PENG9550 Cloud Computing and Security Course description

Course name in Norwegian
Cloud Computing and Security
Study programme
PhD Programme in Engineering Science
Year of study
FALL 2023
Programme description
Course history


Cloud computing is an emerging paradigm of utilising large-scale computing services over the internet that will affect the computing needs of individuals and organisations. Over the past decade, many cloud computing platforms have been set up by companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, eBay and Facebook. Some of the platforms are open to the public via various pricing models. They operate at different levels and enable businesses to harness different amounts of computing power from the cloud.

The course will be offered once a year, provided 3 or more students sign up for the course. If less than 3 students sign up for a course, the course will be cancelled for that year.

Recommended preliminary courses

Basic background in computer science and networking.

Learning outcomes

Students who complete the course are expected to have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


On successful completion of the course, the student:

  • has a deep understanding of how cloud computing, large services and infrastructures play a crucial role in todays digitised society;

  • has an interdisciplinary view on cloud computing due to its central role in the digitised society;

  • understands the fundamental principles of distributed computing and particularly cloud computing;

  • understands the importance of virtualisation in distributed computing and how this has enabled the development of cloud computing;

  • understands the business models that underlie cloud computing;

  • has an understanding of the architecture and concept of different cloud models: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS;

  • is knowledgeable in the various methods available to monitor and evaluate cloud infrastructure;

  • has a deep knowledge of the common security issues in the field of cloud computing;

  • has an understanding of the concept of threat intelligence in the field of cloud computing;

  • understands the use of security policies as part of the overall security strategy of an organization;


On successful completion of the course, the student can:

  • design highly distributed digital systems.

  • create virtual machine images and deploy them on a cloud.

  • design and develop scalable cloud-based applications by creating and configuring virtual machines in the cloud.

  • analyse cloud infrastructures with regard to properties such as resilience, security, performance and manageability.

  • identify cloud security weaknesses by recognising and discovering threats and vulnerabilities to cloud computing.

  • implement cloud features to secure and harden the infrastructure.

  • use tools to monitor and evaluate cloud infrastructure.

  • use tools to analyse system logs to detect possible security or performance problems.

General competence

On successful completion of the course, the student:

  • can discuss his/her area of expertise with a non-expert audience by combining insights across disciplines.

  • can discuss and debate the impact of technological development on our society in the future


The course describes the important enabling technologies of cloud computing, explores state- of-the art platforms and existing services, and examines the challenges and opportunities of adopting cloud computing. Moreover, the course investigates how to protect the critical data increasingly being stored in the cloud. The students learn how to build a security strategy that keeps data safe and mitigates risk.

Teaching and learning methods

The course is part of a series of seminars in which the students actively participate together with members of relevant research groups. The students present papers and listen to paper presentations from other PhD students and staff. The students are also expected to actively critique and challenge fellow participants. The students are provided with a sound foundation in research skills and are naturally integrated into the local research community and its research discourse.

Course requirements

The following required coursework must be approved before the student can take the exam:

  • Three individual oral presentations of assigned publications.
  • Participate as prepared discussant for three presentations by other group members.
  • Independently find and study publications relevant to the research discourse.
  • 80% attendance at seminars.


Oral exam, 30 minutes per student.

The oral exam cannot be appealed.

Permitted exam materials and equipment


Grading scale

Pass or fail.


Two sensors, one from the teaching staff, the other may be internal or external. External examiner is used periodically.