Benefits of AWS System Manager and Secrets Manager
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Benefits of AWS System Manager and Secrets Manager

You must grasp the distinctions among the wide range of services that AWS provides if you want to become an expert in the AWS cloud. To make sure that your account architecture is extremely secure and risk-free to use, you also require full knowledge of how to utilize security services.

Nothing is given a higher priority than security, and AWS recognizes this, which is why it is the number one task in AWS. AWS offers several tools to apply best practices for security, along with making it very easy to do so. 

While AWS systems manager store and AWS secrets manager may appear to be the same, if you compare the two, you will discover there are several key distinctions between the two, and will help you to utilize each tool accurately.

So, let’s dive into the deets and find out how the AWS secrets manager and AWS systems manager store differ from each other.

Benefits of AWS System Manager and Secrets Manager

Any firm must manage the security of its systems, but cloud-based infrastructures have this obligation even more. How parameters are kept and retrieved, like product keys, API keys, database passwords, environment variables, etc., is only one component of application security. Classified information shouldn’t be kept in clear text or embedded in your software, as this is against recommendations. Setting up an automatic mechanism to routinely update passwords or credentials is also necessary, which is not possible if you try to maintain your passwords and security credentials manually.

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What is AWS Secrets Manager?

AWS Secrets Manager was released by Amazon Web Services in 2018. It is a tool that aids in securing access to your IT resources, services, and applications. With this tool, you can quickly rotate, maintain, and retrieve API keys, database credentials, and other secrets during your lifetime.

You can manage, audit, and safeguard secrets needed to access information in the Cloud environment, on on-premises services, and on external services. 

You can easily stick to the best security practices like password encryption and rotation on a regular basis with the help of AWS Secrets Manager.

If you are in charge of keeping track of and protecting secrets as well as making sure that your company complies with compliance and legal standards, AWS Secrets Manager enables you to carry out these tasks from a single centralized location. 

What is AWS SSM Parameter Store?

The slightly broader range of needs that The SSM Parameter Store emphasizes is that it can be utilized to store the secrets inside the source code, either encrypted or unencrypted, depending on your compliance standards.

The application deployment procedure is streamlined and optimized by the program by saving environmental configuration settings along with other characteristics.

These reasons might lead you to believe that both the Secrets Manager and SSM Parameter store mean the same thing while they are not. Let’s examine the parallels and contrasts between the two. 

The Parallels

Value/Key Store

Using a title and key, you can save values in both solutions. This is a very helpful feature of both services since it enables highly customized and integrable application deployments by enabling the application deployment to access various secrets or parameters depending on the software infrastructure.


There’s no need to choose between the latter solely upon the encryption each service offers because both of them are fundamentally highly secure services.

IAM regulations can be defined to regulate and describe certain privileges on which only particular IAM accounts and roles have access to decode the value via another AWS Security service called KMS (the Key Management Service). This helps you comply with compliance rules by limiting access to those who don’t need it and adhering to the concept of privileged users.

Cloud Formation

You can create your apps automatically using the potent Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool AWS CloudFormation. Without the need for laborious manual procedures, the easy installation of both services utilizing CloudFormation enables a smooth user experience.

Secrets Manager permits many versions of a secret to exist simultaneously while rotating a secret utilizing staging names, but SSM Parameter Store only permits a single version of a variable to be present at any particular instant.


Versioning describes the capability of saving numerous, progressively generated versions of anything in order to retain many versions of the exact same material, recover lost iterations more quickly, etc.

Versioning of secret data inside the services is supported by both systems. You can explore numerous prior iterations of your variables in this way. Additionally, you have the choice to voluntarily promote an older version to the current primary version, which might be helpful as your program evolves.

The Differences

Password Generation

We can create unique, strong passwords securely and auditable using a tool in AWS Secrets Manager that lets us produce random values during the beginning phase and then use them later within the exact CloudFormation structure. This offers us access to all the advantages that come with fully building our applications utilizing IaC.

Contrarily, AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store doesn’t operate in this manner and does not permit us to explicitly produce random values using hardware or the AWS CLI; additionally, this cannot be done during the beginning of the procedure.


The prices for these services also vary, with SSM often being less expensive than Secrets Manager. For SSM, the common parameters are free. The first 10,000 values you record won’t cost you anything, while Advanced Parameters will. AWS Secret Manager charges you a set cost for each secret as well as every 10,000 API requests in a given month.

This is important information because it may affect how you utilize every service as well as how you plan your cloud budget proposal.

Secret Sizes

There is a maximum set limit for the parameter or secret that each service can store.

Secrets Manager has a storage capacity of up to 10kb.

Each element in Standard Parameters may contain over 4096 characters (4KB in size), while elements in Advanced Parameters may contain over 8KB.

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Secrets Rotation

The capability of AWS Secrets Manager to constantly rotate passwords depending on a predetermined frequency that you select is one of its powerful features. This capability (automatic data rotation) is automatically integrated with several AWS services via AWS Secrets Manager, and it cannot be achieved with AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store. For the exact same capability that Secrets Manager supports organically, you will need to renew and update information regularly, which will need much more manual configuration.

Cross-account Access

First off, the AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store does not presently support the attachment of IAM policies based on resources (Standard type). As a result, cross-account accessibility is not supported by the Parameter store. If you require this feature, you must build a complex alternative or employ AWS Secrets Manager.

Multi-region Deployment

AWS Secrets Manager makes it simple to copy your secrets throughout various AWS Regions to enable both decentralized applications and backup and recovery situations.

The AWS Parameter Store doesn’t enable cross-region duplication by default.

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In Conclusion

The secret information can be kept either encrypted or decrypted using the parameter store. By saving external configuration information and other characteristics, it aids in the optimization and streamlining of software installations as well as being free. By offering additional features like tighter integration, cross-account access, and key rotation with AWS services, AWS Secrets Manager takes things to the next level.

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