Cloud Security Terms

The CCSP is a global credential that represents the highest standard for cloud security expertise. It was co-created by (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance — leading stewards for information security and cloud computing security.

When you earn this cloud security certification, you prove you have deep knowledge and hands-on experience with cloud security architecture, design, operations and service orchestration.

Cloud Computing :   A type of computing, comparable to grid computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.

Enterprise Application:       The term used to describe applications — or software — that a business would use to assist the organization in solving enterprise problems.

NIST SP 800-53:     Its primary goal and objective is to ensure that appropriate security requirements and security controls are applied to all U.S. Federal Government information and information management systems.

Mobile Cloud Storage:       A form of cloud storage that applies to storing an individual’s mobile device data in the cloud and providing the individual with access to the data from anywhere.

Cloud Storage:        The storage of data online in the cloud, wherein a company’s data is stored in and accessible from multiple distributed and connected resources that comprise a cloud.

Cloud Backup Service Provider:   A third-party entity that manages and distributes remote, cloud-based data backup services and solutions to customers from a central data center.

Cloud Database:     A database accessible to clients from the cloud and delivered to users on demand via the Internet.

Cloud Services Broker (CSB):      Typically a third-party entity or company that looks to extend or enhance value to multiple customers of cloud-based services through relationships with multiple cloud service providers.

Cloud Developer:     Focuses on development for the cloud infrastructure itself. This role can vary from client tools or solutions engagements, through to systems components.

Cloud Provisioning:  The deployment of a company’s cloud computing strategy, which typically first involves selecting which applications and services will reside in the public cloud and which will remain on-site behind the firewall or in the private cloud.

FIPS 140-2:   Primary goal is to accredit and distinguish secure and well-architected cryptographic modules produced by private sector vendors who seek to have their solutions and services certified for use in regulated industries that collect, store, transfer, or share data that is deemed to be “sensitive” but not classified.

Cloud OS:     A phrase frequently used in place of Platform as a Service (PaaS) to denote an association to cloud computing.

Desktop-as-a-service :       A form of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in which the VDI is outsourced and handled by a third party.

Private Cloud Storage :      A form of cloud storage where the enterprise data and cloud storage resources both reside within the enterprise’s data center and behind the firewall.

Cloud Architect :      He or she will determine when and how a private cloud meets the policies and needs of an organization’s strategic goals and contractual requirements (from a technical perspective).

Private Cloud Project :       Enable their IT infrastructure to become more capable of quickly adapting to continually evolving business needs and requirements.

Apache CloudStack :         An open source cloud computing and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform developed to help Infrastructure as a Service make creating, deploying, and managing cloud services easier by providing a complete “stack” of features and components for cloud environments.

Cloud Backup Solutions :   Enable enterprises or individuals to store their data and computer files on the Internet using a storage service provider rather than storing the data locally on a physical disk, such as a hard drive or tape backup.

Cloud Migration :     The process of transitioning all or part of a company’s data, applications, and services from on-site premises behind the firewall to the cloud, where the information can be provided over the Internet on an on-demand basis.

Online Backup :       Leverages the Internet and cloud computing to create an attractive off-site storage solution with little hardware requirements for any business of any size.

Cloud Server Hosting :       A type of hosting in which hosting services are made available to customers on demand via the Internet. Rather than being provided by a single server or virtual server, cloud server hosting services are provided by multiple connected servers that comprise a cloud.

Vertical Cloud Computing : The optimization of cloud computing and cloud services for a particular vertical (e.g., a specific industry) or specific-use application.

Vendor Lock-in :      Highlights where a customer may be unable to leave, migrate, or transfer to an alternate provider due to technical or non-technical constraints.

Cloud Data Architect :        Ensures the various storage types and mechanisms utilized within the cloud environment meet and conform to the relevant SLAs and that the storage components are functioning according to their specified requirements.

Cloud Application Management for Platforms (CAMP) :         A specification designed to ease management of applications — including packaging and deployment — across public and private cloud computing platforms.

Personal Cloud Storage :   A form of cloud storage that applies to storing an individual’s data in the cloud and providing the individual with access to the data from anywhere.

Virtualization Technologies :         Enable cloud computing to become a real and scalable service offering due to the savings, sharing, and allocations of resources across multiple tenants and environments.

Hybrid Cloud Storage :      A combination of public cloud storage and private cloud storage where some critical data resides in the enterprise’s private cloud while other data is stored and accessible from a public cloud storage provider

Cloud Computing Reseller :          A company that purchases hosting services from a cloud server hosting or cloud computing provider and then re-sells them to its own customers.

