Migrating to the cloud can bring up several security concerns. Fortunately, a well-executed plan can enable a successful transition in which data stays safe.
So, your business has decided to take the plunge and migrate to the cloud! You’re not alone – as more and more people continue to work remotely due to the pandemic, organizations around the world have realized the need for workers to access necessary data and applications anytime and from anywhere.
Yet, this necessary shift comes with doubts about security. Migrating organizational data from company data centers is no easy task – how can companies ensure they don’t compromise security measures? We’ll explore this topic and more in today’s Trends post!
A form of cybersecurity, cloud computing security specifically refers to protecting data stored online via cloud computing platforms from theft, deletion, and leakage. According to Investopedia, protective methods include access control, firewalls, penetration testing, obfuscation, tokenization, virtual private networks (VPN), and not using public internet connections.
We’ve written before about the many benefits of cloud computing, including cost savings, speed and efficiency, increased productivity, and performance. Yet, like any service delivered over the internet, security is an issue that must be paid special attention to. While some companies believe that data protection is easier on their own local servers because they feel they have more control over their data, the reality is that cloud service providers have superior security solutions – as well as dedicated employees who are security experts.
Further, depending on the type of attack, on premise data can be more vulnerable to security breaches. Any data storage system can be vulnerable to social engineering and malware, but on-site data may be more vulnerable since its guardians are less experienced in catching security threats.
Cloud storage providers face a challenging task. As they work to ensure that cloud customers are satisfied with cloud services rendered, they also must follow certain regulatory compliance requirements for storing sensitive data in the cloud like health information and important company information. To help with managing security, third-party audits of a cloud provider’s security systems and procedures are regularly needed.
Major cloud security issues include:
The risks don’t stop there, though. While outside hackers getting around unauthorized access certainly pose a threat to cloud security, employees can also present a risk. Often, employees unknowingly make mistakes like using a personal smartphone to access sensitive company data without the company’s network security. These lapses in judgment can leave the company exposed in ways it might not have foreseen.
Another grave issue involves distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which shut down a service by overwhelming it with data so that users cannot access their accounts. When these types of attacks take place, businesses lose productivity as they scramble to figure out the source of the issue. And when businesses don’t have employees who specialize in cloud computing security, DDoS attacks can be devastating.
Whether it’s to the public cloud or private cloud, migrating IT workloads is definitely a challenge. Yet, a well-executed plan will significantly boost your chances of cloud security success. To start taking advantage of the scalability and flexibility benefits offered by the cloud, Security Intelligence recommends building a strategy with the following foundation:
1. Create an Inventory: To start, take stock of all your business rules, configurations, content policies, and applications that you plan on running in your environment. This inventory should also map out current roles and responsibilities, including the employees whose roles involve both operating and migrating your systems. As roles, systems, and processes are typically subject to periodic review, migrating to the cloud presents an opportunity to redesign controls and align to both industry standards and cloud security best practices. Further, your organization will need to articulate its vision of what a successful cloud migration looks like and how to measure that success.
2. Hire a Professional Services Organization: A specific skillset is needed to manage the change over from an on-premises to a cloud environment. Therefore, engaging a product-focused professional service can help hasten your transition and most crucially, guarantee the success of your cloud security deployment. By working with a professional services team, you’ll have access to established industry frameworks, capabilities, and maturity to engagements. Further, you can define the scope of work while setting an agreed-upon timeline that produces specified deliverables.
3. Migrate Your Data: Moving to the cloud isn’t as simple as physically migrating your data – with a strategic approach, you’ll determine the amount of data and the time period needed in scope with your migration. Generally, a longer cloud migration window can help lower risks like the potential for data loss or issues with service continuity, which are typically associated with large-scale cloud migrations. Further, once the subset (or superset) of data to be transitioned is determined, you can then determine how this data will be transported. Smaller datasets might be transported by securely streaming them over the public internet or dedicated private networks. For larger data migrations, a secure disk migration strategy may be needed wherein bytes of data can be securely migrated at scale to your new environment.
4. Use Day One to Validate Success: Before executing your plan, clearly delineate and document roles and responsibilities. Once the project clearly meets the success criteria for migration, you can move to steady-state operations and perform project close-out activities. These tasks might include capturing any lessons learned and identifying activity that may happen afterward that will need to be tracked. After a successful launch, performing periodic check-ins either monthly or quarterly can keep you on track and help you meet goals initially mapped out at the start of your migration.
5. Draft a Future Cloud Security Plan: No cloud security plan is complete without a strategy that ensures flexibility and future compliance. An effective plan that future proofs your solution can build resiliency into your business model and help ensure a successful cloud migration overall. To start, demand the adoption of open standards and protocols in order to assuring future interoperability and data portability. Open standards like STIX, TAXII, and Parquet can also help save you from creating data islands or encountering vendor lock-in. At the end of the day, you’ll breathe easy with the confidence that your data will remain usable and interoperable into the future.
When choosing a cloud provider, it is important to pick an organization that can provide a long-term partnership that evolves with your company past initial implementation and into the digital future.
Stefanini’s Cloud Now! suite fully supports cloud application development, cloud migration, cloud infrastructure, and workplace services. We have hosted several applications and websites of different industry verticals using the Azure programming language. Our cloud migration services prioritize the security of your data while making your business agile and boost your global reach. But don’t just take our word for it! Connect with a security expert today to get started.
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