Building In-the-Cloud Network Functions : Security and Privacy Challenges

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

13 Scopus Citations
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  • Qian WANG
  • Muqi HUANG
  • Qi LI
  • Chao SHEN

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1888-1919
Journal / PublicationProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number12
Online published8 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021



Network function virtualization (NFV) has been promising to improve the availability, programmability, and flexibility of network function deployment and communication facilities. Meanwhile, with the advancements of cloud technologies, there has been a trend to outsource network functions through virtualization to a cloud service provider, so as to alleviate the local burdens on provisioning and managing such hardware resources. Promising as it is, redirecting the communication traffic to a third-party service provider has drawn various security and privacy concerns. Traditional end-to-end encryption can protect the traffic in transmit, but it also hinders data usability. This dilemma has raised wide interests from both industry and academia, and great efforts have been made to realize privacy-preserving network function outsourcing that can guarantee the confidentiality of network communications while preserving the ability to inspect the traffic. In this article, we conduct a comprehensive survey of the state-of-the-art literature on network function outsourcing, with a special focus on privacy and security issues. We first give a brief introduction to NFV and pinpoint its challenges and security risks in the cloud context. Then, we present detailed descriptions and comparisons of existing secure network function outsourcing schemes in terms of functionality, efficiency, and security. Finally, we conclude by discussing possible future research directions.

Research Area(s)

  • Network function outsourcing, network function virtualization (NFV), privacy preservation

Citation Format(s)

Building In-the-Cloud Network Functions: Security and Privacy Challenges. / JIANG, Peipei; WANG, Qian; HUANG, Muqi et al.
In: Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 109, No. 12, 12.2021, p. 1888-1919.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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