ANALYSIS OF SECURITY ISSUES IN CLOUD BASED E based E-Learning is one of the booming ... teachers to teach those technical ... measures and issues of cloud computing based e-learning systems and the

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    ANALYSIS OF SECURITY ISSUES IN CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING

    2011MAGI23

    Masters (one year) thesis in Informatics (15 credits)

    Gunasekar Kumar (S101261)

    Anirudh Chelikani (S101405)

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    Title: Analysis of security issues in cloud based e-learning

    Year: 2011

    Author/s: Gunasekar Kumar (S101261)

    Anirudh Chelikani (S101405)

    Supervisor: Jens Allwood

    Abstract:

    Cloud based E-Learning is one of the booming technologies in IT field which brings

    powerful e-learning products with the help of cloud power. Cloud technology has numerous

    advantages over the existing traditional E-Learning systems but at the same time, security is a

    major concern in cloud based e-learning. So security measures are unavoidable to prevent the

    loss of users valuable data from the security vulnerabilities. Cloud based e-learning products

    also need to satisfy the security needs of customers and overcome various security threats

    which attack valuable data stored in cloud servers.

    So the study investigates various security issues involved in cloud based e-learning

    technology with an aim to suggest solutions in the form of security measures and security

    management standards. These will help to overcome the security threats in cloud based e-

    learning technology. To achieve our thesis aim, we used theoretical and empirical studies.

    Empirical study is made through the information gathered through various cloud based e-

    learning solution vendors websites. And the theoretical study is made through the text

    analysis on various research articles related to our subject areas. And finally the constant

    comparative method is used to compare the empirical findings with the facts discovered from

    our theoretical findings. These analysis and research studies are leads to find various security

    issues in cloud based e-learning technology.

    Keywords: Security, Cloud based E-Learning technology, Security management standard,

    Security measures, Learning management system, Security threats

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    Acknowledgements

    This master thesis presents the results of the study about Analysis of security issues

    in cloud based e-learning, which was conducted between April 2011 to August 2011 at

    the Department of Business and Informatics in University of Bors, Sweden.

    First we would like to thank my tutor, Professor Jens Allwood, for his great support

    through the whole process, his guidance and encouraging attitude.

    Additionally, we would also like to thank Professor Anders Hjalmarsson for ideas,

    articles and valuable assistance given during the thesis work.

    Finally, we would also like to thank our friends and family members for their

    cooperation and understanding which helped us to complete this thesis.

    Bors, August 2011

    Gunasekar Kumar

    Anirudh Chelikani

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    Table of Contents

    1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................. 1 1.1.1 Relation to informatics ................................................................................................................. 2

    1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM ............................................................................................................. 2 1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ................................................................................................................. 2 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS ................................................................................................................... 3 1.5 TARGET GROUP ................................................................................................................................. 3 1.6 DELIMITATIONS ................................................................................................................................ 4 1.7 EXPECTED OUTCOME ...................................................................................................................... 4 1.8 THE AUTHORS OWN EXPERIENCE AND BACKGROUND .......................................................... 4 1.9 STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS ........................................................................................................... 4

    2 RESEARCH DESIGN ................................................................................................................................. 7

    2.1 RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE ............................................................................................................... 7 2.2 RESEARCH STRATEGY .................................................................................................................... 8 2.3 DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURES ............................................................................................... 9 2.4 DATA ANALYSIS PROCEDURES AND PROCESSES .................................................................... 9 2.5 STRATEGIES FOR VALIDATING FINDINGS ............................................................................... 10 2.6 RESULT PRESENTATION METHOD ............................................................................................. 10

    3 THEORETICAL STUDIES ...................................................................................................................... 11

    3.1 KEY CONCEPT ................................................................................................................................. 11 3.1.1 Cloud Based E-Learning ............................................................................................................ 11

    3.1.2 Security management ................................................................................................................. 11

    3.1.3 Management Standards .............................................................................................................. 11

    3.1.4 Information security ................................................................................................................... 11

    3.1.5 Server Security ........................................................................................................................... 11

    3.1.6 Authentication ............................................................................................................................ 12

    3.1.7 End User ..................................................................................................................................... 12

    3.2 SUBJECTS AREAS RELEVANT FOR THE RESEARCH ............................................................... 12 3.3 PREVIOUS RESEARCH .................................................................................................................... 14 3.4 RELEVANT LITERATURE SOURCE .............................................................................................. 14 3.5 KNOWLEDGE ON CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING........................................................................ 14 3.6 KNOWLEDGE ON CLOUD COMPUTING ...................................................................................... 15

    3.6.1 Cloud computing basics ............................................................................................................. 15

    3.6.2 Cloud computing architecture .................................................................................................... 15

