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The Key to Secure Cloud Migrations

May 11, 2020 2:28:43 AM

by Charles Bystock

Securing data in transit is just as important as the security of data at rest. We know that the benefits of storing and leveraging data in the cloud is the scalability and accessibility that comes with these models. There are dozens of articles on how to store data safely. But companies must first migrate their data safely before they can lock it down within cloud frameworks. What is the key to secure cloud migration?

The risks inherent in cloud migrations

The research shows that cloud service providers offer better security frameworks than the majority of on-premises-focused enterprise organizations. But all of the cloud’s security benefits mean nothing if you can’t migrate and maintain your data securely.

Migrating data to the cloud is potentially complex and risky, particularly when the data is mission critical. The best practice to follow is to implement security protocols throughout the migration. Don’t wait for the cloud provider to handle this service; the migration process is a no-man’s land between on-premises and full security in the cloud. Companies should plan to mitigate the risks at every stage of the transition.

Some of the concerns to address during migration planning include:

  • Compliance with all applicable rules and laws during data transfers
  • General security during the migration
  • The possible disruption of business operations

The practical issues surrounding migrating sensitive data should be addressed during the migration planning process.

Mitigating the risks during cloud data migration

While the research has consistently shown that data in the cloud is more secure than at most on-premises locations, there is a vulnerable point during data transition.

Some of the best ways to tackle any security concerns during the transition to cloud architectures include:

  • First, by conducting a vulnerability and compliance assessment.
  • Second, by creating a cloud access security broker (CASB), which is an on-premises or cloud-based security enforcement point that exists between the cloud service provider and the consumer. These tools help you address security risks and enforce security policies, as well as enforcing compliance rules. While these tools should currently be considered “emerging,” Gartner predicts that 60% of enterprise organizations will use CASBs by 2022.
  • Automatically encrypting data in motion.
  • Establishing identity and access management.
  • Shoring up firewalls to handle data in transit.
  • Adding intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems.

These tools will remain useful long after the migration is complete. This is true no matter the configuration — whether single- or multi-cloud, or some other hybrid approach.

Security tips before, during, and after cloud migration

Consider the migration as an opportunity. Establishing good security habits as part of a data migration can lay the groundwork for better security overall. Creating scalable and uniform security policies that are also flexible enough to handle the interactions within the network is tricky, particularly in today’s complex IT environments. Some security tips that will help create a strategic framework for your cloud migration can also help guide your new environment from the deployment onward. For example:

  • Focus on mission-critical architectures, or the core functions within your IT service delivery mechanisms. Create virtual cloud environments and other redundancies to protect these crucial functions and ensure zero business downtime.
  • Control every access point to lock down your network from end to end, whether that means creating multi-factor authentication or more robust BYOD policies.
  • Automate backups in the cloud and make sure your virtual processes are redundant. Establish and maintain a regular testing process to ensure disaster recovery.
  • Create a continuous environment of security with your employees and customers by teaching and testing security protocols. Make these protocols fluid in the sense that they change to fit the evolving cybersecurity threats to your business.

It’s also important to start with a good roadmap. Embarking on an effective cloud migration starts with a well-thought-out plan. Managed security specialists like Windsor Group can create and deploy a solid security framework for your data in transit and at rest. Talk with our experienced team today to find out more.

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