SaaS Security Checklist: Best Practices to Protect SaaS Application
by Mehul Rajput
When companies move their data and apps to the cloud, they experience the benefits of productivity enhancement and cost reduction against some security issues. And the mandatory work-from-home because of the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for SaaS apps.
While SaaS is a fantastic software distribution model, easy to use, install, and configure in the cloud, companies face several issues. What are those issues? Cyber concerns like data breaches, malicious attacks, unauthorized access, etc., are mostly seen.
As per a statistical report, cyber criminals earn almost $3 billion per year, corrupting social channels. And SaaS-based IT agencies are more prone to security threats. Hence, SaaS providers must secure user data and monitor these apps continuously.
Why Companies Need Cybersecurity?
Here are some statistical facts that discuss why companies need cybersecurity:
- According to IBM report, as of 2021, the average cost of a data breach throughout all industries globally stood at almost $4.24 million.
- 1001 data breaches occurred in 2020 in the US alone.
- As of January 2020, one of the most significant reported data breaches was the early 2018 security violation of Aadhaar, India’s national ID database, with more than 1.1 billion records lost.
- According to latest report, cybercrime will cost the globe $10.5 trillion yearly by 2025.
Some companies have no appropriate equipment to get protection in case of interruption. Data violation can occur because of unplanned and direct staff using a company computer to open a suspicious email attachment without scanning for a virus check.
Moreover, many wrong-purposed can address and corrupt lapses and gaps in data security protocols. After all, cybersecurity installation needs time, and they use the short window of opportunity for data breaches. Let’s find the SaaS security issues you should identify to create trustworthy software!
SaaS Security Issues
SaaS security concerns create a threat of data violations and vulnerabilities in 2020 that may cost you nearly $3.86 million. Furthermore, according to McAfee’s report, the number of cloud security threats has increased by 630%.
Here are the most complicated security concerns for SaaS apps:
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): This security vulnerability impacts almost 2/3 of all SaaS apps. It injects malicious codes into pages that end-users view. The latest versions of ReactJS or Ruby on Rails can automatically prevent this SaaS security problem.
- Security Misconfiguration: It is the most seen web security problem. Here, a wrong set of computing assets create malicious activity. To ensure SaaS app security, you should correctly configure every tool, and timely upgrade them.
- Inadequate Monitoring and Logging: You must monitor e-audit logs for malicious and unauthorized activities.
- Identity Theft: The online credit card payment method can risk identity theft. You can prevent this problem by using security tools like LDAP, firewalls, or encryption in transit and at rest.
All these SaaS security threats can lead to huge losses. For small businesses, a data breach can cost a lot. Creating a SaaS app also can cost you more due to these security issues. Now that you know about the security risks get ready to learn about the best practices to safeguard SaaS applications.
Best Practices on SaaS Security
To shield your SaaS app successfully, you should execute the best-in-class SaaS security. You may already know the risk footprint of your app and have possibly initiated the first step by now. Addressing the security risks of your SaaS app helps you understand its vulnerability.
After knowing about the vulnerabilities, you can safeguard the exposed hotspots and use viable solutions to shield your SaaS app from more risks. Let’s look at some practices that would help maintain SaaS app security!
1. Forming a United Security Culture
All-inclusive security culture has some advantages, like forming security defenders who strengthen and implement security across the whole company. Generally, these defenders are the go-to people for every security-related issue and fix.
Introducing security in your company culture makes safety measures a mandate and helps execute top-notch solutions.
2. Ensuring Anti-Virus Updates
Organizations should make sure to check the updates of anti-malware programs regularly. Set schedule of pre-decided automatic scans on the device. Moreover, you have to protect every media you will insert into your workstation.
In terms of larger organizations, you should configure workstations so that they can give the status report of the antivirus updates to the centralized server that can automatically implement updates if needed.
3. Enabling Data Encryption
Many channels that help communicate with SaaS apps use TLS to safeguard data while moving. However, most SaaS providers now provide a data encryption feature to protect data at rest. It’s a default feature for some providers, whereas the consumers need to enable it exclusively for others.
Moreover, security teams should study the safety measures to decide which implements the services in use. In this case, allowing data encryption will be the best option.
4. Using a Safe SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)
Safe SDLC means the understanding of security functions through the software development lifecycle. It incorporates safe coding techniques, threat modeling, risk assessment, and penetration testing.
Hence, you can identify the SaaS security risks in every development phase and solve them before software development.
