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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a cloud service provided by Amazon.com that provides you with virtualized computing platforms accessible through the internet. It is divided into a number of regions around the world. You can access and configure all of your services using the AWS Management Console

Discovering Amazon Web Services

This section describes the settings and procedures required to discover services running in AWS. It contains the following topics:

Time synchronization

Time Synchronization

You must ensure that your appliance time is synchronized using NTP. If you do not use NTP, ensure that the time is no further than five minutes from the time AWS is using. AWS uses timestamped authentication and any discrepancy will result in authentication failures.

Services and regulatory domains discovered

The following regulatory domains can be discovered:

You need to set up separate appropriate credentials for the AWS public cloud and the AWS GovCloud (US).

BMC Discovery enables you to discover your cloud services running in AWS. The following set of AWS services can be discovered with the latest product content update:

More detailed information on discovery of AWS services is provided in the following Configipedia pages:

Prerequisites

For correct scanning of AWS services, we strictly recommend you to follow such process:

  1. Create an AWS user.
  2. Configure Discovery credentials.
  3. Configure Roles in AWS Console and Discovery. Note, that role creation is an optional step. The information on how to create Roles in AWS and Discovery is available in the AWS roles paragraph later in this manual.

When all required configurations are done, Discovery will be able to properly scan your environment. Please follow carefully the required configuration steps.

Creating AWS credentials

Before you start performing discovery on AWS, you should provide an access key (credential) with help of which BMC Discovery can access the AWS cloud. It is available to create an access key using the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console. Then, you can add the cloud discovery credential using the access key create in the IAM console to BMC Discovery. 

Create Access key in IAM console

To create an Access key in the IAM console that are used to make secure queries to the AWS APIs, do the the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the IAM console. 

    Note

    Amazon Web Services recommend not to call GetSessionToken with AWS account root user credentials. Instead, follow AWS best practices by creating one or more IAM users, giving them the necessary permissions, and using IAM users for everyday interaction with AWS.

    For more information about using API, see GetSessionToken.

  2. Grant the discovery user the "ReadOnlyAccess" permission (this simplifies and replaces the previously documented individual permissions.)
  3. From the discovery user account, create an Access key. For the detailed information about the Access key, see Managing access keys for IAM users.
  4. Copy the Access key ID and the Secret access key. You can also download the Access Key ID and Access Secret Key as a csv. file and then import them during creation of a cloud credential in BMC Discovery.

    Note

    If you lose a Secret access key, you cannot retrieve it from the IAM console. In such a case, you must create a new Access key and use it in the BMC Discovery cloud credential. It would be best to keep a note of the Secret access key until you have successfully tested the cloud credential.

Create a cloud credential in BMC Discovery 

The cloud credential uses the Access keys/IDs/passwords as the equivalent of a username and password combination. 

Create the cloud credential in the same way as any other credential:

  1. On the BMC Discovery Device Credentials page, click Add and select Cloud Provider from the drop-down list.
    The Add Credential page is displayed.
  2. Click the "+" icon next to Credential Types to see the available Cloud Providers. Select Amazon Web Services from the drop-down list.
  3. Add the usual credential information:
    • Label.
    • Description.
  4. Add the information in the additional fields for AWS:
    1. Access Key ID
      You can import the csv files downloaded from the IAM console, reducing scope for cut and paste errors when creating AWS credentials in BMC Discovery. To upload a csv file containing the Key ID and Secret, click Upload CSV, select the file, and then click Open.
    2. Secret Access Key
    3. CyberArk–If the CyberArk integration is enabled, do not enter a key ID and secret, insteфd, enter a CyberArk search string in this field to extract a CyberArk credential. An example of a search string is:
      Object=Cloud Service-AWSAccessKeys-ABCDEFGABC1ABCDE3AB
      For more information on the integration, Integrating with CyberArk Enterprise Password Vault.
    4. Assume Roles. Use the Amazon Resource Name (ARN) only if you want to a apply role-based authentication for a user, application, or service.

      Note

      If you do not specify the ARN, you will discover AWS resources associated with the Access Key ID credentials. 

      AWS roles

      For information on roles in IAM, see the AWS roles paragraph later on this page.

    5. To enable role-switching (multiple roles), enter each role as a new-line separated list. 

  5. Optionally, specify a proxy to use for access. For that, specify the following:
    • Hostname.
    • Port.
    • Username (only for authenticating proxies).
    • Password (only for authenticating proxies).
  6. Click Apply to save the credential.

