5 Biggest Security Challenges in Cloud Migration and Integration

Many companies nowadays have discovered the core advantages of cloud computing and storage. With its lower infrastructure and maintenance costs, great customizability, and the accessibility it affords, cloud technology has become a global arena for achieving a competitive advantage.

But as companies are allured by the promise of cloud technology, many still don’t understand the vulnerabilities and challenges associated with the migration and integration process – especially the security risk it entails. From data loss to defending against cyber attacks when migrating and operating, there are inherent security vulnerabilities that should be understood.

Here are 5 of the biggest security challenges your company or application may face when migrating and integrating to the cloud:


Cloud computing is a service where storage and computing resources can be accessed on a subscription basis.

The three deployment models currently used – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – have specific security challenges. The level of control and burden of risk management of both the cloud service provider and the consumer relies heavily on the deployment method. PaaS as well as SaaS, however, are both hosted on top of IaaS – and any attack on the underlying level is a risk to the layers on top. Ensuring your providers’ compliance with Government CISO and IA community best practices and standards is a big step towards the right direction.

Central Security Strategy

Many companies are lulled by the promise of elasticity afforded by cloud computing – but that’s an oversimplification which can cause devastating results.

EWeek editor Lior Cohen advises starting with imposing a central security strategy, as it’s paramount to assess the impact of cloud migration on your future business goals. Your strategy should also include increasing your capacity to secure your virtual machines by hiring cybersecurity experts. Cyber experts at Maryville University note that the specialists should be versed in defensive and offensive techniques, as well as the legal and compliance-related aspects of cybersecurity. This is especially true in businesses using hybrid and multi-cloud services. The rise of in-house DevOps and DevSecOps in cloud-based companies are driven by the necessity to manage security risks at the end-user level.

Cloud architecture

A professor at Syracuse University highlights that vulnerabilities in cloud-based systems used in smart cities are from insecure cloud architecture. Chances of data loss from legacy computers are high when they’re not fully, continuously, and seamlessly backed onto the cloud – which can be done with secure cloud architecture and API management. Cloud providers offer services that can be accessed through APIs like SOAP, REST, or HTTP with JSON. Weak credentials, insufficient authorization checks, and input data-validation are inherent security risks – especially as cloud APIs are still maturing.

Risks in Virtualization

Migrating from legacy systems to the cloud entails virtualization and utility computing. Current migration techniques (energy efficient, load balancing, and fault tolerant) share the vulnerabilities of virtualization. Virtualized environments are susceptible to attacks on normal environments, and on top of that, must also be secured at a virtual level. Uncontrolled migration and snapshots due to load balance or fault tolerance can lead to data leakage. Virtual rollbacks could also pose problems as previously patched issues could revert back into risks. Employing cloud-access security brokers can deter these problems by increasing control over virtualized machines.

Shared storage

A study published on the Journal of Informational Sciences highlights how collocating your data in a shared environment when migrating to the cloud escalates the security risks in data governance. Other providers also hire third party vendors in backing up the data – further aggravating this risk. Virtual machines on the same server share CPU, memory, and I/O. Other virtual machines can infer data from the shared cache without compromising the virtual hypervisors in place.

These are the biggest risks associated with cloud migration and integration. If your company/application aims to gain competitive advantage, you and your team will have greater chances at success if you take the necessary steps to understand and mitigate these risks.

Post written by Ayla Caine for atarc.org

Tech blogger Ayla Caine is obsessed with disruptive trends involving business security, the Internet of Things, and AI. When she’s not learning Java and Python, she spends most of her free time reading science fiction novels in nature, public parks, or libraries.