Cloud Computing :   A type of computing, comparable to grid computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.

Cloud Management :         Software and technologies designed for operating and monitoring the applications, data, and services residing in the cloud. Cloud management tools help to ensure a company’s cloud computing-based resources are working optimally and properly interacting with users and other services.

Cloud Portability :    The ability to move applications and its associated data between one cloud provider and another — or between public and private cloud environments.

Cloud Testing :        Load and performance testing conducted on the applications and services provided via cloud computing — particularly the capability to access these services — in order to ensure optimal performance and scalability under a wide variety of conditions.

Anything-as-a-Service :     Anything-as-a-service, or “XaaS,” refers to the growing diversity of services available over the Internet via cloud computing as opposed to being provided locally, or on premises.

TCI Reference Architecture :        A methodology and a set of tools that enables security professionals to leverage a common set of solutions that fulfill their common needs to be able to assess where their internal IT and their cloud providers are in terms of security capabilities and to plan a roadmap to meet the security needs of their business.

Cloud App (Cloud Application) :    Short for cloud application, cloud app is the phrase used to describe a software application that is never installed on a local computer. Instead, it is accessed via the Internet.

Cloud Computing Accounting Software : Accounting software that is hosted on remote servers.

Cloud Enablement : The process of making available one or more of the following services and infrastructures to create a public cloud-computing environment: cloud provider, client, and application.

Public Cloud Storage :       A form of cloud storage where the enterprise and storage service provider are separate and the data is stored outside of the enterprise’s data center.

Cloud Administrator :         This individual is typically responsible for the implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of the cloud within the organization or on behalf of an organization (acting as a third party).

Cloud Provider :      A service provider who offers customers storage or software solutions available via a public network, usually the Internet.

Cloud Application Architect :         Typically responsible for adapting, porting, or deploying an application to a target cloud environment.


Bit Splitting :  Usually involves splitting up and storing encrypted information across different cloud storage services.

Encryption :  An overt secret writing technique that uses a bidirectional algorithm in which humanly readable information (referred to as plaintext) is converted into humanly unintelligible information (referred to as ciphertext).

Enterprise DRM :    Integration plan designed by Digital Equipment Corp. to provide an operation platform for multi-vendor environment.

Non-Repudiation :   The assurance that a specific author actually did create and send a specific item to a specific recipient, and that it was successfully received. With assurance of non-repudiation, the sender of the message cannot later credibly deny having sent the message, nor can the recipient credibly claim not to have received it.

Record :       A data structure or collection of information that must be retained by an organization for legal, regulatory or business reasons.

Business Impact Analysis (BIA) :  An exercise that determines the impact of losing the support of any resource to an organization, establishes the escalation of that loss over time, identifies the minimum resources needed to recover, and prioritizes the recovery of processes and supporting systems.

Control :       Acts as a mechanism to restrict a list of possible actions down to allowed or permitted actions.

Encryption Key :      A special mathematical code that allows encryption hardware/software to encode and then decipher an encrypted message.

Crypto-shredding :   The process of deliberately destroying the encryption keys that were used to encrypt the data originally.

Key Management :  The generation, storage, distribution, deletion, archiving, and application of keys in accordance with a security policy.

All-or-Nothing-Transform with Reed-Solomon (AONT-RS) :   Integrates the AONT and erasure coding. This method first encrypts and transforms the information and the encryption key into blocks in a way that the information cannot be recovered without using all the blocks, and then it uses the IDA to split the blocks into m shares that are distributed to different cloud storage services (the same as in SSMS).

Obfuscation :          The convoluting of code to such a degree that even if the source code is obtained, it is not easily decipherable.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) : Information that can be traced back to an individual user, e.g. your name, postal address, or e-mail address. Personal user preferences tracked by a Web site via a cookie is also considered personally identifiable when linked to other personally identifiable information provided by you online.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) :       Audit and prevent unauthorized data exfiltration.

Tokenization :         The process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that retain all the essential information about the data without compromising its security.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) :       Focuses on security and encryption to prevent unauthorized copying limit distribution to only those who pay.

Homomorphic Encryption : Enables processing of encrypted data without the need to decrypt the data. It allows the cloud customer to upload data to a cloud service provider for processing without the requirement to decipher the data first.

Anonymization :      The act of permanently and completely removing personal identifiers from data, such as converting personally identifiable information (PII) into aggregated data.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) :         A model that provides a complete infrastructure (e.g. servers, internetworking devices) and allows companies to install software on provisioned servers and control the configurations of all devices.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) : A formal agreement between two or more organizations: one that provides a service and the other the recipient of the service. It may be a legal contract with incentives and penalties.

