Locking down the cloud

Published date: March 11, 2017
Modified date: March 15, 2017
  • Location: United States

Petrlic and colleagues have developed what they call "a privacy-friendly architecture" for future cloud computing systems where software licensing and software payment is required. The utility of their approach will be immediately apparent once cloud software providers abandon so-called freemium and advertising-driven business models and simply start charging users to use the applications they develop. In this system, users authorise a service provider -- the cloud host -- to buy a certain piece of software from a software provider. However, the service provider does not learn what software is bought, as the software provider sends an encrypted version of the application together with the corresponding licence to the cloud host. Each time the user wants to use the software on their cloud host, the program execution is initialized at a computing centre of their choosing anonymously.

By implementing such a system, the cloud host is remunerated for the hosting services and the encryption facilities, they provide, the software company gets its license fee, and the user gets to use the software they paid for "in the cloud" without the cloud host being able to identify them or even knowing what software is being used.

"Privacy protection will become more important in the cloud computing scenarios of the future," the team says, equally, "Proper payment concepts are crucial for software providers to take part in future cloud computing."

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