A Scalable and Secure Peer-to-Peer
Information Sharing Tool
Collaboration Technologies Group
Distributed Systems Department
Computational Research Division
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Securing Dynamic Collaborations


K. Berket, A. Essiari, and M. Thompson


Collaborative applications, such as video conferencing, collaborative editing, chat applications, shared workspaces and file sharing, support human-to human interactions in synchronous and asynchronous modes. These applications provide users with a highly flexible environment where they meet, exchange information, and work toward a common goal. These collaboration environments are often times dynamic, in the sense that collaborators frequently enter and exit the environment. In addition, the membership of the collaboration is dynamic.

Providing security for dynamic collaborations is difficult due to the dynamic nature of the collaboration groups and the distributed and autonomous nature of the participants. It is important that security should not in any way undermine the very properties that make collaborative applications attractive. A secure collaboration environment should thus make it easy to join a collaboration, create and share out resources, interact with other people, and access resources.

Our experience in applying traditional security solutions to collaborative applications has led us to identify the following issues with existing security solutions in dynamic collaborative environments:

  1. There exists a large startup cost for new collaborators. 
  2. The policies for accessing resources within the collaboration are static and determined by a central authority. 
  3. There is a single, static level of trust for each user. 
  4. There is no way to make group access decisions. 
  5. Lack of efficient means to secure group communication.


U.S. Department of Energy National Collaboratories Program Meeting, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, Aug. 10-12, 2004.

Full-length Paper


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Credits: A Scalable and Secure Peer-to-Peer Information Sharing Tool research and development is funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research, Mathematical, Information, and Computational Sciences Division; Support Credits identify the funding sources and the organizational context of the work described in this document.