1. Cloud Incident Response Wiki
  2. AWS Forensics and Incident Response

AWS CloudTrail Pricing: A Deep Dive for Cost-Conscious Cloud Users



Understanding AWS CloudTrail pricing can be a foggy prospect, shrouded in tiered charges, storage options, and regional variations. The more sceptical among you may even think that AWS do this intentionally, to make reducing costs more difficult. That's unlikely the reason, however. So - fear not, intrepid cloud adventurer! This post delves into the depths of CloudTrail costs, empowering you to navigate the pricing landscape with confidence and optimize your budget.





  • Weve built a platform to automate incident response and forensics in AWS, Azure and GCP you cangrab a demo here. You can alsodownload a free playbook weve written on how to respond to security incidents in AWS.





First Glance: The Basics


CloudTrail tracks API calls across your AWS account, providing essential audit trails for security and compliance. Pricing hinges on two main factors: ingestion (volume of logs) and storage (retention period).


Ingestion: Measured in gigabytes (GB), ingestion charges vary based on monthly volume tiers. The first 5 TB are generously priced at $2.5 per GB, followed by tiered discounts as your usage scales. Remember, exceeding a tier bumps you to the next tier's pricing for all usage, not just the overage.


Storage: You can choose from three retention periods: one year extendable, seven years, and forever. Longer periods naturally cost more, with seven-year retention doubling the one-year extendable option. Keep in mind that S3 storage charges apply after the initial retention period expires, adding another layer to your costs.



Cost Optimization Strategies


With a grasp of the basics, let's explore smart tactics to trim your CloudTrail bill:


Right-size your trails: Not all events merit tracking. Define granular event selection criteria to capture only the actions necessary for your compliance needs.


Leverage multi-account trails: If you manage multiple accounts, consider using an organization trail to capture events across all accounts at a potentially lower cost than individual trails.


Utilize CloudTrail Lake: This managed data lake for CloudTrail logs offers flexible querying and analysis capabilities. However, be mindful of additional charges for data ingestion and queries.


Embrace automation: Leverage AWS CloudTrail Insights to gain automated security insights from your logs, potentially reducing the need for manual analysis and associated costs.


Budget and monitor: Set up AWS Budgets to track your CloudTrail spending and receive alerts when approaching predefined thresholds. Utilize AWS Cost Explorer to analyze granular cost breakdowns and identify optimization opportunities.



Deep Dives for the Curious


Beyond the basics, several resources hold valuable insights for advanced cost optimization:


AWS CloudTrail Pricing Page: The official resource for detailed pricing information, including regional variations and storage charges.


Managing CloudTrail Trail Costs: This AWS documentation delves into best practices for cost-effective CloudTrail configuration and management.


Diving into the New CloudTrail Lake: A Medium article exploring the cost considerations of CloudTrail Lake and offering valuable comparison points with traditional CloudTrail logging.


How to Reduce the Cost for CloudTrail Logging: A user-driven discussion on the AWS re:Post platform, sharing practical tips and real-world experiences for cost optimization.