Masking :      A weak form of confidentiality assurance that replaces the original information with asterisks or X’s.

Personal Data :       Any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person data subject; an identifiable person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identification number or to one or more factors specific to his physical, physiological, mental, economic, cultural, or social identity.

Degaussing : Using strong magnets for scrambling data on magnetic media such as hard drives and tapes.

Authorization :         The granting of right of access to a user, program, or process.

Hardware Security Module (HSM) :        A device that can safely store and manage encryption keys. This can be used in servers, data transmission, protecting log files, etc.

Content Delivery Network (CDN) :          A service where data is replicated across the global Internet.

Database as a Service :     In essence, a managed database service.

Security Alliance’s Cloud Controls Matrix :        A framework to enable cooperation between cloud consumers and cloud providers on demonstrating adequate risk management.

Object Storage :      Objects (files) are stored with additional metadata (content type, redundancy required, creation date, etc.). These objects are accessible through APIs and potentially through a web user interface.

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) :          Isolates network elements such as e-mail servers that, because they can be accessed from trustless networks, are exposed to external attacks.

Enterprise Risk Management :     The set of processes and structure to systematically manage all risks to the enterprise.

Software Defined Networking (SDN) :     A broad and developing concept addressing the management of the various network components.

The objective is to provide a control plane to manage network traffic on a more abstract level than through direct management of network components

Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) :          Instead of using one large disk to store data, one can use many smaller disks (because they are cheaper).

An approach to using many low-cost drives as a group to improve performance, yet also provides a degree of redundancy that makes the chance of data loss remote.

Corporate Governance :    The relationship between the shareholders and other stakeholders in the organization versus the senior management of the corporation.

Management Plane :         Controls the entire infrastructure, and parts of it will be exposed to customers independent of network location, it is a prime resource to protect.

Authentication :       The act of identifying or verifying the eligibility of a station, originator, or individual to access specific categories of information. Typically, a measure designed to protect against fraudulent transmissions by establishing the validity of a transmission, message, station, or originator.

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) : A version of the SAML standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between security domainsWeb Application Firewall (WAF) :         An appliance, server plugin, or filter that applies a set of rules to an HTTP conversation. Generally, these rules cover common attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection

Identity and Access Management (IAM) :         The security discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons

Organizational Normative Framework (ONF) :   A framework of so-called containers for all components of application security best practices catalogued and leveraged by the organization

Database Activity Monitoring (DAM) :     A database security technology for monitoring and analyzing database activity that operates independently of the database management system (DBMS) and does not rely on any form of native (DBMS-resident) auditing or native logs such as trace or transaction logs 

Quality of Service (QoS) :  Refers to the capability of a network to provide better service to selected network traffic over various technologies, including Frame Relay, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Ethernet and 802.1 networks, SONET, and IP-routed networks that may use any or all of these underlying technologies

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) : The process of testing an application or software product in an operating state

Application Virtualization :  Software technology that encapsulates application software from the underlying operating system on which it is executed

Multi-factor Authentication :         A method of computer access control which a user can pass by successfully presenting authentication factors from at least two of the three categories: knowledge factors, such as passwords. Combines two or more independent credentials: what the user knows, what the user has and what the user is.

Sandbox :     A testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repository, in the context of software development including Web development and revision control

ISO/IEC 27034-1 :   Represents an overview of application security. It introduces definitions, concepts, principles and processes involved in application security

STRIDE Threat Model :     Derived from an acronym for the following six threat categories; Spoofing identity, Tampering with data, Repudiation, Information disclosure, Denial of service, Elevation of privilege

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) :     A set of routines, standards, protocols, and tools for building software applications to access a Web-based software application or Web tool

Application Normative Framework (ANF) :        A subset of the ONF that will contain only the information required for a specific business application to reach the targeted level of trust

Federated Single Sign-on (SSO) :          Single sign-on (SSO) systems allow a single user authentication process across multiple IT systems or even organizations. SSO is a subset of federated identity management, as it relates only to authentication and technical interoperability

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) :      A set of technologies designed to analyze application source code, byte code and binaries for coding and design conditions that are indicative of security vulnerabilities

Data Masking :        A method of creating a structurally similar but inauthentic version of an organization’s data that can be used for purposes such as software testing and user training

Federated Identity Management : An arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises that lets subscribers use the same identification data to obtain access to the networks of all enterprises in the group

Federated Identity Management : An arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises that lets subscribers use the same identification data to obtain access to the networks of all enterprises in the group

Hybrid cloud :          This cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).

