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Applying Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods to the Department of Defense Cloud Service Offering Security Authorization Process Open Access

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Applying Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods to the Department of Defense Cloud Service Offering Security Authorization Process Cloud computing offers the potential for the Department of Defense (DoD) to lower its computing costs while making information resources more widely available. Recognizing the potential benefits to the DoD of using cloud computing technologies, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a September 2017 memorandum directing an acceleration of the DoD’s adoption of cloud computing technologies. This aggressive approach to cloud computing adoption is largely driven by the belief that cloud computing is critical to maintaining the US military’s technological advantage over potential adversaries. Cloud computing offers potential benefits in terms of increased efficiency for information technology (IT) resource utilization along with reduced IT infrastructure procurement and sustainment costs. Along with potential benefits, there are significant security challenges that must be addressed while pursuing the guidance to aggressively increase DoD use of cloud computing technology. The security of data hosted in a cloud computing environment is a critical issue for Government consumers, organizations, and mission owners. This Praxis produces a decision support model to identify and assess security considerations relevant to issuing an Authority to Operate (ATO) for a cloud computing service offering in DoD organizations. The model uses Multi-Criteria Decision-Making methods to help the mission owner Authorizing Official (AO) make an appropriate security authorization decision. The Praxis identifies decision criteria, develops weights for the criteria, and builds a model for evaluating cloud service offerings against the weighted security authorization decision criteria. Using this approach, the model produces a consistent and repeatable means for making security authorization decisions for cloud service offerings.

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