AWS CloudFormation and AWS CloudTrail Integration - Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on integrating AWS CloudFormation with AWS CloudTrail. AWS CloudFormation provides a powerful infrastructure-as-code service, while AWS CloudTrail offers comprehensive monitoring and auditing capabilities. By combining these services, you can gain enhanced visibility into CloudFormation stack changes, track resource modifications, and maintain a detailed audit trail of your infrastructure deployments.

Example of AWS CloudFormation and AWS CloudTrail Integration

Let's consider an example where you want to enable AWS CloudTrail for your CloudFormation stacks. Here's an example AWS CLI command to create a trail:

aws cloudtrail create-trail --name MyCloudTrail --s3-bucket-name my-cloudtrail-bucket --is-multi-region-trail --include-global-service-events

In the above example, we use the AWS CLI command `aws cloudtrail create-trail` to create a CloudTrail trail named "MyCloudTrail". We specify the S3 bucket where the trail logs will be stored using `--s3-bucket-name`, enable multi-region trail with `--is-multi-region-trail`, and include global service events with `--include-global-service-events`.

Steps for AWS CloudFormation and AWS CloudTrail Integration

  1. Create an S3 bucket to store the CloudTrail logs if you haven't already.
  2. Create a CloudTrail trail using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDKs. Configure the trail to capture CloudFormation events by selecting the appropriate service.
  3. Enable CloudTrail for your CloudFormation stacks by specifying the `CloudFormation` service in the trail's configuration.
  4. Optionally, customize the trail settings, such as log file encryption, log file retention, and advanced event selectors, to meet your specific requirements.
  5. View and analyze the CloudTrail logs in the CloudTrail console, or use the logs for security analysis, compliance reporting, and troubleshooting.

Common Mistakes with AWS CloudFormation and AWS CloudTrail Integration

  • Not enabling CloudTrail for CloudFormation stacks, leading to a lack of visibility into stack changes.
  • Forgetting to configure the trail to capture CloudFormation events, resulting in incomplete monitoring and auditing.
  • Not regularly reviewing and analyzing the CloudTrail logs for security and compliance purposes.
  • Not properly securing the CloudTrail logs, such as encrypting the log files or setting appropriate access permissions.
  • Overlooking the importance of monitoring CloudTrail notifications or alerts for critical events or unauthorized access.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is AWS CloudTrail?

AWS CloudTrail is a service that enables you to monitor and log API activity within your AWS account. It provides a detailed audit trail of actions taken by users, services, or resources, allowing you to track changes, troubleshoot issues, and support security analysis.

2. How does AWS CloudFormation integrate with AWS CloudTrail?

By enabling AWS CloudTrail for CloudFormation, you can capture and log API calls and events related to CloudFormation stack changes, resource modifications, and deployments. This integration provides an audit trail and visibility into the actions performed by CloudFormation.

3. Can I use AWS CloudTrail logs for security analysis?

Yes, AWS CloudTrail logs can be used for security analysis. The logs contain detailed information about API calls, including the identity of the caller, the timestamp, and the resources accessed or modified. By analyzing the logs, you can detect and investigate security incidents or unauthorized activities.

4. How long are AWS CloudTrail logs retained?

By default, AWS CloudTrail logs are stored for 90 days. However, you can configure longer retention periods based on your compliance or retention requirements.

5. Can I encrypt AWS CloudTrail log files?

Yes, you can encrypt AWS CloudTrail log files using AWS Key Management Service (KMS) keys. By enabling log file encryption, you ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the log data.


Integrating AWS CloudFormation with AWS CloudTrail provides valuable monitoring and auditing capabilities for your infrastructure deployments. By enabling CloudTrail, you can track and log API activity related to your CloudFormation stacks, ensuring visibility into changes and maintaining an audit trail of your infrastructure modifications. Remember to properly configure and customize the CloudTrail trail settings, regularly review the logs for security and compliance, and leverage the logs for troubleshooting and analysis. With AWS CloudFormation and AWS CloudTrail integration, you can enhance the security, governance, and accountability of your infrastructure-as-code deployments.