Cloud Migration Security Challenges and Benefits

Cloud Migration Security Challenges and Benefits:

 

 Benefits

Cloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from traditional localized servers and infrastructure to a virtualized environment or cloud infrastructure. Whether the migration is to a private cloud or a public provider’s data centre, cloud migration business benefits have led to an explosion in popularity of the approach, but they are only successful when the organization carefully considers the challenges of migrating to the cloud.

Of all the benefits of cloud migration, the most compelling one is that it allows IT to get out of the business of staffing and maintaining a data centre so they can focus on innovation and growth.

Benefits of migrating to the cloud for IT include:

  • Cloud Migration Security Challenges and BenefitsImproved security
  • Platform simplicity and consistency
  • Improved resiliency and stability
  • Ease of administration with improved automation
  • Automated backups and operational tasks
  • Fewer infrastructure maintenance tasks
  • Lowered real estate, data centre maintenance costs

Cloud migration business benefits include:

  • Lowered security risk
  • Faster time to market due to faster deployments
  • Better performance due to automated capacity management

A strategic decision to take advantage of the benefits of cloud migration may often come from the desire to lower operating costs, but many organizations have seen some of the less tangible business benefits of migrating to the cloud when their IT organization is no longer in the infrastructure support business and can begin to focus on the unique needs of the organization.

Cloud Migration Security Challenges

While cloud providers often offer enhanced infrastructure security compared to internal IT departments, cloud migration security challenges still need to be considered. Of utmost importance when migrating to the cloud is to have a cloud migration strategy that both considers and mitigates the risk. This starts with understanding cloud migration security challenges both during migration and once in a cloud provider’s data centre. Be aware of common on-premise to cloud migration security challenges and develop a plan to manage them. These fall into three key areas: Data Awareness, Data Privacy, and Compliance, and Least Privileged Access.

Data Awareness

One of the specific database migration to cloud challenges is knowing and understanding the data that is currently being hosted on-premise. This is where many organizations will experience challenges migrating to cloud due to the possibility of data loss or theft during transmission.

The amount of data being moved can cause on premise to cloud migration challenges; the bandwidth needed to do so could be substantial, and planning and test runs will be needed to ensure transmissions do not time out or cause data loss.

Data Privacy and Compliance

Compliance is a critical component of a cloud migration security strategy. Many areas have laws that restrict data from being removed from the country, even in a cloud computing environment. Knowing the data on hand and developing a strategy to maintain this knowledge is critical. Even after cloud migration has been completed, the organization needs to know what data is stored in each cloud provider’s data centres, where it is consumed, and who can access it. A cloud migration security practice that tests this will be required. This is one area where many organizations experience challenges migrating to cloud.

Least Privileged Access

Access will come into play from both the migration and use perspectives. One of the challenges migrating to cloud is that the person migrating and monitoring the migration of the data will need access to the data. If they don’t ordinarily have this level of access, policies for how they gain access and how it is revoked after the migration will need to be included in the cloud migration security strategy.

Cloud Migration Security Challenges and Benefits: Cloud Migration Mitigation Measures

Cloud migration risks and mitigation can be addressed with good mitigation practices for data migration. They fall into the areas mentioned previously and can become the components of a good cloud migration security practice:

Data Awareness

The first step to understanding the data on hand is to create an inventory of all on-premise data and databases that includes information about the country of origin when consumer or employee data is being stored. This inventory will be used throughout the cloud migration process.

Review the data retention policies and inventory all data currently being retained that has passed its retention period. Purging data prior to migration will assist in lowering the amount of data to be migrated.

When planning migration to the cloud, it’s important to back up all data before migration and to ensure that the systems being used for migration include data loss prevention features (DLP). It is also important to understand how the cloud provider will protect the data once it arrives on site. Look for features such as :

  • Endpoint monitoring and intrusion prevention
  • Strong patch management processes
  • Vulnerability management programs

Without these protections, all of the cloud migration business benefits are lost in a single breach.

Data Privacy and Compliance

Compliance presents challenges migrating to cloud as data cannot necessarily be stored anywhere in the world. For global organizations, many countries have laws mandating that employee or customer data does not leave the country, requiring the selection of cloud providers who can store data locally where needed. Including the origin of data in the inventory enables the organization to plan a database structure that enables the data to be migrated to appropriate cloud locations.

Data security is also an important aspect of cloud migration risks and mitigation strategies. It should cover several areas:

  • Security of the on-premise and cloud provider endpoints
  • Encryption during transmission
  • Monitoring the data and endpoints for potential intrusion
  • Proper disposal of storage equipment being decommissioned

Least Privileged Access

Before beginning the cloud migration, ensure each database and collection of data has an administrator identified. They need to be provided with the access needed or a system must be put in place to provide them with access. It may be necessary for appropriately authorized personnel to monitor the migration, ensuring the person performing the migration is not copying or leaking the data during transmission. Where it is possible to automate migration in a way that prevents administrators from accessing it, the data is even more secure.

Cloud migrations risks and mitigation strategies can also leverage machine learning to observe the process and identify potential security leaks. These would occur as a variation from an expected pattern and can be used to alert appropriate individuals.

 

Cloud Migration Benefits

While these challenges address cloud migration security, organizations should realize this is a temporary process that can be managed by understanding cloud migration risks and mitigation strategies. It is also important to consider how security will be managed after the migration and consider identity and access management solutions that enable robust data protection during migration and afterwards. These solutions will help with data privacy and security during migration and help manage user access to enterprise systems and applications regardless of whether they are still on-premise or having been moved to the cloud.

CG Technologies is a trusted provider of cloud migration services, with many years of experience delivering cloud migration services. Our experienced and qualified staff have successfully completed 100s of migrations to the cloud from a wide range of different IT environments and technologies. Contact us to discuss your cloud migration requirements. We are here to explain Cloud Migration Security Challenges and Benefits.