Unveiling the Pros and Cons of Shared IT Service Accounts to Manage Your SaaS

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SaaS industries are experiencing unprecedented growth and fierce competition, it becomes imperative for companies to understand the potential pitfalls that could impede their success. 

One such challenge lies in the management of shared IT service accounts, which can pose significant security hazards if not managed properly.

In this article, we delve into the risks associated with inadequate management of shared IT service accounts and explore the benefits they bring to organizations.

A brief understanding of a Shared IT Account

As the name suggests, a shared IT account is a single pair of credentials that can authenticate multiple users in an organization, it is mainly used by IT teams to manage SaaS Tools. Shared IT accounts are typically created for collaboration, to streamline workflows, and ensure continuity in managing IT infrastructure. 

What are the advantages of  Shared IT accounts?

  • Reduced dependency on individual employees:¬†Shared service accounts can ensure continuity for organizations. When employees leave or are unavailable, critical systems and integrations will continue to work. This eliminates the risk of disruptions caused by employee turnover.¬†

  • Efficient collaboration and knowledge sharing:¬†Multiple IT team members can access and manage SaaS tools using shared service accounts, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing. It allows for seamless coordination and facilitates the transfer of responsibilities among team members.

  • Enables a streamlined workflow:¬†With a shared service account, IT teams can centralize the management of SaaS tools, leading to streamlined workflows. Instead of each team member having separate accounts, they can collectively access and manage the necessary tools through a single shared account, simplifying administration and reducing administrative overhead.¬†

  • Cuts cost exponentially:¬†Sharing a service account among IT team members can result in cost savings, particularly in cases where SaaS tools are licensed on a per-user basis. By reducing the number of individual accounts needed, organizations can optimize their software expenses and potentially lower overall costs.

What are the disadvantages of Shared IT accounts?

  • Multi-Factor Authentication is impossible to implement: Using shared service accounts introduces several security and operational challenges, posing significant risks to the organization. One major drawback businesses face is the lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) support. Unfortunately, shared accounts don't work well with MFA, which means organizations have to disable this crucial security measure for high-privileged users. By compromising the security of critical systems, there is a large scope for breaches that can cost millions of dollars.

  • Shared passwords are a menace: It becomes mandatory to change the password every time an access-privileged employee leaves the company. Imagine an employee leaving your firm and joining your competitors firm. Not only does that put you in a vulnerable position, but Ex-employees who still have knowledge of the shared password can potentially misuse it to gain unauthorized entry to systems, applications, or sensitive information.¬†

  • Absence of Audit Trail and Identity Access Management: With shared user accounts, it becomes difficult to track and trace specific actions performed by individuals. The main premise of Identity Access Management is to identify who accessed which resource in the organization. This ultimately paves the way for a lack of accountability.

    With shared Accounts, it is an impossible task to figure out which user caused a software breach. Example: Due to unauthorized activity, an employee decided to exploit the firm by selling customer data on the dark web. The sole reason behind this was the lack of IAM control. 

  • Risks of larger attack surface:¬†Service accounts, in particular, become attractive targets for hackers due to their identifiable names. Moreover, when the same account is simultaneously active in multiple browsers, it creates a broader attack surface. This increases the risk of hackers exploiting vulnerabilities like taking advantage of the open browser sessions associated with shared service accounts.

    Example: A hacker can take advantage of a weak password in an employee's SaaS CRM platform account, gaining unauthorized access to sensitive customer data. The hacker will be eligible to launch phishing campaigns that compromise customer information, resulting in reputational harm for the organization.

Pros and Cons of Shared IT Assets

How can Zluri’s SaaS Management Platform help?

  • The platform simplifies the management of shared accounts by centralizing control and streamlining processes.¬†

  • Access, permissions, and credentials for shared accounts can be managed efficiently by organizations with a SaaS Management Tool.

  • The platform provides enhanced security features, including Multi-Factor Authentication and password rotation, to mitigate the risks of unauthorized access.

  • Additionally, the tool provides an audit trail, allowing organizations to monitor user activity and actions performed through shared accounts.¬†

  • Efficient user provisioning simplifies the process of creating and assigning shared accounts, ensuring proper user management.¬†

  • By optimizing shared account usage, organizations can reduce costs, eliminate duplicate accounts, and comply with licensing agreements.¬†

Conclusion

In conclusion, managing shared IT accounts is as risky as it is beneficial for organizations. Considering and Implementing a robust solution like Zluri’s SaaS Management Platform can effectively mitigate risks, streamline processes and unlock potential cost savings with shared accounts. Avail a demo today!

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