An investigation into system security requirements and implementation in an Application Service Provider (ASP) environment
Although the ASP model has been around for over a decade, it has not achieved the expected high level of market uptake. This research project examines the past and present state of ASP adoption and identifies security as a primary factor influencing the uptake of the model. The early chapters of this document examine the ASP model and ASP security in particular. Specifically, the literature and technology review chapter analyses ASP literature, security technologies and best practices with respect to system security in general. Based on this investigation, a prototype to illustrate the range and types of technologies that encompass a security framework was developed and is described in detail. The latter chapters of this document evaluate the practical implementation of system security in an ASP environment. Finally, this document outlines the research outputs, including the conclusions drawn and recommendations with respect to system security in an ASP environment. The primary research output is the recommendation that by following best practices with respect to security, an ASP application can provide the same level of security one would expect from any other n-tier client-server application. In addition, a security evaluation matrix, which could be used to evaluate not only the security of ASP applications but the security of any n-tier application, was developed by the author. This thesis shows that perceptions with regard to fears of inadequate security of ASP solutions and solution data are misguided. Finally, based on the research conducted, the author recommends that ASP solutions should be developed and deployed on tried, tested and trusted infrastructure. Existing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) should be used where possible and security best practices should be adhered to where feasible.
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