AWS IAM interview questions and answers.

AWS IAM interview questions and answers.


7 min read

Basics and Fundamentals:

  1. Explain the AWS root account.

    • The root account is the initial account created when signing up for AWS. It has complete access to all AWS services and should be secured with MFA and used only for administrative tasks.
  2. What is the difference between IAM users and AWS accounts?

    • IAM users are entities within an AWS account, while AWS accounts represent the overall account used for billing and administrative purposes.
  3. How do you identify IAM resources within an AWS account?

    • IAM resources are identified by their Amazon Resource Names (ARNs), which provide a unique identifier for each IAM entity (user, group, role, policy).
  4. Explain IAM policies evaluation order.

    • Policies are evaluated in a specific order: explicit deny takes precedence over explicit allow, explicit permissions override permissions inherited from groups, and lastly, permissions boundaries can limit maximum permissions.
  5. What is the difference between an IAM policy and an IAM role?

    • IAM policies define permissions that can be attached to users, groups, or roles, while IAM roles are used to delegate access to resources for users, applications, or services.

Access Management and Policies:

  1. How can you determine the permissions associated with an IAM user?

    • Permissions associated with an IAM user can be viewed by examining the policies attached to the user, as well as policies inherited through groups or roles.
  2. What is an inline policy in IAM?

    • Inline policies are policies that are directly attached to a single user, group, or role, providing a more granular control level than managed policies.
  3. Explain the difference between IAM-managed policies and customer-managed policies.

    • Managed policies are created and managed by AWS and can be attached to multiple users, groups, or roles, while customer-managed policies are created and managed by the AWS account holder and can only be attached within the same account.
  4. How can you test and validate IAM policies?

    • IAM policies can be tested using the IAM Policy Simulator provided by AWS, allowing you to simulate policy actions to see the effect of policies on different IAM entities.
  5. What is an IAM policy version?

    • IAM policies can have multiple versions to track changes over time. When a policy is updated, a new version is created, allowing for rollback if needed.

User Authentication and Federation:

  1. Explain the difference between authentication and authorization in the context of IAM.

    • Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user, while authorization is the process of granting or denying access to resources based on the user's authenticated identity and permissions.
  2. How does IAM support multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

    • IAM supports MFA by requiring users to provide two or more authentication factors (such as a password and a one-time code from a hardware token or mobile app) to access AWS resources.
  3. What is the AWS Security Token Service (STS), and how does it relate to IAM?

    • STS is a service that provides temporary security credentials for IAM users or roles. It is used for federated access and allows users to request temporary credentials with specific permissions.
  4. How do you enable federated access using IAM?

    • Federated access can be enabled by configuring an identity provider (IdP) in IAM, establishing a trust relationship between the AWS account and the IdP, and allowing users to sign in using IdP credentials.
  5. Explain the purpose of IAM roles for service-linked roles.

    • Service-linked roles are predefined roles created and managed by AWS to enable services to perform specific actions on behalf of the user or service without needing to create custom roles manually.

Multi-Account Management and Cross-Account Access:

  1. What is the benefit of using cross-account access in IAM?

    • Cross-account access allows organizations to centralize management while allowing different AWS accounts to access resources in a controlled and secure manner, enhancing collaboration and security.
  2. How do you securely manage cross-account access in IAM?

    • Secure cross-account access can be achieved by setting up appropriate trust policies, using role-based access controls, regularly reviewing permissions, and implementing MFA for cross-account role assumption.
  3. Explain the concept of the AWS Organizations service in the context of IAM.

    • AWS Organizations is a service that enables centralized management of multiple AWS accounts. It helps in applying policies across accounts, simplifying billing, and controlling access.
  4. How can you assume an IAM role across AWS accounts?

    • To assume an IAM role across AWS accounts, you need to create a role in the target account, establish a trust relationship with the source account, and then use the AssumeRole API or AWS Management Console to assume that role.
  5. What is AWS IAM?

    • AWS IAM is a service that enables you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely by controlling authentication, authorization, and permissions.
  6. Explain the principle of least privilege in IAM.

    • The principle of least privilege ensures that entities have only the permissions necessary to perform their intended tasks, reducing the risk of unauthorized access or actions.
  7. What are IAM users, groups, and roles?

    • IAM users are entities that represent a person or service interacting with AWS. Groups are collections of users, while roles are used to delegate permissions to entities outside of your AWS account.
  8. What is the purpose of the AWS Resource Access Manager (RAM) service in IAM?

    • RAM allows sharing of AWS resources, such as subnets, Transit Gateways, and resource permissions, between multiple AWS accounts within an organization, simplifying resource sharing and management.
  9. What are IAM policies?

    • IAM policies are documents that define permissions and can be attached to users, groups, or roles, specifying what actions can be performed on which resources.
  10. How do you create and attach an IAM policy to a user?

    • Policies can be created using JSON or the AWS Management Console and attached to IAM entities either directly or through groups and roles.
  11. Explain the difference between IAM policies, roles, and permissions boundaries.

    • IAM policies define permissions, roles delegate permissions to entities, and permissions boundaries limit the maximum permissions a role can have.
  12. What authentication mechanisms does IAM support?

    • IAM supports various authentication mechanisms, including user credentials (username/password), access keys, MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), and federated access through identity providers (IdPs) like Active Directory or SAML-based providers.
  13. What is the purpose of IAM roles for EC2 instances?

    • IAM roles for EC2 instances provide temporary credentials that applications running on EC2 instances can use to make API requests to other AWS services without the need for storing access keys on the instance.
  14. Explain cross-account access in IAM.

    • Cross-account access allows entities from one AWS account to access resources in another AWS account. It is achieved through IAM roles with specific trust relationships.
  15. How can you grant an IAM user from one AWS account access to resources in another AWS account?

    • This can be done by creating an IAM role in the target account and configuring a trust relationship with the source account's IAM user or role.
  16. What are some best practices for IAM security?

    • Best practices include using strong passwords and MFA, regularly reviewing and rotating access keys, implementing the principle of least privilege, and monitoring IAM activity.
  17. How can you audit and monitor IAM actions in AWS?

    • IAM actions can be monitored using AWS CloudTrail, which logs API calls related to IAM, providing visibility into who did what and when in your AWS account.
  18. How does IAM integrate with AWS services like S3, EC2, and RDS?

    • IAM is used to control access to resources in these services by assigning appropriate permissions to users, roles, or groups through IAM policies.
  19. Can IAM be integrated with external identity providers?

    • Yes, IAM can be integrated with external identity providers using federation, allowing users to sign in to AWS using existing credentials from external providers.
  20. Scenario: You need to provide temporary access to an external contractor to manage an S3 bucket securely. How would you achieve this in IAM?

    • (Potential answer: Create an IAM role with the necessary permissions for S3 and establish a trust relationship with the contractor's AWS account or provide temporary credentials through an identity provider.)
  21. Scenario: An IAM user accidentally deleted important resources in your AWS account. How do you prevent such accidental deletions in the future?

    • (Potential answer: Implement MFA Delete for critical resources, regularly back up important data, and limit permissions for critical actions using IAM policies.)

These additional questions delve deeper into IAM concepts, policies, cross-account access, and authentication mechanisms, providing a more comprehensive understanding of AWS Identity and Access Management.

I hope this helps, you!!

More such articles:

Did you find this article valuable?

Support techwasti by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!