Managing Cybersecurity During Cloud Migration

Organizations of all sizes and across all industries are scrambling to take advantage of the many benefits of the cloud. Not too long ago, cloud computing was a concept reserved for companies that didn’t mind the risk of being early adopters, but as we approach 2020 the cloud has become a mainstream idea—and an imperative for businesses that want to remain competitive. Before you rush off to start your cloud migration, though, there is a critical step to address first: cybersecurity.

Challenges of Cloud Security

Have you considered the security consequences of your cloud migration? Many executives and IT managers make the mistake of assuming that moving to the cloud means you’re secure. It doesn’t.

On the other hand, if you are considering the security implications of the cloud, you’re certainly not alone. The 2018 Cloud Security Spotlight report found that 9 out of 10 of the cybersecurity professionals we surveyed were concerned about security. To be fair, they’re not wrong. Nearly 85% indicated—correctly—that traditional cybersecurity solutions either won’t work in a cloud environment or have limited functionality. 

Put Security First

That’s why it’s important to have your priorities straight. You need to have a solid cybersecurity strategy in place before you start to consider where or which platforms you plan to use. Your core cybersecurity strategy should not revolve around a specific cloud provider or service—it should transcend the platform and remain consistent as you move or expand.

Once you have your cybersecurity strategy, though, and you’re ready to implement it in the cloud, it’s important to remember that cybersecurity and protecting your data are ultimately your responsibility. Think of it like a car. Honda can engineer vehicles that are very safe. Those vehicles can be tested and receive 5-star crash test ratings. Whether or not car protects an individual, however, is a function of how the vehicle is driven and whether the safety controls that have been provided—like a seatbelt—are properly used. If and when you switch cars, it’s also your obligation to be familiar with the unique security controls—or lack thereof—of the new vehicle. Just because one vehicle has a blind spot monitor doesn’t mean the next one will, and you could find yourself casually drifting into a car in the next lane if you just assume that all cars are the same.

The shared responsibility model for cloud security operates on the same principle. Amazon, or Microsoft, or Google, or <insert your cloud provider here> will ensure that the physical servers and network resources where the cloud is hosted from are protected, and they are responsible to make sure the cloud infrastructure they are selling you is secure. It’s up to you to secure and protect the workloads, applications, and data you migrate and run in the cloud, though.

Beware the ‘Gotchas’

Even if you have your cybersecurity strategy down and you understand the shared responsibility model for cloud security, there are some scenarios that might catch you off guard—the “gotchas”. You need to pay attention to things like system changes and software updates of the tools and applications you use, as well as changes and updates on the platforms you use or that you allow to connect with your network. You need to ensure that these changes don’t affect your security posture, and take steps to address any issues that arise.

Another scenario that organizations often miss is a result of mergers and acquisitions. When a company has to absorb or integrate with a completely different infrastructure and security strategy, you may inherit problems. You need to be vigilant and thorough to identify and resolve any cybersecurity concerns.

Streamlining Cloud Migration

The tips and guidelines provided here will help, but effective cybersecurity in the cloud or during a migration to the cloud requires the right combination of platform, intelligence and expertise. You can build it and manage it on your own, but according to the 2019 Total Economic Impact report from Forrester you get better cybersecurity results for less cost by working with Alert Logic.

In addition to the security and cost benefits, you also get speed—which is especially crucial for a cloud migration effort. You can enable protection of your cloud workloads immediately using Alert Logic, as opposed to scrambling to try and implement and monitor your own cybersecurity while struggling to migrate applications and data to the cloud at the same time.

Make sure you have a solid cybersecurity strategy developed and that you understand the roles and obligations of cloud security. Before you start your cloud migration project, also check out Alert Logic and take a look at how we can help you get more effective scalable cybersecurity for less cost and provide you with the ultimate goal: peace of mind.

About the Author

Onkar Birk - SVP, Product Strategy & Engineering

Onkar Birk

As SVP, Product Strategy & Engineering, Onkar Birk oversees Product, Release and Threat Management as well as R&D for Alert Logic. Birk has built his reputation as a leader focused on delivering products to market with customer success, swift execution, and the development of talent on his teams. Previously, he led technology transformation for global clients, driving revenue generation through customer success. Prior to his seven years in consulting, Birk was General Manager and CTO for the Avaya Services & Contact Center Solutions Division, where he helped achieve the leader position from Gartner.

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