SaaS applications are one of the fast-growing segments in cloud technology. In fact, experts think their market will be worth around 145.5 billion U.S. dollars by the end of this year. A significant chunk of enterprises uses SaaS-based CRM and email applications that are now fundamental to their operation. One of the most interesting things about SaaS applications is the ever-changing security landscape.
The pandemic saw an increase in the adoption of SaaS applications. They enable remote work, communication, and collaboration in a scalable manner. While this widespread adaptation has certainly helped businesses, it has also raised some valid security concerns.
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The relative ease of purchasing SaaS applications for employees has led to the growth of Shadow IT. You can describe Shadow IT as the use of IT-related hardware or software within an organization outside the IT department’s knowledge.
IT teams usually have a security check process before they authorize the use of new hardware or software. Skipping this process can create security implications and sometimes even violate compliance rules.
Further, it is imperative for IT professionals to adapt to the increasing use of SaaS applications by employing modern IT architecture that is ready for the cloud, establish good governance rules, and understand the shared responsibility model with respect to cloud service providers.
Securing your SaaS applications
Let’s look at three tips that can help you secure your SaaS applications.
Modernize the IT architecture
Firstly, with the significant influx of cloud-based solutions, on-premise security mechanisms are no longer sufficient to mitigate security risks. It is essential to analyze the new risks involved with cloud-based services. At the same time, making the shift to security solutions that are ready for the cloud, particularly.
Traditionally, on-premise security professionals manage the on-premise resources with external endpoints. Still, now with cloud services that are accessible virtually anywhere, it is imperative to switch to solutions that are able to provide protection even outside the company network.
SSL, DDoS prevention, and network monitoring for malware detection are some of the key features to look out for in a potential cloud service provider.
While securing endpoints is important, it is equally as important to secure access to the services provided by SaaS applications. You can strengthen access controls with multi-factor authentication.
MFA systems perform user identity verification and can nullify the effects of compromised credentials. Moreover, federation and access management are also security features companies should set up. Preferably before making the switch to SaaS applications.
Define your governance rules
In this modern-day age, security is no longer constrained to just protecting company data; it has evolved into something much more complex. Security teams in most organizations nowadays consist of IT and security experts, legal advisors, and compliance officers.
The breadth of expertise allows organizations to create their own ecosystems with the appropriate governance rules. This team can assess and revise governance policies to authorize new cloud-based applications.
You can create a new set of checks and requirements to ensure that SaaS solutions are incorporated securely and adequately.
While most cloud service providers do offer standard security features, reviewing their accreditations and documentation can also provide a better insight into their offerings. Better governance rules and using a robust, secure, and well-accredited cloud service provider go hand in hand to provide better security throughout the SaaS application.
The shared responsibility model
Research has predicted that 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. It is imperative to understand the importance of educating your users.
Providing effective security is a shared responsibility that the SaaS provider and consumer must bear. Usually, the SaaS platform and its security is managed by the provider, whereas access management and application configuration is something that the SaaS consumer handles.
Data encryption is a must-have and is usually provided by most reputable SaaS providers. However, ensuring safe access to data is the responsibility of the SaaS consumer.
Using improper configurations or weak passwords can result in data breaches and must be avoided at all costs. SaaS consumers should be made aware of common malpractices such as phishing, fake emails, and malicious software. Providing users with a security checklist can also help the user to stay secure.
An organization’s values should include ensuring SaaS security. Providing a robust and secure SaaS application is important for building and maintaining customer trust. With the huge increase in remote work, scaling and providing secure SaaS applications has become a challenge.
However, most cloud providers have adapted to this change, and the right cloud provider would be able to meet your security needs. As technology progresses, new security challenges arise. Hence, allowing the companies to adopt new security methods. This is a continuous process and requires regular effort to combat the ever-changing IT security landscape.