Principles of a Cloud Migration – Security, The W5H


Whosawhatsit?! –  WHO is responsible for this anyways?

For as long as cloud providers have been in business, we’ve been discussing the Shared Responsibility Model when it comes to customer operation teams. It defines the different aspects of control, and with that control, comes the need to secure, manage, and maintain.

While I often make an assumption that everyone is already familiar with this model, let’s highlight some of the requirements as well as go a bit deeper into your organization’s layout for responsibility.

During your cloud migration, you’ll no doubt come across a variety of cloud services that fits into each of these configurations. From running cloud instances (IaaS) to cloud storage (SaaS), there’s a need to apply operational oversight (including security) to each of these based on your level of control of the service.  For example, in a cloud instance, since you’re still responsible for the Operating System and Applications, you’ll still need a patch management process in place, whereas with file object storage in the cloud, only oversight of permissions and data management is required. I think Mark Nunnikhoven does a great job in going into greater detail of the model here:

shared responsibility model

I’d like to zero in on some of the other “WHO”s that should be involved in security of your cloud migration.

InfoSec – I think this is the obvious mention here. Responsible for all information security within an organization. Since your cloud migration is working with “information”, InfoSec needs to be involved with how they get access to monitoring the security and risk associated to an organization. 

Cloud Architect – Another no-brainer in my eyes but worth a mention; if you’re not building a secure framework with a look beyond a “lift-and-shift” initial migration, you’ll be doomed with archaic principles leftover from the old way of doing things. An agile platform built for automating every operation including security should be the focus to achieving success.

IT / Cloud Ops – This may be the same or different teams. As more and more resources move to the cloud, an IT team will have less responsibilities for the physical infrastructure since it’s now operated by a cloud provider. They will need to go through a “migration” themselves to learn new skills to operate and secure a hybrid environment. This adaptation of new skills needs to be lead by…

Leadership – Yes, leadership plays an important role in operations and security even if they aren’t part of the CIO / CISO / COO branch. While I’m going to cringe while I type it, business transformation is a necessary step as you move along your cloud migration journey. The acceleration that the cloud provides can not be stifled by legacy operation and security ideologies. Every piece of the business needs to be involved in accelerating the value you’re delivering your customer base by implementing the agile processes including automation into the operations and security of your cloud.

With all of your key players focused on a successful cloud migration, regardless of what stage you’re in, you’ll reach the ultimate stage: the reinvention of your business where operational and security automation drives the acceleration of value delivered to your customers.

This blog is part of a multi-part series dealing with the principles of a successful cloud migration.  For more information, start at the first post here:

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