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Cloud computing can and does mean different things to different people. The common characteristics most interpretations share are on-demand scalability of highly available and reliable pooled computing resources, secure access to metered services from nearly anywhere, and displacement of data and services from inside to outside the organization. While aspects of these characteristics have been realized to a certain extent, cloud computing remains a work in progress. This paper provides an overview of the security and privacy challenges pertinent to public cloud computing and points out considerations organizations should take when outsourcing data, applications, and infrastructure to a public cloud environment.
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