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NIST Cloud Computing Forensic Science


Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. A complete description and definition of Cloud Computing is provided in NIST SP 800-145.

Cloud computing has the potential to offer cost savings both in terms of capital expenses and operational expenses, as well as leverage leading-edge technologies to meet the information processing needs of users in the public and private sectors. However, the change in technical operations and control dynamics (both in terms of ownership and management) with respect to IT resources poses new forensic science challenges.  


To address those challenges, NIST sponsors the NIST Cloud Computing Forensic Science project. The long-term goal of this project is to advance technology, standards, and measurements for cloud computing forensic science that will aid further innovation, as well as lead to increased adoption in both government and industry. NIST aims to contribute towards improved accuracy, reliability, scientific validity, and usefulness of cloud forensic science.

In support of this project, NIST has established the Cloud Computing Forensic Science Public Working Group to perform research and identify gaps in technology, standards and measurements, and to address the various challenges in cloud forensics, as well as to develop a roadmap to address these gaps.

Latest News

DRAFT NISTIR 8006, NIST Cloud Forensic Science Challenges June 23, 2014

NIST announces that Draft NIST IR 8006, NIST Cloud Forensic Science Challenges, has been released for public comments. The draft can be found on the CSRC Drafts page:
http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsDrafts.html.  The deadline to submit comments is: July 21, 2014.  This document summarizes the research performed by the members of the NIST Cloud Computing Forensic Science Working Group, and aggregates, categorizes and discusses the forensics challenges faced by experts when responding to incidents that have occurred in a cloud-computing ecosystem. The challenges are presented along with the associated literature that references them. The immediate goal of the document is to begin a dialogue on forensic science concerns in cloud computing ecosystems. The long-term goal of this effort is to gain a deeper understanding of those concerns (challenges) and to identify technologies and standards that can mitigate them.  NIST requests comments on Draft NIST IR 8006 by July 21, 2014. Please submit comments to nistir8006@nist.gov using this public comment template (MS Word – see link below) with "Comments NIST IR 8006" in the subject line.

Draft NISTIR 8006 (885 KB)
Comment Template for Draft NISTIR 8006 (26 KB)

Future Events

Past Events

Lead Organizational Unit:


Dr. Martin Herman
Senior Advisor for Forensics and IT
Co-Chair, NIST Cloud Computing Forensic Science Working Group
(301) 975-2788

Dr. Michaela Iorga
Co-Chair, NIST Cloud Computing Forensic Science Working Group
(301) 975-8431