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Cloud computing is now firmly established in the information technology landscape and its security risks need to be mapped and addressed at this critical stage in its development.

Cloud computing can be defined as a pool of virtualised computing resources that allows users to gain access to applications and data in a web-based environment on demand.

This paper explains the various cloud architecture and usage models that exist and some of the benefits in using cloud services. It seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the emerging threat landscape created by cloud computing, with a view to identifying avenues for risk reduction.

Three avenues for action are identified, in particular, the need for a culture of cyber security to be created through the development of effective public-private partnerships; the need for Australia’s privacy regime to be reformed to deal with the issues created by cloud computing and the need for cyber-security researchers to find ways in which to mitigate existing and new security risks in the cloud computing environment.

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