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Is "IAM" access the only method to gain access AWS?

I'm asking because I'm using AWS IoT. With AWS IoT we create things such as devices on AWS IoT Core.

However, with IAM access, after creating a "thing", I am able to communicate with the device via its shadow etc. without registering a device certificate for the device.

Doesn't this defeat the purpose of using AWS IoT, because AWS IoT should enforce us to use best security practices?

Also, with IAM access, it means we have to hard-code credentials into the device for first access to the cloud.

Is there other ways to access AWS IoT, or only via IAM? Thanks

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