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20/20 Network Visibility: Making Cloud Migration a Success

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Avivi Siman-Tov, Director of Product Management at AlgoSec, explores the challenges associated with migration projects and the systematic process that organizations should embrace 

 

In order for businesses to succeed in 2021 and beyond, agility and responsiveness are critical. Data is the new currency, and businesses need to be able to access theirs instantly and securely in order to make the rapid-fire business decisions that will make or break their long-term strategies. One way IT can improve responsiveness and business agility is by moving business applications to the cloud.  

When migrating applications to the cloud, the need for network security is often overlooked. When this happens, applications are deployed in the cloud without adequate security and compliance measures in place, or, conversely, the security team steps in and halts the migration process. 

This puts the company at risk: inadequate security makes it easier for hackers to access the network and mount an attack against the company – exposing the company to financial losses and legal repercussions. Moreover, if the business is unable to respond to market demands in a timely fashion, there are clear financial implications. 

The challenge of security 

Cloud migration comes with several benefits, but it also exposes a number of security risks. With every advantage comes a cost, and it is up to businesses to do whatever they can to mitigate that risk in order to leverage the cloud to its fullest potential.   

An AlgoSec survey found that organizations reported a range of problems when migrating to public clouds, with 44% having difficulty managing security policies post-migration and nearly a third struggling to map application traffic flows at the start. Respondents also had concerns about applications in the cloud, with the greatest worry being cyberattacks (58%) and unauthorized access (53%) followed by applications outages and misconfigured cloud security controls. 

But this shouldn’t stop progress from happening. What organizations need is security policy automation that supports the DevOps methodology, and more importantly the DevSecOps approach to building a security foundation. This solution needs to be able to automatically copy the firewall rules – and then make the necessary modifications to map rules to the new objects when the rules are applied to each new environment in the DevOps lifecycle. With the right automation solution, security can be baked into the entire process. 

Visibility is key in cloud migration 

Obtaining an inventory of applications is a key requirement when migrating to the cloud. Most businesses have two types of applications – enterprise and departmental – and it should be relatively easy to obtain the necessary connectivity information needed to migrate them to the cloud. The key here is to know that these applications exist.  

Once the list of applications is in place, you can move onto the next stage in the process of closing the security gap as you migrate to the cloud: identifying and sealing any vulnerabilities in the server that could be exploited by a hacker, understanding network connectivity requirements and application attributes, such as the number of servers, and associated business processes. These elements help determine the complexity involved in migrating applications. 

Several attributes can affect the complexity of migrating an application to the cloud, including its specific connectivity requirements and the firewall rules that allow/ deny that connectivity. Mapping this connectivity provides a deeper understanding of network traffic which then provides insight into the flows you will need to migrate and maintain with the application in the cloud. The more applications that utilize a server, the harder it is to migrate an application which depends on that server. It may be necessary to migrate the server itself or migrate multiple applications at the same time. 

So how do you generate documentation of application connectivity? The obvious choice is to employ a solution that automatically maps the various network traffic flows, servers, and firewall rules for each application. If you do not have access to such an automation solution, manually documenting, however tedious, will provide the necessary information. 

Migrating with AlgoSec  

The AlgoSec Security Management Suite (ASMS) makes it easy to support your cloud migration journey. Ensuring that it does not block critical business services and meet compliance requirements. 

AlgoSec’s powerful AutoDiscovery capabilities help you understand the network flows in your organization. You can automatically connect the recognized traffic flows to the business applications that use them. AlgoSec seamlessly manages the network security policy across your entire hybrid network estate. AlgoSec proactively checks every proposed firewall rule change request against your network security strategy to ensure that the change doesn’t introduce risk or violate compliance requirements. 

We have published a whitepaper that delves into the complexities of migrating to the cloud and the systematic approach that organizations should embrace when approaching these types of projects. You can download a copy here.  

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