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An approach to compliance conformance for cloud-based business applications leveraging service level agreements and continuous auditing

Organisations increasingly use flexible, adaptable and scalable IT infrastructures, such as cloud computing resources, for hosting business applications and storing customer data. To prevent the misuse of personal data, auditors can assess businesses for legal compliance conformance. For data privacy compliance there are many applicable pieces of legislation as well as regulations and standards. Businesses operate globally and typically have systems that are dynamic and mobile; in contrast current data privacy laws often have geographical jurisdictions and so conflicts can arise between the law and the technological framework of cloud computing. Traditional auditing approaches are unsuitable for cloud-based environments because of the complexity of potentially short-lived, migratory and scalable real-time virtual systems. My research goal is to address the problem of auditing cloud-based services for data privacy compliance by devising an appropriate machine-readable Service Level Agreement (SLA) framework for specifying applicable legal conditions. This allows the development of a scalable Continuous Compliance Auditing Service (CCAS) for monitoring data privacy in cloud-based environments. The CCAS architecture utilises agreed SLA conditions to process service events for compliance conformance. The CCAS architecture has been implemented and customised for a real world Electronic Health Record (EHR) scenario in order to demonstrate geo-location compliance monitoring using data privacy restrictions. Finally, the automated audit process of CCAS has been compared and evaluated against traditional auditing approaches and found to have the potential for providing audit capabilities in complex IT environments.
Date January 2014
CreatorsSinclair, J. G.
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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