2021 MSSE Cloud Security Elective

Cryptosmith key

UPDATE: This elective will be offered to second-year MSSE students at the University of Minnesota as SENG 5721 in Spring 2021.

Members of the University of Minnesota’s MSSE Class of 2021: I am offering a Cloud Security elective based on the Coursera Cloud Security specialization currently under development. The first course, Cloud Security Basics, is already live. The remaining three courses go live this fall.

If we think of networked computing being divided into client and server activities, this course focuses on the server, with additional considerations given to cloud-specific technologies. The material covers a blend of technical and management issues, since practical security involves business trade-offs and risk assessments as well as security technology.

Who am I?

I’m an “old school” cybersecurity expert who grew up with the Internet. I’ve worked on the principal socially-dystopian computing technologies developed over the past half-century: speech recognition, robotics, network gateways, content blocking, and eavesdropping. One of my favorite projects helped securely deliver unclassified spam and malware to classified military networks.

If you visit my About page you’ll see that I’ve also published 3 books about cybersecurity. Your textbook for this course is one I wrote and recently revised. I’ve taught part-time occasionally throughout my career, and I taught full-time at St Thomas for several years.

The Coursera Specialization

The Cloud Security specialization consists of sixteen one-week modules split into four 4-week courses:

  • Cloud Security Basics
  • Cloud Data Security
  • Cloud Application Security
  • Capstone Project

The online course consists of video lectures interspersed with on-line quizzes and discussions. Many weeks also include a peer-reviewed research assignment.

The MSSE Elective Course

The elective will use the video lectures and on-line quizzes, and augment them with hands-on labs and projects. We will probably retain some of the peer-reviewed assignments, and I will review them, too.

I will schedule an on-line video lab session once a week during of our nominal class meeting time. Everyone must have completed the week’s Coursera module for that week before the class meeting. I’ll assign the first module to be competed before our first meeting, to ensure we finish by the end of the semester.

I will also make myself available for another on-line session or “office hours” at another time during the week, if necessary.

The Textbook

The textbook will be Elementary Information Security. We’ll use it with our lab activities. Labs will work with the following:

  • Public-key certificates for encryption and signing
  • Domain name services
  • Network packet inspection
  • Network mapping
  • Vulnerability scanning

Although the latest edition is much lighter than earlier editions, I strongly recommend that you use the on-line version. The physical book includes an access code for all sorts of “on-line features” including the on-line book.


Contact me.