What are the Best Practices for SaaS Security?

Rohit Rao

23rd January, 2024

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Organizations must ensure that they protect their sensitive data from potential threats. To manage these threats, IT security teams must implement best practices to empower them to manage SaaS security.

With the adoption of SaaS apps, employees can streamline their work processes and improve productivity. However, it also increases the risk of cyberattacks, data breaches, and other significant cyber incidents. These risks can harm an organization's reputation and result in financial loss. 

Not just that, SaaS security poses various challenges, including potential insider threats, limited visibility into the SaaS infrastructure, and the need for privileged access management. Additionally, IT teams often require more control over SaaS data and security, which can add to these challenges. Failure to effectively address these challenges can result in financial and legal liabilities.

Therefore, organizations must implement robust SaaS security measures to mitigate these risks. Adopting SaaS security best practices will help you ensure foolproof security, which we will dive deep into in this blog.

The Grand Theft Auto VI fiasco

Rockstar Games are the pioneers in the gaming industry, and they have produced many hit games, namely Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, etc.

Long before the announcement of the much-awaited GTA VI, clips that had been stolen were surfacing on social media. The criminals used fake multi-factor push notifications to log in to a Rockstar Games employee Slack account.

Once they got into the app, they stole 90 videos of unreleased game footage and some of the company’s source code. The 18-year-old hacker, Lapsus$, is now arrested and sentenced to life in a secure hospital. Rockstar Games claim they spent $5 million recovering from the attack. Read the complete case here: Grand Theft Auto leak. 

This explains what could happen when you don’t secure your identity, access, and SaaS perimeter. But let's first understand the challenges in streamlining SaaS security.

Here are the challenges of securing SaaS

Discovering and understanding SaaS accesses:

Organizations often struggle to maintain visibility into the various SaaS applications accessed by their employees. Shadow IT, where employees use unauthorized SaaS applications without IT approval, can complicate this challenge.

Securing business data as it is accessible to a lot of employees:

SaaS environments, by their nature, allow easy and widespread access to business data. Managing and securing this data becomes challenging, especially when balancing accessibility with security.

Incorporating the Least Privileges available:

Assigning the least privileges necessary for users to perform their tasks is essential for security, but achieving this balance can be challenging in SaaS environments with numerous features and functionalities.

Stealing of confidential data by insiders:

Insiders, including employees or contractors, pose a significant threat to the security of confidential data in SaaS applications. Malicious or unintentional actions by insiders can lead to data breaches.

4 Best Practices for SaaS Security

Implementing the below-mentioned practices for SaaS security will empower IT teams to protect all data from cybersecurity risks.

1. Discover and gain visibility into your SaaS landscape

Gaining visibility into the SaaS environment in organizations is a complex task. For example, in the world of SaaS decentralized, employees can choose their own apps for their daily tasks. In this situation, it becomes complicated for IT teams to identify the complete SaaS stack in the organization. This leads to a need for more visibility into the SaaS landscape. 

As a result, IT teams need more control over the SaaS landscape to monitor and protect the SaaS apps from potential security risks. 

Employees use various tools to complete their jobs efficiently, often independently acquiring SaaS apps without the knowledge of IT teams. As a result, there needs to be more visibility and monitoring of the complete SaaS stack and potential security risks associated with these apps. Hence, the SaaS security gets compromised, making the organization and sensitive information vulnerable. 

To mitigate this risk, organizations must implement a SaaS management platform to discover and monitor the SaaS landscape and ensure the organization's security and its sensitive information.

Zluri is an enterprise SaaS management software that helps you discover, track, and manage SaaS apps. Its five discovery methods can discover over 2,25,000 apps and are integrated with 800+ applications. This feature makes tracking and identifying events within the organization easier.

Zluri discovery methods

In addition, Zluri provides IT admins with a view of critical apps with high threat levels and risk scores. It alerts users not to use critical apps that can impact data confidentiality and prevent data from cyber-attacks.

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Each SaaS app can be further evaluated by looking at factors like threat levels, risk scores, scopes, etc., that will determine the risk related to SaaS apps. The threat level is determined based on what level of data is shared between the SaaS app and the SSO. For example, if an app has access to Google Drive and can modify or delete the drive files, then the app is considered to have a high threat level.

2. Understand the SaaS provider's security certifications, policies, and compliance

When partnering with any SaaS provider, it is crucial to understand their security certifications, policies, and compliance measures. Organizations must ensure that their SaaS providers know the security requirements to mitigate these risks. 

As a result, organizations are required to validate the documents associated with security policies and certifications. This will help to stay secure and compliant. Also, it will help you avoid hefty penalties during the audit.

Suppose your partnered SaaS provider is not compliant with the required regulations at the time of the audit; you will be penalized for not validating the compliance certificationsFor example, an organization dealing with patients' health details may partner with a SaaS provider to procure a tool to store patients' details. However, the SaaS provider is not certified with HIPAA compliance regulations, which is a must for protecting patient information. 

Before confirming this deal, you did not validate it, and this ignorance and lack of understanding will lead to a financial loss during the audit. 

