The Fundamentals of AWS Migration

What is an AWS migration?

An AWS migration is the strategic process of moving digital assets — such as applications, databases, and IT processes — from on-premises or other cloud services to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Though this kind of move can enhance your ability to scale your operations and make them more efficient, it also opens up significant opportunities to bolster your cybersecurity. Migrating to AWS isn’t just a technological upgrade; it can be a step toward a more robust security posture.

In this post, we’ll look at the fundamentals of AWS migration — what it includes, the variety of migration strategies available, and the benefits of making the move, particularly in terms of security enhancements.

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Understanding AWS migration

Many enterprises migrate their digital assets to AWS to take advantage of its robust cloud infrastructure and extensive set of cloud services. An AWS migration shifts an organization away from traditional, on-premises data centers (or from other cloud platforms) to a dynamic, scalable cloud environment. This migration enables many businesses to adapt to changing demands and technological advancements.

Organizations pursuing a cloud migration typically take one of six approaches, commonly known as the six Rs of migration. Within the context of an AWS migration, the following are the most likely approaches used:

  • Re-hosting: Often called “lift and shift,” re-hosting involves moving applications to the cloud without any modifications.
  • Re-platforming: This involves making minor adjustments to applications — but without a full redesign — to leverage certain cloud capabilities.
  • Re-factoring: Re-factoring involves modifying applications significantly to optimize them for cloud efficiency and scalability.

Migrating to AWS brings many benefits, especially for businesses that want to modernize their IT infrastructure and improve their operational efficiency. Benefits include:

  • Scalability: AWS facilitates the scaling of resources up or down based on demand, without the need for upfront investments in physical hardware.
  • Cost-efficiency: As with most cloud providers, with AWS, you pay only for the resources you use. This can reduce your overall IT expenses (as long as you rein in resource overprovisioning).
  • Security enhancements: The offerings of AWS include security tools and compliance certifications, which can improve your data protection measures.

Planning, strategy, and execution

When considering an AWS migration, a business must plan its strategy thoughtfully. Simply jumping on the cloud bandwagon because it’s the current trend doesn’t guarantee success. Instead, ensure your migration strategy closely aligns with both your business and technical needs.

The key question to ask is “How does moving to AWS support my overall business objectives?” For many, the answer lies in the ability of AWS to scale with growth, offer cost-efficiency, and enhance security, aligning with broader business goals.

As we mentioned above, this migration presents an opportunity to enhance security. Therefore, plan for security from the outset of this endeavor. Begin with a comprehensive assessment of your current security posture to understand your potential vulnerabilities and compliance requirements.

As you design permissions and access policies for your AWS environment, adopt the principle of least privilege, ensuring that individuals and services have only the minimum permissions necessary to perform their role or function. These steps move you toward creating a secure AWS ecosystem that protects your assets throughout — and beyond — the migration process.

As you prepare to execute your AWS migration, be aware of certain technical hurdles that will require your attention:

  • Data migration: Businesses must decide on a data migration approach that best suits their size, complexity, and tolerance for downtime. Tools like AWS Database Migration Service can streamline this process, minimizing downtime and ensuring data integrity.
  • Application migration: This is where decisions around re-hosting, re-platforming, or re-factoring come into play. Regardless of the chosen method, comprehensive testing for functionality and performance in the new environment is critical.
  • Continuous monitoring and post-migration optimization: Though completing an AWS migration may feel like the indicator of success, your business and IT stakeholders will need assurance that such migration was the right move. Use tools like Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Trusted Advisor to monitor performance metrics and security alerts. Metrics will give you hard numbers to show the measurable positive outcomes of the migration. Monitoring and alerts will ensure your cloud environment remains robust, secure, and aligned with your evolving business needs.

Expert Tip

To embark on a cloud migration journey with a secure, clean slate, organizations need to understand and secure their current environment. The CrowdStrike Falcon® sensor can be deployed on all workloads at scale within days, detecting and often eliminating advanced persistent threats to establish a known secure baseline.

By deploying CrowdStrike endpoint protection on on-premises workloads during the initial “assess and mobilize” phase, CrowdStrike ensures that adversaries lurking in an organization’s existing environment are not transferred along with data and applications during the active workload migration phases. CrowdStrike’s threat detection and response capabilities provide continuous monitoring and analysis of behavioral patterns to identify and remediate threats. This ensures that any indicator of attack or compromise is swiftly dealt with, preventing adversaries from infiltrating the new cloud environment.

Security considerations and challenges

An AWS migration offers a pivotal moment for organizations to bolster their security measures by enhancing security protocols and infrastructure. By taking a proactive stance on security during the migration process, businesses can ensure a more secure operational framework in the cloud.

When an organization embarks on this migration journey, it should be mindful of the following potential security issues:

  • Data breaches: The risk of exposing sensitive information during the migration process.
  • Compliance risks: Failing to meet regulatory requirements, resulting in legal and financial repercussions.
  • Configuration errors: Misconfiguring AWS services, leaving your system vulnerable to attacks.
  • Access control challenges: Not adhering to the principle of least privilege or not ensuring that only authorized users have access to specific data and applications.

AWS provides an array of security tools designed to help safeguard your environment. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows for detailed access control policies. Amazon CloudWatch offers monitoring to detect unusual activity, and AWS Shield provides measures to protect against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

However, many organizations that embark on this migration journey find that they need an all-in-one solution that not only secures AWS assets but extends protection across all their digital assets, offering a centralized solution for broader security needs.

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Ensure security throughout your AWS migration with the CrowdStrike Falcon platform

The strategic integration of CrowdStrike into your AWS migration from the very beginning embeds security at the core of your cloud environment. This preemptive measure allows for continuous monitoring and protection of your cloud infrastructure, enabling the real-time detection and neutralization of threats. Additionally, it ensures adherence to security best practices and compliance regulations right from the start.

This approach simplifies the migration process by integrating security into the framework of your cloud environment and avoids the need for reactive and costly security interventions later on. Deploying CrowdStrike Falcon® Cloud Security at the start enables organizations to quickly realize the benefits of a unified cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP). It provides assurance that both the initial landing zone and all subsequent workloads are defended against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

CrowdStrike Falcon for AWS enhances the native security tools of AWS by offering end-to-end protection for workloads and containers. It provides comprehensive visibility across AWS resources, ensuring no threats go unnoticed. Equipped with AI-native threat intelligence, the Falcon platform is adept at detecting sophisticated attacks, offering enterprises 24/7 managed threat hunting.

As we’ve explored AWS migration, we’ve underscored the benefits it can bring in scalability and cost-efficiency. We’ve also highlighted how it presents an opportunity to enhance security. However, organizations that want to pursue an AWS migration must start their journey with a well-thought-out strategy and the right tools.

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