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Communications of the ACM


Toward Confidential Cloud Computing


Credit: Goraphol K

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Although largely driven by economies of scale, the development of the modern cloud also enables increased security. Large datacenters provide aggregate availability, reliability, and security assurances. The operational cost of ensuring that operating systems, databases, and other services have secure configurations can be amortized among all tenants, allowing the cloud provider to employ experts who are responsible for security; this is often unfeasible for smaller businesses, where the role of systems administrator is often conflated with many others.

Cloud datacenters are also subject to tight physical security: the number of people with physical access is limited, and the controls on their access are stricter in a large, cloud provider's datacenters than on premises—often vulnerable to insider threats such as disgruntled former employees leaving with a copy of sensitive data or physical media (including on-site backups).


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