scorecardSaaS adoption rises, so do the security risks. Here are ways to counter them
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SaaS adoption rises, so do the security risks. Here are ways to counter them

SaaS adoption rises, so do the security risks. Here are ways to counter them
Tech3 min read
  • Over 90% of respondents of an O’Reilly study are using cloud computing offerings such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
  • A report from Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) revealed that over 63% of the respondents admit that SaaS misconfiguration is to blame for the surge in security incidents.
  • By opting for SSPM solutions, organizations can significantly reduce the time to detect and remediate SaaS misconfigurations.
The popularity of Software as-a-Service (SaaS) applications has grown immensely in recent years. COVID-19 spurred the acceleration of SaaS adoption among industries that were traditionally reluctant to embrace SaaS models. However, the increasing adoption of SaaS apps have left many organizations vulnerable to security incidents.

To make matters worse, even a slight misconfiguration or inability to secure user permission can open gateways for hackers and fraudsters. Even though Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and security teams are working round the clock to secure organizations’ apps and data, these measures are proving inadequate.

SaaS Security: A rising cause of concern

In a recent Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) report, 63% of the respondents stated that SaaS misconfiguration can be blamed for the surge in security incidents.

According to a 2021 study by O’Reilly, 90% of the respondents are using cloud computing offerings such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This is resulting in hundreds of global settings and thousands of customer roles, as well as permissions in configuring, monitoring, and consistent updating. With so many applications running constantly and getting frequent updates, the probability of exploitable misconfigurations has risen significantly. Therefore, organizations must take adequate measures to understand and tackle the complex threat landscape surrounding the SaaS security of the company.

Preventing the SaaS misconfiguration

A few basic steps that organizations can take to prevent SaaS misconfiguration include:
  • Ensure file sharing configurations in each SaaS application so that sensitive data is not publicly accessible.
  • Organizations should ensure that they activate MFA (multi-factor authentication) for all customer applications.
  • Organizations should further execute a security protocol for onboarding new applications while limiting user permission in all applications.
There are, however, more strategic and advanced methods that organizations currently prefer to secure customers from deceptive apps, misconfiguration and misappropriated user permissions. Some of the comprehensive measures that can be employed by organizations to combat misconfigurations in SaaS applications include:

Opting for SSPM

Organizations can opt for SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) which takes an automated approach to tracking and remediating the exploitable misconfiguration in SaaS applications of the organization. According to the CSA report mentioned earlier, SSPM solutions can significantly reduce the time taken to detect and remediate SaaS misconfigurations. Additionally, it can also help CISOs and security professionals handle the profound transformation to an extensive SaaS environment. Moreover, it helps them to contain misconfiguration exposures from leading to a leak or breach.

Identify loose ends

It is paramount for SaaS security that no individual has access to business data without the knowledge and consent of the security team. The task of maintaining control over evolving corporate data has been taking a toll on security professionals. With the incorporation of SaaS applications and hundreds of configurations, the challenges will be exacerbated. Therefore, organizations should locate all publicly accessible resources such as discussions, forms, dashboards and other data components. If the security teams find any flaws, they should quickly address them to avoid a data breach and take the required precautionary measures to keep control over the data of the organization.

Addressing the configuration drift

With SaaS having multiple settings and configurations at a given time, it is easy to understand that configuration drift can take place. Configuration drift occurs when the SaaS application configuration is not aligned with the initial, defined configuration. While it is not an uncommon thing, when kept unresolved, configuration drift can give rise to security vulnerabilities.

Configuration drift often occurs when hardware or software modifications are pushed to the enterprise infrastructure but not aligned in the configuration setting of an app. Although this phenomenon is unavoidable, regular configuration review can minimize the impact of drift and ensure the configuration settings align with the initially defined configuration.

Creating a Disaster recovery plan

All of the SaaS platforms or applications have built-in security features and configurations that should be correctly configured to provide adequate security for their data and networks. At the same time, organizations should also have a disaster recovery plan to imitate services and data that could get lost if disaster strikes.