Think that cloud computing would add to the complexity of your computer forensics program? The resounding answer to this is no, by leveraging the inbuilt abilities of cloud computing, computer forensics becomes an “on demand” service.
One of the very nice things about cloud computing is that you basically exist in an on demand system, so if you are served with a preservation letter, or other legal reasons to preserve an environment, you can easily backup your environment and put it onto the cloud for the investigators to use, while the normal course of business happens. This also means that all the data stores or other information that investigators will need will also be cryptographically hashed much easier and much quicker using the on demand resources in the cloud.
Amazon web services is a good example of this, Amazon Web Services (AWS) can automatically provide a MD5 has of every file that is on the system, so when you do a bit by bit copy of the file, everything is carried over with it. Add to that the Meta data that goes along with every file in Microsoft Office, you have a fairly good unimpeachable record of the file that the courts will need. Email stores and exact backups of a person’s computing system are also available as well using this same kind of process.
The forensics tools can also be in their own off shoot of the environment allowing for very tight control over who has access to those tools and how they will be used. There are definite advantages to having a separate investigation environment for all the resources that are on the same cloud. Costs can be contained by making direct DVD copies from the investigation environment as needed or when needed making the process much more portable as well if information has to be turned over to the legal department or other investigators.
This is the reason that cloud computing is compelling, a near instant backup of an environment with the ability to expand and contract at will rather than leaving resources in the data center unused waiting for something that might happen infrequently. This kind of on demand service also runs at the speed of the cloud making the process much quicker when doing a bit by bit copy. These realizable advantages to cloud computing security as a service will also make the business office happier because they are only paying for space they are using, and can allocate waiting resources for something else saving the company money in the longer run.
This article was inspired by Cloud Security