Services for Storing Secrets on AWS

aws secrets manager
5 mins read
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In today’s world of technology, secrets management has become a critical aspect of application security. Companies need to store and manage sensitive data, such as passwords, API keys, and certificates, in a secure way to avoid potential breaches. 

There are several tools and solutions that could help to solve this question, but let’s start with the most popular one – services for storing secrets on AWS. AWS provides a number of services that can be used for managing secrets, including AWS Secrets Manager, AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store, and Amazon S3 with server-side encryption. 

These provide a variety of advantages for secret management, such as:

  • Encryption: All services provide encryption for secrets at rest and in transit, assisting in their protection from unauthorised access;
  • Access control: AWS services offer a variety of access control options, allowing you to manage who has access to secrets and how they can be used;
  • Auditing and monitoring: Allowing you to track access to secrets and detect any suspicious activity;
  • Automation: AWS services offer features like automatic secret rotation, allowing you to rotate secrets regularly and minimize the risk of exposure.

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AWS Secrets Manager

Is a fully managed service that enables you to easily store and retrieve secrets securely. The service eliminates the requirement for secrets to be hard-coded in your applications or kept outside of AWS. This tool makes it easy to rotate, manage, and retrieve database credentials, API keys, and other secrets throughout their lifecycle.

AWS secrets management:

  • Capability force of rotation for each x day;
  • Automate generation of secrets on rotation ( lambda should be used);
  • Good integration with Amazon RDS;
  • Can be encrypted by using the KMS service.


Multi-region Secrets:

  • Replicate secrets across multi regions;
  • Your secrets manager keeps a read replica in sync with a primary replica;
  • Use cases: multi-region apps, disaster recovery strategy, multi-region DB.
AWS Secrets Manager

AWS Secrets Manager is built on top of AWS Key Management Service (KMS), which uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption algorithm to encrypt your secrets at rest. It also can automatically rotate secrets on a schedule that you define. This eliminates the need for manual intervention and reduces the risk of unauthorized access. As for integration for AWS Secrets Manager, it is possible to connect it with other AWS services, such as Amazon RDS, Amazon EC2, and AWS Lambda, allowing you to easily retrieve secrets for your applications. And finally, you always have a detailed audit trail of all actions taken on your secrets.

To get started with AWS Secrets Manager, you can use the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs.

AWS SSM (Systems Manager Parameter Store)

Is a managed service that enables you to centralize the storage of parameters that your applications can reference. You can also use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies to control who can access your parameters and what they can do with them. SSM Parameter Store provides versioning, parameter hierarchy, and parameter types. You can also configure automatic parameter rotation for sensitive data, such as passwords and secrets. SSM Parameter Store, like the previous tool, can integrate with AWS services: AWS Lambda, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodePipeline allowing you to easily reference and use parameters in your applications.

SSM Parameter Store:

  • Secure store for configuration and secrets;
  • Optional seamless encryption by using KMS;
  • Serverless, scalable, durable, easy SDK;
  • Version tracking of configuration and secrets;
  • Notifications with AWS EventBridge.

Example: We have an application and SSM parameter store. So we can store plain text configuration. IAM permissions for you will be checked, for example, your ec2 permission role, or you can have an encrypted configuration. In that case, the SSL parameter store is going to be encrypted with KMS and KMS will be used for encryption and decryption, and you need to make sure that your app has access to the KMS key.

SSM Parameter Store

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

Is a cloud-based storage service provided by AWS. Being one of the most popular cloud storage options available, it provides a scalable, secure, and highly available object storage system. Object storage supports a flat namespace, in contrast to conventional file systems that arrange data into a hierarchy of files and folders, making it simpler to scale and manage massive volumes of data.

You may store and retrieve almost any quantity of data from anywhere on the internet at any time using Amazon S3. It is intended to offer objects 99.99% availability and 99.999999999% durability over the course of a year, making it a dependable and robust storage option for companies of all sizes.

In Final

At ZenBit we can assist you in preserving your secrets and protecting yourself from potential threats. With our experience, we can provide tailored solutions to meet specific needs. By keeping secrets on AWS, you may significantly reduce the risk of data breaches while also protecting your brand!


  • Can I use AWS Secrets Manager with my on-premises applications?

    Yes, you can use AWS Secrets Manager with both cloud and on-premises applications. You can retrieve secrets stored in AWS Secrets Manager using the AWS SDKs or APIs, or you can use the AWS CLI to manage your secrets.

  • What is Boto3?

    Boto3 is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Software Development Kit (SDK) for Python. It allows Python developers to write software that makes use of services like AWS Secrets Manager.

  • How can I create a new secret in AWS Secrets Manager using Boto3?

    You can create a new secret in AWS Secrets Manager using the create_secret() method in the Boto3 SDK. You can specify the secret name, value, and other options as arguments to this method.

  • Can I use both AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store and AWS Secrets Manager together?

    Yes, you can use both AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store and AWS Secrets Manager together to manage your application's configuration and secrets. 

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    Dmitry Broshkov
    Dmitry Broshkov
    CEO of ZenBit Tech