Cloud computing services bring new capabilities for hosting and offering complex collaborative business operations. However, these advances might bring undesirable side-effects, e.g., introducing new vulnerabilities and threats caused by collaboration and data exchange over the Internet. Hence, users have become more concerned about security and privacy aspects. For secure provisioning of a cloud computing service, security and privacy issues must be addressed by using a risk assessment method. To perform a risk assessment, it is necessary to obtain all relevant information about the context of the considered cloud computing service. The context analysis of a cloud computing service and its underlying system is a difficult task because of the variety of different types of information that have to be considered. This context information includes (i) legal, regulatory and/or contractual requirements that are relevant for a cloud computing service (indirect stakeholders); (ii) relations to other involved cloud computing services; (iii) high-level cloud system components that support the involved cloud computing services; (iv) data that is processed by the cloud computing services; and (v) stakeholders that interact directly with the cloud computing services and/or the underlying cloud system components. We present a pattern for the contextual analysis of cloud computing services and demonstrate the instantiation of our proposed pattern with real-life application examples. Our pattern contains elements that represent the above-mentioned types of contextual information. The elements of our pattern conform to the General Data Protection Regulation. Besides the context analysis, our pattern supports the identification of high-level assets. Additionally, our proposed pattern supports the documentation of the scope and boundaries of a cloud computing service conforming to the requirements of the ISO 27005 standard (information security risk management). The results of our context analysis contribute to the transparency of the achieved security and privacy level of a cloud computing service. This transparency can increase the trust of users in a cloud computing service. We present results of the RestAssured project related to the context analysis regarding cloud computing services and their underlying cloud computing systems. The context analysis is the prerequisite to threat and control identification that are performed later in the risk management process. The focus of this paper is the use of a pattern at the time of design systematic context analysis and scope definition for risk management methods.
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