How to carry out secure cloud migrations

What to take into account before planning a migration. Key facts and strategies not to compromise your data.

Mariano Monroig
4 min read

Companies have widely assumed that their challenges in the short term need to be oriented towards speeding up their digital strategy. Many had already implemented it some time ago, while many others jumped to it urged by the global crisis brought by the COVID-19. The working paradigm has changed. Therefore, companies also needed to change the way they provided their teams with the necessary resources. And, in this new scenario, the cloud is the biggest star.

 

Flexera, for instance, a large American software company specialized in optimizing IT assets, has recently pointed out in a report that the three main investments companies need to make are related to digital transformation, cybersecurity and cloud migrations. This last statement is as crucial as it is complex; since a migration always implies potential risks of information losses or wrong configurations that could result in data leaks.

What cloud environments to choose

Public cloud: the service provider hired is responsible for every resource and its management. In this case, all hardware, storage and network devices are shared with other clients, and the information is accessed through the Internet.

 

Private cloud: the client (or whoever they choose) is still responsible for every resource and its maintenance, and these are not shared with third parties. Connectivity depends on the location.

 

Hybrid cloud: it is a combination of both. For instance, by turning to a hybrid cloud model, a company can use the private cloud for specific services and the public cloud for others, or it can use the public cloud as a security backup for the data stored on its private cloud. The implementation method always depends on each organization's needs.

The three strategies for cloud migration

Rehost: this is the most agile and simple model to carry out a migration. It consists of replicating the current system in the cloud environment. However, it is also more likely to end up creating problems, as any inefficiencies and faults will also be migrated along with the system.

 

Replatform: this scheme entails modifying the applications to adapt them to the new cloud environment, making it necessary to turn to partners who have experience in application architecture and source code.

 

Refactor: this is the most advanced and expensive method, as the applications need to be redesigned to become cloud-native. Carrying out a refactoring means having all the benefits that the cloud can provide: flexibility and scalability, but it requires a lot of programming experience and time.

Five keys for a secure migration

#1 Define the migration architect: this person will make the technical decisions. It is a key role that includes several responsibilities such as defining the type of refactoring needed to achieve the migration, designing strategies, establishing the cloud solution requirements, and setting the migration priorities.

 

#2 Plan a phased migration: it helps the team become familiar with the cloud. Ideally, the first data to be processed should be those with low priority to keep risks under control and test the security configurations and parameters before transferring any confidential data.

 

#3 Understand the regulations: it is essential to evaluate which mandatory requirements apply to your data to avoid penalties. That is a fundamental aspect in industries governed by solid standards that need to comply with specific requirements in data managing. In those cases, a private cloud will appear as the most logical choice.

 

#4 Encrypt the data: in any migration, data must be encrypted (both at rest and in transit), and any data transfers must be carried out under secure protocols such as HTTPS.

 

#5 Understand the shared responsibility model: in the cloud environment, the service provider is responsible for the security "of" the cloud, while the client is responsible for the security "on" the cloud. Which responsibilities are the client's, therefore, depends on the type of service chosen: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), or the above-explored software as a service (SaaS). In each model, responsibilities between providers and clients are shared differently.

 

At Awkbit, we accompany organizations on their way to the digital transformation. And, of course, we can provide support with any cloud projects your company needs to undertake. Get in touch!

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