I need to automate backup of a Linux AWS instance. I would like to do this via one of the many scripts available that rely on the API access of AWS to do snapshots of the underlying EBS volume.

What I had trouble to find out is if I should run these scripts/enable API access on the instance to back up, on another instance, or even from a host from outside of AWS? What is safer?

[1] https://github.com/colinbjohnson/aws-missing-tools/tree/master/ec2-automate-backup


If you create an IAM user (or instance role, if you prefer) that can only create snapshots - nothing else, including deletion - and use that user's access keys, it pretty much won't matter.

Even if your keys leaked out to 4chan, the worst they could do would be to make a whole bunch of snapshots.

Here's an example IAM policy:

    "Statement": [{
        "Action": [
        "Effect": "Allow",
        "Resource": "*"
  • Awesome, thanks! I didn't know that I could limit what a user could do. Kinda obvious though. – arnuschky Oct 5 '13 at 15:26
  • IAM users and roles are very much your friend. :-) – ceejayoz Oct 5 '13 at 15:30

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