Towards Actionable Mission Impact Assessment in the Context of Cloud Computing

  • Xiaoyan SunEmail author
  • Anoop Singhal
  • Peng Liu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10359)


Today’s cyber-attacks towards enterprise networks often undermine and even fail the mission assurance of victim networks. Mission cyber resilience (or active cyber defense) is critical to prevent or minimize negative consequences towards missions. Without effective mission impact assessment, mission cyber resilience cannot be really achieved. However, there is an overlooked gap between mission impact assessment and cyber resilience due to the non-mission-centric nature of current research. This gap is even widened in the context of cloud computing. The gap essentially accounts for the weakest link between missions and attack-resilient systems, and also explains why the existing impact analysis is not really actionable. This paper initiates efforts to bridge this gap, by developing a novel graphical model that interconnects the mission dependency graphs and cloud-level attack graphs. Our case study shows that the new cloud-applicable model is able to bridge the gap between mission impact assessment and cyber resilience. As a result, it can significantly improve the effectiveness of cyber resilience analysis of mission critical systems.



We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. This work was supported by ARO W911NF-15-1-0576, ARO W911NF-13-1-0421 (MURI), CNS-1422594, NIETP CAE Cybersecurity Grant, and NIST 60NANB16D241.


This paper is not subject to copyright in the United States. Commercial products are identified in order to adequately specify certain procedures. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, nor does it imply that the identified products are necessarily the best available for the purpose.


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© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State UniversitySacramentoUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  3. 3.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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