Cloud computing security: A survey

Issa M. Khalil, Abdallah Khreishah, Muhammad Azeem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Cloud computing is an emerging technology paradigm that migrates current technological and computing concepts into utility-like solutions similar to electricity and water systems. Clouds bring out a wide range of benefits including configurable computing resources, economic savings, and service flexibility. However, security and privacy concerns are shown to be the primary obstacles to a wide adoption of clouds. The new concepts that clouds introduce, such as multi-tenancy, resource sharing and outsourcing, create new challenges to the security community. Addressing these challenges requires, in addition to the ability to cultivate and tune the security measures developed for traditional computing systems, proposing new security policies, models, and protocols to address the unique cloud security challenges. In this work, we provide a comprehensive study of cloud computing security and privacy concerns. We identify cloud vulnerabilities, classify known security threats and attacks, and present the state-of-the-art practices to control the vulnerabilities, neutralize the threats, and calibrate the attacks. Additionally, we investigate and identify the limitations of the current solutions and provide insights of the future security perspectives. Finally, we provide a cloud security framework in which we present the various lines of defense and identify the dependency levels among them. We identify 28 cloud security threats which we classify into five categories. We also present nine general cloud attacks along with various attack incidents, and provide effectiveness analysis of the proposed countermeasures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Attacks
  • Cloud computing
  • Cloud security
  • Insider attackers
  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Threats


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