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Improving Cloud Assurance and Transparency Through Accountability Mechanisms

Accountability is a critical prerequisite for effective governance and control of corporate and private data processed by cloud-based information technology services. This chapter clarifies how accountability tools and practices can enhance cloud assurance and transparency in a variety of ways. Relevant techniques and terminologies are presented, and a scenario is considered to illustrate the related issues.

Security and Privacy Preservation of Evidence in Cloud Accountability Audits

Cloud accountability audits are promising to strengthen trust in cloud computing by providing reassurance about the processing data in the cloud according to data handling and privacy policies. To effectively automate cloud accountability audits, various distributed evidence sources need to be considered during evaluation. The types of information range from authentication and data access logging to location information, information on security controls and incident detection.

Accountability Through Transparency for Cloud Customers

Public cloud providers process data on behalf of their customers in data centres that typically are physically remote from their users. This context creates a number of challenges related to data privacy and security, and may hinder the adoption of cloud technology. One of these challenges is how to maintain transparency of the processes and procedures while at the same time providing services that are secure and cost effective.

The Value of Accountability in the Cloud: Individual Willingness to Pay for Transparency

Within the global cloud market, accountability is needed to help overcome barriers to cloud service adoption. A key inhibitor for movement to software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud models is lack of consumer trust. ?Potential cloud customers perceive a lack of transparency and relatively less control [on their data] than with traditional models? [1]. One way of introducing accountability in the cloud ecosystem is by means of accountability tools. These tools offer cloud customers more insight in the use (e.g., processing, storage, sharing and deletion) of their data in the cloud.

Accountability in the Cloud

Accountability is a complex notion used across different domains, for which there is no commonly agreed definition. In data protection regulation since the 1980s, accountability has been used in the sense that the ‘data controller’ is responsible for complying with particular data protection legislation and, in most cases, is required to establish systems and processes which aim at ensuring such compliance. This paper assesses this notion in the context of cloud computing and explains how accountability can be used to help overcome barriers to trust.

Balloon: A Forward-Secure Append-Only Persistent Authenticated Data Structure

We present Balloon, a forward-secure append-only persistent authenticated data structure. Balloon is designed for an initially trusted author that generates events to be stored in a data structure (the Balloon) kept by an untrusted server, and clients that query this server for events intended for them based on keys and snapshots. The data structure is persistent such that clients can query keys for the current or past versions of the data structure based upon snapshots, which are generated by the author as new events are inserted.

Usable Transparency with the Data Track: A Tool for Visualizing Data Disclosures

We present a prototype of the user interface of a transparency tool that displays an overview of a user's data disclosures to different online service providers and allows them to access data collected about them stored at the services' sides. We explore one particular type of visualization method consisting of tracing lines that connect a user's disclosed personal attributes to the service to which these attributes have been disclosed. We report on the ongoing iterative process of design of such visualization, the challenges encountered and the possibilities for future improvements.

A Simulation Framework to Model Accountability Controls for Cloud Computing

In this paper, we present an implemented system to model and visually represent the functioning of accountability mechanisms for cloud computing (such as policy enforcement, monitoring, intrusion detection, logging, redress and remediation mechanisms) over provider boundaries along the supply chain of service providers.

What Would It Take for You to Tell Your Secrets to a Cloud? - Studying Decision Factors When Disclosing Information to Cloud Services

We investigate the end users’ behaviours and attitudes with regards to the control they place in the personal information that they disclose to cloud storage services. Three controlled experiments were carried out to study the influence in users’ decisions to retain or surrender control over their personal information depending on different factors.

Privacy Risk, Security, Accountability in the Cloud

Migrating data, applications or services to the cloud exposes a business to a number of new threats and vulnerabilities, which need to be properly assessed. Assessing privacy risk in cloud environments remains a complex challenge, mitigation of this risk requires trusting a cloud service provider to implement suitable privacy controls. Furthermore, auditors and authorities need to be able to hold service providers accountable for their actions, enforcing rules and regulations through penalties and other mechanisms, and ensuring that any problems are remedied promptly and adequately.