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Five SaaS Security Tips for Third-Party Risk Management

In today’s interconnected digital landscape, the reliance on third-party vendors, particularly in the realm of SaaS, introduces a host of security challenges. Security teams often find themselves grappling with the uncertainty of data exposure in their SaaS supply chain, especially when it occurs within a third-party SaaS vendor. Threat actors can exploit these breaches to compromise multiple applications, all while remaining undetected. For this reason, among many, third-party risk management is fundamental.

The ease with which many employees can seamlessly connect SaaS vendors to company data, granting them permissions and access has become a game changer in today’s new nature of work. While this streamlined onboarding process is essential for efficiency and scalability, it introduces a variety of security issues. One such example is the many SaaS applications that often bypass or skip security and IT approval processes, leading to Shadow IT that is out of control.

Selection of SaaS Applications for third-party risk management

So what exactly is Third-party Risk Management

Third-Party Risk Management or TPRM in the context of SaaS is the process of evaluating and managing potential risks posed by third-party vendors and service providers within the SaaS domain. TPRM is essential in helping security and IT teams discover and mitigate various types of risks associated with third-party services. These risks span cybersecurity concerns, data privacy vulnerabilities, compliance gaps, operational challenges, financial considerations, and reputational issues.

For example, any team member can quickly and easily establish connections between SaaS vendors and company data, providing them with permissions and access. This convenience presents a range of security concerns because, unlike traditional vendors, many SaaS applications tend to sidestep security or IT approval processes.

While SaaS vendors bear some degree of responsibility for security, organizations must remain vigilant in overseeing third-party risks, no questions asked. Not only is this vigilance essential to maintain a secure and resilient business environment but so too is it paramount to ensure compliance with industry standards.

Five Tips for Ensuring SaaS Security Through TPRM

1. Identification and Categorization

The first step is the discovery and categorization of third-party connections. This is essential for understanding the potential security and compliance threats posed by these connections. Without an analysis of access levels and vendor security, security and IT teams can be left in the dark, hindering their ability to assess and safely utilize specific third-party applications effectively.

Leveraging SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) technology, such as Wing Security’s solution, enables organizations to effortlessly discover their SaaS supply chain, App2App, and all their third-party SaaS applications. SSPM solutions offer contextual information on the level of access these applications have to organizational assets and provide details about the vendor’s security posture through continuous analysis.

2. Due Diligence and Assessment

Before onboarding applications, conducting due diligence is crucial to ensure that risky applications are not introduced into an organization’s SaaS Stack. This emphasizes the need to proactively assess third-party security controls, policies, and procedures, ensuring they meet required security and compliance standards before onboarding.

Organizations can address this challenge by seeking solutions that provide essential security and compliance information about relevant SaaS vendors and applications. Details such as security and privacy compliances, vendor size, location, and historical threat intelligence alerts regarding breaches or security incidents experienced by the vendor, are crucial components of the due diligence process.

3. Ongoing Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is a fundamental aspect of effective TPRM. Third-Party Risk Management goes beyond prevention, emphasizing the importance of regularly assessing third-party performance and security practices to ensure ongoing compliance and adherence to established standards. This proactive approach helps organizations stay ahead of evolving risks that could also influence the applications’ compliance.

An effective strategy involves adopting a security solution capable of continuous monitoring for updates in vendors’ information, including changes in security and privacy compliances, threat intelligence alerts, and overall risk posture.

4. Incident Response

In the event of a security incident related to a third-party connection, organizations should have an effective incident response plan in place. This starts with having the ability to receive near real-time threat intelligence alerts when breaches or security incidents occur, enabling quick and effective responses.

5. Documentation and Reporting

Maintaining detailed records of the TPRM process is essential for demonstrating compliance with security standards. The significance of generating comprehensive reports lies in providing transparency and facilitating smooth audits of the organization’s risk management efforts.

Organizations should leverage SSPM solutions that can effectively help manage the inventory of the entire organizational SaaS applications, allowing them to view all relevant information supporting the TPRM process and export necessary reports for audit purposes.

The consequence of neglecting TPRM

Failing to establish an effective Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) practice can have serious repercussions on a business. Cybersecurity breaches stemming from vulnerabilities introduced by third-party vendors may result in the compromise of sensitive data, financial losses, and harm to the organization’s reputation. Furthermore, failure to comply with data privacy regulations can lead to substantial fines and legal liabilities.

Ultimately, Third-Party Risk Management is an indispensable process that is critical to identify and address potential vulnerabilities introduced by third-party vendors. Its significance lies in strengthening an organization’s overall security posture by establishing and following through on best security practices across the entire SaaS supply chain.

This proactive approach proves instrumental in safeguarding organizations against SaaS threats, involving a comprehensive evaluation of third-party vendors’ cybersecurity practices to pinpoint potential vulnerabilities and risks within the supply chain. These assessments empower informed decision-making, facilitate effective risk mitigation, and ensure alignment with the organization’s stringent security standards, ultimately bolstering overall security defenses.

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