With big data and laws for personal information increasingly part of the public discourse, the University of Wisconsin was recently awarded a $2 million cybersecurity grant for a project researchers hope will make the state a hub for cloud computing research and innovation.
Tom Ristenpart, a UW computer science professor, said he and fellow UW computer science professors Aditya Akella and Michael Swift created the project, called ”Rethinking Security in the Era of Cloud Computing” and nicknamed “Project Silver,” which is designed to enhance computer security with cloud computing.
Ristenpart said the project looks to improve the “sad status quo” of security by looking at new auditing tools to build trust in services and new encryption protocols to make communications more secure.
According to Ristenpart, ensuring cloud computing is secure is a difficult task.
“Doing security well is very hard, even for large companies, and industry practitioners currently complain of not understanding how to think about security when deploying their systems,” he said.
In five years, Ristenpart said the professors hope to have a variety of new deployable technologies to use with cloud services, have a better understanding of how they should be designed and have a better understanding of cloud deployment trends.
Ristenpart said the research will be done while also working intimately with industry partners throughout the project in order to achieve all of their goals,
He added that he and the team will work with UW graduate students and local collaborators on the project.
Other professors from the computer science department are also working on a multi-year project titled “Wisconsin Institute on Software-defined Datacenters of Madison” as another cloud-computing related research venture, he said.
Ristenpart said the computer science department and the professors involved with both Project Silver and Project WISDOM have a vision to make Wisconsin a central hub for cloud computing technologies and innovation.
“We have already started offering new classes related to cloud computing and will continue to innovate on curriculum to ensure that graduates of Wisconsin have the background needed to innovate and improve computing in the era of clouds,” Ristenpart said.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, who announced the grant, said he will continue to support research and development efforts to improve the technological framework of the county.
“As more and more of our personal, economic and national security information is stored online, the continued development of innovative cybersecurity measures is vital to our national interests,” Pocan said in a statement. “I am thrilled that UW-Madison, one of the premiere research universities in the nation, will help lead the efforts to protect our critical digital infrastructure systems, and I congratulate their talented team of researchers.”