Adam Roberts
Stax on Stax
22 May 2020

Rule Bundles, Networks, our SDK and More – What We Released in May

May has been a massive month for Stax, with our team rolling out a bunch of major features for our users. Here is a summary of what we’ve released to customers, we’re really excited to share it!

Rule Bundles

This month we released a major update to our Rules feature: a streamlined, reorganized Rules section and a new feature called Rule Bundles. But first, a quick recap on Rules:

Rules help organizations manage their risk. They allow teams to track their alignment to their organization’s risk management framework, and helps with achieving risk and compliance standards like PCI and APRA.

Rule Bundles make Rules easier to use. They group together related Rules, each focused on a specific outcome, making it much easier for customers to monitor only those Rules relevant to their particular risk management framework.

Rule Bundles help organizations meet compliance frameworks and follow AWS best practices

Quickly create a personalized set of Rule Bundles to monitor, all of which align to a particular aspect of your organization's requirements. We launched the feature with a collection of best-practice Rule Bundles for AWS products like EC2, RDS or S3, along with one focused on the CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark. Plenty more are on the way! Learn how to use them here.

Networks

This month, we also released an early version of our Networks feature. This is something the team has been working on for a long time, and planning for since Stax was first launched. The feature offers an out-of-the-box approach to building best-practice networks that connect AWS resources together.

Networks helps customers build best-practice AWS networks

Networks allows customers to complete a step-by-step process, choose pre-configured VPC templates, and then let Stax orchestrate the network creation process. Once they have networks created, the Networking Hubs feature allows them to see all their networks in one place. Learn more about using the feature.

This is just the first version of Networks, and we have a lot more planned for future updates. Among them: simplifying Direct Connect and VPN transit into the network, and DNS endpoints, the first step to name resolution.

Networks will soon move to General Availability. When that happens, expect a blog post offering more details on the feature.

The Stax Python SDK

Our Python Software Development Kit streamlines programmatic access to the Stax API, allowing developers to more easily build apps and automation powered by Stax functionality.

The Stax team has always taken an API-first approach to building product functionality: everything you can do in the Stax web console has a corresponding API. This SDK is an extension of this philosophy.

The SDK includes code examples to help customers automate the secure retrieval of Stax API Token Keys, make calls against the Stax API, as well as code pipeline integration examples for end-to-end automation.

Anyone can access the Stax Python SDK, and Stax customers with API Tokens can authenticate and access the Stax API which allows them to access data in their Stax Organization/Customer. Find out how in our docs.

Account Onboarding

Account Onboarding makes it easy for customers to become fully compliant cloud citizens, by allowing them to uplift existing AWS accounts to the same high standard as those created using Stax.

With Account Onboarding, customers can discover existing AWS accounts and gauge their compliance with (currently) the CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark. These accounts can then be run through Stax’s Account Assurance process, which applies security controls to minimize security risks and vulnerabilities.

This process brings accounts’ compliance status up to the same high standard as native Stax accounts. From there, onboarded accounts can be managed within Stax, just like any other account.

Account Onboarding first requires customers to go through Organization Onboarding. In addition, the first release of account onboarding requires accounts meet certain criteria. If you have an existing AWS Organisation and are struggling to meet your compliance and security objectives, get in touch to see how Stax can help.

Other Notable Updates

Workload Catalog Item & Version Tagging

We made it easier for users to manage their Workloads (Infrastructure as Code). Workload definitions are stored in a shared Catalog, allowing users in the same organizationt to use them in deploying their own infrastructure. We’ve now added the ability for users to add tags to Catalog Item Versions. This can be useful for adding context when deploying Workloads, like the commit differences between two versions. This helps streamline testing and development processes for teams.

User Management Update

The console’s user management section is now called Users. Customer feedback indicated the original name for this section, Stax Team, was a bit confusing. Many users believed this referred to the Stax team (us)! This update has hopefully cleared this up. Another victory for Team Stax!

Account Filtering and Sorting

The Accounts page has an improved look and feel and several new features. Users can view the compliance status (currently checked against the CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark), filter accounts via type, status or favorites. Users also have a bit more control over how many accounts appear on a page, and in which order they are displayed.

Phew! That was May at Stax, we had a blast. We’re looking forward to hearing how our customers have used these features to build their cloud ecosystems.

If anything in this list caught your attention, contact us to learn more and see how Stax may work for your organization. See you next month!