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Bridging Security and Fault Management within Distributed Workflow Management Systems

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2 Author(s)
Montagut, F. ; SAP Res., Zurich ; Molva, R.

As opposed to centralized workflow management systems, the distributed execution of workflows can not rely on a trusted centralized point of coordination. As a result, basic security features including compliance of the overall sequence of workflow operations with the pre-defined workflow execution plan or traceability become critical issues that are yet to be addressed. Besides, the detection of security inconsistencies during the execution of a workflow usually implies the complete failure of the workflow although it may be possible in some situations to recover from the latter. In this paper, we present security solutions supporting the secure execution of distributed workflows. These mechanisms capitalize on onion encryption techniques and security policy models to assure the integrity of the distributed execution of workflows, to prevent business partners from being involved in a workflow instance forged by a malicious peer and to provide business partners identity traceability for sensitive workflow instances. Moreover, we specify how these security mechanisms can be combined with a transactional coordination framework to recover from faults that may be caught during their execution. The defined solutions can easily be integrated into distributed workflow management systems as our design is strongly coupled with the runtime specification of decentralized workflows.

Published in:

Services Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 1 )