2022 Best 51 AWS IAM Interview Questions and Answers

Preparing for your cloud services job interview? Here are some important AWS IAM interview questions that will take your preparation a step further. 

AWS is among the top-paying IT sector jobs with an abundance of opportunities for professionals to grow.

Among the many services of AWS, the Identity and Access Management (IAM) service are crucial if you wish to upskill. Here are the top AWS interview questions on IAM that will prepare you for an AWS or any cloud-related interview:

AWS IAM Interview Questions and Answers

1. What is the AWS IAM service?

IAM is an AWS service that allows users to create accounts and groups. It’s abbreviated for Identity and Access Management and used globally with no additional cost associated with it. Users can manage their access to the Amazon Web Services and its resources using IAM.

2. How Would You Get Started with IAM?

IAM can be accessed by subscribing to one of the AWS services integrated with IAM. Once the subscription process is complete, we can create users and groups and manage them.

We can also manage permissions using AWS CLI, IAM Console, or the IAM APIs. We also have the option to use a visual editor for the creation of policies.

3. Why Should We Use the AWS IAM?

IAM should be used for the following reasons:

  • Various users can access AWS resources securely
  • Manage IAM users along with their accesses
  • Assign users individual security credentials like passwords, access keys, etc.
  • Specify permissions for users to control the operations they can access
  • Manage federated users in the corporate directory
  • Request security credentials for them with configurable expirations
  • Secure AWS access for employees and applications

4. Explain the Features of IAM

Following are the prominent features of IAM in AWS services:

  • Multifactor authentication: IAM improves the security of AWS by adding multiple authentication steps for our accounts.
  • Cost factor: Unlike other AWS services, IAM is free of cost. The charges are only added when we use AWS services with IAM users.
  • Shared account access: Users can share resources with the help of AWS’s shared access features.
  • Centralized account control: Our AWS account has centralized control so that we can create new users and groups. We can also use cancel services or resources using centralized control.
  • Permissions for users: IAM has administrative rights, so users can use it to grant access permissions.

5. What are the IAM Identities?

There are two main types of IAM identities. They are:

  • IAM Users: It’s a resource in IAM with credentials and permissions
  • IAM Roles: We can create IAM roles in our account using specific permissions

6. Explain IAM User Briefly

IAM User is a basic account on AWS with no permissions to access services or resources. It can be created by the IAM administrator or the root user. To make this account useful, IAM policies must define permissions for the user.

Different sets of policies determine the work of individual IAM users. They can log in to the AWS Management Console, access resources, or configure services based on their specific policies. However, this IAM user account does not have permission to close an AWS account.

7. Explain IAM Role Briefly

IAM Role is similar to the IAM user. It is also called an IAM identity created within an account with certain permissions. The policies that determine the permissions define the limitations for the IAM role within an AWS account.

They do not have the authentication credentials for the account. Instead, they have temporary security credentials for individual role sessions.

8. What is an IAM Manager?

IAM managers are responsible for understanding the projects that employees are overseeing. They make important decisions regarding user access and best security practices for the AWS account.

9. Explain Identity-Based Policy in IAM

The identity-based policy is a frequently-used policy document, important to control the actions of users or roles. Managed and Inline policies are the two types of identity-based policies in IAM.

  • Managed Policy: This policy can be applied to an individual IAM user or a group of users or roles in an account. Managed policies are further divided into two policies- AWS managed and customer-managed.

AWS managed policies are created beforehand and managed by AWS. Customer-managed policies are created by us within an AWS account. They provide specific control in permissions’ management in our policies.

  • Inline Policy: Unlike managed policies, inline policies are defined for specific identities only. As soon as the identity is deleted, inline policies are also deleted. They maintain a one-on-one relationship with their associated identity. They can associate with any other identity.

10. What is the Difference between Access Management and Identity Management?

Access Management

  • Access management uses identity-related information to determine the access policies and details for the users or roles.
  • It also determines what an identity can do once access is granted. E.g., access management can determine how much access every manager would have to their direct reports.
  • As in, they can access the timesheets for approval but do not have access to change their own entries.

Identity Management

  • On the other hand, identity management confirms that the person accessing the account is authorized for use.
  • It also stores information about the person who accesses the account. The details like job title, direct reports, etc., about identity, are managed in an identity management database.

11. Define MFA Support for IAM

Multifactor Authentication for IAM is the extra layer of security that ensures all accesses are secured.

It prompts users to enter their username and password before asking them to enter a generated code.

The code is provided on the MFA device associated with the AWS account. We can buy a hardware device to install a free virtual app for MFA to ensure secure login to our accounts with no additional cost.

12. Explain the Features of IAM Roles per ECS Instance

Following are the features for EC2 instances when it comes to IAM roles:

  • Granular permissions for the AWS service applications running on EC2.
  • Use of AWS temporary security credentials when making a request from EC2 instance to AWS services
  • The AWS temporary security credentials can be rotated automatically

To understand check AWS EC2 Interview Questions.

13. What Problems Does an IAM Role Solve for EC2 Instances?

IAM Roles simplify deployment and management of access keys for EC2 instances. We have to associate an IAM role for each EC2 instance to use this feature.

Once the role is associated, the EC2 instance then provides temporary security credentials for applications using the instance.

With the help of the temporary credentials, the applications on the EC2 instance can make secure requests to the AWS services.

14. Explain Access Keys for IAM Users

We can create access keys for AWS account root users or IAM users. The access keys are long-term credentials used for AWS CLI or AWS API programmatic requests. There are two parts that make up an access key—Access Key ID and Secret Access Key.

The access key ID and the secret access key work together—an absence of one of them will result in failure for an IAM user. They work together as username and password to authenticate the login.

Despite the double factor of access keys, Amazon encourages the use of IAM roles over access keys. The roles are confidential and only accessible privately by the IAM user or the account root user.

The users can easily view, create, and modify the access keys. Therefore, Amazon permits the use of two access keys simultaneously.

15. How Would You Set a User Password for IAM?

We can use an IAM console, IAM API, or AWS CLI to set the initial password for an IAM user. Once the initial process is completed, the passwords are never used in cleartext.

They also never appear or return through an API call. As IAM users, we can manage our passwords through the My Password page in the console.

16. When Would You Use an IAM User, IAM Role or IAM Group?

Here are the conditions in which we can use an IAM user, IAM role, IAM group:

  • IAM User: It has permanent credentials and directly interacts with AWS services.
  • IAM Role: It cannot directly interact with the AWS services. They are used by authorized entities, like IAM users.
  • IAM Group: It managed the same set of policies for a collection of IAM users. It’s basically a management convenience for the users.

17. How Many Policies Would You Attach to an IAM Role?

For managed policies, we can add up to 10 managed policies for a user, group, or role. The size per managed policy is limited to 6,144 characters.

For inline policies, there is no limit to the number of policies we can add per user, group, or role. But the policy size is limited to:

  • 2,048 characters for a user policy
  • 10,240 characters for a role policy
  • 5,120 characters for a group policy

AWS IAM interview questions for experienced

AWS IAM policy interview questions

You may also like to explore below interview questions on AWS.

Conclusion

With these AWS IAM Interview questions, you will be ready to attend an interview for your cloud-based or AWS-related job confidently.

We hope this article has helped you learn all the basics about AWS IAM.

If you want to improve your chances of getting hired, we recommend checking out our other interview question guides as well.

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