Risks of migrating to the cloud: How to avoid a cybersecurity nightmare

Risks of migrating to the cloud: How to avoid a cybersecurity nightmare

Migrating to the cloud can be a huge boon for businesses of all sizes, as it can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and provide a host of other benefits. But cloud migration also comes with security risks and other challenges. In this article, we will discuss some of the biggest cloud migration risks and how you can avoid them.

A lack of a cloud migration strategy

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when migrating to the cloud is to rush into it unprepared. A recent study found that the lack of planning is one of the most common causes of cloud migration delays. Besides project delays, lack of planning can result in cost overruns and other unexpected issues during or after migration.

It’s also critical to plan which workloads will be moved because not all of them will be well suited for the cloud. So prior to migration, you need to carefully assess your workloads to ensure that they will run smoothly in the cloud environment.

Additionally, before you move your data to the cloud, decide on the kind and volume of data you want to store there. Some business data might be too critical or sensitive to be moved to the cloud and should be kept on premises where data may be more secure.


The cloud is prone to various security threats like account hijacking, malicious insiders, and ransomware. Ransomware attacks, in particular, have been steadily rising in recent years, and businesses moving to the cloud should watch out for different cloud ransomware attacks, including the following:

  • Ransomware via cloud file sharing. This ransomware program encrypts files stored on local file sharing folders, which are synced to other users of the files and folders within a cloud platform.
  • Ransomcloud. This type of malware infects cloud-based email via phishing scams. Ransomcloud can work like most phishing scams in which the attacker impersonates the account owner to trick the victim’s contacts into spreading ransomware-infected files.
  • Ransomware targeting cloud services providers. An attacker could target an employee of a cloud vendor to hack into the vendor’s clients’ data and encrypt the entire cloud infrastructure.

Implementing an effective backup plan can help your company avoid the ramifications of a ransomware infection. Additionally, when moving workloads to the cloud, make sure all of your critical data is encrypted to make them inaccessible to intruders and/or people without proper authorization. You should also set up other security protocols, such as multifactor authentication and remote user authentication, and use a password manager to further protect your data.

Related reading: 5 Ways to protect your business from ransomware

Loss of control

Migrating to the cloud entails giving up some control over your data. Because your data is hosted by a third-party provider, you don't have direct control over it. So if something goes wrong, you may not be able to fix the problem yourself. Pick a cloud services vendor that offers greater control and transparency and make sure that you have a good understanding of your rights and responsibilities before you migrate to the cloud.

A lack of staff training

You also face risks when your staff is not properly trained on how to use the new cloud-based systems. This can lead to errors, which in turn, can lead to data loss or breaches. Make sure to give both IT and non-IT staff adequate training and guidance as you transition to the cloud.

Data loss

Data loss during and after moving to the cloud can happen for a number of reasons such as cyberattacks, hardware failure, or human error. To prevent data loss, most cloud service providers implement a strategy that involves data restoration, backup, and failover, or the ability to seamlessly switch to a dependable backup system when the main system or any of its components fails. This means it's critical to select a provider that has a proven track record of successful cloud data migration.

Incomplete deletion of data

When you delete data from your on-premises system, it’s important to ensure that the data is completely erased, which can be difficult to do when migrating to the cloud. This is because cloud providers typically keep backups of customer data. So even if you delete your data from your account, it may still exist on the provider’s servers. Don’t forget to ask your cloud provider if they offer data erasure services. This way, you can be sure that your data is completely erased from the provider’s servers if the need arises.

The success of your cloud migration project depends on your ability to mitigate the associated risks. To learn more about cloud security, download our FREE eBook, Overcoming the Challenge of Cloud Security.

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