How Threat Modeling Can Help You Migrate Securely to the Cloud

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Security during cloud migration would be a challenge even if it were done all at once. Since smart cloud migration is done in steps, security during cloud migration becomes even more challenging. Not only are you dealing with two architectures—one on-premises and one in the cloud—but both of those architectures change during every step of the migration.

It would be nice if you could just outsource security to the cloud service provider (CSP), but that isn’t the case. Cloud service models require customers to take responsibility for their own security, and that’s where threat modeling can really make a difference.

With other tools like cloud security posture management (CSPM), you have to wait until after you migrate to the cloud to discover the threats. What’s better is knowing beforehand what the threats will be. Threat modeling answers the question, what will my threats be before I migrate to the cloud?

Threat modeling gives you a sneak peak of your threat landscape after migration. You get that sneak peak by deliberately building the initial threat model prior to migration. Once you have that threat model, it is a simple matter to update it in response to the ever-changing threat landscape in the cloud.

Threat modeling cannot only help you migrate securely to the cloud, but with the ephemeral nature of cloud architecture, it might even be essential. There is simply no way to manually keep up with the changing nature of cloud infrastructure.

According to the Cloud Security Spotlight report, two of the biggest security cloud migration issues are visibility into infrastructure security and security failing to keep up with the pace of change in applications.

In the cloud, everything is virtual, interdependent and constantly changing. VMs and containers are spun up and disappear in response to dynamic workloads. And every change you make impacts your architecture and therefore your threats and security.

Consequently, it is almost impossible to visualize the architecture when migrating to the cloud. Applications depend on each other and resources access each. Both of these may leave your data exposed in different ways than you think. The only way to get a grasp on this is to model those threats.

The only practical way to model threats in such an environment is to use a tool that does two things: automatically discovers cloud architectures and periodically scans the environment for changes. And that’s where modern threat modeling tools come in that are specifically designed for cloud environments.

A good threat modeling tool, specifically designed for the cloud, will include automated threat models, a cloud native security framework, reusable templates, integration with your CI/CD pipeline, as well as continuously monitoring all the environments.

Threat modeling doesn’t just help with identifying threats, it can also help with compliance. Your engineers can use it to implement policies which ensure you stay compliant with required and applicable standards and regulations. Just because you’re migrating to the cloud, doesn’t mean those standards and regulations no longer apply.

According to the Cloud Security Alliance “Cloud Adoption Practices & Priorities Survey Report,” 34 percent of companies are currently avoiding the cloud because they don’t believe their IT and business managers have the knowledge and experience to handle the demands of cloud computing. One way to manage that skills gap is to deploy an automated threat modeling tool to help you migrate securely to the cloud.

If this topic is of interest to you, download the free report 5 Steps to Building a Scalable Threat Modeling Program for the Cloud.

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