Cloud computing provides massive computation power and storage capacity which enable users to deploy computation and data-intensive applications without infrastructure investment. Along the processing of such applications, a large volume of intermediate data sets will be generated, and often stored to save the cost of recomputing them. However, preserving the privacy of intermediate data sets becomes a challenging problem because adversaries may recover privacy-sensitive information by analyzing multiple intermediate data sets. Encrypting ALL data sets in cloud is widely adopted in existing approaches to address this challenge. But we argue that encrypting all intermediate data sets are neither efficient nor cost-effective because it is very time consuming and costly for data-intensive applications to en/decrypt data sets frequently while performing any operation on them. In this paper, we propose a novel upper bound privacy leakage constraint-based approach to identify which intermediate data sets need to be encrypted and which do not, so that privacy-preserving cost can be saved while the privacy requirements of data holders can still be satisfied. Evaluation results demonstrate that the privacy-preserving cost of intermediate data sets can be significantly reduced with our approach over existing ones where all data sets are encrypted. © 1990-2012 IEEE.