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AWS Shared Responsibility Model: Everything You Need to Know

AWS shared responsibility is a concept in cloud security and compliance. Security and compliance are shared responsibilities between AWS and customers. This share model can reduce the burden of responsibility between AWS and customers by defining a clear role for each party in securing and managing cloud resources. AWS operates, manages, and controls components from the host operating system and the virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities where the service runs.

The customer has the responsibility for the management of the guest operating system as well as the application software and the configuration of the AWS. As customers have their own accountability, they should be careful while selecting services.  

In this blog we will discuss everything you need to know about AWS Shared Responsibility Model.

What is the AWS Shared Responsibility Model?

The  AWS Shared Model describes the division of security and compliance duties between AWS and you (customer). AWS manages the security of the cloud, e.g. infrastructure that runs AWS cloud services like networking, software, and hardware while the customer is responsible for security in the cloud.  e.g. applications, operating systems, network configuration, and data.

This shared responsibility model also provides flexibility and customer control, facilitating adoption. As shown in the chart below, this distinction is frequently referred to as “of” the Cloud vs “in” the Cloud.

Significance of AWS Shared Responsibility Model

1. Increase Accountability

The model  defines the security obligations of AWS and its customers. The security “of” the cloud, including the underlying infrastructure, hardware, and managed services, is the responsibility of Amazon Web Services. Customers, on the other hand, are responsible for security “in” the cloud, which includes their data, apps, and customizations. This clearly ensures  the accountability of both the parties to understand their duties and obligations.

2. Help in Risk Management

The shared responsibility concept improves overall security posture by using the strengths of both sides. AWS’s cutting-edge infrastructure and security services help to establish a safe foundation. Customers can strengthen this foundation by implementing strong security policies tailored to their individual needs.

3. Improve Security System

The shared responsibility concept improves overall security posture by using the strengths of both sides. AWS’s cutting-edge infrastructure and security services help to establish a safe foundation. Customers can build upon this basis by implementing strong security measures that are tailored to their individual requirements.

Key Components of AWS Shared Responsibility Model

1. AWS Responsibility “security of the cloud”

  • AWS provides the reliability and security of the infrastructure, including the hardware and software that support the AWS Cloud. This involves overseeing worldwide data centers, computer storage, and networking infrastructure.
  • AWS helps to secure the data centers and its include  access control, surveillance, and environmental precautions to defend against both natural and man-made calamities.
  • Managing  device connection and security 
  • Compliance program – to provide assurance to customers regarding the security of their data. Such as ISO1, ISO2, ISO27001
  • Distributed denial of service – AWS provides robust DDoS protection to prevent attacks on customer applications and infrastructure.
  • AWS provide a variety of managed services ,like Amazon S3(simple storage service) and Amazon RDS (relational database service) with built-in security , reducing the need of client to handle these aspects themselves.

2. Customer Responsibility “security in the cloud”

  1. Network security –  Customers must set up network security groups, firewall rules, and other network restrictions to safeguard their AWS resources from unauthorized access.
  2. Application security – Customers are responsible for securing their applications running on AWS, which includes patching and updating software, implementing secure coding practices, and monitoring for security vulnerabilities.
  3. Protection of data
    • Encryption: Always encrypt sensitive data both at rest and in transit.
    • Backup and Recovery: Create a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan.
    • Data Lifecycle Management: Use AWS services such as Amazon S3 Lifecycle policies to control data retention and deletion.
  4. Implementing identity and access management strategy – Customers are responsible for managing user access to AWS resources using IAM. This entails creating and administering IAM users, groups, roles, and rules to provide least-privileged access.and provide multi factor authentication .
  5. Continuous monitoring and logging
    • AWS CloudTrail: Enable CloudTrail for auditing API calls and changes to your environment.
    • Amazon CloudWatch: Use CloudWatch for monitoring application and system performance.
    • AWS Config: Continuously assess and manage the configurations of your AWS resources.

The following are examples of controls administered by AWS, AWS customers, or both

  1. Inherited controls
    • Controls which a customer fully inherits from AWS
    • Physical and Environmental controls
  2. Shared controls: Controls that apply to both the infrastructure and consumer layers, but in entirely different situations or views. In a shared control model, AWS supplies the infrastructure needs, and the customer is responsible for implementing their own control within the context of AWS services. Examples include:
    • Patch Management – AWS is responsible for patching and fixing flaws within the infrastructure, but customers are responsible for patching their guest OS and applications.
    • Configuration Management – AWS maintains the configuration of its infrastructure devices, but a customer is responsible for configuring their own guest operating systems, databases, and applications.
    • Awareness & Training – AWS trains AWS employees, but a customer must train their own employees.
  3. Customer Specific – Controls which are solely the responsibility of the customer based on the application they are deploying within AWS services. Examples include:
    • Service and Communications Protection or Zone Security which may require a customer to route or zone data within specific security environments.

