Secure Terraform - Part 5 - Terraform State

2 minute read

This is part 5 of the Secure Terraform series. You can read the series of articles here:



Terraform is an immensely popular Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tool that allows you to manage and provision infrastructure resources using configuration files and automation tools.

Securing your Terraform state is crucial for maintaining the integrity and security of your infrastructure. The state file contains a wealth of sensitive information, including resource configurations, connection details, and even secret values such as API keys and passwords. In the hands of bad actors, this data could be exploited to gain unauthorized access, launch attacks, or cause irreparable damage to your infrastructure. To protect your organization from these threats, it’s essential to understand the importance of securing your Terraform state and implement best practices that safeguard your infrastructure’s state data.

Why Secure Your Terraform State?

Securing your Terraform state is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Prevent Unauthorized Access: A secure Terraform state prevents unauthorized individuals from gaining access to sensitive information about your infrastructure, which could be used for malicious purposes.
  2. Maintain Infrastructure Integrity: By securing your Terraform state, you can ensure that your infrastructure remains in a consistent state and prevent unauthorized changes.
  3. Avoid Infrastructure Drift: Securing your Terraform state helps prevent infrastructure drift, which can lead to inconsistencies and potential security vulnerabilities.
  4. Safeguard Sensitive Data: Your Terraform state may contain sensitive data, such as API keys, passwords, and other secrets. Securing this data is essential to protect your organization from data breaches and other security risks.

Best Practices for Securing Terraform State

Here are some best practices to follow when securing your Terraform state:

1. Use Remote State Storage

Storing your Terraform state file remotely is a vital step in securing it. Remote state storage options, such as Azure Blob Storage, Amazon S3, or Google Cloud Storage, offer built-in encryption for data at rest and provide access control features that can help secure your Terraform state.

2. Enable Encryption at Rest

When using remote state storage, ensure that encryption is enabled for data at rest. This will protect your Terraform state from unauthorized access and prevent sensitive data from being exposed.

3. Implement Access Control

Implement access control mechanisms, such as role-based access control (RBAC), to limit who can access your Terraform state file. This will ensure that only authorized users can view or modify your infrastructure’s state.

4. Use Versioning

Enable versioning for your remote state storage. This allows you to maintain a history of your Terraform state and makes it possible to roll back to a previous state if necessary.

5. Lock Your State

When working with a team, it’s essential to lock your Terraform state during operations. This prevents multiple users from making changes simultaneously and causing conflicts or inconsistencies in your infrastructure’s state.

6. Perform Regular Audits

Regularly audit your Terraform state to ensure that it remains secure and up-to-date. This can help identify potential vulnerabilities and ensure that your infrastructure is compliant with your organization’s security policies.


Securing your Terraform state is a critical aspect of managing your infrastructure with Terraform. By following the best practices outlined above, you can protect your organization from unauthorized access, maintain the integrity of your infrastructure, and safeguard sensitive data. By doing so, you can ensure that your infrastructure remains secure and reliable throughout its lifecycle.