Access and permissions

Controlling access and permissions to the Rackspace and AWS control planes (APIs and UIs) along with the resources you deploy at AWS are a critical part of the overall security of your environment. This section outlines several core concepts related to access and permissions, along with details on how to grant members of your team and others access to your account, as needed.

Rackspace account

Your Rackspace account is the top-level container that contains one or more AWS accounts. All user and permissions management occurs at the Rackspace account level, though you can limit specific users on your account to have access to only specific AWS accounts. You can also use the Rackspace account for billing purposes. All charges from each of the AWS accounts are aggregated at the Rackspace account level.

The Account Owner or a user with the Account Administrator designation can set the session inactivity timeout for the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal. To change the timeout, visit account.rackspace.com and then navigate to Account Settings > Rackspace Account Settings > Session Inactivity Timeout. The session inactivity timeout is the maximum time a user can be inactive before being automatically logged out. This timeout applies to all users on the account.

AWS Console

After you log in to the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal, you see a listing of all AWS accounts you can access.

If you want to access the AWS Console, click Log in to AWS Console, which automatically signs you in as a federated user. This allows you to maintain one set of credentials to access both the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal and the AWS Console. As described in the User Management and Permissions section, the IAM Role selected when configuring the user permissions determines the access users receive when they federate to the AWS Console.

The Account Owner can set the AWS console session duration, which controls the maximum session time for a user who logs into the AWS console from the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal. To change the timeout, visit account.rackspace.com, and then navigate to Account Settings > Product Preferences > AWS Account Preferences > AWS Account - AWS Console Session Duration. This maximum limit applies to all users on the account.

AWS CLI, SDKs, and APIs

There are two methods for accessing the AWS command-line interface (CLI), software development kits (SDKs), and application programming interfaces (APIs):

  1. From the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal, navigate to the Account Details screen for the AWS account you want to access and click View Credentials. The system issues you AWS Security Token Service (STS) credentials. AWS temporary credentials obtained via the Rackpsace portal expire after the specified AWS session duration your account administrator has set on the Portal Account Settings page. This preferred method of short-lived, infrequent access to the credentials is tied to your Fanatical Support for AWS user and is logged in the Rackspace Logbook.

  2. If you require longer-lived, more persistent access to the CLI, SDKs, or APIs, use one of the following options:

    • If the access is from a user’s workstation, create an IAM user with access keys.

    • If the access is from resources, such as EC2 instances running at AWS, create an IAM instance role.

    Note: You do not manage directly-created IAM users or roles within the Fanatical Support for AWS user management system. Instead, you must modify or terminate access directly within AWS IAM.

    Note: If duration is greater than an hour and credentials last less, confirm that the maximum session duration set on the Rackspace role in AWS are at least as long as the duration configured in the Rackspace account.

If you need assistance determining the best option for your specific use case, contact a Racker.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

As described previously, our standard best practice is to manage all access as either:

Occasionally, a use case occurs where you need to create an IAM user or role directly. These scenarios typically involve a third-party tool or SaaS needing access to your account, such as a continuous integration and deployment system, such as CircleCI, or a local file management application that integrates with S3, such as Cyberduck. If you must create a user or role directly within IAM, remember the following recommendations:

  • You should create the IAM policy that you assign to allow the minimum level of access required to your AWS account. If you need assistance with creating the appropriate IAM policy, contact us.

  • You manage IAM users and roles outside of the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal, and they do not show up in the User Management system. Therefore, you make any modifications or revoke access directly within AWS IAM.

  • We include a default IAM password policy in our AWS account defaults. We do not recommend weakening or disabling these requirements because we put them in place to protect your account from brute-force password attacks.

  • An IAM user should typically have password access or access keys, but not both. Use password access for accessing the AWS Console (we cover most of these use cases under the Rackspace Technology Customer Portal permissions model) and access keys for programmatic access. In almost all cases where you are creating an IAM user, you should need only access keys.

For assistance in determining the appropriate method of granting access to your account, contact us.

AWS Systems Manager EC2 Session Manager

AWS accounts managed by Rackspace require the use of the AWS Systems Manager Agent for operating system support.

YOu can use the AWS Systems Manager Session Manager to provide shell access to Operating Systems through the AWS console or CLI. You can learn more about Session Manager at: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/systems-manager/latest/userguide/session-manager.html.

Note that using the AWS Session Manager results in commands executed under a shared user account (ssm-user) within the Operating System. This user persists even if the SSM agent is removed. Customers with specific compliance or internal security policies should consult with their compliance personnel on whether Session Manager is appropriate for their use. For compliance information from AWS, see: https://aws.amazon.com/compliance/services-in-scope/.

Rackspace recommends customers secure their Rackspace and AWS accounts with multifactor authentication. Customers may restrict their personnel’s usage of AWS Session Manager through AWS IAM.

Rackspace personnel may use Session Manager as needed to perform administrative tasks. AWS account defaults ensure that the system logs any Rackspace use of AWS Systems Manager and its associated features in AWS CloudTrail.