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Roger Clarke's 'Security and Cloudsourcing'

Security and Cloudsourcing

Notes for a Presentation at the Cloud Computing Forum
Realm Hotel, Canberra, 24 February 2011

Roger Clarke **

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The organisers of the Forum requested an address on 'Security in the Cloud'. The event was held in the national capital, and was oriented towards government agencies and government business enterprises.Cloudsourcing is subject to a wide range of interpretations. But two important factors are often omitted when the term is defined:

A gradual change has occurred over several decades in the manner in which organisations gain access to applications software. What began as self-sufficency (and now can be thought of as 'insourcing'), moved to outsourced sites, then to outsourced facilities, and then to integrated multi-site outsourced facilities, which are now migrating into the cloud. This has greatly increased component-count, location-count, complexity, dependencies and hence fragility, and decreased internal expertise and internal knowability. [8 slides]

To appreciate 'security in the broad', it's necessary to consider the downsides of cloudsourcing under a number of headings [13 slides]:

Several approaches to risk management strategy are available, including business processes, legal aspects, ongoing due diligence and multi-sourcing. A new digital security model is emerging [10 slides].

Several categories of use-profile need to be identified. Because of the immaturity of cloud service-providers, user organisations must do the aerial equivalent of 'putting their toe in the water' very carefully indeed. A set of questions is proposed that user organisations need cloud computing tenders to be able to convincingly answer [11 slides].


Various aspects of this thread of work have been presented in a number of previous documents and presentations, including:

Clarke R. (2010a) 'User Requirements for Cloud Computing Architecture' Proc. 10th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing, Melbourne, Australia, 17-20 May 2010 (eds. Parashar M. & Buyya R.), pp. 625-630, PrePrint at, also presented in the ANU School of Computer Science on 28 May 2010

Clarke R. (2010b) 'Computing Clouds on the Horizon? Benefits and Risks from the User's Perspective' Proc. 23rd Bled eConference, 21-23 June 2010, at

Clarke R. (2010c) 'Cloud Computing: Managing for Benefits and Managing the Risks' Cutter series on Sourcing & Vendor Relationships 11, 1 (July 2010), Cutter Consortium, Arlington MA (10,000 pp.)

Clarke R. (2011) 'The Cloudy Future of Consumer Computing' Submitted to the Bled eConference, June 2011, which includes Streams on Cloud Computing and eDependency, at

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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Created: 19 February 2011 - Last Amended: 19 February 2011 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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