As businesses migrate to the cloud from legacy infrastructures to stay agile and resilient, it is important to view cloud migration and cybersecurity under the same lens.
They are often considered separately as businesses try to expedite migration – losing sight of the security implications.
Cloud migration involves transferring digital business operations into the cloud. It’s much like a physical move but comprises moving information, applications, and IT processes from a local data repository or legacy infrastructure to the cloud and vice versa.
“Planning any cloud migration strategy is simply not possible if done in a silo without understanding broader business objectives which include assessing business continuity issues, service-level upgrades,” says Willem Barnard – BDM – Cloud & Alliances at Trend Micro.
“The potential impact to customers is often not fully considered, which should involve assessing and understanding the important assets of the business and protecting them with a cyber-centric strategy.”
Barnard offers 9 cybersecurity approaches to guide organisations on their cloud migration journey:
1. Initiate DevSecOps Processes:
Development, security and operations are the philosophy of integrating security practices within the DevOps process.
This philosophy reduces software risk related to cloud migration and creates new solutions for complex software development processes within an agile framework.
It also enables cloud engineering teams to properly plan the architecture of the environment and build the cloud infrastructure to enable a secure migration.
2. Deploy Decoys or Deception Documents
This control enables businesses to detect hacks and insider breaches or leaks during the migration process.
Unusual behaviour can be tracked through security alerts and give businesses enough time to take action.
3. Deploy Multifactor Authentication (MFA)
By adding a policy that requires employees to verify their identity via communication sent to their devices when they access remote information password breaches can be prevented.
MFA can also alert security teams should a hacker attempt to use stolen credentials to gain access to the cloud platform.
4. Limit Data and Application Access Points
It is crucial for businesses to understand exactly who and what has access to cloud data. Granting access to users without proper permissions can expose data to open connections.
All cloud connections must be monitored closely at all times by security teams.
5. Establish Proper Logging and Monitoring
This is critical, especially when transferring data and applications from in-house servers. Platforms to monitor user analytics can help detect breaches quicker by analysing behaviour and creating a standard user profile for each employee and the device used to access cloud resources.
If any abnormal activity is detected the monitoring system will immediately send an alert to security teams.
6. Data Backup Before the Migration
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Businesses transferring applications and data from on-premise data centres to the cloud should back up information in separate locations.
A complete backup and restore solution for cloud workloads gives businesses the ability to restore processes in case of problems during migration.
7. Perform a Phased Migration
Moving workloads to the cloud is not simply a process of copying data into a designated storage type.
It involves proper preparation and good practice such as identifying and prioritising data and applications to prevent errors. A phased migration allows security teams to become familiar with cloud security protocols.
8. Implement a Disaster Recovery Strategy
Many factors, including hardware failures, power outages, software bugs, data corruption, external security breaches, and accidental user errors, can cause disruptions during the migration.
A disaster recovery strategy mitigates the risk of lost data.
9. Employee Awareness
Businesses must inform employees about the cloud migration and highlight the security risks. Employees should understand the latest cloud vulnerabilities and trends, as well as the appropriate protocol that must be observed during the workload transfer window.
“Although cloud migration requires effort and resources, avoiding this process could put your IT strategy, and in turn your business, at risk within the ever-evolving digital landscape. It is important to take into consideration all aspects of cloud migration before simply ‘jumping on the wagon’ by engaging experts who know and understand cloud computing and cloud platforms from every angle,” concludes Barnard.