AWS Secrets Manager vs AWS Parameter Store

Numerous programs communicate with internal or external systems, including databases and REST APIs. A secret, such as an API key, username, password, or certificate, is typically used to authenticate your program when communicating with another system. This raises the issue of securely providing our program access using the secrets.

AWS Secrets Manager and Parameter Store are two options provided by AWS for storing application configurations. Both encrypt the data using KMS and are capable of holding any confidential data. Both of them are managed through IAM policies. Now again, the question arises which one should you choose?

What is AWS Secrets Manager?

You may rotate, manage, and recover database credentials, API keys, and other secrets throughout lifetime with AWS Secrets Manager. Additionally, it makes it very simple to adhere to security best practices such as routinely rotating and encrypting secrets.

You may use Secrets Manager to preserve and keep secrets and ensure that your company complies with legal and compliance standards. Developers don’t have to worry about where to keep these credentials since Secrets Manager may offload the maintenance of secrets from them, such as API keys or passwords.

What is AWS Parameter Store?

With the help of encryption and AWS KMS integration, Parameter Store enables you to protect your data. You can use Parameter store to create key-value parameters to securely store application configurations, product keys, credentials, and environment variables in a single place. 

You can connect parameters with apps running in an AWS environment (EC2, ECS, etc) or on-premises data center. Later, you can access these parameters using SSM state Manager and Run command. By eliminating the need to incorporate private data, such as database passwords, into your code, Parameter Store makes it simple to change these variables without changing the source code.

AWS Secrets Manager vs AWS Parameter Store: Difference between AWS Secrets Manager and Parameter Store

Both services Parameter store and AWS secret manager use AWS KMS to encrypt your secrets. IAM policies may be set up to regulate which IAM users and roles have the authority to decrypt a value by utilizing KMS. Although IAM may be used to restrict access to the data, encryption offers an extra level of protection and is occasionally necessary for compliance. Now, let’s look at the differences between AWS secrets manager and parameter store.  

Secret Rotation

Secrets rotation’s fundamental tenet is that you should often switch your login credentials for different services to reduce the loss if they are hacked.

On a given schedule, Secrets Manager automatically rotates certificates. This is a no-code process for services like RDS, Redshift, and DocumentDB. Secrets Manager offers a pre-built Lambda function for some AWS databases, and you can create a Lambda function on your own for the services that are not supported. The Systems Manager Parameter Store does not support automated data rotation.

Generate Random Secrets

The capacity to produce random secrets is another significant distinction, yet another triumph for Secrets Manager. Passwords may be generated at random in CloudFormation and saved in Secrets Manager. And this goes beyond CloudFormation functionality. This may be accomplished in your application code using the SDK. Secrets may be exchanged between accounts, which is one more distinction and a benefit for Secrets Manager.

Cross Account Access

Secrets may be shared between accounts, which is another significant way that AWS Secrets Manager differs from Parameter. For example, there can be two accounts development and security. Development account IAM users and application resources will have access to secrets kept in the security account. Such a feature is helpful in situations where you want to tell a partner a specific secret. There is no cross-account access supported in Parameter storage. 


There are no extra fees for using Parameter Store. There is a cap on how many parameters you can save, which is 10,000 at the moment. There is a fee for using AWS Secrets Manager, which is $.40 per secret.

Additionally, there is an extra $.05 per 10,000 API requests. Although it may not seem like much—we’re only talking about pennies—these cents may add up for a large corporation and should be considered if you are keeping a lot of secrets.

Multi-Region Replication

AWS Secrets manager allows you to replicate secrets across multiple regions for extra security during disaster or cyberattack. At the same time, cross-region replication is not supported by Parameter Store.

AWS Secrets Manager vs AWS Parameter Store: Complete Comparison Overview

Secrets Manager Parameter Store
Pricing $0.4 per month and $0.05 per 10,000 API calls Free
Store values up to 4096 Characters 64Kb 4KB or 8KB
Per second retrievals 5,000 3000
Secret Rotation Through Lambda functions Not available
Replication Yes Not available
Payload limit ~65KB 4KB
Lifecycle policies No Yes
CloudTrail auditing Yes Yes

Wrapping up

Both services are crucial to the AWS ecosystem because they enable efficient problem-solving and successful application deployment on AWS. It is free to store both encrypted and unencrypted data with Parameter. Secrets Manager goes a long way beyond this with the same functionalities, and it is a paid service.

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