Moving to the cloud is one thing — staying safe is quite another. The pressure to modernize and integrate every workload, database, and team resource can force you to run before you can walk with an appropriate security posture. Regardless of what you want to do in the cloud, it’s vital to never race ahead, thereby leaving crucial considerations in the dust. Huge security risks are waiting to undermine your strategy by virtue of doing too much, too soon. Cloud migration security is an issue that many of our clients must square up to — and we tackled this directly in our Cybersecurity Summit with a session from Antonio Sanchez, Fortra’s Principal Evangelist.

Whether you’re just testing the waters with a single workload, accelerating from on-premises to a hybrid model, or going all in with a cloud-first strategy, Sanchez has useful guidance for preventing breaches and compromises in your new ecosystem.

Plan Security Early

Two factors often determine whether a cloud migration thrives or fails: scope creep and a lack of security at the onset. These elements present two questions. Do you genuinely know what you can secure as more users, platforms, workflows, and project demands arise in your organization? Additionally, are you keeping a defined scope safe from day one?

Thinking about thorough, flexible cybersecurity controls after you’ve migrated will do more harm than good. It’s tempting to launch a cloud move as soon as you have ideas about what you want to accomplish and which vendors you’d like to partner with. But reengineering security can be complex and puzzling, especially if your scope swells faster than anticipated. For this reason, you must have expectations, goals, and outcomes for detecting and preventing dangers as you plan the whole migration.

As Sanchez says, gradual iterations are more affordable: “You’re building something that’s going to allow you to have massive scale and grow with you or scale on demand as you need it for busy seasons. And, instead of a big expenditure every five years, you have smaller payments to make every year in that same timeframe.” Therefore, implementing security early is kinder to your budget and seasonal habits. “Not only that,” he adds. “It’ll also give you visibility into your infrastructure.”

Gradual, iterative security design is particularly important for developing applications. Containers — small groups of processes or microservices designed for mass execution — allow you to innovate more quickly on the cloud when migration is complete, because you can change each container and run it on many cloud and hybrid environments. It’s also good to start with the non-essential workloads first as they are lower risk to business interruption and you’ll learn the responsibilities you share.

Get Cloud Migration Security Basics Right

Cloud attack surfaces can be vaster than you realize. The sheer number of endpoints, gateways, and hosts at play expose your environment to many malicious intrusions. Small, seemingly harmless configuration actions can give nefarious web actors more attack vectors. For example, Sanchez says, “You don’t need to publish a bunch of administrative ports like FTP or HRS. It’s so easy to do this with just a few clicks.” A security support team can advise on which ports to publish or disable as you migrate.

Often, it’s about keeping things simple. What do you really need during the transition? Is it secured? Can you live without it? Many cloud platforms arrive with an abundance of tools, some of which you can throw away.

Our savviest customers like to use a “point-in-time” snapshot of resource consumption and processing power as they migrate, revealing those must-have functions. They trim back costs wherever possible and build on fundamentals in the months and years ahead. Sanchez advises making as few changes as possible during the move from on-prem to cloud, because “you don’t want to add complexity to your project with the cloud provider.” There are already a lot of security factors to consider. You have a firmer idea of how users behave and various processes interact if you mimic your current environment. This also simplifies stakeholder conversations rather than assuming everyone can keep up with cloud migration.

Audit Your Security Posture Before the Move

More than anything else, Sanchez is clear on one point: “Don’t take any bad habits or poor security postures with you!” For instance, you might have an undisciplined patching program that can’t close vulnerabilities on a set schedule. Taking the easy way out and presuming you’re currently protected might bring heavy costs for fixes later down the line, not to mention breach risks you’ve never considered.

Fortra’s Alert Logic Managed Detection and Response (MDR) team can solve many cloud migration concerns. We’re here to advise on, review, monitor, and automate your digital safeguards, chipping down problems that might escalate within hybrid environments.

Fortra's Alert Logic Staff
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Fortra's Alert Logic Staff

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