How Defender for Cloud Apps helps protect your Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment

Amazon Web Services is an IaaS provider that enables your organization to host and manage their entire workloads in the cloud. Along with the benefits of leveraging infrastructure in the cloud, your organization's most critical assets may be exposed to threats. Exposed assets include storage instances with potentially sensitive information, compute resources that operate some of your most critical applications, ports, and virtual private networks that enable access to your organization.

Connecting AWS to Defender for Cloud Apps helps you secure your assets and detect potential threats by monitoring administrative and sign-in activities, notifying on possible brute force attacks, malicious use of a privileged user account, unusual deletions of VMs, and publicly exposed storage buckets.

Main threats

  • Abuse of cloud resources
  • Compromised accounts and insider threats
  • Data leakage
  • Resource misconfiguration and insufficient access control

How Defender for Cloud Apps helps to protect your environment

Control AWS with built-in policies and policy templates

You can use the following built-in policy templates to detect and notify you about potential threats:

Type Name
Activity policy template Admin console sign-in failures
CloudTrail configuration changes
EC2 instance configuration changes
IAM policy changes
Logon from a risky IP address
Network access control list (ACL) changes
Network gateway changes
S3 configuration changes
Security group configuration changes
Virtual private network changes
Built-in anomaly detection policy Activity from anonymous IP addresses
Activity from infrequent country
Activity from suspicious IP addresses
Impossible travel
Activity performed by terminated user (requires Microsoft Entra ID as IdP)
Multiple failed login attempts
Unusual administrative activities
Unusual multiple storage deletion activities (preview)
Multiple delete VM activities
Unusual multiple VM creation activities (preview)
Unusual region for cloud resource (preview)
File policy template S3 bucket is publicly accessible

For more information about creating policies, see Create a policy.

Automate governance controls

In addition to monitoring for potential threats, you can apply and automate the following AWS governance actions to remediate detected threats:

Type Action
User governance - Notify user on alert (via Microsoft Entra ID)
- Require user to sign in again (via Microsoft Entra ID)
- Suspend user (via Microsoft Entra ID)
Data governance - Make an S3 bucket private
- Remove a collaborator for an S3 bucket

For more information about remediating threats from apps, see Governing connected apps.

Protect AWS in real time

Review our best practices for blocking and protecting the download of sensitive data to unmanaged or risky devices.

Connect Amazon Web Services to Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps

This section provides instructions for connecting your existing Amazon Web Services (AWS) account to Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps using the connector APIs. For information about how Defender for Cloud Apps protects AWS, see Protect AWS.

You can connect AWS Security auditing to Defender for Cloud Apps connections to gain visibility into and control over AWS app use.

Step 1: Configure Amazon Web Services auditing

  1. In your Amazon Web Services console, under Security, Identity & Compliance, select IAM.

    AWS identity and access.

  2. Select Users and then select Add user.

    AWS users.

  3. In the Details step, provide a new user name for Defender for Cloud Apps. Make sure that under Access type you select Programmatic access and select Next Permissions.

    Create user in AWS.

  4. Select Attach existing policies directly, and then Create policy.

    Attach existing policies.

  5. Select the JSON tab:

    AWS JSON tab.

  6. Paste the following script into the provided area:

      "Version" : "2012-10-17",
      "Statement" : [{
          "Action" : [
          "Effect" : "Allow",
          "Resource" : "*"
  7. Select Next: Tags

    AWS code.

  8. Select Next: Review.

    Add tags (optional).

  9. Provide a Name and select Create policy.

    Provide AWS policy name.

  10. Back in the Add user screen, refresh the list if necessary, and select the user you created, and select Next: Tags.

    Attach existing policy in AWS.

  11. Select Next: Review.

  12. If all the details are correct, select Create user.

    User permissions in AWS.

  13. When you get the success message, select Download .csv to save a copy of the new user's credentials. You'll need these later.

    Download csv in AWS.


    After connecting AWS, you'll receive events for seven days prior to connection. If you just enabled CloudTrail, you'll receive events from the time you enabled CloudTrail.

Step 2: Connect Amazon Web Services auditing to Defender for Cloud Apps

  1. In the Microsoft Defender Portal, select Settings. Then choose Cloud Apps. Under Connected apps, select App Connectors.

  2. In the App connectors page, to provide the AWS connector credentials, do one of the following:

    For a new connector

    1. Select the +Connect an app, followed by Amazon Web Services.

      connect AWS auditing.

    2. In the next window, provide a name for the connector, and then select Next.

      AWS auditing connector name.

    3. On the Connect Amazon Web Services page, select Security auditing, and then select Next.

    4. On the Security auditing page, paste the Access key and Secret key from the .csv file into the relevant fields, and select Next.

      Connect AWS app security auditing for new connector.

    For an existing connector

    1. In the list of connectors, on the row in which the AWS connector appears, select Edit settings.

      Screenshot of the Connected Apps page, showing edit Security Auditing link.

    2. On the Instance name and Connect Amazon Web Services pages, select Next. On the Security auditing page, paste the Access key and Secret key from the .csv file into the relevant fields, and select Next.

      Connect AWS app security auditing for existing connector.

  3. In the Microsoft Defender Portal, select Settings. Then choose Cloud Apps. Under Connected apps, select App Connectors. Make sure the status of the connected App Connector is Connected.

Next steps

If you run into any problems, we're here to help. To get assistance or support for your product issue, please open a support ticket.