Best Practices Moving Workloads to the Cloud Securely

Swami Nathan Mon, 10/11/2021 - 08:58

A growing number of businesses and organisations see shifting some of their IT workloads to the public cloud as not just a smart decision, but also a critical component of their overall IT strategy.

Enabling the secure transfer of workloads to the cloud in this context allows enterprises to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing without compromising security or compliance. To do so successfully, though, you'll need a security plan that's backed up by good identity and access management (IAM).

However, there is a requirement to ensure a smooth cloud migration. This post explains a key practises for ensuring a successful cloud migration, are important considerations before migrating.

1. Know Your Environment

Organizations must have a deep understanding of what an environment entails and how it is used in order to properly reproduce it. Surprising events can be avoided with proper preparedness. 'Keep an eye out for a list of programmes with dependencies, as well as the required connection and service levels.'

Every cloud provider offers a set of security infrastructure design and cloud application setup recommendations. This overview covers security themes like identifying, categorising, and securing your assets, managing access to resources using accounts, and creating users and groups, as well as strategies to secure your data, operating systems, apps, and general cloud infrastructure.

2. Selecting the Best Cloud Service Provider

The selection of a cloud service provider necessitates a thorough examination of a vast range of possibilities relevant to the users' business.

For every business, the following are the most important factors to consider:

Service Levels: This feature is critical when a company's availability, response time, capacity, and support requirements are stringent. Cloud Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a critical component in determining the best provider and establishing a clear contractual relationship between a cloud service customer and a cloud service provider. Legal standards for the protection of personal data stored in cloud services must be given special consideration.

Security: What level of security does the provider offer, and what processes are in place to keep our apps and data safe? These, and a slew of other questions, must be addressed to the cloud provider in order to assess this critical element for the overall architecture.

Support: This is an important parameter to think about. It could be offered online or through a call centre, and in some circumstances, a specialised resource with specified schedule limits may be required.

Compliance: Select a cloud architecture that complies with the industry's standards. In this phase, the main areas of compliance to assess are privacy, security, and quality.

3. Make a List of Your Components and Keep Track of them

You must keep track of all your resources, including apps and software components, while shifting to the cloud. Developers frequently employ open-source components to save time and money, but they might quickly lose sight of these resources and neglect their upkeep. This can lead to a failure to upgrade and fix security flaws.

Run a discovery to find open source or legacy software components so you can keep track of them in an inventory. Then you may decide which components to migrate to the cloud and which to leave behind to minimise your migration footprint. On the cloud, you may easily swap certain architecture components. This work can also be aided by static code analysis.

4. Consolidate Identities and Ensure Accountability

Avoid adding more identity silos, which increases overhead, increases the attack surface, and leads to identity sprawl. Use centralised identities (e.g., Active Directory) and enable federated login instead of local cloud provider IAM accounts and access keys. Anonymous shared privileged accounts (for example, AWS EC2-user and administrator) exist. Ensure complete accountability by requiring users to check in with their own accounts and only granting privileges as needed. Manage cloud provider roles and groups from Active Directory, and map roles and groups to cloud provider roles.

5. Optimize the Network

The public Internet is the default network for public cloud providers. Some businesses, such as huge corporations, may be concerned that the Internet is too slow and insecure to accomplish their objectives.

Some third-party public cloud providers understand that using the Internet isn't always the best option. AWS, for example, provides a dedicated network connection from company offices to its infrastructure. ExpressRoute is a service provided by Azure that establishes a direct link between your network and Azure, skipping the Internet.

Even if a dedicated network connection is not required, it is still worthwhile to seek a better, faster service from your Internet Service Provider, because switching to the cloud requires consumers to switch from gigabit-speed local network connections to significantly slower Internet connections.

6. Wherever Possible, Automate Your Migration

Any cloud migration strategy should avoid causing downtime or service disruptions. Automating repetitive routines where possible is a key best practise for minimising disruption and improving overall migration efficiency. Automation not only speeds up the migration process, but it also reduces the cost and risk.

There are also solutions that seek to assist you in automating virtual machine and data migration. Scripts can also come in handy when switching from an on-premises database to a cloud-based database. As you uncover repeating patterns over time that you can automate in subsequent migration phases, automation and the phased cloud migration approach can function in tandem.

7. Make a Maintenance Schedule

Although outsourcing your hardware and software maintenance to a cloud provider decreases your management burden, this does not imply that you can just implement a cloud solution and forget about it. Funds and time should be set aside for continuing management.

You should also make sure you can grow capacity to meet demand or swap suppliers as needed. This necessitates a continuous assessment of your changing needs as well as the provision of user notifications.

8. Use a Disaster Recovery Solution that is Cloud-based

A hot site, which duplicates your on-premises infrastructure but is hosted in the cloud, is part of a cloud-enabled disaster recovery (DR) solution. It is updated on a regular basis and is less expensive than an on-premises DR system. You can continue working over the cloud in the event of a disaster that renders your conventional hardware inoperable.

Wrap-up

Security breaches are expensive, and simply deploying a security solution isn't enough to prevent them. Your organisation will be protected in the public cloud if you have a comprehensive grasp of public cloud service models and recognised security vulnerabilities. Also, if you align with a cyber security and compliance standard to create a framework that integrates well-defined best practises.

Operating a public cloud service necessitates a great deal of specialised knowledge. Creating a solid security posture requires developing a highly skilled security team and partnering with proper vendors. To effectively crawl, walk, and finally run with a successful cloud deployment, remember to start with security principles.

A growing number of businesses and organisations see shifting some of their IT workloads to the public cloud as not just a smart decision, but also a critical component of their overall IT strategy.

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