Master Account read only permissions

By adding credentials (or a role) with Master Account (ReadOnly) permissions, enable Discovery to discover and model your Organization and other Amazon Accounts in your organization. For more details, see Amazon Organizations discovery


Duration of account session

Sessions for AWS account owners are restricted to a maximum of 3,600 seconds (one hour). If the duration is longer than one hour, the session for AWS account owners defaults to one hour.


AWS Roles

Using QWS roles

The AWS fully manages the process of role creation. Please follow the links displayed below for the official information resources on the IAM role.

If you do not want to use roles in AWS, skip this paragraph.

An Amazon Web Services (AWS) role has a set of permissions associated with it to access specific AWS resources or for making AWS service requests. A role is not uniquely identified with one person but is temporarily assumed by any user who needs to use the role permissions for a session. You can specify multiple roles for a single AWS credential.

A role temporarily sets aside the permissions associated with the username and grants access to trusted entities, such as a user, an application, or a service to explore your AWS resources.
For example, you might assign a role to a third party that needs to perform an audit of your resources. A user cannot simultaneously exercise user and role permissions granted to them. When a user switches to a role, the user temporarily gives up the permissions associated with their user credentials and only uses the permissions assigned to the role. When the user exits the role, the user permissions are automatically restored.

You may assign any number of AWS roles to a user, but the user can only act as one role when making requests to AWS services. 

AWS related information

The AWS fully manages the process of role creation. Please follow the links displayed below for the official information resources on the IAM role.

  1. To create a new IAM role, see Creating a role to delegate permissions to an IAM user.
  2. To delegate access for other users to your AWS recourses, see Creating a role to delegate permissions to an AWS service.

    After you create the trust relationship, an IAM user or an application from the trusted account can use the AWS Security Token Service (AWS STS)
    AssumeRole API operation. This operation provides temporary security credentials that enable access to AWS resources in your account.
  3. To assume roles, see Assume role.

         When the roles are created and assumed, you should set appropriate IAM policies.

      4. To create an IAM policy, see Creating IAM policies (console).

STS activation status

For some of regions the STS can be inactive that might cause an error RegionDisabled - HTTP Status Code: 403. "STS is not activated in the requested region for the account that is being asked to generate credentials. The account administrator must use the IAM console to activate STS in that region". For more information, see Activating and Deactivating AWS STS in an AWS Region.

When all configurations with roles are done, you can assign these roles for role-based discovery of AWS resources, with the help of the Add Credential screen in BMC Helix Discovery Outpost.
You can switch roles for a user, application, or service, depending on the type of discovery required. Role-switching enables you to use multiple roles for a single credential or scan. However, if you do not specify the ARN (Amazon Resource Name), you 
will discover AWS resources associated with the Access Key ID credentials. 

For information on how to switch the roles, see Switching to a role (console).

Cloud Provider visualization performance

Cloud Provider visualizations can be slow for discovered AWS cloud regions discovered using many accounts. BMC recommends that you update to the January 2020 product content update which contains a fix for this. Additional upgrade instructions are available in the January 2020 product content update page. 


Testing the credential 

Time synchronization is essential

You must ensure that your appliance time is synchronized using NTP. If you do not use NTP, you must ensure that the time is no further than five minutes from the time AWS is using.
AWS uses timestamped authentication and any discrepancy will result in authentication failures.

Once you have created the credentials, you should test it to ensure that it works.

For that:

  1. From the credentials page, click Devices.

  2. Filter the list to show cloud credentials.
  3. Click Actions for the AWS cloud credential you added, and then click Test.
  4. The default region is US EAST (N. Virginia). All valid AWS public cloud credentials should work with this region. However, you may choose a local region. You need to use separate appropriate credentials for the AWS public cloud and the AWS GovCloud it is AWS GovCloud (US).
  5. Click Test.
    The screen below shows a successful test.

If the credential test was unsuccessful, click on the "Failure" status to see the details. Ensure that you copied the secret access key correctly. You should also ensure that the appliance time is no further than five minutes of the time AWS is using. See Time setting for more information.

The BMC Discovery appliance must be able to access AWS using https (port 443).

Time setting

Time synchronization is essential

You must ensure that your appliance time is synchronized using NTP. If you do not use NTP, you must ensure that the time is no further than five minutes from the time AWS is using.
AWS uses timestamped authentication and any discrepancy will result in authentication failures.

