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SaaS Security FAQs

From ‘Shadow IT’ to the biggest SaaS security challenges facing organizations today, we’re answering the most common questions about SaaS security and sharing best practices.

What is SaaS Security?

SaaS security refers to practices, strategies, and technologies specifically meant to secure a company’s SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications. Proper SaaS security aims to ensure that every app used by an organization, and all of the data contained within it, is safe and secure. Because SaaS apps often contain vulnerabilities, which can give threat actors an excellent starting point for compromising your organization, it’s absolutely critical for organizations to view SaaS security as a top priority for protecting your organization. Additionally, the information being worked on within the SaaS applications can also be sensitive, even if just seen by the wrong person internally.

What Are The Most Common SaaS Security Risks?

-Even if a specific app is relatively secure, 3rd party risks are a real concern. Many apps use App2App connections, which see them exchange data with an additional app – and this may occur without the knowledge of the user. App2App connections are part of daily life (such as giving Slack permission to access your Google Drive, or logging into Zoom via your Google account). These connections can potentially be exploited by cybercriminals to gain entry and also lateral movement once they’ve entered your network

Supply chain attacks, which target a company’s external partners in order to breach an organization, are also growing in popularity. During these attacks, cybercriminals infiltrate a service provider, using that organization as a stepping stone to exploit the trust and established connection the company has to other organizations along the supply chain..

Zero day attacks focus on previously undetected vulnerabilities within software. These vulnerabilities can be leveraged by cybercriminals to breach and compromise an organization. While it may seem like an essential component of SaaS security best practices, failing to do proper due diligence can also be a problem. If you don’t take a deep look into the security standards and reputations of the apps your company uses, you might be exposing your organization to unnecessary risk. 

What Is The Difference Between SaaS Security and Cybersecurity?

Simply put, cybersecurity is your organization’s strategy for mitigating any and all risks that could potentially target your company’s tech assets, such as computers, servers, networks, data, electronic systems, and mobile devices.
SaaS security is specifically focused on ensuring that the SaaS applications used by your company are secure and compliant, and that the data exposed within those SaaS apps is only available to the users who really need it. For an enterprise using SaaS apps as a part of their company’s everyday operations, policies specifically crafted for SaaS security are an absolute must.

What Are The Biggest SaaS Security Challenges Today?

Ransomware, phishing attacks, blockchain attacks, and software vulnerabilities are some of the most pressing SaaS security concerns currently facing organizations. 

-In ransomware attacks, cybercriminals hold your sensitive data hostage until you pay them – and it’s usually a hefty fee.

Phishing attacks occur when cybercriminals send legitimate looking emails or links that your employees can mistake for genuine emails and lure them into unknowingly giving them sensitive data or performing specific actions, like bank transfers. 

Blockchain attacks see cybercriminals target your organization’s blockchain, sometimes via a 51% attack. 

Software vulnerabilities are also a major concern, as they provide a valuable exposure point for bad actors to access your company’s data and infrastructure.

Are SaaS Solutions Inherently Secure?

The answer to this question, unfortunately, is a resounding no. While individual apps may be more secure than others, many of your SaaS apps are unmanaged, meaning that they could serve as potential exposure points for cybercriminals looking to gain access to your company’s sensitive data.

Even apps that are relatively secure can quickly become risky due to flawed onboarding, which might see your employees grant blanket permissions to the app. Employee education on SaaS security best practices and an automated SaaS security solution  are the most effective ways to reduce risk.

What Is ‘Shadow IT’ and How Does It Affect My Organization?

The term Shadow IT” refers to the practice of employees within an organization using hardware, software, or cloud services without the permission of the company’s IT team. This may occur due to an employee’s perception of IT  as being too restrictive, or because employees don’t understand the implications of using solutions that aren’t monitored or screened by IT.

Shadow IT is quite risky for organizations, as it means that apps which haven’t been approved by a knowledgeable, in-house expert may have been unknowingly granted access and permissions to sensitive data within your organization.  Proactively taking steps to make sure that Shadow IT doesn’t become the norm in your organization should be a major part of your company’s SaaS security strategy.

Can Employees Access The Tools They Need For Success, While Remaining Compliant?

While it’s important to adopt a strong approach towards SaaS security, it’s equally important not to implement policies that are overly restrictive. Try to avoid being a blocker, and embrace ensuring SaaS usage safely, rather than limiting it.

Working towards a robust security culture, in which employees are actively educated about security concerns and are engaged during the process of resolving them, is a solid strategy for your organization.

Providing explanations as to why certain apps have been revoked, the specific concerns sparked by those apps, and overall refreshers about SaaS security best practices give your teams a sense of ownership and responsibility into your company’s security strategy. 

How Many Of The SaaS Apps Used In My Company Aren’t Approved By The IT Department?

In an ideal world, the number would be zero. But in all likelihood, an estimated 56% of SaaS apps used within organizations are unmonitored by IT.  And that’s not due to a lack of effort from IT – with so many apps being potentially incorrectly onboarded on a regular basis, there’s simply no way to manually monitor the process. 

Considering that IT works with limited time and resources, and that employees may fail to inform IT about exactly what they’re downloading, it’s clear how easily things can slip through the cracks. The good news is that leveraging automation as an essential component in your organization’s SaaS security policy can help you stay on top of every app used by your company, as well as spot potential security concerns at an early stage.

Are All My Employees On The Same Page About SaaS Application Use?

Sometimes employees who are newer to your company, or whose area of expertise falls outside of the technical space, could end up being left out of the loop when it comes to SaaS security. That means that something as simple as not including them on a memo or email update could leave them completely unaware of a pressing issue facing your company, or an app that’s potentially risky. It’s okay, it can happen to any organization. What matters is how to mitigate this potential error from occurring.

It’s critical to ensure that all of your employees, starting from the bottom up, are literate in SaaS security best practices. This important knowledge should be equally accessible to everyone within your organization. Uniting all of your team around the goal of secure SaaS app use is an important step towards protecting your company from SaaS app security concerns. 

CASB or Automation?

As the technological and backend infrastructure behind SaaS continues to rapidly advance, companies need to address the new threats that these changes bring. The traditional SaaS security strategy of leveraging a Cloud-Access Security Broker (CASB) is now outdated.

In order to truly ensure that your apps are safe for your organization, you need to embrace automated SaaS security which constantly monitors and reviews the status of your apps. Automation also provides you the critical ability to make swift, real-time decisions to resolve potential risks and threats or have them be automatically resolved.

SaaS Security For Your Organization, Made Easy

Educating your employees on SaaS security best practices and implementing a robust approach towards SaaS apps is a great start, but ensuring your organization remains protected at all times requires a big-picture solution.

Wing Security offers automated SaaS security remediation that equips your team with the tools they need to mitigate SaaS security risks quickly. Wing is customizable, so you can adjust the platform’s settings to notify your employees about what actually matters to your organization.

Contact us today for a demo so we can show you our unique, all-encompassing approach to SaaS security, including active analysis of App2App connections. We’d love to hear from you.

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