Why your cloud migration strategy should consider the risks as well as the rewards?
Let’s spare a thought for IT decision-makers. These gatekeepers of an organisation’s technology have a lot on their mind, as they attempt to juggle different elements of the IT procurement process: innovation, data security, budget. Keeping IT infrastructure up to date and secure without breaking the bank is no mean feat – even for the experts.
With 2019 now in full swing, where should these decision-makers – both IT-professionals and the business leaders that hold the purse strings – focus their attention? According to this year’s Computer Weekly/TechTarget IT Priorities survey, cloud migration is their top priority.
So, is it time to take your head out of the clouds and migrate your data and applications into it?
Understanding your options in the cloud
Implementing positive change will benefit your business in the long-term but can lead to disruption in the short-term, if not managed properly. Therefore, shifting from the traditional IT operating model to cloud computing requires careful planning and the development of an effective migration strategy.
Having a clear understanding of your cloud migration options allows you to configure your deployment in a way that fits your business requirements.
Risk and reward of migrating to the cloud
It’s easy to get swept away with the benefits of implementing innovative IT initiatives. And when it comes to cloud migration, there’s no denying the benefits are enticing:
- Reduced costs – reduces operational costs by shifting to a subscription model. Plus, less of your IT budget is spent on purchasing expensive systems and equipment.
- Productivity – eliminates the need to manage on-premise storage, freeing up time for your IT team to focus on achieving critical business goals.
- Scalability – allows you to purchase IT storage resources in accordance with your usage – perfect for businesses that experience seasonal demand and growing businesses with increasing demands.
- Automation – all cloud applications are automatically updated by your service provider, who will roll out regular software updates using the latest technology – imagine not having to worry about the maintenance of your IT infrastructure and the associated cost.
- Global mobility – cloud-based data and applications are accessible across the globe via the internet – allows your mobile workforce to carry out their role anywhere at any time.
- Data security – encryption ensures cloud storage remains one of the safest ways to store your data, giving it an added level of protection compared to your average computer.
Just think of all those competitive advantages your organisation will gain from cloud computing: efficiency, flexibility, lower costs and better performance. However, don’t adopt a blinkered approach to your cloud migration project. Your ability to make informed strategic decisions will be severely hampered if you fail to consider the risks involved as well.
Entrusting the delivery of IT resources – servers, storage, databases, networking, software and more – to a service that operates via the internet should get you thinking seriously about the security of your data. In many ways, the cloud is more secure than a traditional data centre, yet assets stored within it are not immune from attack – look no further than the data breach suffered by Apple’s iCloud servers in China back in 2014.
Here are some key considerations when devising your cloud migration risk management strategy:
- You’re only as strong as your weakest link – in the case of cloud migration, this chink in the armour is typically found in end users’ device. Rather than attempting to decrypt the complex algorithms that conceal cloud-protected information, cybercriminals seek to compromise cloud credentials by targeting the device. They achieve this by deploying viruses, such as a Trojan: hidden malware that takes control of a user’s computer, steals data and inserts more malware.
- Social-engineering – another common method used to compromise cloud credentials, such as phishing: an attempt to fraudulently obtain sensitive information such as passwords by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication (typically an email). The TDM Group Phishing Attack Simulator is a proactive security awareness system designed to safeguard your infrastructure and data from such attacks.
- Windows 7 end of life – failure to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 by 14th January 2020 – the end of its extended support period – will leave your data vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This date signals the operating systems end of life, when Microsoft will cease patching newly identified vulnerabilities. Without these vital security updates, you could be presenting your cloud-stored data on a plate to cybercriminals.
- Legal compliance – because the cloud is vulnerable to breaches, your third-party provider is responsible for the security of your data. This limits your control over the way in which your data is legally protected. Ask yourself: can you guarantee that your provider is compliant with the relevant laws?
- Third-party security – you may be confident in your own security but what about your third-party provider? Any failure on their part to safeguard cloud computing environments will expose your applications and data to security risks. Unless you implement a thorough vetting process, you can’t be certain they have the necessary security measures in place, such as ISO/IEC 27001: the international standard that provides the specification for a best-practice information security management system.
- Business continuity – data protection is an integral part of business continuity planning. Do your cloud-based services backup data at a secure location, protecting it from sudden power failure, natural disaster or outages? Such as the recent Microsoft 365 outage, which justify thousands of customers across the globe offline for more than 17 hours. The human element of risk management is key to the success of this process. Without effective staff training that promotes relevant strategies and enhances the competency of relevant personnel, the business continuity plan is flawed.
Get help from the experts
Migrating to the cloud doesn’t have to be a step into the unknown. TDM Group’s infrastructure provides the foundation for a range of innovative hosting solutions designed to help your business realise its potential. Our expert consultancy, implementation and migration services and support guarantee a seamless transition to cloud delivery models.
By offering a commercially flexible, cost-effective and secure hosting solution that scale to meet your changing requirements, you can achieve your goals without compromising on quality.
- Performance – our hosting solutions are developed with ring-fenced resources that prevent our infrastructure from being over-subscribed or unable to cope with capacity.
- Connectivity – our commitment to uptime, combined with our highly resilient network, guarantees connectivity and network efficiency.
- Monitoring and management – all our infrastructure components benefit from a range of monitoring and reporting tools.
- Security – our hosting solutions are delivered through dual fail-over firewalls with built-in IDS, with even higher levels of protection available if required.