Skip to main content

Prioritizing Data Security Compliance Throughout a Cloud Migration

Copado DevSecOps - Blog Series

Originally published by New Context.

Irrespective of what widgets or services your organization provides to its customers, success is not possible without good management. Defining explicitly what good management entails is not a simple exercise, yet there are certain qualities and actions that successful executives and managers seem to possess and employ. Critically, knowing what technology to leverage—and when—can be the difference between leading an industry and being left behind. Closely associated with this skill for timely technology utilization is assigning the right tasks to the right people.

Today, one of the decisions that virtually all enterprises are grappling with is how to best leverage digital transformation. The advantages of successfully embracing digitization are many, including increased operational efficiency and resiliency. A major consideration when opting to more effectively utilize software and data management is whether to migrate to the cloud.

For organizations that rely heavily on legacy systems and/or have high data security and compliance issues, careful consideration must be given to how and who is best suited to implement a cloud migration. Let’s take a look at what should be considered before moving to the cloud and how to ensure the migration incorporates data security compliance solutions for not just today but the future as well.

What to Consider Before a Cloud Migration

A typical model for a cloud migration includes the following phases:

  • Cloud readiness assessment

    Initially, an assessment that includes costs, savings, architecture, and security should be done. However, the most critical decision is who should actually perform this assessment. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to whether in-house resources have the necessary expertise or whether it would be more beneficial to outsource.  

  • Proof of concept

    To validate the choice for migration, a proof of concept should be created. This includes developing a success criterion for specific services and a testable model.

  • Application migration

    Migrate applications using a forklift or hybrid strategy. It is crucial that each application be considered individually. It may be possible to perform a simple “lift & shift.” However, it is more likely that a refactor leveraging cloud native solutions will prove to be the better option to achieve the best cost savings, scalability, and resiliency. 

  • Data migration

    Data migration involves determining the specific data and applications to move, what transformations are necessary, who will perform the migration and ongoing maintenance/support and other considerations. 

  • Optimization

    The solution should be consistently updated and optimized for performance, resiliency, and efficiency to realize the greatest operational and cost benefits.   

As this list illustrates, there are a number of considerations that accompany the decision to migrate to the cloud. For example, will all data and applications be migrated? Does the internal IT team have the expertise and bandwidth to institute the transition without any loss in operational efficiency? Will the architecture support projected future needs? What is the best method of securing access credentials and secrets?

Obviously, transitioning to the cloud is a complicated process, and who implements it and how will determine the level of advantage that can be achieved. An efficient migration is a primary objective; however, any gains will be soon lost without the agility to adjust to future changes. For industries that are highly regulated, such as healthcare and banking, it is mandatory that the system be able to adapt to new rules and standards quickly and easily. Therefore, compliance automation solutions must be an integral consideration for a cloud migration.What to Consider Before a Cloud Migration - Copado

Data Security Compliance During and After Migration

Migrating to the cloud is a dynamic action to take, and this digital transformation will most likely benefit your organization’s workflow, efficiency, and ability to serve your clients. With these improvements, it will be inevitable that changes will be needed, as with any environment.

Some of these upgrades can be managed and scheduled, but for others, the timing of your rollout may not be flexible. An example of this would be when industry requirements change for how you collect and/or store your data. In most cases, the timeline for when you must be in compliance will be out of your control.

Failing to maintain compliance with government regulations for handling data not only puts your customer’s information at risk but can also be costly. As an example, fines for HIPAA violations can run as high $1.75 million, even when it was not known that a violation had been breached. To avoid these and other negative effects from lack of compliance, it is best to employ automated compliance as part of a cloud migration.

Automated compliance can be used to search, assess, and flag non-compliant resources. Moving to the cloud can often assist with maintaining data security compliance, as cloud providers are also required to meet most of the same policies. However, for industry-specific compliance, extra steps are likely to ensure compliance, for which the following actions will be helpful:

  • Encrypting data in transit as well as at rest
  • Enacting the principle of least privilege for accessing your data as well as utilizing auditing services
  • Utilizing a tool capable of making certain that resources deployed in your cloud environment stay in compliance

Following these guidelines will help ensure that your cloud environment is optimized for compliance and help shield you from the unnecessary costs and loss of client confidence that comes with non-compliance.