Aws Shared Responsibility Model In Practice

It’s important to note that the shared responsibility model outlined above provides a generalized view of responsibilities. There are specific responsibility models tailored to different types of AWS service consumption, which are categorized as follows:

1. Infrastructure Services

An infrastructure service is a sort of computing service in which Amazon Web Services manages common virtualization infrastructure. Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is the most common example, although Amazon Connect is another type of AWS infrastructure service.

For infrastructure services, AWS is responsible for

  • Security of data centers , surveillance and physical hardware protection 
  • AWS global network infrastructure ,ensuring quality connectivity 
  • Maintaining hardware 
  • Ensure the availability and security of critical services such as compute, storage, and databases.
  • Maintaining industry standards and certifications, as well as providing paperwork to assist customers in meeting their compliance requirements.
  • AWS identity and access management 
  • AWS API endpoints

For infrastructure services , the customer is responsible for

  • Customer data security   
  • Customer application security -Implementing secure coding methods, safeguarding application setups, and keeping apps up to date and patched.
  • Network configuration -Setting up and administering VPCs, subnets, route tables, and network gateways, as well as setting security groups and network access control lists.
  • Customer identity and access management
  • Scaling 
  • Operating system

2. Container Services

A container service allows many apps to share resources while using the same operating system. These services are normally administered by AWS and frequently run on the underlying EC2 infrastructure. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is one example of an AWS container service. It is critical not to confuse this “container services” category with Docker containers.

For container services, AWS is responsible for

  • Foundational services (networking, storage, and compute).
  • AWS Global Infrastructure
  • AWS Identity and Access Management
  • AWS API Endpoints
  • Operating system Platform/application.

For AWS services , customer is responsible for

  • Customer data
  • Customer identity and access management
  • High scaling
  • Protection of data

3. Abstracted Services

An abstract service is a storage, database, or messaging service that is fully managed by AWS, with the client primarily responsible for specific parts of setup and data transmitted to or hosted on the platform.

AWS abstract services include Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).

For  Abstract Services, AWS is Responsible for

  • Managing networking, storage , compute
  • Operating system 
  • AWS global infrastructure 
  • AWS API endpoints 
  • Data protection

For Abstract Services, the consumer is accountable for

  • Customer data is protected using at-rest encryption on the customer side.

How Is The Aws Shared Responsibility Model Different From Other Cloud Services Provider Models?

  • The AWS shared responsibility model distinguishes itself from other cloud service providers by clearly outlining the security duties of both the client and AWS. This gives customers more control over their data and infrastructure while still benefiting from AWS’s security protections.
  •  Unlike other cloud service providers, AWS is responsible for both the physical security of its data centers and the security of its cloud architecture. This covers hardware security, virtualization, storage location, and network infrastructure.
  • Customers, on the other hand, are responsible for the security of their AWS-hosted apps and data. This includes setting up access controls, maintaining user identities and rights, encrypting data both in transit and at rest, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

What Are The The Potential Challenge In The Aws Sharing Responsibility Model

  • While the AWS Shared Responsibility Model offers a clear framework for dividing responsibilities between customers and service providers, certain challenges can still emerge. These challenges include determining who is responsible for specific security aspects, managing user access controls, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • A common challenge for organizations is distinguishing their compliance responsibilities from those of AWS. This varies with the AWS services used and the integration with their IT environment. For instance, organizations may be unsure which regulations apply or how to properly configure services. Consulting AWS documentation or experts can help clarify these uncertainties.
  • Another challenge is to make sure users have the right access controls while yet keeping a suitable security posture presents another possible difficulty. Customers must use AWS’s IAM tools to administer their own identities and access control policies within their own environments in accordance with the Shared Responsibility Model.
  • To solve this issue Some businesses decide to deploy independent identity management systems outside of AWS in order to solve these problems. This adds more complexity to existing complicated setups, even though it might make administration easier and provide you more control over user access regulations.

To overcome these challenges you can consider Supportfly AWS service . they   provide comprehensive solution for AWS Management.


Putting the AWS Shared Responsibility Model into effect necessitates a deliberate approach to managing both AWS and customer duties. Organizations can effectively protect their cloud environments by leveraging AWS tools and services, following best practices, and prioritizing compliance. This collaborative paradigm not only improves security, but it also delivers the flexibility and control required to innovate and scale in the cloud with confidence.


Q1. What is a shared responsibility model?

AWS is in charge of protecting the infrastructure that supports all of the AWS Cloud services. This infrastructure consists of the hardware, software, networking, and facilities that run the AWS Cloud service.

Q2. What is the purpose of AWS?

AWS is designed to enable application providers, ISVs, and vendors to securely and swiftly host their applications, whether they are existing applications or new SaaS-based applications.

Q3. What procedures should customers use to keep their AWS environment secure over time?

Customers should execute regular security evaluations and upgrades to their AWS setups in order to respond to emerging security threats, use the most recent AWS capabilities, and comply with changing regulatory requirements.