CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


William L. Hafner

Committee Member

Gurvirender P. Tejay

Committee Member

Burton S. Kaliski, Jr


Companies offering services on the Internet have led corporations to shift from the high cost of owning and maintaining stand-alone, privately-owned-and-operated infrastructure to a shared infrastructure model. These shared infrastructures are being offered by infrastructure service providers which have subscription, or pay-on-demand, charge models presenting compute and storage resources as a generalized utility. Utility based infrastructures that are run by service providers have been defined as "cloud computing" by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In the cloud computing model the concerns of security and privacy protections are exacerbated due to the requirement for an enterprise to allow third parties to own and manage the infrastructure and be custodians of the enterprises information. With this new architectural

model, there are new hybrid governance models designed to support complex and uncertain environments. The cloud also requires a common infrastructure that integrates originally separate

computing silos. Privacy and security policy awareness during provisioning and computing orchestration about data locality across domains and jurisdictions must be able to obey legal and regulatory constraints.

Commercial use of the Internet for electronic commerce has been growing at a phenomenal rate while consumer concern has also risen about the information gathered about them. Concern about privacy of data has been rated as the number one barrier by all industries.

The purpose of this dissertation is to perform an empirical study to determine if existing privacy assessment instruments adequately assess privacy risks when applied to cloud infrastructures. The methodology for determining this is to apply a specific set of privacy risk assessments against a three cloud environments. The assessments are run in the context of a typical web based application deployed against cloud providers that have the five key cloud tenets - on-demand/self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service.

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