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Introduction to Cloud

Computing and Secure Cloud

Bhavani Thuraisingham
The University of Texas at Dallas

January 23, 2015

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a

product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to
computers and other devices as a metered service over a network
Cloud computing provides computation, software, data access, and storage
resources without requiring cloud users to know the location and other details of
the computing infrastructure.
End users access cloud based applications through a web browser or a light
weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and data are stored on
servers at a remote location.
Cloud application providers strive to give the same or better service and
performance as if the software programs were installed locally on end-user
At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of infrastructure
convergence and shared services.

Service Models

Cloud computing providers offer their services according to three fundamental models
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service
(SaaS) where IaaS is the most basic and each higher model abstracts from the details of the
lower models.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In this most basic cloud service model, cloud providers offer computers as physical or more often as
virtual machines; raw (block) storage, firewalls, load balancers, and networks.
IaaS providers supply these resources on demand from their large pools installed in data centers..
To deploy their applications, cloud users then install operating system images on the machines as well
as their application software.
In this model, it is the cloud user who is responsible for patching and maintaining the operating systems
and application software.
In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform and/or solution stack typically including
operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server.
Application developers can develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform without the cost
and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In this model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users
access the software from cloud clients

Deployment Models

Public cloud

Community cloud

Community cloud shares infrastructure between several organizations from a specific

community with common concerns (security, compliance, jurisdiction, etc.), whether managed
internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally.
The costs are spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a private cloud), so
only some of the cost savings potential of cloud computing are realized.

Hybrid cloud

A public cloud is one based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service
provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public
over the Internet.
Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain
unique entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.
It can also be defined as multiple cloud systems that are connected in a way that allows
programs and data to be moved easily from one deployment system to another.

Private cloud

Private cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed
internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally,




The effectiveness and efficiency of traditional protection mechanisms are being

reconsidered as the characteristics of this innovative deployment model can differ
widely from those of traditional architectures


Using a cloud service provider (CSP) can complicate privacy of data because of
the extent to which virtualization for cloud processing (virtual machines) and cloud
storage are used to implement cloud services.

In order to obtain compliance with regulations including FISMA, HIPAA, and SOX
in the United States, the Data Protection Directive in the EU and the credit card
industry's PCI DSS, users may have to adopt community or hybrid deployment
modes that are typically more expensive and may offer restricted benefits.


Certain legal issues arise; everything from trademark infringement, security

concerns to the sharing of propriety data resources.

Secure Cloud Computing

Cloud computing security refers to a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls
deployed to protect data, applications, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing.
Cloud security is not to be confused with security software offerings that are "cloud-based"
(a.k.a. security-as-a-service).
There are a number of security issues/concerns associated with cloud computing but these
issues fall into two broad categories:

Security issues faced by cloud providers (organizations providing Software-, Platform-, or

Infrastructure-as-a-Service via the cloud)
Security issues faced by their customers. In most cases, the provider must ensure that their
infrastructure is secure and that their clients data and applications are protected while the customer
must ensure that the provider has taken the proper security measures to protect their information

The extensive use of virtualization in implementing cloud infrastructure brings unique

security concerns for customers or tenants of a public cloud service.
Virtualization alters the relationship between the OS and underlying hardware - be it
computing, storage or even networking.
This introduces an additional layer - virtualization - that itself must be properly configured,
managed and secured.
Specific concerns include the potential to compromise the virtualization software, or
"hypervisor". While these concerns are largely theoretical, they do exist

Security and Privacy

Security and privacy

In order to ensure that data is secure (that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized
users or simply lost) and that data privacy is maintained, cloud providers attend to the
following areas:
Data protection

Physical Control

To be considered protected, data from one customer must be properly segregated from that of another; it
must be stored securely when at rest and it must be able to move securely from one location to another.
Cloud providers have systems in place to prevent data leaks or access by third parties. Proper separation
of duties should ensure that auditing or monitoring cannot be defeated, even by privileged users at the
cloud provider
Physical control of the Private Cloud equipment is more secure than having the equipment off site and
under someone elses control.
Having the ability to visually inspect the data links and access ports is required in order to ensure data
links are not compromised.

Identity management

Every enterprise will have its own identity management system to control access to information and
computing resources.
Cloud providers either integrate the customers identity management system into their own infrastructure,
using federation or SSO technology, or provide an identity management solution of their own.

Security and Privacy

Physical and personnel security


Cloud providers ensure that applications available as a service via the cloud are secure by
implementing testing and acceptance procedures for outsourced or packaged application
code. It also requires application security measures (application-level firewalls) be in place in
the production environment.


Cloud providers assure customers that they will have regular and predictable access to their
data and applications.

Application security

Providers ensure that physical machines are adequately secure and that access to these
machines as well as all relevant customer data is not only restricted but that access is

Finally, providers ensure that all critical data (credit card numbers, for example) are masked
and that only authorized users have access to data in its entirety.
Moreover, digital identities and credentials must be protected as should any data that the
provider collects or produces about customer activity in the cloud.

Legal issues

In addition, providers and customers must consider legal issues, such as Contracts and EDiscovery, and the related laws, which may vary by country



Business continuity and data recovery

Cloud providers have business continuity and data recovery plans in place to ensure that service
can be maintained in case of a disaster or an emergency and that any data loss will be recovered.
These plans are shared with and reviewed by their customers.

Logs and audit trails

Numerous regulations pertain to the storage and use of data, including Payment Card Industry
Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, among others.
Many of these regulations require regular reporting and audit trails.
Cloud providers must enable their customers to comply appropriately with these regulations.

In addition to producing logs and audit trails, cloud providers work with their customers to ensure
that these logs and audit trails are properly secured, maintained for as long as the customer
requires, and are accessible for the purposes of forensic investigation

Unique compliance requirements

In addition to the requirements to which customers are subject, the data centers maintained by
cloud providers may also be subject to compliance requirements.
Using a cloud service provider (CSP) can lead to additional security concerns around data
jurisdiction since customer or tenant data may not remain on the same system, or in the same
data center or even within the same provider's cloud.


Legal and contractual issues

Aside from the security and compliance issues enumerated above, cloud providers
and their customers will negotiate terms around liability (stipulating how incidents
involving data loss or compromise will be resolved, for example), intellectual
property, and end-of-service (when data and applications are ultimately returned to
the customer.
Public records

Legal issues may also include records-keeping requirements in the public sector,
where many agencies are required by law to retain and make available electronic
records in a specific fashion.

This may be determined by legislation, or law may require agencies to conform to

the rules and practices set by a records-keeping agency.

Public agencies using cloud computing and storage must take these concerns into