Sym solves painful access and approval problems with practical workflows-as-code.

Is your team experiencing:

Sym can help! This quickstart will help you launch a new access flow in under an hour. Your engineers will be able to safely and conveniently gain access to sensitive resources, all with the guardrails you need in place.

If you want to check out a demo, go here!

Workflow: AWS Lambda Access

We're going to walk through setting up an access control workflow using Slack, AWS Lambda and Sym. By the end of this tutorial, you'll have the ability to wrap any resource that your Lambdas can access with a fully-configurable request-and-approval flow, using a declaratively provisioned Slack bot.

The complete code for this tutorial can be found at @symopsio/sym-lambda-adapter-quickstart.

Users will interact with this Sym Flow via Slack. Slack connects to the Sym platform, which executes a Flow that uses the Integrations we are wiring together in this tutorial.

End-User Workflow

Making Requests

This is what a request will look like.

Request Modal

Sym will send a request for approval to the appropriate users or channel based on your

Approval Request

Finally, upon approval, Sym invokes your AWS Lambda function and updates Slack.

Approved Access

To complete this tutorial, you should install Terraform, and make sure you have a working install of Python 3.

What's Next

The environment includes everything you need to get a Lambda workflow up and running. Just configure a few variables in terraform.tfvars and you're on your way!

Here's all that you'll need to do:

The Terraform configuration is set up to automatically build and package zips for a layer and function implementation whenever the requirements.txt or Python files change.

Local testing

You can iterate on your handler function locally by invoking your handler function directly. We've provided tools to help with local testing in the test directory.

For local testing, the API URL and the API Key will be read from environment variables.

  1. Copy env.example to the handler directory, modify the API_KEY and API_URL values, and source it:
$ cp test/env.example .env
# modify API_URL and API_KEY
$ source .env
  1. Run pip install -r requirements.txt
  2. Now you can test the handler! Run cat test/escalate.json | python to invoke your API.

You'll need to work with the Sym team to get your organization set up with access to the Sym platform. Once you're onboarded, continue from here.

Install the symflow CLI

The symflow CLI is what you use to interact with Sym's control plane.

$ brew install symopsio/tap/symflow
==> Tapping symopsio/tap
Cloning into '/opt/homebrew/Library/Taps/symopsio/homebrew-tap'...
remote: Enumerating objects: 1148, done.
remote: Counting objects: 100% (285/285), done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (222/222), done.
remote: Total 1148 (delta 134), reused 156 (delta 59), pack-reused 863
Receiving objects: 100% (1148/1148), 324.27 KiB | 6.36 MiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (530/530), done.
Tapped 14 formulae (43 files, 582.7KB).
==> Downloading
######################################################################## 100.0%
==> Installing symflow from symopsio/tap
🍺  /opt/homebrew/Cellar/symflow/1.3.7: 10,351 files, 198MB, built in 33 second


We'll have to login before we can do anything else. Sym also supports SSO, if your organization has set it up.

$ symflow login
Sym Org: healthy-health
Password: ************
MFA Token: ******

Success! Welcome, Sym Implementer. 🤓

Set your Org slug

You simply have to take the slug given to you by the Sym team, and set it in environments/main/terraform.tfvars.

# environments/main/terraform.tfvars

sym_org_slug = "healthy-health"

Now that you've got symflow installed, you need to install Sym's Slack app into your workspace.

Grab your Workspace ID

The easiest place to find this is in the URL you see when you run Slack in your web browser. It will start with a T, and look something like TABC123.

This also goes in environments/main/terraform.tfvars.

# environments/main/terraform.tfvars

slack_workspace_id = "TABC123"

Provision your Slack app

symflow has a convenient way to provision an instance of Sym's Slack app. This command will generate an install link that you can either use directly, or forward on to your Workspace Administrator.

$ symflow services create --service-type slack --external-id T123ABC
Successfully set up service type slack with external ID TABC123!
Generated an installation link for the Sym Slack app:

Please send this URL to an administrator who has permission to install the app. Or, if that's you, we can open it now.

Would you like to open the Slack installation URL in a browser window? [Y/n]:

Once Slack is set up, try launching the Sym app with /sym in Slack.

You should see a welcome modal like this one, since we haven't set up a Flow yet:

Slack Welcome Modal

This Flow is set up to route access requests to the #sym-requests channel. You can change this channel in—wait for it—terraform.tfvars.

# environments/main/terraform.tfvars

flow_vars = {
  request_channel = "#sym-requests"

Sym will also send any errors that happen during a Run (due to external failures or config issues) to a configurable error channel, which defaults to #sym-errors.

# environments/main/terraform.tfvars

error_channel = "#sym-errors"

Now that Slack is set up, let's provision your Flow!

# environments/main/terraform.tfvars

api_url = ""
$ export AWS_PROFILE=my-profile
$ cd environments/main
$ terraform init
$ terraform apply
Plan: 25 to add, 0 to change, 0 to destroy.

Do you want to perform these actions?
  Terraform will perform the actions described above.
  Only 'yes' will be accepted to approve.

  Enter a value: yes

Apply complete! Resources: 25 added, 0 changed, 0 destroyed.

Try out a request!

You should be able to make a request now with /sym req. Once approved, the adapter-flow example function should be invoked in your AWS account, and you'll see log output like:

START RequestId: dcb17aed-df38-4aba-b72f-4000fc63c871 Version: $LATEST
Got event:
sym_handler/ handle
log: SymLogEntry(
srn=SRN(org=my-org, model=run, slug=lambda_access, version=2.0.0, identifier=7cd568e8-d42a-4183-9007-d2b654dfce75),
SRN(org=my-org, model=run, slug=flow_selection, version=1.0.0,
flow=SRN(org=my-org, model=flow, slug=lambda_access, version=2.0.0),
srn=SRN(org=my-org, model=event, slug=approval, version=1.0.0),
template=SRN(org=my-org, model=template, slug=approval, version=1.0.0),
timestamp=datetime.datetime(2022, 2, 15, 14, 33, 8, 769366, tzinfo=datetime.timezone.utc),

Once you've got your Flow talking to the example AWS Lambda implementation, its time to customize the Lambda to do something interesting for your team.

Sym invokes your Lambda function with a SymLogEntry payload. Read more about the properties of SymLogEntry in our docs, or head over to the lambda-templates repo to see example Lambdas in action.

Adding configuration variables

You can add optional configuration in terraform.tfvars to the lambda_vars variable. Each key/value pair in lambda_vars will be configured as an environment variable that your Lambda implementation can read. You can use the config helper module to access these variables.

from config import get_config

config = get_config()
my_var = config.my_key

Configuring secrets for your Lambda

Your Lambda is set up to read secrets from AWS Parameter Store. If you create a secret prefixed with / then your Lambda already has permissions to read the secret. You can use the get_ssm_parameter helper method in the config module to read these secrets.

api_key = get_ssm_parameter("/")

Now that you've configured your AWS Lambda implementation, its time to validate that your integration works end-to-end. Double check that your function is properly responding to escalation and de-escalation events and handling error cases!

What's next?

Here are some next steps to consider: