NashTech Insights

How to Ensure Compliance and Governance with Terraform

Rahul Miglani
Rahul Miglani
Table of Contents
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Introduction: In today’s complex regulatory landscape, ensuring compliance and governance of infrastructure resources is of utmost importance for organizations across various industries. Traditional manual approaches to compliance can be time-consuming, error-prone, and difficult to maintain. However, with the rise of infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools like Terraform, organizations can achieve compliance and governance in a more efficient and automated manner. In this blog post, we will explore how Terraform can be leveraged to ensure compliance and governance, along with an example Terraform code snippet.

Understanding Compliance and Governance with Terraform: Terraform provides a robust framework to implement and enforce compliance and governance policies across infrastructure resources. By codifying infrastructure as code, organizations can define their compliance requirements and ensure that resources are provisioned and configured in a compliant manner. Terraform enables organizations to automate these processes, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring consistency in infrastructure deployments.

Advantages of Using Terraform for Compliance and Governance:
Standardized Infrastructure:

Firstly, Terraform allows you to define infrastructure resources in a standardized manner. By using a declarative language like HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), you can codify your compliance requirements and enforce them consistently across your infrastructure.

Infrastructure Auditing and Tracking:

Secondly, With Terraform, you can track and audit changes made to your infrastructure. Terraform maintains a state file that records the current state of provisioned resources. This state file serves as a valuable source of truth, enabling you to monitor and verify compliance adherence.

Policy as Code:

Thirdly, Terraform supports integration with policy-as-code frameworks like Open Policy Agent (OPA). OPA allows you to define and enforce compliance policies using a declarative language, allowing for granular control over resource configurations. By integrating OPA with Terraform, you can validate infrastructure code against defined policies during the provisioning process.

Continuous Compliance Monitoring:

Finally, Terraform’s infrastructure-as-code approach facilitates continuous compliance monitoring. By leveraging continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines, you can automate the scanning and evaluation of infrastructure code against compliance policies. This ensures that compliance is maintained throughout the software delivery lifecycle.

Example: Enforcing AWS IAM Password Policy with Terraform:

Let’s consider an example of using Terraform to enforce an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) password policy. The following code snippet demonstrates how Terraform can be utilized to define a password policy for IAM users

Finally, In the code snippet above, we define an IAM account password policy resource named “example”. We specify the minimum password length, the requirement for lowercase and uppercase characters, the inclusion of numbers and symbols, the allowance for users to change their passwords, and the maximum password age.

Lastly, By applying this Terraform configuration, the IAM password policy will be enforced for all IAM users within the AWS account. Any deviations from the defined policy will be identified and rectified automatically during the provisioning process.


Lastly, Terraform provides organizations with a powerful tool to ensure compliance and governance in their infrastructure operations. By adopting an infrastructure-as-code approach and leveraging Terraform’s capabilities, organizations can define and enforce compliance policies consistently across their infrastructure resources.
Finally, The example provided demonstrates how Terraform can be used to enforce an IAM password policy in AWS. By implementing compliance and governance with Terraform, organizations can reduce manual efforts, minimize risks, and ensure the security and integrity of their infrastructure deployments.

Rahul Miglani

Rahul Miglani

Rahul Miglani is Vice President at NashTech and Heads the DevOps Competency and also Heads the Cloud Engineering Practice. He is a DevOps evangelist with a keen focus to build deep relationships with senior technical individuals as well as pre-sales from customers all over the globe to enable them to be DevOps and cloud advocates and help them achieve their automation journey. He also acts as a technical liaison between customers, service engineering teams, and the DevOps community as a whole. Rahul works with customers with the goal of making them solid references on the Cloud container services platforms and also participates as a thought leader in the docker, Kubernetes, container, cloud, and DevOps community. His proficiency includes rich experience in highly optimized, highly available architectural decision-making with an inclination towards logging, monitoring, security, governance, and visualization.

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