With a solid SaaS security checklist, organizations can insert a security checkpoint into the buying process to assess whether or not a cloud service provider can be trusted. This ensures that security teams have comprehensive visibility into data access to identify unauthorized exposure before it becomes an incident.
SaaS vendors and customers share responsibility for security, which makes monitoring configurations, usage and data access crucial. A security-focused SDLC is also a must.
1. Automated Monitoring
SaaS apps do not reside within the company network and typically live beyond an organization’s control. This creates unique challenges for security teams and requires a framework that was developed specifically for this type of software.
One of the first steps is to secure the apps that are in use, which can be done through methods like requiring SSO or by limiting access based on user roles. However, it’s essential to realize that even if one app is exposed to cyber risks this can have cascading effects for the entire company and requires a more comprehensive approach.
A cloud access security broker (CASB) solution can help by continuously assessing each SaaS app to find gaps between stated policies and actual security posture, identifying vulnerabilities and misconfigurations and automatically prioritizing them. Learn more about this and more in our upcoming RSA 2023 webinar – spots are limited.
2. Endpoint Security
The popularity of SaaS applications has created a unique set of challenges for cybersecurity teams. In order to secure the cloud, companies need to take a user-centric approach that ensures safety while keeping business users productive.
This involves understanding the security needs of each application and aligning them with its intended design. It’s also important to consider the sensitivity of data and regulatory compliance requirements when configuring the application, so that access is restricted only to essential functionality.
The best way to ensure endpoints are protected is through a comprehensive endpoint protection platform. These solutions include a central server that analyzes threats (on-prem or in the cloud) and client software that runs on each device. The best platforms allow for advanced features like comparing files against attack signatures, rollback to a previous device state, and sandboxing to test suspicious executables.
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3. Identity and Access Management
When a business moves to the SaaS model, it’s often dependent on third-party applications that run critical day-to-day functions. These applications are accessed from a wide range of devices and locations, making them a tempting target for hackers.
Traditional authentication solutions rely on managed hardware, software or network controls to verify user identity and control access. Aka.ms/mfasetup provides a framework for securing these apps by assigning digital identities to users and controlling their access to corporate information.
Security teams need visibility into who has access to what data in a SaaS application and why. They also need the ability to automatically detect and remediate deviations from predefined policy. This requires continuous monitoring and a zero-trust approach.
4. Data Loss Prevention
Software as a service applications offer a vast ecosystem of integrated third-party apps and APIs that can expose organizations to a host of new risks. Security teams must monitor these ecosystems for unauthorized access or leaking data to prevent potential cyber threats from impacting their organizations.
Most SaaS vendors do not share infrastructure- and application-level security information with their customers, which leaves security operations teams lacking in important details of a threat’s attack vectors and impacts. This limits the ability to detect, remediate and mitigate potential threats.
Moreover, it is impossible for teams to manually manage dozens of SaaS applications that continuously change permission configurations and user accounts, which are easily misconfigured. A single misconfiguration can open up a SaaS app to the risk of permanent data loss, resulting in costly financial, legal and reputational damage.
5. Threat Detection
As SaaS adoption continues to grow, security teams are facing unique threats and challenges. For example, many organizations don’t realize that when a third-party app connects to a SaaS platform it can provide attackers with the first steps in lateral movement within an organization.
Another challenge is that many SaaS apps don’t share infrastructure or application-level logs with security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, resulting in incomplete threat intelligence and leaving teams vulnerable to undiscovered data breaches. Additionally, many organizations fail to update their existing applications with the latest recommended security configurations.
To combat these unique challenges, a modern SaaS security posture management solution includes well-honed processes, tracking and single pane of glass visibility in a centralized hub for proactive and responsive threat detection. This enables security teams to identify and remediate risky SaaS application behavior and detect and respond to unauthorized activity – like a failed login from an unknown device.