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New 2016 AWS Services: Certificate Manager, Lambda, DevSecOps

Ting Hsuan Lin | September 26, 2016

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud is continuing its pace of rapid, iterative service improvements in 2016. It has already announced several hundred updates in the last few months alone, proving yet again why it is a top choice for enterprises: not only are core AWS services stable and mature, but AWS is constantly improving services and software — innovation that comes “built in” by using the AWS platform.

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud is continuing its pace of rapid, iterative service improvements in 2016. It has already announced several hundred updates in the last few months alone, proving yet again why it is a top choice for enterprises: not only are core AWS services stable and mature, but AWS is constantly improving services and software — innovation that comes “built in” by using the AWS platform.

Here are the 2016 AWS service announcements that we are especially excited about:

AWS Certificate Manager

For any systems administrator that has experienced downtime from misconfigured or expired certificates (i.e. every systems administrator), AWS Certificate Manager is an ideal solution. Released in January 2016, Certificate Manager removes the everyday “annoying” parts of managing SSL certificates and allows you to provision, manage, and renew SSL certificates for AWS resources.

AWS Lambda – VPC Access

Released in mid-February 2016, AWS Lambda can now access services within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). This means your  Lambda functions can now access resources that are “behind” a VPC like RDS databases, ElasticCache nodes etc. or you can use VPC NAT gateway to give Lambda access the internet.

AWS Lambda is in many ways the future of infrastructure-as-code and cloud automation. Lambda allows you to run code  without managing instances or networks, and can be used in conjunction with other automation tools like Puppet, Chef, AWS CloudFormation and CodeDeploy to create infrastructure that is truly built, managed and secured with code. Although it is likely not being adopted by many AWS cloud consumers at this point, it has generated buzz since its spotlight at Re: Invent 2015 and will likely reach many more milestones in 2016.

The certificates are free and self-renewing, but currently can only be deployed to AWS resources like Elastic Load Balancer or a CloudFront distribution. There are many 3rd party services that perform the same function, but Certificate Manager is sure to appeal to enterprises that need to maintain encryption standards and centrally manage certifications across large, complex AWS environments.

New DevSecOps Documentation

Recently AWS has increased its output of documentation and whitepapers related to DevOps tooling, security and governance on the cloud, which they call DevSecOps. Although not technically a new service, this documentation can make a huge difference for enterprises looking to achieve compliance or architect for better security policies on AWS.

Here are a few of the resources that every security professional should check out:

▪    The Automating HIPAA Compliance Series on the AWS Security Blog; interesting for any security professional, not just at healthcare organizations.

▪    Videos and Slide Decks from Re:Invent 2015 related to security, especially Architecting for End-To-End Security in the Enterprise

▪    Shannon Lietz’s now classic presentation on DevSecOps (from 2014).

AWS Security by Design and AWS GoldBase: a set of AWS CloudFormation templates and documents describing secure, compliant AWS cloud configurations (from late 2015).

AWS customers have a lot to be grateful for so far this year. On every front, Amazon is pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the public cloud, and AWS customers can take advantage of all of these innovations today.

Source: LogicWorks, TopCoder, AWS, Slideshares.


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