On the Invitation accounts tab, you can view and update findings for invitation accounts, which do not belong to your AWS Organizations structure. These accounts cannot be configured using the new central configuration capabilities.

Together, those tabs serve as a single pane of glass for your organization configuration in Security Hub. To that end, the organization chart you now see shows which of your accounts have already been affected by the policy you just created and which are still pending. Normally, an account will show as pending only for a few minutes after you create new policies or update existing ones. However, an account can stay in pending status for up to 24 hours. During this time, Security Hub will try to configure the account with your chosen policy settings.

If Security Hub determines that a policy cannot be successfully propagated to an account, it will show its status as failed (see Figure 4). This is most likely to happen when you missed completing the prerequisites in the account where the failure is showing. For example, if AWS Config is not yet enabled in an account, the policy will have a failed status. When you hover your pointer over the word “Failed”, Security Hub will show an error message with details about the issue. After you fix the error, you can try again to apply the policy by selecting the failed account and choosing the Re-apply policy button.

Figure 4: The Organization tab on the <strong>Configuration</strong> page shows all your organization accounts, if they are being managed by a policy, and the policy status for each account and OU

Figure 4: The Organization tab on the Configuration page shows all your organization accounts, if they are being managed by a policy, and the policy status for each account and OU

Flexibility in onboarding to central configuration

As mentioned earlier, central configuration makes it significantly more accessible for you to centrally manage Security Hub and its controls and standards. This feature also gives you the granularity to choose the specific accounts to which your chosen settings will be applied. Even though we recommend to use central configuration to configure all your accounts, one advantage of the feature is that you can initially create a test configuration and then apply it across your organization. This is especially useful when you have already configured Security Hub using previously available methods and you would like to check that you have successfully imported your existing configuration.

When you onboard to central configuration, accounts in the organization are self-managed by default, which means that they still maintain their previous configuration until you apply a policy to them, to one of their parent OUs, or to the entire organization. This gives you the option to create a test policy when you onboard, apply it only to a test account or OU, and check that you achieved your desired outcome before applying it to other accounts in the organization.

Configure and deploy different policies per OU

Although we recommend that you use the policy recommended by Security Hub whenever possible, every customer has a different environment and some customization might be required. Central configuration does not require you to use the recommended policy, and you can instead create your own custom policies that specify how Security Hub is used across organization accounts and Regions. You can create one configuration policy for your entire organization, or multiple policies to customize Security Hub settings in different accounts.

In addition, you might need to implement different policies per OU. For example, you might need to do that when you have a finance account or OU in which you want to use Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) v3.2.1. In this case, you can go to the Policies tab, choose Create policy, specify the configuration you’d like to have, and apply it to those specific OUs or accounts, as shown in Figure 5. Note that each policy must be complete — which means that it must contain the full configuration settings you would like to apply to the chosen set of accounts or OUs. In particular, an account cannot inherit part of its settings from a policy associated with a parent OU, and the other part from its own policy. The benefit of this requirement is that each policy serves as the source of truth for the configuration of the accounts it is applied to. For more information on this behavior or on how to create new policies, see the Security Hub documentation.

Figure 5: Creation of a new policy with the FSBP and the PCI DSS standards

Figure 5: Creation of a new policy with the FSBP and the PCI DSS standards

You might find it necessary to exempt accounts from being centrally configured. You have the option to set an account or OU to self-managed status. Then only the account owner can configure the settings for that account. This is useful if your organization has teams that need to be able to set their own security coverage. Unless you disassociate self-managed accounts from your Security Hub organization, you will still see findings from self-managed accounts, giving you organization-wide visibility into your security posture. However, you won’t be able to view the configuration of those accounts, because they are not centrally managed.

Understand and manage where controls are applied

In addition to being able to centrally create and view your policies, you can use the control details page to define, review, and apply how policies are configured at a control level. To access the control details page, go to the left navigation menu in Security Hub, choose Controls, and then choose any individual control.

The control details page allows you to review the findings of a control in accounts where it is already enabled. Then, if you decide that these findings are not relevant to specific accounts and OUs, or if you decide that you want to use the control in additional accounts where it is not currently enabled, you can choose Configure, view the policies to which the control currently applies, and update the configuration accordingly as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Configuring a control from the control details page

Figure 6: Configuring a control from the control details page

Organizational visibility

As you might already have noticed in the earlier screenshot of the Organization view (Figure 4), the new central configuration capability gives you a new view of the policies applied (and by extension, the controls and standards deployed) to each account and OU. If you need to customize this configuration, you can modify an existing policy or create a new policy to quickly apply to all or a subset of your accounts. At a glance, you can also see which accounts are self-managed or don’t have Security Hub turned on.


Security Hub central configuration helps you to seamlessly configure Security Hub and its controls and standards across your accounts and Regions so that your organization’s accounts have the level of security controls coverage that you want. AWS recommends that you use this feature when configuring, deploying, and managing controls in Security Hub across your organization’s accounts and Regions. Central configuration is now available in all commercial AWS Regions. Try it out today by visiting the new Configuration page in Security Hub from your DA. You can benefit from the Security Hub 30-day free trial even if you use central configuration, and the trial offer will be automatically applied to organization accounts in which you didn’t use Security Hub before.

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Nicholas Jaeger

Nicholas Jaeger

Nicholas is a Principal Security Solutions Architect at AWS. His background includes software engineering, teaching, solutions architecture, and AWS security. Today, he focuses on helping companies and organizations operate as securely as possible on AWS. Nicholas also hosts AWS Security Activation Days to provide customers with prescriptive guidance while using AWS security services to increase visibility and reduce risk.

Gal Ordo

Gal Ordo

Gal is a Senior Product Manager for AWS Security Hub at AWS. He has more than a decade of experience in cybersecurity, having focused on IoT, network, and cloud security throughout his career. He is passionate about making sure that customers can continue to scale and grow their environments without compromising on security. Outside of work, Gal enjoys video games, reading, and exploring new places.