Compliance frameworks
AWS: Foundational Technical Review overview

AWS: Foundational Technical Review overview

Amazon Web Services or AWS is among the top organizations around the world when it comes to the cloud, and if it’s used in the best way, it can be the place to host secure, reliable software and SaaS solutions. But how do you know if you’re using it to the best of its potential?

That’s where an AWS Foundational Technical Review comes in. Our information security specialists are taking you through the essentials of an AWS FTR and how it can benefit your cloud infrastructure.

What is an AWS Foundational Technical Review?

The AWS Foundational Technical Review or AWS FTR is an in-depth technical review designed for vendors that host their cloud solutions in AWS. You may be familiar with AWS’s Well-Architected Framework. The AWS FTR is essentially a review of whether you have implemented Well-Architected Framework best practices and a self-conducted risk mitigation.

The aim of an AWS FTR is to identify ways you can enhance cloud architecture. This includes making your software more secure, making it more reliable, and helping it run more efficiently.

While the AWS FTR is a self-service assessment, you submit your assessment and documentation to AWS. Specialists then review it and determine whether or not your FTR is approved as demonstrating strong best practices. Your approval is valid for two years.

Who should complete AWS FTR?

The AWS FTR is designed for AWS ISVs. What is an AWS ISV? This is the term for an independent service vendor that hosts its cloud infrastructure on AWS.

An AWS FTR is completely voluntary but it is a necessary step to unlock certain perks and programs within AWS. Of course, an AWS FTR is also helpful for any AWS ISV to determine if they are using AWS in the best way and aligning with the suggested best practices.

Benefits of AWS FTR

Should your organization pursue an AWS FTR? While it can take engineering time, there are plenty of benefits that make an FTR worth the investment.

Funding opportunities

AWS offers certain funding opportunities to its partners. An AWS FTR, though, is a requirement to unlock a variety of these funding benefits. For some organizations, this alone makes up for the time and effort they put into their FTR.

Access to select AWS programs

Several partner programs within the AWS ecosystem are only available to partners that have completed an AWS FTR. For example:

  • The AWS Competency Program which allows you to demonstrate and certify your AWS expertise
  • The AWS Service Ready Program which lets you validate software solutions you’ve built and their ability to work with specific AWS services
  • The AWS ISV Accelerate Program which allows you to co-sell and offers growth opportunities for ISVs

Depending on your organization’s future goals, these programs can open lucrative doors that justify the effort of an AWS FTR.

“Reviewed by Amazon” badge

When you have completed your FTR and it has been reviewed and approved by AWS, you’ll be awarded a “Reviewed by Amazon” badge. This badge certifies that you have a valid FTR and, by extension, that you are a trustworthy ISV that has a well-designed and secured AWS infrastructure.

The badge also comes with a listing for your organization in the AWS Partner Solution Finder directory. This gives you a strong competitive edge and allows potential clients and business partners to find you more easily.

Cost effective review process

Not only does an AWS FTR come with several benefits but it’s a rather low-risk project because there is no direct cost involved. You don’t need to pay for your AWS FTR; you only need to pay any potential costs that come from implementing the best practices detailed in the FTR.

What FTR includes: An AWS FTR checklist

What can you expect when you complete your AWS FTR? The process is rather straightforward:

  1. Join the AWS Partner Network or APN: An AWS FTR is only available to organizations that are part of the AWS Partner Network or APN. Fortunately, signing up for the APN is free and simple.
  1. Enroll in the Software Partner Path: When you are a part of the APN, you have access to different paths within the APN based on the services you provide and the ways you want to work with AWS. The AWS FTR is part of the Software Partner Path, so join this path in your APN portal.
  1. Conduct a review of your architecture: With your APN account and Software Partner Path in place, you can get started on your FTR. AWS offers an FTR guide that walks you through the risk mitigation process and best practices in your FTR. Start by doing a review of your software or solution with the FTR guide to see which aspects of the FTR you’ve already implemented and which you are missing. The most efficient way to do this is to use an automated compliance tool like Vanta to investigate your software for you and give you a detailed report on how you match up with the FTR guide’s checklist.
  1. Implement missing best practices: Now that you know what best practices you need to implement as part of your FTR, you can hit the ground running. Address each of them to be ready for your formal FTR assessment.
  1. Request an FTR: When you’re confident that you’re following the best practices outlined in the FTR guide, it’s time to start the official process. Go into your APN portal and request an FTR. AWS will provide you with a checklist of documents and assessments to complete and submit.

Once you’ve submitted your package, AWS will review it and determine whether it is approved. If not, it will send you instructions for remediation so that you can then re-submit your FTR. If and when your FTR is approved, you’ll receive your “Reviewed by AWS” badge and other perks.

Starting your AWS FTR process

For many organizations, an AWS FTR is well worth the effort for the opportunities, programs, and perks that it unlocks. If you’re ready to learn more and start pursuing your AWS FTR, explore more about Vanta today and learn how our platform can streamline the process for you.

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Access Review Stage Content / Functionality
Across all stages
  • Easily create and save a new access review at a point in time
  • View detailed audit evidence of historical access reviews
Setup access review procedures
  • Define a global access review procedure that stakeholders can follow, ensuring consistency and mitigation of human error in reviews
  • Set your access review frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and working period/deadlines
Consolidate account access data from systems
  • Integrate systems using dozens of pre-built integrations, or “connectors”. System account and HRIS data is pulled into Vanta.
  • Upcoming integrations include Zoom and Intercom (account access), and Personio (HRIS)
  • Upload access files from non-integrated systems
  • View and select systems in-scope for the review
Review, approve, and deny user access
  • Select the appropriate systems reviewer and due date
  • Get automatic notifications and reminders to systems reviewer of deadlines
  • Automatic flagging of “risky” employee accounts that have been terminated or switched departments
  • Intuitive interface to see all accounts with access, account accept/deny buttons, and notes section
  • Track progress of individual systems access reviews and see accounts that need to be removed or have access modified
  • Bulk sort, filter, and alter accounts based on account roles and employee title
Assign remediation tasks to system owners
  • Built-in remediation workflow for reviewers to request access changes and for admin to view and manage requests
  • Optional task tracker integration to create tickets for any access changes and provide visibility to the status of tickets and remediation
Verify changes to access
  • Focused view of accounts flagged for access changes for easy tracking and management
  • Automated evidence of remediation completion displayed for integrated systems
  • Manual evidence of remediation can be uploaded for non-integrated systems
Report and re-evaluate results
  • Auditor can log into Vanta to see history of all completed access reviews
  • Internals can see status of reviews in progress and also historical review detail

PCI Compliance Selection Guide

Determine Your PCI Compliance Level

If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.

When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.

Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.


Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?


Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level

The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.

Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:


A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.

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A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.

Learn more about eCommerce PCI

for service providers

A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.

Use our PCI checklist

Level 1 for service providers

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).

Automate your ROC and AOC

Download this checklist for easy reference


Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.

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