SaaS—the web-based software that many firms have been reliant on for performance and profitability, a dependency that has only increased in the past two years as more personnel work remotely—is the latest vehicle for an attack.
SaaS vulnerability has become so severe that Gartner has designated SaaS security posture management as a separate category for assessing security and identifying weaknesses in the SaaS market. Gartner’s Hype Cycle ranks SaaS security as a high priority, reflecting how concerned CISOs are about the matter.
SaaS and cloud-based services can help businesses save thousands of dollars each year. They also allow for enhanced agility, improved efficiency, better data use, and enhanced customer service, among other things. All of this, though, may come at a security expense. Security teams can make sure they obtain the full benefits of SaaS while avoiding many of the risks by enhancing insight into what SaaS does within the enterprise.
What can CISOs do to make SaaS security better?
Clearly, CISOs must adopt an innovative stance and evaluate techniques that can assist in resolving the conundrum of combining productivity and security. Many experts propose only allowing access to services that have been whitelisted and approved, as well as limiting how SaaS solutions can be used.
This would significantly improve security, but it would also likely harm an organization’s business, restricting the power to connect with services and firms that could lead to higher performance, efficiency, and profit. Not to mention substantially frustrate employees who rely on SaaS to get their work done and would eventually discover ways to continue doing so, flouting the whitelist and refusing security teams the ability to monitor those connections. As a result, it’s evident that new approaches are required.
According to “Securing software as a service” by McKinsey analysis which lays out a myriad of security concerns as a result of SaaS development, CISOs are torn between guaranteeing security and facilitating productivity, with the core issue being a lack of transparency and control. From a lack of power over authentication to greater incident response by SaaS providers to challenges integrating SaaS with overall security policy to a lack of clarity in SaaS T&C, CISOs have reason to be concerned about SaaS’s growing popularity.
Since the service is housed on a remote server by a distant firm, CISOs have no way of knowing how secure the platform is. Of course, CISOs vet platforms before endorsing them for employee use, but the security situation, terms of service, or interconnectivity vulnerabilities (such as when a platform enables a poorly-secured third-party application to exploit its resources, exposing itself to security issues)—all of these things can change at any time, often without organizations even realizing it.
Leverage discovery tools
Security personnel must keep up with changes in the organization’s human resources systems, halting SaaS accounts when leaving the workforce, moving to different departments, or stop using SaaS platforms in their professions. Teams can also employ discovery tools to identify all SaaS services, allowing them to find potential vulnerabilities and have complete visibility of all SaaS services used in the enterprise.
SaaS can simplify jobs for everyone; it’s simple, convenient, and low-maintenance, with the platform provider responsible for all updates, feature development, and upkeep. However, no one is perfect when it comes to security. CISOs can prevent SaaS platform breaches by putting in place the correct systems and procedures.
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