The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type

Starred Paper

Degree Name

Information Assurance: M.S.


Information Assurance and Information Systems


Herberger School of Business

First Advisor

Dennis Guster

Second Advisor

Balasubramanian Kasi

Third Advisor

Mark Schmidt

Keywords and Subject Headings

Distributed, Key, Encryption, Cloud Computing, AWS, Amazon, Multiple Nodes, Cryptography


The advent of cloud computing has decreased the cost of enterprise level system design and implementation, while at the same time increasing the need for a sound and secure strategy for security. The use of encryption algorithms continues to be the main line of defense in performing secure data transmissions, the use of a Cloud Computing environment offers both advantages and disadvantages in the encryption process.

Though the new series of encryption algorithms are quite robust, they require a “key” to make their use unique for an individual session, thus if the key is compromised then the underlying encryption algorithm can be broken. In a classically designed system, the entire cryptographic key is contained on one node within the network, if this node is compromised even though robustly protected the the entire network would be at risk. The flip side to the potential breaking in dilemma outlined above is perhaps an even scarier option, one in which the node on which the key is kept is corrupted either through malicious intent, unintended mishap, or simple system failure. This scenario opens up the possibility that the key is unrecoverable, in which case the data that has been encrypted with the cryptographic key may be rendered unrecoverable as well. In this paper I looked at how a distributed key system, broken up over varying numbers of multiple nodal instances, and distributed across the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud reacted and performed their intended task of authenticating a web service.


A version with additional data was published here: "Design, Implementation and Performance Analysis of a Distributed Key Encryption System Deployed Within a Public Cloud" Journal of Network and Information Security, Vol. 4, Issue 1, June 2016.