A survey of context-aware access control mechanisms for cloud and fog networks: taxonomy and open research issues

A. S. M. Kayes*, Rudri Kalaria, Iqbal H. Sarker, Md. Saiful Islam, Paul A. Watters, Alex Ng, Mohammad Hammoudeh, Shahriar Badsha, Indika Kumara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last few decades, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) has produced an overwhelming flow of data and services, which has shifted the access control paradigm from a fixed desktop environment to dynamic cloud environments. Fog computing is associated with a new access control paradigm to reduce the overhead costs by moving the execution of application logic from the centre of the cloud data sources to the periphery of the IoT-oriented sensor networks. Indeed, accessing information and data resources from a variety of IoT sources has been plagued with inherent problems such as data heterogeneity, privacy, security and computational overheads. This paper presents an extensive survey of security, privacy and access control research, while highlighting several specific concerns in a wide range of contextual conditions (e.g., spatial, temporal and environmental contexts) which are gaining a lot of momentum in the area of industrial sensor and cloud networks. We present different taxonomies, such as contextual conditions and authorization models, based on the key issues in this area and discuss the existing context-sensitive access control approaches to tackle the aforementioned issues. With the aim of reducing administrative and computational overheads in the IoT sensor networks, we propose a new generation of Fog-Based Context-Aware Access Control (FB-CAAC) framework, combining the benefits of the cloud, IoT and context-aware computing; and ensuring proper access control and security at the edge of the end-devices. Our goal is not only to control context-sensitive access to data resources in the cloud, but also to move the execution of an application logic from the cloud-level to an intermediary-level where necessary, through adding computational nodes at the edge of the IoT sensor network. A discussion of some open research issues pertaining to context-sensitive access control to data resources is provided, including several real-world case studies. We conclude the paper with an in-depth analysis of the research challenges that have not been adequately addressed in the literature and highlight directions for future work that has not been well aligned with currently available research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2464
Pages (from-to)1-34
Number of pages34
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Authorization
  • Centralized environments
  • Cloud-based data resources
  • Context-aware access control
  • Contextual conditions
  • Decentralized environments
  • Fog-based access control
  • Internet of things
  • Privacy protection
  • Security


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