IT Security and Governance Compliant Service Oriented Computing in Cloud Computing Environments

IT Security and Governance Compliant Service Oriented Computing in Cloud Computing Environments

Hussain Al-Aqrabi (University of Derby, UK) and Lu Liu (University of Derby, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2854-0.ch006
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The authors present the key security challenges and solutions on the Cloud with the help of literature reviews and an experimental model created on OPNET that is simulated to produce useful statistics to establish the approach that the Cloud computing service providers should take to provide optimal security and compliance. The literature recommends the concept of unified threat management for ensuring secured services on the Cloud. Through the simulation results, the authors demonstrate that UTM may not be a feasible approach to security implementation as it may become a bottleneck for the application Clouds. The fundamental benefits of Cloud computing (resources on demand and high elasticity) may be diluted if UTMs do not scale up effectively as per the traffic loads on the application Clouds. Moreover, it is not feasible for application Clouds to absorb the performance degradation for security and compliance because UTM will not be a total solution for security and compliance. Applications also share the vulnerabilities just like the systems, which will be out of UTM Cloud’s control.
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The evolution of the concept of Cloud computing has changed the way businesses look at IT for fulfilling their needs. IT is now viewed as a massive implementation of integrated hardware, software, platforms and networking from where the businesses can purchase services as per what they need. A Cloud can be viewed as a hypermarket of IT services available at affordable prices based on needs and demands. Hence, it appears that Cloud computing concept has emerged at the right time when such companies were formulating multi-million dollar budgets to upgrade their hardware and software systems. But is Cloud computing ready to the extent that it can be considered as an alternative to hardware and software upgrades, or as an alternative to deployment of new IT systems? Many scholars argue that Cloud is ready, but the most significant challenge is related to security and compliance.

With the growing popularity of Cloud computing, the concerns about security and compliance are also growing. Al-Aqrabi et al. (2012) describes that Cloud computing is gradually gaining popularity among businesses of all types and sizes due to the numerous advantages over self-hosted IT infrastructures (p.1). Businesses do not want to be deprived of the already established and accepted benefits of Cloud computing and hence they require continuous research towards the path to achieve standardised policies and controls on Cloud computing that shall be acceptable to the regulatory bodies (Carroll, Merve and Kotze, 2011, p. 1). It is important for the management of a business to understand what threats and risks exist on Cloud computing infrastructures and what are the feasible mitigation strategies (Carroll, Merve and Kotze, 2011, p. 2). In a survey conducted by Carroll, Merve and Kotze (2011, p. 4), it was observed that the IT managers stated information security, business continuity and regulatory compliance as the top three concerns in moving their business workflows to the Cloud. Ramgovind, Eloff and Smith (2010, p. 1) argued that the full potential of Cloud computing cannot be used for the benefit of businesses unless the security and compliance issues are sorted out. They further elaborated that secured connectivity to Clouds over Internet, data segregation, data location and multi-tenancy are the key issues that are discussed by Gartner and IDC reports on Cloud computing security that are coming in the way of achieving full compliance to the established regulations and acts (p. 3). The main security issues to be solved in the context of connectivity, data segregation, data location and multi-tenancy are: identity management, authentication, authorisation, confidentiality, integrity, non-repudiation and availability (Ramgovind, Eloff and Smith, 2010, p. 3). At the technical level, Mukhin and Volokyata (2011, p. 738-739) described that Cloud computing comprises new types of vulnerabilities, like – incorrect provisioning in virtualisation, riding and hijacking of virtual sessions, insecure or obsolete cryptography keys, evasion of billing/metering data, data recovery of one user when the resource gets allocated to another user, insufficient virtual network controls, poor authentication and authorisation in the virtual machines, etc. The author has presented this study with the help of background and contextual reviews of Cloud computing security, and a modelling and simulation based experiment to test the feasibility of using security-as-a-service by a separate Cloud provider using unified threat management solutions. The findings of the experiment have been compared with the literature review outcomes to present the conclusions and recommendations. The chapter has been divided into seven sections: the first four sections dedicated to literature review and critical discussions, the next two sections to present the model and analysing its results and the last section to present the conclusions.

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