Cloud computing can be particularly beneficial to small businesses since it can decrease the total cost of ownership for IT systems. Unfortunately, one of the major barriers to adoption of cloud services is the perception that they are inherently less secure, exposing the organization to unacceptable risk. There are standard processes for managing security risk that can help businesses make trade-off decisions, but these processes currently cannot be applied to cloud computing since the security details of cloud services are not typically available to small businesses. This lack of information leads to a lack of trust: small businesses cannot evaluate the security of cloud services. This paper proposes an approach for cooperation between cloud vendors and small businesses based on the NIST Risk Management Framework. Security Risk Agreements would address the lack of trust so that small businesses can confidently adopt cloud services, benefiting both small businesses and cloud vendors.
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