Enabling Secure Cloud Migration to Enterprise Cloud Environments
Written by Andy Packham, Chief Architect and Senior Vice President, Microsoft Business Unit, and Syam Thommandru, Global Alliances and Product Management, Cybersecurity & GRC Services, HCLTech.
Global enterprises are at an exciting new threshold of possibilities in the new normal. As remote work and cloud operations become prominent, enterprises have no choice but to empower their employees and service their customers with innovations to remain competitive. However, ensuring the security and compliance of their business transformations is a critical first step towards building a sustainable and resilient enterprise for the future. However, this is easier said than done.
Challenges to secure transformation
The two key elements of modern digital and business transformation pivot around cloud and data. With cloud as the key enabler of business in the new normal, and data being the lifeblood – ensuring a secure data migration to cloud is critical towards ensuring efficient and compliant operations. But as we well know, the path to cloud migration is riddled with challenges and data continues to be a constant target for malicious actors.
Red Hat's 2023 Tech Outlook report shows that cloud security is the top investment priority for business organizations and enterprises. And for good reason - hybrid and multi-cloud environments are full of complexity and opportunities for sneaky attacks. Security can’t be an afterthought while migrating to the cloud architecture. In practice, it must be an ongoing and continuous process that can never be taken for granted. The singular challenge for any organization then is clear - how can they migrate to the cloud while keeping their enterprise and data secure?
Securing the cloud-data enterprise ecosystem
There are vast complexities and enterprise-specific requirements to be considered when building a secure cloud transformation and data migration roadmap. Here are some constants that permeate across industries as the foundational principles that can secure an organization’s cloud and data.
After this, any enterprise serious about their long-term cybersecurity, needs to begin the adoption of a robust Zero-Trust architecture for their cloud migration security. A zero-trust approach is based on the fundamental tenet of assured identification that is embodied in a - “never trust, always verify” mentality. Today’s hybrid working model, multi cloud, ransomware-infused world makes it imperative for teams to take extra caution. In short, trust no one, authenticate everyone. That’s where zero trust comes in. Zero-Trust seeks to enable constant, proactive and real-time identity authenticating for all users within an IT ecosystem, thereby ensuring that the right access is granted to the right users at the right time – and nothing more.
The next line of defense for any organization’s IT systems is adopting DevSecOps principles. DevSecOps accelerates detecting and responding to attacks in an organization’s infrastructure. The key to successful DevSecOps is ensuring developers have the information needed to integrate securing their code into their workflow preemptively. Instead of waiting for security teams to find, sort through, and route issues to the right people, DevSecOps helps developers shorten the feedback loop between when they find a problem and how quickly they can correct the code. In essence, DevSecOps ensures that teams can easily remediate vulnerabilities and minimize security gaps before they are exploited by malicious agents.
The next step for enabling secure cloud migration is for enterprises to leverage a SASE solution throughout the enterprise. With SASE, organizations can eradicate the fragmented standards of physical and virtual appliances that are usually sourced or located across several vendors. SASE allows enterprises to onboard more solutions and services through a single provider, which reduces network complexity and minimizes the threat landscape. As a bonus, this also means reducing the workload on in-house IT resources which can lead to significantly lower IT costs and greater innovation within product development. Additionally, SASE also enables a robust Data Loss Prevention (DLP) delivery through the cloud as an entrenched solution across an enterprise’s active control points. Essentially, it eliminates the need to acquire and maintain multiple security tools which can prove to be a management and monitoring challenge.
Since cybersecurity is an ongoing journey and not a finite destination, organizations need to make it a part of their business life cycle. In this regard, continuous monitoring is a crucial cog in the complex machinery of cybersecurity. And since hackers never rest, neither can enterprises. In the wake of incidents such as the Colonial Pipeline attack, malicious actors have reached new levels of sophistication and danger. They’ve gotten wise to the additional leverage that attacks on critical OT and data systems yield, as well as become intimately aware of the gaps in this rapidly emerging IT architecture. Connected OT environments have been discovered to offer up several ‘open doors’ for malicious agents. Therefore, it is in the best interest of all enterprises to always be vigilant – which requires continuous monitoring of their IoT landscape, including devices, apps, bots and users. So, the moment any app or OT portal behaves anomalously, the system can rapidly detect, mitigate and secure these nodes and draw closer scrutiny from the IT security team.
Adopting a security mindset
Once all the above measures are in place, the promise of secured data and a smooth migration to a cloud architecture is well within grasp. The IT team can now focus on their other multifarious tasks and leave cybersecurity to the automated systems of compliance that have been put in place for this very reason.
While this may seem like an easy prescription, adopting and implementing these four foundational solutions and approaches, requires enterprises to start from within. Achieving this in practice necessitates a deep commitment and buy-in from key decision-makers and stakeholders along with clear communications across the workforce. It is only by building a security mindset at the core of any digital transformation that an enterprise can truly abide by the best practices and make the most of the technological tools at their disposal.
Sign up to receive CSA's latest blogs
This list receives 1-2 emails a month.