Logical design :       Part of the design phase of the SDLC in which all functional features of the system chosen for development in analysis are described independently of any computer platform

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) :          A protocol that allows for separate channels for carrying presentation data, serial device communication, licensing information, and highly encrypted data (keyboard, mouse activity).

Multi-tenancy :        Data center networks that are logically divided into smaller, isolated networks. They share the physical networking gear but operate on their own network without visibility into the other logical networks.

Public cloud : This cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.

Quantitative assessments :          Typically employ a set of methods, principles, or rules for assessing risk based on the use of numbers. This type of assessment most effectively supports cost-benefit analyses of alternative risk responses or courses of action.

SO IEC 27001:2013 :        Help organizations to establish and maintain an ISMS. An ISMS is a set of interrelated elements that organizations use to manage and control information security risks and to protect and preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.

Domain Name System (DNS) :     A hierarchical, distributed database that contains mappings of DNS domain names to various types of data, such as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS allows you to use friendly names, such as, to easily locate computers and other resources on a TCP/IP-based network.

Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) :        A suite of extensions that adds security to the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol by enabling DNS responses to be validated. Specifically, DNSSEC provides origin authority, data integrity, and authenticated denial of existence.

Storage Clusters :   The use of two or more storage servers working together to increase performance, capacity, or reliability. Clustering distributes workloads to each server, manages the transfer of workloads between servers, and provides access to all files from any server regardless of the physical location of the file.

Traditional networking model :      A layered approach with physical switches at the top layer and logical separation at the hypervisor level.

Honeypot :    Consists of a computer, data, or a network site that appears to be part of a network, but is actually isolated and monitored, and which seems to contain information or a resource of value to attackers.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) :          A method for analyzing risk in software systems. It is a centralized collection of monitoring of security and event logs from different systems. SIEM allows for the correlation of different events and early detection of attacks.

Converged networking model :     Optimized for cloud deployments and utilizes standard perimeter protection measures. The underlying storage and IP networks are converged to maximize the benefits for a cloud workload.

Private cloud :         This cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on- or off-premises.

Community cloud :  This cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of organizations with shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations).

Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) :       Monitors the inbound and outbound packets from the device only and will alert the user or administrator if suspicious activity is detected.

Qualitative assessments :  Typically employ a set of methods, principles, or rules for assessing risk based on non-numerical categories or levels (e.g., very low, low, moderate, high, very high).

Oversubscription :   Occurs when more users are connected to a system than can be fully supported at the same time.

Stored Communication Act :        Enacted in the United States in 1986 as part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. It provides privacy protections for certain electronic communication and computing services from unauthorized access or interception.

Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) :        Legislation enacted to protect shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in the enterprise.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) :          Federal law enacted in the United States to control the ways that financial institutions deal with the private information of individuals.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) :        Adopt national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and national identifiers for providers, health plans, and employers. Protected Health information can be stored via cloud computing under HIPAA.

EU General Data Protection Regulation 2012:   Will introduce many significant changes for data processors and controllers. The following may be considered as some of the more significant changes: The concept of consent, Transfers Abroad, The right to be forgotten, Establishment of the role of the “Data Protection Officer”, Access Requests, Home State Regulation, Increased Sanctions

ISO/IEC 27018 :      Address the privacy aspects of cloud computing for consumers and is the first international set of privacy controls in the cloud.

Criminal Law:          A body of rules and statutes that defines conduct that is prohibited by the government and is set out to protect the safety and well-being of the public.

Tort Law :     A body of rights, obligations, and remedies that sets out reliefs for persons suffering harm as a result of the wrongful acts of others.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) :          Federal law enacted in the United States to control the ways that financial institutions deal with the private information of individuals.

Service Organization Controls 1 (SOC 1) :        Reports on Controls at Service organizations relevant to user entities’ Internal Control over financial reporting.

Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) :        Reports on Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality and Privacy.

Australian Privacy Act 1988 :       Regulates the handling of personal information about individuals. This includes the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of personal information, and access to and correction of that information.

eDiscovery :  Refers to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.

Information gathering:       Refers to the process of identifying, collecting, documenting, structuring, and communicating information from various sources in order to enable educated and swift decision making to occur.

Doctrine of the Proper Law:         When a conflict of laws occurs, this determines in which jurisdiction the dispute will be heard.