SaaS is a cloud-based model for software delivery that functions as per demand. The main purpose of SaaS is to provide firms with the option to access applications that they require for their functioning without actually having to host them on their premises. Over time, SaaS has gained some significant traction due to reduced infrastructural costs while obviating the need to buy separate servers. As an added bonus, managed SaaS solutions also allowed in-house security and maintenance for the platforms.
With most software vendors now setting forward with cloud versions of their applications considering the advantages offered, there are some popular SaaS applications available for use. You may be familiar with some of the likes of Microsoft 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, Cisco Webex, etc.
As SaaS applications are being adopted increasingly worldwide, their systems, operations, and the stored sensitive data became proportionally exposed to various cybersecurity issues. The new malware varients and increasing phishing attacks are always on the verge of illegally accessing client data, so the right amount of security is required to secure your SaaS applications.
Let’s talk about SaaS security
Like mentioned before, the cloud-based providers behind SaaS applications offer the majority of the security services. These include securing the platform, operating system, network, applications, and physical infrastructure. What’s left from the security strategy is the protection of customer data and the level of users’ access, which are equally important. Hence, the onus of optimum security is left on the firm.
The importance of maintaining SaaS security lies in the increasing number of threats your business and its SaaS applications face. All it takes is the selection of a random or poor cloud-service provider to compromise your entire business, risking compliance requirements, and causing security issues. It always helps to be extra cautious and make sure your IT team is always snooping for the slightest hint of anything going wrong.
Now that we know why SaaS security matters so much, here are the best practices on how you can strengthen it:
8 Ways to Increase SaaS Security for Your App
1. Utilizing Identity and Access Management (IAM) services
IAM services can assign respective roles for the users to ensure that no one gains more access than necessary. They achieve this goal through processes and policies dictating user access levels for the range of files and applications that are accessible. The same role-based permissions concept can be applied to data to restrict on a need-to-know basis.
2. Work against data loss threats
Data loss prevention (DLP) software is specially designed for the protection of sensitive data within SaaS applications. This includes monitoring the data transmissions that are outgoing and blocking any that involves sensitive data. It blocks downloading of such data to personal devices, detects malware, and prevents hackers from accessing data.
3. The data deletion policy
Every organization should have set parameters on dealing with customer data, transmission, and storage (and eventually, deletion). Handling of data should be done in accordance with the customer contracts, and systematic deletion after the period is over has legal support as well. Beyond the contract, data deletion and handling is an unspoken commitment between the customer and the firm and therefore, should be prioritized with accuracy and relevant records.
4. Rogue or compromised accounts
As the number of cloud services utilized by the organization increases in number and usefulness, so does the risk of mishandling individual protection. This is especially dangerous if the forgotten cloud service ranks high on the risk scale. In this situation, organizations should use available tools, such as cloud access security brokers (CASBs). They should also implement SaaS security audits for the networks to find out any rogue or compromised accounts and unauthorized services.
5. Encryption of data
This is an important system for both data in storage and in transmission between the end-users and the cloud service accessed or within the applications. One of the main reasons is the requirement of data encryption of sensitive data for compliance requirements and government regulations. Sensitive information could be anything from financial information, medical records, or information that can personally identify an individual. Organizations can add to the encryption standards provided by the SaaS vendor with their own encryption through CASBs.
6. Employee awareness
It is not just the systems that need to be updated and be secured, but all the stakeholders of the organization and its employees in proper security practices. For example, avoiding sharing accounts between employees, educating them on common signs of phishing scams, and regular awareness initiatives can keep them on their toes. Enforcing features like two-factor authentication, access only on the basis of requirements, etc will increase the security factor and prevent hacks like social engineering.
7. Choosing the right cloud service
It is unwise to blindly trust your provider to completely secure your data – statistics show that only 8% of cloud service providers meet this standard. Even fewer providers provide full-scale data encryption and features like multi-factor authentication. This is where a SaaS security audit takes prominence, with tests to check the compliance to security standards, data encryption and privacy policies, optimum employee security cooperation, cyber protection, etc.
8. Employ the best security tools available to ensure optimum protection
There are malware prevention systems in place with the ability to analyze threats and block compromising situations on file sharing applications and systems before it occurs. As we discussed before, data loss prevention (DLP) and cloud access security brokers (CASBs) also help in the protection of intellectual property and users across different cloud services.
Performing frequent SaaS security audits to confirm the importance of the use of such tools in the overall protection of the system should be prioritized.
Throughout the points mentioned above, you may notice the recurrence of a particular phrase, ‘SaaS security audits’, and its importance in maintaining SaaS security. The problems that hound SaaS applications increase each day, which means the security strategy for SaaS should simultaneously advance.