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Addressing the threats, vulnerabilities and security issues in cloud migration

Addressing the threats, vulnerabilities and security issues in cloud migration
As companies increasingly adopt cloud computing, safeguarding their data and infrastructure has become paramount. However, while migrating to the cloud can yield numerous benefits - from scalability to cost-efficiency - it also brings up dangerous security risks that must be quickly addressed to protect businesses.
As companies increasingly adopt cloud computing, safeguarding their data and infrastructure has become paramount. However, while migrating to the cloud can yield numerous benefits - from scalability to cost-efficiency - it also brings up dangerous security risks that must be quickly addressed to protect businesses.

Cloud computing risks, threats, and security challenges

When migrating to the cloud, it's crucial to prioritize safeguarding data. This process involves potential risks that businesses should carefully consider, such as:

Data breaches and unauthorized access

Data breaches and unauthorized access to confidential information are significant concerns in cloud computing. Cloud service providers maintain shared infrastructure for storing data, so it is essential to have adequate access controls and encryption measures in place to protect the data.

Insufficient authentication methods, compromised credentials, or internal threats can all result in unauthorized access, leading to data breaches and financial losses.

Data loss and recovery

Cloud computing can pose a significant threat to data security, with data loss being a crucial risk that organizations should take seriously. Accidental deletion, hardware failure, and server corruption are potential causes of data loss.
An organization's inability to quickly recover lost data can result in irreversible damage, operational disruptions, and harm to its reputation. Therefore, companies must establish strong backup and disaster recovery tactics to safeguard their data.

Compliance and legal issues

When transitioning data to the cloud, organizations must consider the diverse range of compliance and legal obligations related to data storage and handling. The sector, location, and nature of the data in question may influence the specific demands.
Complying with legislation such as GDPR and HIPAA is essential in safeguarding against possible penalties and legal responsibility.

Vendor lock-in and dependency

Dependence on a solitary cloud service provider can lead to vendor lock-in, creating complexities for enterprises to switch providers or revert to on-premise setups. In addition, vendor lock-in causes additional costs, restricted adaptability, and potential disruptions in service outages or provider-related issues.
Therefore, organizations must consider embracing a multi-cloud approach to minimize these risks and gain better command over their infrastructure.

Shared responsibility model

Organizations need to know how shared responsibility models work in cloud computing. Shared models dictate that both the cloud service provider and the organization are responsible for securing the infrastructure and data.
This shared responsibility framework helps organizations determine which security measures they must undertake and which ones fall under the cloud provider's domain. Failure to understand these models can result in security gaps, heightened vulnerabilities, and regulatory compliance issues.

Security solutions for cloud migration

As organizations embrace cloud migration, ensuring the security of their data and infrastructure becomes a top priority. To protect valuable assets and maintain a strong security posture during cloud migration, businesses should implement a combination of robust security solutions.

Privileged Access Management (PAM)

Privileged Access Management (PAM) is a crucial security measure that regulates and tracks user access with elevated permissions, specifically administrators and other privileged users. A well-implemented PAM solution is instrumental in stopping unauthorized system entry, mitigating insider security threats, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations.
Organizations should consider incorporating PAM solutions designed specifically for cloud environments when migrating to the cloud. These solutions often include multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and continuous monitoring of privileged user activities. By implementing PAM in the cloud, businesses can better protect their sensitive data and applications from potential security breaches.

VPN and RDP protocols

Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) are two security protocols that allow remote access and management of computers or virtual machines. They are frequently used to manage cloud-based resources. Nevertheless, inadequate security measures can result in security threats to organizations.
When shifting to the cloud, organizations must take precautions by implementing strict security measures for both VPN and RDP to minimize the associated risks. This could entail enforcing strong password policies, using multi-factor authentication, and confining VPN and RDP access to specific IP addresses or networks.
Furthermore, companies should install VPN gateways or other secure remote access solutions for additional protection while establishing remote connections.

Defense in depth security strategies

Defense in depth is a cybersecurity tactic incorporating several security controls to safeguard an organization's data and infrastructure. Using this method, if one layer of security is breached, other layers remain intact to prevent a complete breach. This can come in the form of supplementing your company’s directory service like Active Directory or IBM’s Red Hat Directory Server with a Privileged Access Management solution. A defense in depth strategy is helpful for organizations shifting to the cloud because it can help them anticipate possible security issues and reduce the chance of successful attacks.
Critical elements of a defense in depth strategy for cloud migration may include network segmentation, encryption of data at rest and in transit, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and regular vulnerability assessments and patching.
By implementing these and other security measures, businesses can create a more resilient cloud environment better equipped to withstand potential threats.

Maximize cloud computing benefits while minimizing security risks

Despite the numerous advantages of cloud computing, it comes with certain security risks that organizations must be mindful of. To reap the benefits of cloud migration, businesses must take a holistic approach to cloud security, which involves implementing advanced security solutions and adopting defense-in-depth strategies.
By taking these measures, companies can effectively safeguard their data and applications against potential threats while positioning themselves for growth.
Joseph Carson
Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO

Author bio:

Joseph Carson is a cybersecurity professional with more than 25 years’ experience in enterprise security and infrastructure. Currently, Carson is the Chief Security Scientist and Advisory CISO at Delinea. He is an active member of the cybersecurity community and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Carson is also a cybersecurity adviser to several governments, critical infrastructure organizations, and financial and transportation industries, and speaks at conferences globally.  

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