Principles of a Cloud Migration – Security, The W5H – Episode WHAT?


Teaching you to be a Natural Born Pillar!

Last week, we took you through the “WHO” of securing a cloud migration here, detailing each of the roles involved with implementing a successful security practice during a cloud migration. Read: everyone. This week, I will be touching on the “WHAT” of security; the key principles required before your first workload moves.  The Well-Architected Framework Security Pillar will be the baseline for this article since it thoroughly explains security concepts in a best practice cloud design.

If you are not familiar with the AWS Well-Architected Framework, go google it right now. I can wait. I’m sure telling readers to leave the article they’re currently reading is a cardinal sin in marketing, but it really is important to understand just how powerful this framework is. Wait, this blog is html ready – here’s the link: It consists of five pillars that include best practice information written by architects with vast experience in each area.

Since the topic here is Security, I’ll start by giving a look into this pillar. However, I plan on writing about each and as I do, each one of the graphics above will become a link. Internet Magic!

There are seven principles as a part of the security framework, as follows:

  • Implement a strong identity foundation
  • Enable traceability
  • Apply security at all layers
  • Automate security best practices
  • Protect data in transit and at rest
  • Keep people away from data
  • Prepare for security events

Now, a lot of these principles can be solved by using native cloud services and usually these are the easiest to implement. One thing the framework does not give you is suggestions on how to set up or configure these services. While it might reference turning on multi-factor authentication as a necessary step for your identity and access management policy, it is not on by default. Same thing with file object encryption. It is there for you to use but not necessarily enabled on the ones you create.

Here is where I make a super cool (and free) recommendation on technology to accelerate your learning about these topics. We have a knowledge base with hundreds of cloud rules mapped to the Well-Architected Framework (and others!) to help accelerate your knowledge during and after your cloud migration. Let us take the use case above on multi-factor authentication. Our knowledge base article here details the four R’s: Risk, Reason, Rationale, and References on why MFA is a security best practice.

Starting with a Risk Level and detailing out why this is presents a threat to your configurations is a great way to begin prioritizing findings.  It also includes the different compliance mandates and Well-Architected pillar (obviously Security in this case) as well as descriptive links to the different frameworks to get even more details.

The reason this knowledge base rule is in place is also included. This gives you and your teams context to the rule and helps further drive your posture during your cloud migration. Sample reason is as follows for our MFA Use Case:

“As a security best practice, it is always recommended to supplement your IAM user names and passwords by requiring a one-time passcode during authentication. This method is known as AWS Multi-Factor Authentication and allows you to enable extra security for your privileged IAM users. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a simple and efficient method of verifying your IAM user identity by requiring an authentication code generated by a virtual or hardware device on top of your usual access credentials (i.e. user name and password). The MFA device signature adds an additional layer of protection on top of your existing user credentials making your AWS account virtually impossible to breach without the unique code generated by the device.”

If Reason is the “what” of the rule, Rationale is the “why” supplying you with the need for adoption.  Again, perfect for confirming your cloud migration path and strategy along the way.

“Monitoring IAM access in real-time for vulnerability assessment is essential for keeping your AWS account safe. When an IAM user has administrator-level permissions (i.e. can modify or remove any resource, access any data in your AWS environment and can use any service or component – except the Billing and Cost Management service), just as with the AWS root account user, it is mandatory to secure the IAM user login with Multi-Factor Authentication.

Implementing MFA-based authentication for your IAM users represents the best way to protect your AWS resources and services against unauthorized users or attackers, as MFA adds extra security to the authentication process by forcing IAM users to enter a unique code generated by an approved authentication device.”

Finally, all the references for each of the risk, reason, and rationale, are included at the bottom which helps provide additional clarity. You’ll also notice remediation steps, the 5th ‘R’ when applicable, which shows you how to actually the correct the problem.

All of this data is included to the community as Trend Micro continues to be a valued security research firm helping the world be safe for exchanging digital information. Explore all the rules we have available in our public knowledge base:

This blog is part of a multi-part series dealing with the principles of a successful cloud migration.  For more information, start at the first post here: