“You can’t secure what you can’t see” is a well-known saying in the cybersecurity community. The idea is that in order to keep your organization secure, you need to have visibility, or discovery, into what you have so that you know what you need to secure. This is especially important in the SaaS security space. SaaS applications are contributing to the rapidly growing cloud security challenge. Being decentralized, ungoverned, and mostly cloud-based, the use of SaaS is only increasing, with no signs of slowing down.
While the benefits of SaaS (ease, increased productivity, accessibility) are clear, the challenges that these applications present to IT and security teams are real and difficult to manage. As we see in this recent SaaS security report, the use of SaaS is rampant. Uninformed employees are adding risky applications without going through IT or security for approval. Excessive permissions are given to random third party applications. Various sensitive files are being shared externally through SaaS platforms, such as exposing AWS keys on public Slack channels or sharing board meeting summaries via Zoom chats.
This problematic, yet highly common use of SaaS is coupled with the current state of cybersecurity, where organizations often feel they don’t have enough personnel or the right tools to maintain visibility. A long list of risks and vulnerabilities is of little use to an already overworked security team. Lengthy and complicated processes are also a significant disadvantage. As we see it, in 2023, there is no reason for security solutions to be complicated or inaccessible, quite the opposite.
How Organizations Can Benefit from Free Access to Visibility
Going back to the saying, ‘you can’t secure what you can’t see’:
- Demos and POCs are crucial in demonstrating a vendor’s capability, but the lengthy sales process and bureaucratic requirements often associated with these time-limited offerings are at odds with today’s agile and DevOps-focused practices. Security should be straightforward and self-service. Offering free discovery, when relevant, won’t deter anyone and can serve as a key starting point for understanding the problem. Once the problem is clear, the need for remediation becomes evident, and the security vendor can showcase its value with a full demo or POC.
- Security professionals are inundated. Taking the example of SaaS security, the problem is both important and extensive. With so much to know and consider when protecting such a large and dynamic layer of applications, it can be overwhelming. The starting point should be understanding the challenge. Before selling a solution, security vendors must effectively communicate the extent of the problem. A basic discovery solution can provide a clearer picture than videos, blogs, or LinkedIn ads.
- Another adage is ‘the proof is in the pudding.’ Unfortunately, the recession of 2023 adds another layer of complexity. While security is a continuous concern, procurement processes are expected to slow down, and buyers will likely be more cautious with their purchasing decisions. Clever security leaders will demand to see value before committing scarce resources. Now is the time for vendors to offer value upfront, and provide security and IT teams with free access to their own SaaS usage prior to asking for a commitment.
Keeping up with market trends
The idea of offering a tool, service, or feature for free is not uncommon. Many vendors use this tactic to demonstrate their value and entice customers to consider purchasing more. As the SaaS security challenge becomes increasingly prominent and important, there is a growing number of security vendors offering solutions to tackle the growing attack surface: From CASBs to SSPMs to SASE. But how do you commit to a solution without fully understanding the problem?
In today’s cost-conscious environment, it is crucial to prove value upfront, making the need for increased and accessible visibility even more pressing. By starting with a clear understanding of the security challenge at hand through SaaS discovery, organizations will have a better understanding of how to secure their SaaS usage and reduce their risk of attack.