Novel framework to support information security audit in virtual environment

  • Arun Nagarle Shivashankarappa

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Over the years, the focus of information security has evolved from technical issue to business issue. Heightened competition from globalization compounded by emerging technologies such as cloud computing has given rise to new threats and vulnerabilities which are not only complex but unpredictable. However, there are enormous opportunities which can bring value to business and enhance stakeholders’ wealth.

    Enterprises in Oman are compelled to embark e-Oman strategy which invariably increases the complexity due to integration of heterogeneous systems and outsourcing with external business partners. This implies that there is a need for a comprehensive model that integrates people, processes and technology and provides enterprise information security focusing on organizational transparency and enhancing business value.

    It was evident through interviews with security practitioners that existing security models and frameworks are inadequate to meet the dynamic nature of threats and challenges inherent in virtualization technology which is a catalyst to cloud computing. Hence the intent of this research is to evaluate enterprise information security in Oman and explore the potential of building a balanced model that aligns governance, risk management and compliance with emphasis to auditing in virtual environment.

    An integrated enterprise governance, risk and compliance model was developed where enterprise risk management acts as a platform, both mitigating risk on one hand and as a framework for defining cost controls and quantifying revenue opportunities on the other. Further, security standards and frameworks were evaluated and some limitations were identified. A framework for implementing IT governance focusing on critical success factors was developed after analysing and mapping the four domains of COBIT with various best practices.

    Server virtualization using bare metal architecture was practically tested which provides fault-tolerance and automated load balancing with enhanced security. Taxonomy of risks inherent in virtual environments was identified and an audit process flow was devised that provides insight to auditors to assess the adequacy of controls in a virtual environment. A novel framework for a successful audit in virtual environment is the contribution of this research that has changed some of the security assumptions and audit controls in virtual environment.
    Date of Award2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorLeonid Smalov (Supervisor)


    • Computer security
    • Security measures
    • Internet

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