How to Securely Store and Manage Secrets in AWS

Are you looking for a secure and reliable way to store and manage secrets in AWS? Look no further as we provide you with easy-to-follow steps on how to safely store and manage your secrets in Amazon Web Services.


Managing secrets such as passwords, API keys, and access tokens is becoming more complex as the number of applications and services in the cloud increase. It is vital to have a secure and centralized way to store and manage these secrets, especially in a cloud environment where data is continuously on the move.

AWS Secrets Manager is a cloud service that provides you with a simple and secure way to store and manage secrets. AWS Secrets Manager enables you to rotate, manage, and retrieve credentials, database passwords, and other secrets. Secrets can be stored in a secure manner and retrieved programmatically.

Step-by-Step Guide

To get started with AWS Secrets Manager, follow the below steps:

Step One - Create a Secret

To create a secret in AWS Secrets Manager, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to the AWS Management Console.

  2. Navigate to the Secrets Manager dashboard.

  3. Click on the “Store a new secret” button.

    Dashboard of AWS Secrets Manager

  4. Choose the secret type you wish to create, enter the details of your secret, and then choose a description name that accurately represents your secret.

    Create a new Secret

  5. After entering the required information (secret name, secret description, and the secret value), click on the “Next” button to proceed to the next page.

  6. Review the website's security policy before clicking on the “Next” button to proceed.

    Review policies

  7. Keep the default settings for the next page, and click on the “Next” button.

    Configure rotation

  8. Review the details of your new secret, and then click on the “Store” button.

    Store the Secret

Step Two - Generate Rotation Lambda Function

To generate a Lambda function, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Secrets Manager console.

  2. Choose the secret you would like to rotate.

  3. Choose the Rotation Configuration tab.

    Choose Rotation Configuration

  4. Create a new rotation Lambda function.

    Create Rotation Function

  5. Enter a name for your function, choose Python or Node.js as the runtime, and copy and paste the provided code.

    Configure Rotation Lambda Function

  6. You can also update the other options if you want, such as the Handler, Timeout, and Role.

    Configure other options

  7. Then click on “Create function” to create your Lambda function.

Step Three - Set Up the Secret Rotation

To set up the secret rotation, follow the below procedure:

  1. Go back to the Secrets Manager console, and select the secret you want to rotate.

  2. Choose the Rotation Configuration tab.

  3. Click on the “Edit” button

    Edit Rotation Configuration

  4. Update the rotation settings as required.

    Update Rotation Settings

  5. Select the Lambda function that you created in Step Two under the rotation Lambda function drop-down menu.

    Select Rotation Lambda Function

  6. Configure the rotation schedule

    Configure Rotation Schedule

  7. Click on “Save” to complete the process.

Step Four - Retrieve the Secret

To retrieve a secret using AWS Secrets Manager, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Secrets Manager console.

  2. Click on the secret you would like to retrieve.

  3. Click on “Retrieve secret value.”

    Retrieve Secret Value

  4. You can view your secret's value, as shown below.

    View Secret Value

Best Practices for Managing Secrets in AWS Secrets Manager

Now that you have set up your AWS Secrets Manager, the next step is to follow industry best practices to secure and manage the secrets effectively.

1. Use IAM Roles and Policies to Grant Access to Secrets

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely. You can use IAM roles and policies to grant access to AWS Secrets Manager. IAM users are authenticated to their roles, making it easy to keep track of access and authorize access to secrets' data.

By using role-based access control (RBAC), you can provide the principle of least privilege to your users. This means that users have access only to the specific resources they need for their roles, reducing the risk of accidental or malicious actions.

2. Always Rotate Your Secrets

Even the most highly secured secrets become vulnerable over time. It is essential to rotate your secrets and credentials regularly to minimize exposure. AWS Secrets Manager provides native support for rotating secrets automatically. Always ensure that the automatic rotation configuration is set up and operating correctly.

3. Monitor Your Secrets for Security Breaches

AWS Secrets Manager provides an excellent monitoring capability by logging all secret-related events into the CloudTrail event log. These logs should be monitored daily to detect any unusual access patterns or anomalous behavior.

4. Consider the Secret Value's Scope

Secrets often need to be shared across multiple applications and services. Hence, it is essential to consider the scope of the secret value when defining policies and access control. Managing secrets' scope is critical to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to secrets.

5. Test Your Secret Rotation Implementation

Implementing secret rotation is critical to secure your secrets. Therefore, it is essential to test your configuration and verify that your systems are working correctly after the rotation is completed. Testing the rotation is essential to ensure that there is no downtime and that the new credentials are functioning correctly.


AWS Secrets Manager is a straightforward yet powerful tool to securely store and manage secrets in AWS. By following the above-mentioned steps, you can set up your Secrets Manager easily and efficiently. Remember, managing secrets is essential to secure your applications and services effectively. Therefore, it is crucial to follow best practices, such as IAM Roles and Policies, Secret Rotation, and Scope Management, to keep your secrets secure.

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