The challenges SaaS environment faces in forensic investigation
The challenges SaaS environment faces in forensic investigation

SaaS Environments

SaaS model has provided convenience for hosting application and make them readily available to users over the internet. The services and the web applications hosted to the consumers through a third party. Third-party involvement also makes forensic investigation difficult in a SaaS environment. Here are The challenges SaaS environment faces in forensic investigation. We believe that every reputed business organization must know about these challenges and their possible solution.

Challenges

In this model, the consumer does not have access to the central infrastructure, such as applications, network, and servers. It also led to the point that the client does not have the authority to explore the internal of the system and to get the central infrastructure. The configuration settings and incomplete applications are also the sources to extract shreds of evidence. The external party only provides us with the high-level log, lack in the viewing of primary infrastructure led us to senior records.

The challenges which SaaS environment faces in the forensic investigation the more is all due to third party dominance. The case is all dependent upon the logging application provided by the external party. Without it, any toolkit is also unable to help the client for generating reliable evidence. It is a hurdle in the way of forensics investigator to investigate appropriately. It raises a question for the clients of SaaS; their working strategy is inadequate to provide the proper pieces of evidence. They lack in investigating the possible incidents.

Data origin problem

The origin of digital data is history-based meta-data, which makes it call the data provenance. In cloud environments, digital forensics is all dependent upon the secure provenance. Secure ownership, comprised of history data entities, helps in fruitful forensics, still a challenging task.

The SaaS is working globally, only providing the single sign-on service to the users. Data provenance has contributed a lot to IaaS and PaaS based environments. Only the SaaS-based settings are incompatible with working with data provenance.  In some scenarios, the cloud environments are unable to explain the clients about their account breach information, that precisely what changes occurred. In the case of compromising of sensitive information, it is unclear that which specific data is leaked or modified by the external third party.

Confusion

There is more confusion regarding either the cloud provider or the external third party is responsible for the modification and the leakage of the data. The client has no clue to prove this fuss. The distributed environments comprised of secure data provenance can help in this matter. But their practical implementation is still lacking.

Suggested Solution

The solution to the problems mentioned above and challenges is that private SaaS environment aligns the cloud providers and the client. They both have the same authorities and access to the same situation. The secure provenance mechanisms and the logging improves the investigations. It also provides the information and exact location of servers at the time when required.

The interface of the public SaaS cloud providers also provides the operations, security services, and forensics services for their clients. The API helps in accessing the event logs, access, and error information to take the investigation to the right state. The SaaS demands contribution from the clients as they lack in receiving the forensic report and in providing the proof integrity information in stored SaaS.

POR and PDP

The problems can get solved with Proofs of retrievability (POR), where the client has access to the cloud for information retrieval. The untrusted server comprised of data provenance can be disclosed to the client with the technique of provable data possession (PDP). Because of these clients does not need to retrieve the information. These cryptographic techniques are helpful but still a step back in practical implementation. To handle all this an integrity-based mechanism is required.

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