Toward Privacy-Assured and Searchable Cloud Data Storage Services
Technology Used: Java
Cloud computing is envisioned as the next generation architecture of IT enterprises, providing convenient remote access to massively scalable data storage and application services. While this outsourced storage and computing paradigm can potentially bring great economical savings for data owners and users, its benefits may not be fully realized due to wide concerns of data owners that their private data may be involuntarily exposed or handled by cloud providers. Although end-to-end encryption techniques have been proposed as promising solutions for secure cloud data storage, a primary challenge toward building a full-fledged cloud data service remains: how to effectively support flexible data utilization services such as search over the data in a privacy-preserving manner. In this article, we identify the system requirements and challenges toward achieving privacy-assured searchable outsourced cloud data services, especially, how to design usable and practically efficient search schemes for encrypted cloud storage. We present a general methodology for this using searchable encryption techniques, which allows encrypted data to be searched by users without leaking information about the data itself and users queries. In particular, we discuss three desirable functionalities of usable search operations: supporting result ranking, similarity search, and search over structured data. For each of them, we describe approaches to design efficient privacy-assured searchable encryption schemes, which are based on several recent symmetric-key encryption primitives. We analyze their advantages and limitations, and outline the future challenges that need to be solved to make such secure searchable cloud data service a reality.