    3.6.3 Types of cloud ............................................................................................................................ 17

    3.7 KNOWLEDGE ON E-LEARNING .................................................................................................... 18 3.7.1 E-Learning Basics ...................................................................................................................... 18

    3.7.2 E-Learning Environments .......................................................................................................... 19

    3.7.3 Future trends on e-learning ......................................................................................................... 21

    3.8 CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING ........................................................................................................ 23 3.8.1 Mobile E-Learning ..................................................................................................................... 24

    3.8.2 Key Benefits of cloud based E-Learning .................................................................................... 24

    3.8.3 Current limitations in Cloud based e-learning ............................................................................ 25

    3.9 SECURITY ISSUES IN CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING ................................................................. 26 3.10 SECURITY THREATS & CHALLENGES IN CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING .............................. 28 3.11 SECURITY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS IN CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING ......................... 32

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    3.12 SECURITY MEASURES IN CLOUD BASED E-LEARNING ......................................................... 36 3.13 SUMMARY OF THE THEORETICAL FINDINGS .......................................................................... 42 3.14 ARGUMENTS FOR AN EMPIRICAL STUDY ................................................................................. 43

    4 EMPIRICAL SURVEY ............................................................................................................................. 45

    4.1 PURPOSE ........................................................................................................................................... 45 4.2 SAMPLING ........................................................................................................................................ 45 4.3 QUESTIONNAIRE............................................................................................................................. 45

    4.3.1 Cloud E-Learning Company 1: Moodlerooms Inc. ................................................................. 46

    4.3.2 Cloud E-Learning Company Docebo Inc. ............................................................................... 48

    4.3.3 Cloud E-Learning Company Blackboard Learn - ANGEL ..................................................... 50

    5 ANALYSIS AND RESULT ....................................................................................................................... 53

    6 DISCUSSION ............................................................................................................................................. 57

    6.1 CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................................... 57 6.2 IMPLICATIONS FOR INFORMATICS ............................................................................................ 58 6.3 METHOD EVALUATION ................................................................................................................. 59 6.4 RESULT EVALUATION ................................................................................................................... 59 6.5 POSSIBILITIES TO GENERALIZE .................................................................................................. 60 6.6 IDEAS FOR CONTINUED RESEARCH ........................................................................................... 60 6.7 SPECULATIONS FOR THE FUTURE .............................................................................................. 61

    7 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...................................................................................................................................... 62

    8 APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................ 66

    List of Figures Page

    Figure 1: Structure of the Thesis ............................................................................................................................ 6 Figure 2: Subject area relevancy for the research ................................................................................................. 13 Figure 3: Cloud computing architecture (Al-Jumeily et al., 2010) ....................................................................... 16 Figure 4: Public cloud deployment model (Carlin et al., 2011) ............................................................................ 17 Figure 5: Hybrid cloud deployment model (Carlin et al., 2011) ........................................................................... 18 Figure 6: E-Learning system (Pocatilu et al., 2009) ............................................................................................. 19 Figure 7: Conceptual model of a PLE (Wilson et al., 2007) ................................................................................. 21 Figure 8: Architecture of e-learning cloud (Laisheng et al., 2011) ....................................................................... 23 Figure 9: Challenges for E-Learning cloud (Laisheng et al., 2011) ...................................................................... 25 Figure 10: Results of IDC ranking security challenges (3Q2009, n=263) (Popovic et al., 2010) ........................ 27 Figure 11: SMS passcode login scenario (Ahmed et al., 2011) ............................................................................ 40 Figure 12: Biometric system diagram (Ahmed et al., 2011) ................................................................................. 41 Figure 13: Server security in cloud based E-Learning - Key results of Theoretical and Empirical study ............ 54 Figure 14: E-Learners security in cloud based E-Learning - Key results of Theoretical and Empirical study ..... 55 Figure 15: E-Learning materials security in cloud based E-Learning - Key results of Theoretical and Empirical

    study ..................................................................................................................................................................... 56

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    Abbreviations Used:

    Term Expansion

    CBE Cloud based E-Learning

    SLA Service level agreement

    SaaS Software as a service

    PaaS Platform as a service

    IaaS Information as a service

    LMS Learning management system

    PDA Personal digital assistant

    ISO International standard organization

    SCORM Sharable Content Object Reference Model

    ITIL Information technology infrastructure library

    IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

    DDoS Attack Distributed Denial of service attack

    CBET Cloud based E-Learning technology

    CCM Constant comparative method

  • 1

    1 INTRODUCTION

    1.1 BACKGROUND

    In this modern era, numerous technologies are being introduced day to day making

    the human life easier. Particularly web based technologies have a huge contribution...

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