Impact of Cloud Computing on Digital Forensic

Nowadays, Cloud Computing is advancing more and more and has given various solutions to many upscale businesses all around the globe. But on the other hand, It has also created new challenges for digital forensics investigators. They need to do various operations with data, like collecting and analysing digital evidence from different cloud environments.

Cloud environments like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are also a unique challenge for Digital Forensic Investigators as they constantly get updated. Experts suggest using FaaS (Forensics as a service) as it requires service providers to develop some standards.

Because of the absence of such standards, digital forensic investigators have to use some old tools that are ineffective for their tasks. Therefore, conducting digital forensics in the cloud requires updated tools and techniques and updated laws and regulations.

Best Practices for Digital Forensics in Cloud

Investigators must understand the best practices for handling digital evidence in cloud environments. These are a few best practices for digital forensics in the cloud −

Understanding Cloud Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Understanding cloud service level agreements is an excellent practice for digital forensics in the cloud (SLAs). An SLA is a contract that establishes the level of service that a cloud provider will give to a client. Understanding the SLA's terms can help you, as an investigator, determine how much access you have to the cloud environment and how long data is kept there. Collecting and preserving digital evidence on the cloud can be difficult if the SLA is unclear.

Collection of Forensic Evidence in the Cloud

A clear and documented method for collecting evidence is also a good practice. It is crucial to consider the challenges of gathering digital evidence from cloud storage when designing this procedure for cloud environments. Investigators should have a plan for collecting evidence from virtual machines, which can be challenging to access and may be removed after they are no longer used.

Additionally, investigators should have a method for collecting data from multiple cloud providers, who may have different rules for retaining data.

Preservation of Forensic Evidence in the Cloud

This procedure of preserving evidence in the cloud should contain procedures for guaranteeing the data's integrity and safely storing it in the cloud. A process for maintaining the chain of custody, which serves as a record of who has access to the evidence and when should be in place for investigators.

Preserving forensic evidence in the cloud must follow a precise and well-documented procedure, or it could not be accepted in court.

Challenges in Digital Forensics with Cloud Computing

Digital forensic investigations in cloud computing environments face various challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that cloud systems change rapidly, which makes it difficult to collect and analyse digital evidence. It can also be challenging for forensic investigators to retrieve evidence because they may not have direct access to the physical or virtual infrastructure.

Another challenge is that different cloud platforms and service models require other forensic techniques. Cloud providers may also have different policies for storing data, which can affect how digital evidence is collected and preserved.

The shared nature of cloud environments is another challenge, as it can be tough to determine who has accessed the data and when.

The volume of data stored in cloud environments can also challenge forensic investigators. It can be challenging to sort through the data to find relevant evidence. Investigators must follow all privacy laws and data protection regulations while collecting and analysing digital evidence in cloud environments.

Advantages of Cloud Computing on Digital Forensics

There are many advantages of cloud computing to digital forensics. One of the most significant advantages is it can quickly upscale the resources like storage and processing power to handle a large amount of data. This can help investigators analyse the evidence faster and solve the cases more quickly.

One more benefit of cloud computing in forensics is that it provides very high-end resources, which can be helpful for forensic investigators. There are not only gigabytes or terabytes but petabytes of storage available on the cloud and the high availability of compute instances. Investigators can store many complex drive images on the cloud over a period of time. Storing that much data on physical storage can be costly compared to cloud storage. Conversely, the highly available compute instance resources may get help for forensics investigators. Cracking passwords and encrypted texts may require many resources, which can be very costly in terms of physical CPUs and RAM.

Its ability to access data at any time and from any location with an internet connection is an additional benefit. This can get handy when data is stored in different countries or regions.

Additionally, the powerful security features of a cloud system can help keep digital evidence more secure and safe. Cloud providers may also provide tools and services like data analytics and log files to assist investigators.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing on Digital Forensics

Despite the advantages, there are many disadvantages also. As the data is stored in different locations, it gets very challenging for investigators to know where exactly the data is and acquire it. This loss of control over the forensic investigation process makes it hard to organise a sequence of events and create a timeline, hindering crime scene reconstruction.

Due to virtualisation in the cloud, accessing essential data like registry entries and temporary files is difficult. Also, if the investigators want to access and download some data from the cloud, they might lose essential metadata like the last access and file modification time. Losing data like this is not affordable sometimes, as these types of data can provide helpful information.

The lack of tool support in cloud data centres is also a challenge for investigators as they cannot use some essential tools like Helix and EnCase in the cloud. These tools can help investigators acquire and analyse the evidence and create documentation that can be presented in the law of court.

Presenting digital evidence to a jury is a challenge in cloud computing. It requires explaining the evidence in technical terms, which may be difficult for non-technical people to understand. This is even more challenging with cloud data centres due to their complexity.


Cloud computing has brought various solutions to businesses but presents challenges for digital forensic investigators. Cloud computing can be complex for digital forensics investigations due to its constantly changing, widespread, and multi-user nature. If these challenges are not addressed, the evidence obtained may not be accepted in court.

To solve this problem, new forensic tools that work with cloud computing can be created, and agreements can be made with cloud providers with specific rules for forensic investigations so investigators can find more information through the cloud.