U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Cloud Computing: Challenges and Future Directions

NCJ Number
Kim-Kwang R. Choo
Date Published
October 2010
6 pages
This paper examines the benefits and risks of "cloud" computing, which refers to a pool of virtualized computing resources that allows users to access applications and data in a Web-based environment on demand.
In a typical computer operation, the computer's operating system, applications, and data are installed and stored in the "traditional" computing environment. In a "cloud" computing environment, on the other hand, individuals and businesses work with applications and data stored and/or maintained on shared machines in a Web-based environment, rather than being physically located in the home of a user or a corporate office. Cloud computing provides a scalable online environment that facilitates the ability to handle an increased volume of work without impacting the performance of the system. It also offers significant computing capability and economy of scale that might not otherwise be affordable to businesses, especially small and medium enterprises with limited financial and human resources. This paper explains the various cloud architecture and usage models that exist. This is followed by an overview of the emerging threat landscape created by cloud computing, so as to identify approaches for risk reduction. Three strategies for action are proposed. There is a need for a culture of cyber security to be created through the development of effective public-private partnerships. Australia's privacy regime must be reformed to deal with the issues created by cloud computing. In addition, cyber-security researchers must find ways to mitigate existing and new security risks in the cloud computing environment. Cloud computing is firmly established in the information technology world. This must be accompanied by the development of countermeasures that will make cloud computing safe and unencumbered by threats that can undermine its benefits and efficient operation. 31 references