recently, i’ve run into an issue: one of my colleagues removed CloudFormation stack because he’d thought it had no longer been used, and long story short, it gave us some trouble. i started to wonder if there was any way to somehow monitor CloudFormation stacks and then i remembered that CloudTrail stores all AWS API events, CloudFormation ones as well.

so basically i wanted any kind of notification if somebody deletes CloudFormation stack, preferably a mail. turns out, it’s super easy to do using AWS SNS and AWS CloudWatch Event rules.

i created a whole config in terraform, but it could be done in CloudFormation as well.

our event rule

resource "aws_cloudwatch_event_rule" "event-rule" {
  name          = "cloudwatch-cloudformation-event"
  description   = "Capture CFN DeleteStack event"
  event_pattern = <<PATTERN
  "source": [
  "detail-type": [
    "AWS API Call via CloudTrail"
  "detail": {
    "eventSource": [
    "eventName": [

resource "aws_cloudwatch_event_target" "sns" {
  rule      =
  target_id = "SendToSNS"
  arn       = aws_sns_topic.sns-topic.arn

  input_transformer {
    input_paths = {"stack":"$.detail.requestParameters.stackName","sourceIP":"$.detail.sourceIPAddress","eventTime":"$.detail.eventTime","userType":"$.detail.userIdentity.type","event":"$.detail.eventName","region":"$.detail.awsRegion","userName":"$.detail.userIdentity.userName"}
    input_template = <<TEMPLATE
    "Stack <stack> is processing event <event>. User that triggered event: <userType> <userName> at region <region>, IP <sourceIP> at <eventTime>."

first thing, rule itself. the most important part is the event pattern - we are looking for AWS API CloudFormation calls, more precisely, we are looking for DeleteStack event. if it’s needed we can also extend it to any other events that we are interested in. then, we are creating a target for our CW Event rule which is SNS topic that we gonna create later. we also gonna use a input_transformer to transform a JSON that AWS will send us. we don’t need all information that AWS will send us, just the stack name, sourceIP, eventTime, event, region and userType and userName.

our sns topic

resource "aws_sns_topic" "sns-topic" {
  name = "cloudformation-stack-delete"

resource "aws_sns_topic_policy" "default" {
  arn    = aws_sns_topic.sns-topic.arn
  policy = data.aws_iam_policy_document.sns-topic-policy.json

resource "aws_sns_topic_subscription" "sns-mail-subscription" {
  topic_arn = aws_sns_topic.sns-topic.arn
  protocol  = "email"
  endpoint  = ""

data "aws_iam_policy_document" "sns-topic-policy" {
  statement {
    effect  = "Allow"
    actions = ["SNS:Publish"]

    principals {
      type        = "Service"
      identifiers = [""]

    resources = [aws_sns_topic.sns-topic.arn]

we are creating SNS topic with a really basic policyDocument that allows us to publish messages. then we are adding a subscription for that with email protocol and endpoint is our email. and that’s basically it, we are running terraform apply

if it was successful we should get an email to confirm our subscription to SNS topic.

You have chosen to subscribe to the topic: 

To confirm this subscription, click or visit the link below (If this was in error no action is necessary): 
Confirm subscription

we click yes, and to try it out, i’ll remove my test CFN stack.

"Stack arn:aws:cloudformation:$REGION:$ACCID:stack/testCFNstack/3d71x780-3azx-11eb-a455-12baxvce1294 is processing event DeleteStack. User that triggered event: IAMUser marcin.zelasko at region $REGION, IP $SOMEIP."

we got an email, with the only information that we need. (ofc, i changed some information to not put sensitive data here)

if you still got any issues with setting it up, you can check out my repo.