I think that SES is a possibility here given that it can do both outbound and inbound email handling.
However: I don't think that this is a good idea. It's not secure. Anyone could email instructions on your behalf. And (generally) email is sent around in clear-text so interception is always a possibility.
If it were just outbound notifications then SNS is a good fit; it can also use email but also SMS (among other delivery methods).
This is going to be a Dev server. So we can ignore the risk of someone intercepting emails. Could anyone point me to some guides where I can set this up? I am not familiar about AWS services other than EC2. I'm hoping I can set up incoming email processing through SES and trigger a Lambda function to read the email content, check the instance status and turn it on or off. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I think a nicer solution would be to setup the AWS CLI, from there you can easily start and stop your instances, or even execute a lambda function that handles instance state. It would actually be secure, and more robust.
There would be very little overhead once the CLI is setup, you could then even create a script that calls the CLI commands so you don't have to constantly type them out.
You can read more about the AWS CLI here: https://aws.amazon.com/cli/
I would strongly recommend against allowing this to happen via email, emails can easily be spoofed, and even if the data is not sensitive, somebody could just spam you with a bunch of start emails and then you're stuck with a bill for 100 instances you didn't want.
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