5. Implementing Data Deletion Policy
It is necessary to decide how to store and delete your consumers’ data. Ensuring to erase customers’ data programmatically according to their agreement is sometimes a legitimate need.
Deleting data is a strong commitment, and you should enforce it precisely and timely, ensuring to produce and maintain appropriate logs.
6. Monitoring Administrator’s Behavior
If cyber hackers can acquire admin credentials, you will experience unimaginable loss. They can steal, change, and even corrupt your customer data. Thereby, security professionals should check:
- Data deletions
- Constant user deletions
- Adjustments to network permissions
- Inclusion of promising users
- Unexpected changes in policy controls
- Promising users leaving
- Modifications to audit information upload configuration
7. Integrating Real-Time Data Protection
SaaS apps feature easy collaboration and setup capacities. Integration of real-time monitoring is an effective way to safeguard your SaaS app. It will offer better control, visibility, compliance, and policy management of your SaaS app to shield data from vulnerability.
Real-time monitoring helps secure SaaS apps from attacks like XSS, SQL injections, and account takeovers. You can differentiate between malicious attacks and legal queries through this protection logic. You can integrate real-time protection tools during the software development stage.
8. Monitoring Company Equipment Minutely
You should have proper knowledge of problems and return of company mobile devices, backup systems, thumb drives, and cloud locations. Your organization must have a strict policy to limit access to stable resources to only those employees who require it. Authentications of assigned and using inventory tags are tactics to track unalterable company devices.
9. Considering CASBs (Cloud Access Security Broker)
When a SaaS provider can’t give an expected security level, you should explore CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) tools. These tools help a company get extra controls that the SaaS provider cannot offer. Moreover, these tools help detect restrictions in the security model of the cloud provider.
To explore this security practice, focus on CASB deployment modes. Ensure to choose a suitable CASB deployment configuration, whether API-based or proxy, which makes the most structural sense for your company.
10. Take Benefit of AI for SaaS Data Monitoring
The complex and massive amount of data stored in SaaS is excessive for humans to handle and monitor to ensure security and compliance. Companies seeking to overcome security and compliance difficulties should employ AI (Artificial Intelligence).
AI tools can collaborate, parse, and aggregate data pretty faster, more intensely, and round-the-clock, unlike a human’s capacity. You will also need these AI-powered tools to overcome challenging and complicated security and compliance issues in hybrid environments.
11. Create Long-Term Archived Backups
Making different versions and copies of data is a basic need of data backups. You can go for either hot backups that are helpful for data restoration or archived backups that are important for long-term data inquiries. Storing the long-term backups for a pre-decided time helps retain archival data.
Archived backups help recover or assess data required for data inquiries and other purposes. Companies implementing a backup solution for public cloud data services should meet these backup needs for satisfying security practice guidelines.
12. Take Care of User Access
To identify the constant risks that impact users and company administrators, you should take care of a few aspects, incorporating:
- Failed login attempt
- Successful login
- Logins by device type and features
- Logins segregated by location and time
- Single sign-on (SSO) and Active Directory (AD) activities
- Repeated login failures, followed by successful logins
13. Making Sure Compliance of Audits and Certifications
You should check certifications like the PCI DSS. These certifications help protect sensitive data. SaaS providers should comply with rules and go through comprehensive audits to fully protect sensitive data at every phase of storage, processing, and transmission. The SOC 2 Type II is another compliance norm that maintains the highest data security level.
Selecting a Suitable SaaS Data Protection Solution
In terms of data protection, threat protection, and compliance, these tasks are hard to accomplish in public cloud SaaS environments like Google Workspace (G Suite) and Microsoft 365. Moreover, there is no native backup system with these two environments. So, it’s a big issue for companies planning to shift or already shifting essential business services and data to public cloud SaaS environments.
Hence, companies should employ proper data compliance, protection, and threat protection systems to ensure security by design technique. They must monitor, handle, and configure these systems using a single framework.
SaaS provides numerous perks like enhanced operational efficiency and lowered costs. But, you should follow SaaS security practices from secure deployment to compliance and identify security risks to protect your SaaS app.
Although most of the security risks occur due to our inefficiency or negligence, make sure to follow the security practices discussed above to ensure cloud security in your SaaS app.
Mehul Rajput is a CEO of MindInventory, a leading web and mobile app development company that provide web and mobility solutions from startup to enterprise level company. His role involves heading the operations related to business and delivery with strategic planning and defining road-map for the future.