2015 Volume 23 Issue 4 Pages 465-475
Cloud computing has revolutionized information technology, in that It allows enterprises and users to lower computing expenses by outsourcing their needs to a cloud service provider. However, despite all the benefits it brings, cloud computing raises several security concerns that have not yet been fully addressed to a satisfactory note. Indeed, by outsourcing its operations, a client surrenders control to the service provider and needs assurance that data is dealt with in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, the most inherent security issue of cloud computing is multi-tenancy. Cloud computing is a shared platform where users' data are hosted in the same physical infrastructure. A malicious user can exploit this fact to steal the data of the users whom he or she is sharing the platform with. To address the aforementioned security issues, we propose a security risk quantification method that will allow users and cloud computing administrators to measure the security level of a given cloud ecosystem. Our risk quantification method is an adaptation of the fault tree analysis, which is a modeling tool that has proven to be highly effective in mission-critical systems. We replaced the faults by the probable vulnerabilities in a cloud system, and with the help of the common vulnerability scoring system, we were able to generate the risk formula. In addition to addressing the previously mentioned issues, we were also able to quantify the security risks of a popular cloud management stack, and propose an architecture where users can evaluate and rank different cloud service providers.