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Cloud Computing at NIST: Two New Draft Documents and a Wiki

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2011

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued two new draft documents on cloud computing for public comment, including the first set of guidelines for managing security and privacy issues in cloud computing. The agency also has set up a new NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration site on the Web to enable two-way communication among the cloud community and NIST cloud research working groups.

United States Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra asked NIST to accelerate the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector and other stakeholders. These new draft documents and the collaboration site are part of NIST's work to fulfill that mission.

NIST has been researching cloud computing for several years and has been documenting a definition of cloud computing on its web page. Researchers have now published A NIST Definition of Cloud Computing (NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-145). NIST scientists are looking for feedback to determine if this definition remains valid or needs modification. SP 800-145 may be downloaded for review from http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-145/Draft-SP-800-145_cloud-definition.pdf, and comments on suggested changes or enhancements should be sent to 800-145comments@nist.gov no later than February 28, 2011.

Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing (SP 800-144) provides an overview of the security and privacy challenges for public cloud computing and presents recommendations that organizations should consider when outsourcing data, applications and infrastructure to a public cloud environment. The key guidelines recommended to federal departments and agencies, and applicable to the private sector, include:

  • Carefully plan the security and privacy aspects of cloud computing solutions before engaging them.
  • Understand the public cloud computing environment offered by the cloud provider and ensure that a cloud computing solution satisfies organizational security and privacy requirements.
  • Ensure that the client-side computing environment meets organization security and privacy requirements for cloud computing.
  • Maintain accountability over the privacy and security of data and applications implemented and deployed in public cloud computing environments.


Public comments are requested on this publication. SP 800-144 may be downloaded for review from http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-144/Draft-SP-800-144_cloud-computing.pdf, and suggested changes or enhancements should be sent to 800-144comments@nist.gov no later than February 28, 2011.

To further foster the cloud community's collaboration aimed to enhance the federal government's secure adoption of cloud computing, NIST also has created the NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration Site at http://collaborate.nist.gov/twiki-cloud-computing/bin/view/CloudComputing/.

This site provides general information about NIST's cloud computing program and an up-to-date listing of cloud computing events. One set of pages are used by the NIST-sponsored Cloud Computing working groups. These groups, which are open to all those who wish to register and participate, were established during the November 2010 Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop II, and include Business Use Cases, Reference Architecture and Taxonomy, Standards Roadmap, Standards Acceleration to Jumpstart the Adoption of Cloud Computing (SAJACC), and Cloud Security.

Each working group's page provides descriptions of the group's task, weekly meeting information and working documents. To contribute to the TWiki, register from the link on the main NIST Cloud Computing Program Web site at www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/.