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CHIPS Articles: NIST Publishes Final General Access Control Guidance for Cloud Systems

NIST Publishes Final General Access Control Guidance for Cloud Systems
By CHIPS Magazine - August 3, 2020
The National Institute of Standards and Technology released NIST SP 800-210 General Access Control Guidance for Cloud Systems last week.

The Executive Summary defines the scope and purpose of the new final document:

Cloud systems have been developed over time and conceptualized through a combination of software, hardware components, and virtualization technologies. Characteristics of the cloud, such as resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and pay-as-you-go services, accelerated cloud computing’s wide adoption by industry, government, and academia.

Specifically, cloud systems offer application services, data storage, data management, networking, and computing resources management to consumers over a network — the internet in general. Despite the great advancements of cloud systems, concerns have been raised about the offered level of security and privacy. The importance of these concerns becomes more evident when considering the increasing number of users who have adopted cloud services.

This document presents cloud access control (AC) characteristics and a set of general access control guidance for cloud service models — IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). The main focus is on technical aspects of access control without considering deployment models (e.g., public, private, hybrid clouds etc.), as well as trust and risk management issues, which require different layers of discussions that depend on the security requirements of the business function or the organization of deployment for which the cloud system is implemented.

Different service delivery models need to consider managing different types of access on offered service components. Such considerations can be hierarchical, such as how the access control considerations of functional components in a lower-level service model (e.g., networking and storage layers in the IaaS model) are also applicable to the same functional components in a higher-level service model (e.g., networking and storage in PaaS and SaaS models).

In general, access control considerations for IaaS are also applicable to PaaS and SaaS, and access control considerations for IaaS and PaaS are also applicable to SaaS. Therefore, access control guidance for IaaS is applicable to PaaS and SaaS, and AC guidance for IaaS and PaaS is also applicable to SaaS. However, each service model has its own focus with regard to access control requirements for its service.

SP 800-210 (DOI)
NIST Download

The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes the U.S. economy and public welfare by providing technical leadership for the Nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure. ITL develops tests, test methods, reference data, proof of concept implementations, and technical analyses to advance the development and productive use of information technology. ITL’s responsibilities include the development of management, administrative, technical, and physical standards and guidelines for the cost-effective security and privacy of other than national security-related information in federal information systems. The Special Publication 800-series reports on ITL’s research, guidelines, and outreach efforts in information system security, and its collaborative activities with industry, government, and academic organizations.

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