SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Gary Arora

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Is Migration Compromising Your Data System Security?

Data migration is unavoidable, but data breaches and loss are not

Migration is inevitable. In the world of data management, you’ll eventually need to upgrade your systems and shift data from one storage environment to another. But can you do this without compromising your data security?

While it’s possible to undertake a complete data migration without any serious complications, it takes specialized knowledge and precautions. If you have a system upgrade in your near future, here are a few steps you should take to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Study Up
The first thing you need to do in order to ensure a flawless data migration is to study up on data protection fundamentals. IT organizations like the SANS Institute offer courses in security that can help you understand your different system options, develop security policies, and perform risk assessments. This will prepare you for data migration from a holistic perspective, not just a technical one.

Don’t have time for continuing education programming before you migrate? In that case, be sure to look for a technical consultant with recent work in the field. Data systems are always changing and practices that worked two years ago could leave your data terribly exposed today.

Focus On Gaps
One major challenge that cloud-based migrations pose to security is that of consistency. Such systems mix different types of technology to create a complete system, but because these various parts aren’t necessarily designed to work together, this results in security gaps.

System gaps make your data especially vulnerable to hackers. Identifying where those gaps live in the system will allow you to add additional layers of security and monitor those areas over the course of the migration.

Test And Test Again
Even if you know where the gaps in your cloud storage system are, you’ll need to actively test the system to make sure that post-migration, it isn’t vulnerable to hackers and malware attacks. Ideally, you should automate security testing so that you have an ongoing awareness of potential risks. Since security systems are usually a step behind the attackers they fend off, constant updates and testing are musts if you’re to buffer your system fully.

Many systems on today’s market are working to integrate security systems into their cloud software, but it isn’t a universal feature yet. As a data center, your job is to assess whether these early efforts are ready for market or if you’d prefer to automate security on your own and adopt native security systems later.

Stay Agile
There are many reasons to undertake data migration, but if you’re focused on security you may miss another key factor in the cloud management game: agility. Cloud systems gained their advantage specifically from their ability to adjust and grow with changing needs. If heavy layers of security are weighing down your system and preventing your company from sustaining much needed complexity, speed, and scalability, you need to rethink your strategy. Agility is directly correlated with profitability in today’s market.

Data migration is unavoidable, but data breaches and loss are not. If you’re going to succeed and stay profitable, you’ll need to stay on the cutting edge of security by studying your system and the wider marketplace. The more you know about data systems from the inside out, the greater your company’s potential for agile, market leading performance.

More Stories By Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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