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webbuilder December 13, 2023 0 Comments

Terraform Cloud AWS Dynamic Credentials – Infrastructure Automation

Securing your infrastructure automation is necessary, and relying on static credentials for provider authentication poses inherent risks, even with regular rotation. Dynamic provider credentials improve your security framework, allowing the generation of new, temporary credentials for every run. 


Configuring dynamic credentials for individual Terraform Cloud workspaces eliminates the manual burden of credential management and rotation across your organization. Furthermore, it uses the authentication and authorization tools the cloud platform provides. It enables precise permission scoping based on metadata like the run’s phase, workspace, or organization, streamlining your security strategy.

How Dynamic Credentials Operate?

We establish a connection between Terraform Cloud and our cloud platform to enable dynamic credentials. Throughout this setup, rules are defined to allow our Terraform Cloud workspace and run access to specific resources. The process unfolds for each Terraform plan and apply:


Token Generation – Terraform Cloud generates a workload identity token following the OpenID Connect protocol, containing details about our organization, workspace, and run stage.

Token Transmission – When a plan or application begins, Terraform Cloud sends this token, along with other necessary information, to the cloud platform to verify our identity.

Validation – The cloud platform utilizes Terraform Cloud’s public signing key to validate the workload identity token.

Credential Provisioning – Upon successful validation, the cloud platform issues a set of fresh temporary credentials for Terraform Cloud’s utilization.

Credential Integration – Terraform Cloud integrates these credentials into the run environment, enabling our Terraform provider to utilize them.

Execution – The Terraform plan or apply proceeds as planned.

Clean-Up – Upon completion of the plan or application, the run environment is dismantled, and the temporary credentials are discarded.

Configuring Dynamic Credentials

To implement dynamic credentials in a workspace, follow these steps for each cloud platform:


Establishing a Trust Relationship – Connect Terraform Cloud with the other cloud platform, with specific steps varying depending on the platform.

Defining Cloud Platform Access – Set up roles and rules on the cloud platform to specify the workspace’s access to infrastructure resources.

Workspace Configuration – Configure your Terraform Cloud workspace by adding specific details, such as environment variables, enabling Terraform Cloud to authenticate itself to the other cloud platform during plans and applies. Each cloud platform has its unique set of environment variables for dynamic credential configuration.

AWS Configuration Steps

Follow the steps to set up and configure an OIDC (OpenID Connect) identity provider along with the associated role and trust policy on AWS. While we provide instructions using the AWS console, you can alternatively use Terraform to streamline the AWS configuration process by guiding to our example Terraform configuration.



The integration of Terraform Cloud and AWS through OpenID Connect revolutionizes infrastructure automation. Staying current and utilizing multiple configurations adds flexibility to your AWS environment.


For easy infrastructure management, partner with Triotech Systems. Contact us to optimize Terraform Cloud and AWS integration, unlocking efficiency and innovation in your cloud solutions.


Dynamic credentials are a way to authenticate with a cloud provider without using long-lived static credentials. Instead, fresh credentials are generated for each Terraform run, which are then discarded when the run is complete. This helps to reduce the risk of compromise and unauthorized access to cloud resources.

There are several benefits to using dynamic credentials, including:


  • Reduced risk of compromise
  • Simplified credential management
  • Improved security posture

To configure dynamic credentials for AWS, you will need to follow these steps:


  • Set up a trust relationship between Terraform Cloud and AWS.
  • Configure roles and policies in AWS to define the workspace’s access to infrastructure resources.
  • Add specific environment variables to your Terraform Cloud workspace to tell Terraform Cloud how to authenticate to AWS during plans and applies.

Terraform Cloud AWS Dynamic Credentials are not supported for all AWS services. Additionally, they require a trust relationship to be established between Terraform Cloud and AWS, and you must configure AWS roles and policies to define the workspace’s access to infrastructure resources.

If you lose a temporary credential, it is no longer valid and cannot be used to access AWS resources. This is because temporary credentials have a very short lifespan and are automatically discarded when the Terraform run that generated them is complete. As a result, there is no need to worry about revoking or rotating a lost temporary credential.

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