AWS CloudTrail Tutorial

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by The Captain

May 15, 2023

AWS CloudTrail Tutorial

AWS CloudTrail is a service that enables governance, compliance, operational auditing, and risk auditing of your AWS account. With CloudTrail, you can log, continuously monitor, and retain account activity related to actions across your AWS infrastructure. You can get a history of events for your AWS account activity, including actions taken through the AWS Management Console, AWS SDKs, command line tools, and other AWS services. This tutorial will guide you through the process of setting up and using AWS CloudTrail.

Setting up AWS CloudTrail

The first step to using CloudTrail is to create a trail, which is a configuration that enables the delivery of events as log files to an Amazon S3 bucket that you specify. To set up a trail, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to the CloudTrail console.
  2. Select "Trails" from the left-hand menu, then click "Create Trail".
  3. Enter a trail name and specify an Amazon S3 bucket where CloudTrail will deliver your logs.
  4. Configure additional settings as desired, such as data events to log and CloudWatch Logs integration.
  5. Click "Create Trail".

Viewing AWS CloudTrail Logs

Your CloudTrail logs are stored in the Amazon S3 bucket that you specified when you created your trail. To view your logs, you can either download them directly from S3 or view them in the CloudTrail console:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to the CloudTrail console.
  2. Select "Event history" from the left-hand menu.
  3. Specify the date range and optional filter settings to query your logs.
  4. Click "Lookup events".
  5. You can view the details of any event by clicking on it in the results list.

Using AWS CloudTrail with CloudWatch

You can use AWS CloudTrail logs with Amazon CloudWatch to create alarms based on specific API activity or log metrics. To set up CloudTrail logs in CloudWatch, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to the CloudWatch console.
  2. Select "Logs" from the left-hand menu, and then click "Create log group".
  3. Enter a name for your log group and click "Create log group".
  4. Navigate back to the CloudTrail console, select your trail, and click "Edit".
  5. Under "CloudWatch Logs integration", select "Yes, send logs to CloudWatch Logs".
  6. Specify your CloudWatch log group name and click "Save".

Now any CloudTrail logs will be delivered to your specified CloudWatch log group, and you can create alarms and metrics based on this activity.


AWS CloudTrail is a powerful auditing and monitoring tool that provides detailed visibility into user and resource activity within your AWS account. By logging this activity to an S3 bucket and using CloudWatch to create alarms and metrics, you can quickly identify potential security or compliance issues and take proactive steps to resolve them.