How do S3 Access Points work?


Each S3 Access Point is configured with an access policy specific to a use case or application. For example, you can create an access point for your S3 bucket that grants access for groups of users or applications for your data lake. An S3 Access Point could support a single user or application, or groups of users or applications, allowing separate management of each access point.

Every access point is associated with a single bucket and contains a network origin control, and a Block Public Access control. For example, you can create an access point with a network origin control that only permits storage access from your Virtual Private Cloud, a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud. You can also create an access point with the access point policy configured to only allow access to objects with a defined prefix, such as “finance”.

Because each access point contains a unique DNS name, you can now address existing and new buckets with any name of your choice that is unique within the AWS account and region. Using access points that are restricted to a VPC, you can now have an easy, auditable way to make sure S3 data stays within your VPC. Additionally, you can now use AWS Service Control Policies to require any new access point in their organization to be restricted to VPC only access.

When to use S3 Access Points

S3 Access Points simplify how you manage data access for your application set to your shared data sets on S3. You no longer have to manage a single, complex bucket policy with hundreds of different permission rules that need to be written, read, tracked, and audited. With S3 Access Points, you can now create application-specific access points permitting access to shared data sets with policies tailored to the specific application.

  • Large shared data sets: Using Access Points, you can decompose one large bucket policy into separate, discrete access point policies for each application that needs to access the shared data set. This makes it simpler to focus on building the right access policy for an application, while not having to worry about disrupting what any other application is doing within the shared data set.
  • Restrict access to VPC: An S3 Access Point can limit all S3 storage access to happen from a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). You can also create a Service Control Policy (SCP) and require that all access points be restricted to a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), firewalling your data to within your private networks.
  • Test new access policies: Using access points you can easily test new access control policies before migrating applications to the access point, or copying the policy to an existing access point.
  • Limit access to specific account IDs: With S3 Access Points you can specify VPC Endpoint policies that permit access only to access points (and thus buckets) owned by specific account IDs. This simplifies the creation of access policies that permit access to buckets within the same account, while rejecting any other S3 access via the VPC Endpoint.
  • Provide a unique name: S3 Access points allow you to specify any name that is unique within the account and region. For example, you can now have a “test” access point in every account and region.

Whether creating an access point for data ingestion, transformation, restricted read access, or unrestricted access, using S3 Access Points simplifies the work of creating and maintaining access to shared S3 buckets.

Getting started with S3 Access Points

You can start creating access points, at no additional cost, on new buckets as well as your existing buckets through the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), the Application Programming Interface (API), and the AWS Software Development Kit (SDK) client. You can easily add, view, and delete access points as well as edit access point policies through the S3 console and the CLI. You can write an access point policies just like a bucket policy, using IAM rules to govern permissions.

You will also be able to use CloudFormation templates to get started with access points. You can monitor and audit access point operations such as “create access point” and “delete access point” through AWS CloudTrail logs. You can control access point usage using AWS Organizations support for AWS SCPs.

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