Understanding and validating the SaaS provider's security policies and certifications is crucial for businesses. For this reason, a centralized solution like an SMP can provide a view of all the SaaS providers and their granular details within the organization. 

Zluri offers security and compliance information solutions, including events, statistics, shared data, and compliance and security probes for SaaS applications. The goal is to work towards meeting every compliance requirement while helping businesses achieve compliance as well.

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Zluri encrypts all sensitive data by using secure encryption algorithms. It offers a comprehensive and auditable log of key activities, informing you about the apps' security. All data is stored in an encrypted state and is backed up for a period of 60 days. All the data collected, such as SaaS-app usage metrics, is retained indefinitely unless a removal request is made. 

3. Streamline user lifecycle management

Large organizations often have a high turnover rate of employees, with new hires joining and current employees leaving regularly. The crucial part of these organizations is managing the users' lifecycle, which includes onboarding, offboarding, and mid-lifecycle change. For multiple employees joining, giving access to the right tools becomes difficult.

In cases where IT teams miss out on giving appropriate access to employees, it can lead to security risks. Further, giving wrong access to an organization's sensitive information can increase a high-security risk level. Therefore, streamlining users' lifecycle management in a company is necessary.

A SaaS management platform can manage and streamline the user's lifecycle. In addition, the platform will help ease the provisioning and deprovisioning of users in organizations, which will help maintain security and keep your organization compliant.

The tool automating the users' lifecycle management will reduce human error and prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive information in the organization.

Here, Zluri automates the onboarding and offboarding process. It enables the creation of multiple workflows to smoothen repetitive IT tasks and reduce security risks. 

Zluri creates customized workflows depending on the individuals' various roles, departments, and seniority levels and gives access to the required tools accordingly. Additionally, it provides in-app suggestions, like recommendations in Slack, allowing the IT admin to know which channels to add new hires.

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Further, the workflow can be saved as a "playbook" for future reference. Furthermore, Zluri ensures that only authorized individuals have access to the system and data by eliminating unwanted access. 

In addition, when an employee leaves the organization, Zluri's system allows for the revocation of access for that individual with just a few clicks. The workflows created to revoke access can be saved as a "playbook" and used for future offboarding processes.

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Additionally, Zluri offers a self-serve model—an App Catalog & Access Request for any mid-lifecycle changes like a change in roles. This provides access to applications for new employees and automates the whole SaaS access management process.

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With Zluri, IT teams decide the apps to be made available for the employees in the app store, and IT teams' control over employee access remains. It enhances the visibility of the apps available in the organization and approved by the IT teams.

Zluri manages the different stages of users' lifecycles and makes the organization secure by giving employees secure access. This prevents the organization from cyber threats or data breaches leading to a company's financial loss.

4. Ensure your data security and compliance

Many organizations are now making security improvements to ensure their data is secure and compliant with government regulations. Data security is a vital problem in organizations using multiple SaaS applications. When employees log in to SaaS applications, data is shared between the app and SSO systems, providing access to sensitive organizational data and increasing cyberattack risks.

Cyberattacks on companies have become more complex, making them difficult to detect or defend against. However, organizations should be aware of potential undetected security gaps that could enable attackers to access and exploit their systems. 

An appropriate SMP allows you to manage, secure, and view all the data contents across your IT infrastructure. You can view audit information about specific items, filter and search files, and take suitable action against items you select. To get added security, SMPs are becoming more compliant to provide users with a hassle-free experience.

Zluri helps you stay secure and compliant with ISO 27001, SOC 2, GDPR, and more compliance frameworks. Such compliance enforcement framework platforms prevent the SMPs or their users from falling prey to any threats posed by internal and external organizational factors.

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What are the advantages of implementing a SaaS Security process?

Comprehensive Data Protection:

  • SaaS security processes enforce robust encryption measures, safeguarding data in transit and at rest, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.

Regulatory Compliance and Legal Protection:

  • Implementing SaaS security ensures adherence to industry regulations, protecting organizations from legal consequences and financial penalties for data privacy and security breaches.

Efficient Identity and Access Management (IAM):

  • SaaS security practices incorporate strong IAM, including multi-factor authentication, ensuring only authorized users can access sensitive data and applications.

Proactive Threat Management and Incident Response:

  • SaaS security processes involve continuously monitoring potential threats, enabling organizations to detect and address security issues in real-time. Structured incident response plans minimize damages and downtime.

Cost-Effective and Scalable Solutions:

  • SaaS security, often implemented through cloud-based solutions, reduces infrastructure costs, while its scalable nature allows security measures to adapt seamlessly with organizational growth, ensuring a secure and resilient environment.

In conclusion, SaaS data security is a challenge for IT teams, but when implemented correctly, it can benefit an organization on all security fronts. For the same reason, companies relying on SaaS applications should take proactive measures to protect their data and reputation.

Zluri, a SaaS management platform, can help you gain visibility into the organization's SaaS landscape and empower IT teams with granular insights associated with security and compliance. Also, Zluri streamlines the user lifecycle management, from onboarding and mid-lifecycle changes to offboarding.

Book a demo today to implement the SaaS security best practices with Zluri!

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