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Best Practices for Cloud Migration and Security for Enterprises

Antoine Matthews

33% of organizations have taken a “full steam ahead” approach towards cloud migration according to a recent study. Various cloud service providers (CSPs) have greatly expanded to accommodate this rising move to the cloud. By 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based.

While many agree that the future is in cloud computing with definite advantages to cost, efficiency and performance, quite a few are still deterred from migrating because of possible security threats and compromises to their data.

The prospect of moving your data operations to an online cloud platform may seem like a risky and daunting task.  But a careful understanding of how to approach cloud migration including applying the following helpful considerations will get your enterprise on track to a safe, secure and successful adoption to the cloud. 

Plan your Strategy

Transferring your infrastructure onto the cloud sounds like a simple enough one-time journey, but, a successful and secure cloud migration is a gradual and systematic process. Therefore, organizations should never overlook the importance of an effective data migration strategy to avoid severe problems during the migration process.

  1. Assess your data: Before you start this journey, evaluate and assess your current data infrastructure to help define the timeframe, cost and effort needed to implement your cloud migration. For example, identify which apps or data that need to be prioritized.  Remember, sensitive data can be put at risk without proper planning when moving from on-premises to the cloud with the potential of data leakage.
  2. Evaluate Your Resources: Map out what specific features or resources are needed for an efficient and effective migration. It’s important to create a strategic roadmap and finalize which resources you’ll need at the different stages of the migration to avoid unexpected costs. It is recommended to develop a proof of concept with your prospective cloud provider to test the waters before going all-in and familiarizing yourself with their storage services and security features. 
  3. Find the Right People: It’s important find teams with trained and skilled personnel who will have the technical expertise and experience migrating to a cloud service. Out-of-date knowledge on developing cloud technologies or lack of dedicated skills and competencies can lead to a slow, disruptive and costly implementation of cloud migration.

Managing Access

In a 2019 Cloud Security Report, cybersecurity professionals considered unauthorized access as the biggest security threat to cloud services. Insufficient identity, credential, or key management can be the cause of unauthorized access to data and may prove potentially damaging to enterprises and customers alike.

To secure cloud user accounts, use at least two-factor authentication as well as limit the use of root accounts. You should practice very strict identity and access controls for cloud users. It is recommended to assign different privileges and access levels to certain user accounts and identity groups, depending on their role in the organization and needs for the business.

Additionally, cryptographic keys used to protect data must also be carefully managed to ensure unauthorized access. Ensuring a key-rotation policy can greatly minimize the severity of a security breach through stolen key access.

Guard Your Data

Encryption is the best way you can protect your data. Most of the major cloud service providers offer local encryption for your organization’s data but it is also recommended to encrypt your data using third-party encryption tools before you even upload or migrate to the cloud. This way, your data is protected, even from service providers and administrators.

Another important practice to avoid data loss is to back up your critical data. You can either store a backup on another cloud storage (using multiple cloud providers is becoming a norm) or manually creating a backup on an external storage device.

Lastly, take advantage of the security and monitoring tools offered by your cloud service provider. In cloud computing, security is a shared responsibility with the provider. Learn how to collaborate with your CSP and maximize the tools at your disposal to identify and respond to potential security threats.

Conclusion

Organizations have so much to benefit by moving to a cloud computing environment. Applying these best practices with due diligence and some vigilance should greatly help reduce the risk of data vulnerability and contribute to a safe and successful cloud adoption. If you want to learn more about the cloud adoption journey, our experts are here to help.