Run a cloud scan

To perform cloud discovery, from the Discovery Status page, use the Add New run control:

  1. Click Add New run.
    The Add a Cloud Run dialog is displayed.


  2. Enter a Label for the cloud discovery run.
  3. To add a scheduled cloud run, select Scheduled and fill in the scheduling information as with normal scheduled discovery runs.
  4. Select Cloud.
  5. Select the provider from the drop-down list. Select Amazon Web Services
  6. Select the appropriate cloud credential. If none are available, add the new one.
  7. Select the region to scan, for example, for Amazon Web Services, US East (N. Virginia). You can also select all regions by clicking the All.
  8. Click OK.

Examining results

Once you have scanned, you can examine the results. The screen below shows a discovered VM running in AWS.

Scanning the hosts

Perform a normal scan on the hosts running the VMs discovered in the cloud scan. Use the Unscanned Cloud Hosts report on the Cloud Overview dashboard to find these.

Scanning the hosts assumes that the appliance or proxy has network access to hosts running in the cloud, for example, using a VPN.

Note

Public IP addresses do not respond to ICMP pings. You must disable "Ping before scanning", otherwise all scans are dropped reporting no response.

Common errors

For information about the errors that are common to all actions, see Common Errors.

Database discovery

You can discover all supported databases in AWS. At the time of release of BMC Discovery 11.3, the following are supported:

  • MySQL
  • Amazon Aurora (MySQL and PostgreSQL)
  • MariaDB
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server.

The following information is required to discover databases in AWS:

  • Endpoint – you can identify the database endpoint using the RDS Dashboard in the AWS Management Console. The endpoint is of the form:
    test-rds.xyxyxyxy.us-east-1.amazonaws.com:3306
    To scan the endpoint, you must be able to resolve it to an IP address.
  • Security groups
    • If the endpoint is publicly accessible, you still must set up a security group with a rule to allow access from the IP address from which BMC Discovery connects.
    • If the database is not publicly accessible, discovery must be running in AWS. You must set up security to allow access from the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in which BMC Discovery is running, and be part of a security group with a rule to allow access from the IP address from which BMC Discovery connects.

      Note

      In AWS, all security groups prevent access by default, you must enable access ports in a security group before any access is allowed.

    • To summarize, you must configure security groups which enable the BMC Discovery appliance to access the database. This is entirely dependent on the manner in which you have configured your AWS cloud services.

  • Incoming connections – you must permit incoming connections with a rule for an IP address or set of IP addresses. For example, to permit access to a MySQL database, from a single IP address, you would add a rule with the following parameters:
    • Type - MySQL/Aurora
    • Protocol - TCP
    • Port Range - 3306
    • Source - 77.168.1.100/32

Then the database can be discovered as any MySQL database in your estate.

AWS discovery patterns

The AWS discovery patterns are available on the Manage>Knowledge page. They are located in the Pattern modules list, under Cloud>Amazon Web Services.

AWS tags discovery

Information about tags is available here.

Event Driven Discovery with AWS Lambda

You can also use event driven discovery with AWS using a Lambda function. An example function archive can be downloaded from Manage > Discovery Tools. The archive contains a Python Lambda function which you can upload into AWS Lambda. To use the function, you must provide a Python 3.x runtime, and the handler must be set to lambda_function.process_event.

The Lambda function receives events from AWS and uses the BMC Discovery REST API to create an ExternalEvent node. The ExternalEvent node contains all the details of the AWS event and can be used to trigger a custom pattern. See Using external events for more details.

The Lambda function is configured using environment variables.

NameRequiredDefaultDetails
BMC_DISCOVERY_INSTANCEYes
The IP address or hostname of the BMC Discovery instance. This must be reachable from the AWS region, that is, an instance running in the same AWS VPC.
BMC_DISCOVERY_TOKENYes
The REST API authentication token. See Authentication and permissions in the REST API for more details.
BMC_DISCOVERY_API_PROTOCOLNohttpsThe REST API protocol to use. Defaults to https but http can also be used.
BMC_DISCOVERY_EVENT_SOURCENoawsThe value to use for the "source" attribute of the ExternalEvent node
BMC_DISCOVERY_EVENT_TYPENoawsThe value to use for the "type" attribute of the ExternalEvent node


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