Team Releases Tools for Secure Cloud Computing

Aug 02, 2010

( -- UT Dallas researchers have released software tools intended to help make cloud computing the standard way much computing is done.

Cloud computing is a model for providing on-demand access to a shared pool of , including networks, storage and applications. It's meant to make it as simple to obtain an array of electronic data resources as it is to get electricity itself.

“In order to use electricity, we do not maintain electricity generators at home, instead we get the electricity on demand from the grid when we need it,” said Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, director of the University’s Research Center. “The paradigm tries to achieve the same result for computing.”

One of the top goals is to promote information sharing.

“In order to make correct decisions in many critical tasks, information from different sources needs to be shared,” said Dr. Murat Kantarcioglu, director of the University’s Data and Privacy Lab. “For homeland security purposes, for example, intelligence, law enforcement and border patrol reports need to be shared and analyzed. Secure information clouds can provide a cost-effective solution to meeting such information-sharing needs.”

Studies show that the biggest obstacle to wide adoption of cloud computing is concern about the security of , so security has been one of the team’s top priorities.

“In building a cloud, we are using a number of open source tools, including Apache’s Hadoop distributed file system, Google’s Mapreduce and the University of Cambridge’s XEN Virtual Machine monitor,” Thuraisingham said. “These three tools provide the infrastructure, and we are building security features on top of this infrastructure.”

The first release of the UT Dallas team’s cloud-computing resources feature a repository consisting of a collection of tools that provide secure query processing capabilities, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data. Tools are also being developed to add security to data storage services by storing sensitive data in encrypted format.

Demonstration of the tools is already under way with the UT Dallas team’s partners at King’s College London and the University of Insubria in Italy. Each party will submit data and policies to the cloud computing environment that’s been created, and the team’s tools will enable participants to securely query and share data.

An innovative layered framework is at the heart of the work. It consists of a network layer, an infrastructure layer, a storage layer and a data layer. The secure cloud computing environment the UT Dallas team is building will provide computing and analysis capabilities, enabling a request to be addressed by integrating, processing and analyzing vast amounts of textual, video and audio data.

The work is based on a project being done for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and one of the next steps is to expand efforts to include the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security as well as intelligence agencies and corporations to further develop secure cloud computing, Thuraisingham said.

In addition to Thuraisingham and Kantarcioglu, the UT Dallas cloud computing team includes Dr. Latifur Khan, director of the University’s Data Mining Lab, and Dr. Kevin Hamlen, director of the Systems and Language Security Lab.

Explore further: Researcher develops method for monitoring whether private information is sufficiently protected

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study on the Security of Cloud Computing

Feb 26, 2010

Not only does cloud computing help to save money, it also helps to increase IT security: Small and medium sized companies especially can profit from special cloud security solutions and the knowledge advantage of experienced ...

IBM to Build First Cloud Computing Center in China

Feb 01, 2008

IBM today announced it will establish the first Cloud Computing Center for software companies in China, which will be situated at the new Wuxi Tai Hu New Town Science and Education Industrial Park in Wuxi, China

Microsoft and NSF enable research in the cloud

Feb 04, 2010

Microsoft Corp. and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced an agreement that will offer individual researchers and research groups selected through NSF's merit review process free access to advanced cloud computing ...

Recommended for you

Tackling urban problems with Big Data

20 hours ago

Paul Waddell, a city planning professor at the University of California, Berkeley, with a penchant for conducting research with what he calls his "big urban data," is putting his work to a real-world test ...

Computer-assisted accelerator design

Apr 22, 2014

Stephen Brooks uses his own custom software tool to fire electron beams into a virtual model of proposed accelerator designs for eRHIC. The goal: Keep the cost down and be sure the beams will circulate in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Google+ boss leaving the company

The executive credited with bringing the Google+ social network to life is leaving the Internet colossus after playing a key role there for nearly eight years.

Facebook woos journalists with 'FB Newswire'

Facebook launched Thursday FB Newswire, billed as an online trove of real-time information for journalists and newsrooms to mine while reporting on events or crafting stories.

Genetic legacy of rare dwarf trees is widespread

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London have found genetic evidence that one of Britain's native tree species, the dwarf birch found in the Scottish Highlands, was once common in England.