Skip to content

Policy enforcement with Open Policy Agent

Terrateam integrates with Open Policy Agent (OPA) and Conftest to provide powerful policy enforcement capabilities for your Terraform plans. By defining custom policies using the Rego query language, you can ensure that your Terraform configurations adhere to your organization’s standards, best practices, and compliance requirements.

What is Open Policy Agent (OPA)?

Open Policy Agent (OPA) is an open-source, general-purpose policy engine that enables unified policy enforcement across the stack. OPA provides a declarative language called Rego for defining policies and a runtime for evaluating those policies against structured data, such as JSON or YAML.

What is Conftest?

Conftest is a utility that helps you write tests against structured configuration data, such as Terraform plans, Kubernetes manifests, or Serverless configurations. Conftest uses OPA’s Rego language to define policies and provides a command-line interface for testing your configurations against those policies.

Configuring policy enforcement

To enable policy enforcement with OPA and Conftest in Terrateam, you need to configure a custom workflow in your Terrateam configuration file (.terrateam/config.yml).

Here’s an example configuration that runs Conftest against the generated Terraform plan:

- tag_query: ""
- type: init
- type: plan
- type: run
cmd: ['conftest-wrapper']
capture_output: true

In this configuration:

  • The init and plan steps generate the Terraform plan as usual.
  • The run step executes the conftest-wrapper script, which calls the conftest binary with the generated Terraform plan file.
  • The capture_output option is set to true to include the Conftest output in the Terrateam plan results.

Defining policies with Rego

Conftest policies are written using the Rego query language. Rego allows you to define rules and constraints that your Terraform configurations must satisfy.

Here’s an example Rego policy that denies the creation of any resources using the null_resource provider:

package main
resource_types = {"null_resource"}
resources[resource_type] = all {
some resource_type
all := [name |
name:= input.resource_changes[_]
name.type == resource_type
num_creates[resource_type] = num {
some resource_type
all := resources[resource_type]
creates := [res | res:= all[_]; res.change.actions[_] == "create"]
num := count(creates)
deny[msg] {
num_resources := num_creates["null_resource"]
num_resources > 0
msg := "Resource 'null_resource' detected in Terraform plan file. Denied."

This policy defines a deny rule that generates an error message if the Terraform plan contains any null_resource creations.

Policy directory structure

By default, Conftest looks for Rego policy files in the policy directory relative to the directory being processed by Terrateam.

For example, if a pull request contains a change for the file foo/bar/, Conftest will look for Rego policy files in the foo/bar/policy/ directory.

Terminal window
└── bar
└── policy
└── main.rego

You can customize the policy directory by setting the CONFTEST_POLICY environment variable in your Terrateam workflow configuration.

Example with custom options

Conftest provides various configuration options that can be set using environment variables. You can find the full list of options here.

Here’s an example of how to specify a different policy directory using the CONFTEST_POLICY environment variable in your Terrateam workflow:

- tag_query: "dir:aws/us-east-1/production/iam"
- type: init
- type: plan
- type: env
cmd: ["echo", "$TERRATEAM_ROOT/aws/policies/iam/"]
- type: run
cmd: ['conftest-wrapper']
capture_output: true

In this configuration:

  • The env step sets the CONFTEST_POLICY environment variable to the aws/policies/iam/ directory relative to the repository root ($TERRATEAM_ROOT).
  • The run step executes the conftest-wrapper script, which will use the specified policy directory when running Conftest. With this setup, when a pull request is created against the aws/us-east-1/production/iam/ file, Terrateam will execute Conftest using the Rego policy files located in the aws/policies/iam/ directory.

Policy testing workflow

When a Terrateam plan operation runs with policy enforcement enabled, the following workflow takes place:

  1. Terrateam generates the Terraform plan file.

  2. Conftest is executed against the generated plan file using the specified Rego policies.

  3. If the plan violates any of the defined policies, Conftest returns a non-zero exit status, causing the Terrateam plan operation to fail.

  4. The Conftest output, including any policy violations, is captured and included in the Terrateam plan results.

  5. If the plan passes all policy checks, the Terrateam plan operation succeeds, and the plan can be reviewed and applied as usual.

Conftest Plan Failure

Best practices

When implementing policy enforcement with OPA and Conftest in Terrateam, consider the following best practices:

  • Define clear and concise policies that align with your organization’s standards, best practices, and compliance requirements.
  • Use meaningful error messages in your Rego policies to help users understand why a plan failed and how to remediate the issues.
  • Organize your policies in a logical directory structure that reflects your infrastructure and makes it easy to manage and maintain the policies.
We use cookies and similar technologies to provide certain features, enhance the user experience and deliver content that is relevant to your interests. Depending on their purpose, analysis and marketing cookies may be used in addition to technically necessary cookies. By clicking on "Agree and continue", you declare your consent to the use of the aforementioned cookies. Here you can make detailed settings or revoke your consent (in part if necessary) with effect for the future. For further information, please refer to our Privacy Policy .