How to Secure Data When Moving to the Cloud

Apr 25, 2023 | Security

Cloud computing has completely revolutionized the world of technology, bringing in a new era of scalability, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. And if the numbers are anything to go by, the global cloud computing market is set to take the world by storm, with researchers predicting it will grow to over $1 trillion by 2028.

With all its benefits, moving to the cloud is not as simple as just flipping a switch. Ensuring your data stays secure when transitioning to the cloud requires careful planning and consideration of security measures. In this article, we’ll delve into the best practices for securing your data when migrating to the cloud through a system like Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Understand the Cloud Security Model

In the world of cloud security, the shared responsibility model is the name of the game. Picture a game of tug-of-war, but instead of two teams pulling at opposite ends of a rope, there are two players working together to protect a cloud environment. The first player is a cloud service provider like AWS, responsible for ensuring the security of the cloud infrastructure. The second player is the customer, responsible for securing their data and applications.

Cloud service providers bring a variety of security measures to the table, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and encryption. However, the customer can’t just sit back and relax. It’s important to take additional security measures to protect their precious data and applications.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Before taking the plunge into the cloud, it’s important to take stock of any potential risks to your data. A risk assessment is the best way to identify any vulnerabilities and threats that may be lurking in your cloud migration plan. By conducting a thorough risk assessment, you can develop a plan to mitigate these risks and protect your data.

Here are the steps identified by AWS for conducting a risk assessment when moving to the cloud:

  1. Identify, manage, and track gaps and vulnerabilities. Develop and keep a threat model updated that can be constantly monitored.
  2. Categorize systems according to their risk assessment. If some Internet of Things (IoT) and IT systems share the same risks, employ a predefined zoning model with suitable controls to separate them.
  3. Follow a micro-segmentation strategy to contain the effects of any event.
  4. Use appropriate security mechanisms to control information flow between network segments.
  5. Continuously search for and evaluate ways to minimize security events as your IoT system grows and changes.

Implement Access Control

Access control is your fortress against unauthorized access to your data and applications in the cloud. Implementing access control through a program like AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) is critical to keep cybercriminals and hackers at bay.

There are a few steps you can take to implement access control in the cloud, including setting up user accounts and passwords, deploying multifactor authentication, and implementing role-based access control.

The best practices for access control in the cloud are even more crucial. These include limiting the number of users who have access to sensitive data, regularly reviewing user access permissions, and implementing least privilege access. With these measures in place, you can keep your cloud environment secure and give yourself peace of mind.

Use Encryption

Encryption is like the secret code of the digital world. It transforms your data into a seemingly incomprehensible language that only those with the right key can decipher. When moving to the cloud, encryption is a critical tool for protecting your sensitive information.

To make the most of encryption in the cloud, it’s important to use strong encryption systems that can’t be easily broken. Regularly rotating encryption keys can keep your data secure over the long haul. Additionally, don’t forget to encrypt all sensitive data, including data stored in backups and archives.

Implement Monitoring and Logging

Implementing monitoring and logging in the cloud is crucial for identifying potential security breaches and maintaining compliance with regulations. To get started, you’ll want to configure monitoring and logging tools that can help you keep an eye on your cloud environment. Setting up alerts for security events is also key, so you can be notified right away if something looks fishy.

By following best practices for monitoring and logging in the cloud, you can take your security game to the next level. These include the following:

  • Set up automated alerting for critical security events to save time and ensure you never miss a beat.
  • Use machine learning to detect security threats and anomalies that might slip under the radar.
  • Stay on top of the latest monitoring and logging trends to keep your cloud environment safe and secure.

Have a Disaster Recovery Plan

Imagine you’re in the middle of an important project and suddenly, disaster strikes. Maybe it’s a natural disaster, a power outage, or a cyber attack that brings your cloud services crashing down. That’s where a disaster recovery plan comes in.

A disaster recovery plan outlines how to restore operations and protect your precious data after a disruption in services. Creating a disaster recovery plan for the cloud requires some careful planning. You’ll need to identify critical data and applications, set recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives, and test the plan regularly to ensure it’s effective.

AWS identifies these four approaches to disaster recovery strategies based on how many resources are available and how important the project is:

  1. Backup and restore: This approach involves making regular backups of your data and applications and storing them in a separate location. In the event of a disaster, you would restore your systems from the most recent backup.
  2. Pilot light: In this approach, you maintain a minimal version of your environment in the cloud. This includes only the core components necessary to run your application. In the event of a disaster, you would quickly scale up the minimal environment to a full-scale production environment.
  3. Warm standby: This approach involves ensuring that there is a scaled-down but fully functional copy of your production environment in another region. This includes a copy of your data and applications but with reduced computing resources. In the event of a disaster, you would scale up the warm standby environment to full capacity.
  4. Multi-site active/active (most expensive): This approach involves running active instances of your data and applications across multiple locations. This allows you to maintain high availability and redundancy in the event of a disaster at one location. In this approach, both locations are actively serving traffic and are constantly synchronized.

Overall, securing data when moving to the cloud is critical to protect sensitive information and maintain regulatory compliance. By following these best practices, businesses can ensure that their data is secured and their migration to the cloud is successful.

nClouds is an AWS Premier-Tier Implementation Partner that specializes in helping organizations upgrade and manage their cloud infrastructure. Contact us today to see how we can help you plan, test, and maintain your new AWS environment.


nClouds is a cloud-native services company that helps organizations maximize site uptime, performance, stability, and support, bringing out the best of their people and technology using AWS