State of Cybersecurity: SaaS

This article focuses on the security challenges faced by SaaS providers and illustrates common cybersecurity risks and explores various options to maintain cyber resiliency.

State of Cybersecurity: SaaS
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SMB Cybersecurity
SaaS Security
Summary: SaaS platform adoption has increased over the last few years. Given its scalability, usability & affordability it has become quite the favourite among businesses of all sizes. This article focuses on the security challenges faced by SaaS providers and illustrates common cybersecurity risks and explores various options to maintain cyber resiliency.
The global SaaS market is expected to reach a size of $702.19 Bn by the end of 2030. Thanks to the adoption of cloud, affordability, scalability and ease of use, numerous businesses adopted SaaS platforms to aid their business requirements, starting from CRMs, business intelligence products, supply chains, etc. these products are used by both enterprises and SMBs (incl. of startups).
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Given the size of the market, the customer profiles and the endless data that these products store in their backend, SaaS businesses have become a majorly lucrative target for cyberattacks.
Hackers weigh up targets on a risk vs. reward basis.

SaaS Platform Security Risks

Issues such as IAM (identity and access management) are to be ironed out in the SaaS context. Users (using multiple accounts) may land up with using the same credentials for all of their accounts.
Moreover, these platforms can be accessed on any device or network, thus increasing the risk of breach.
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  1. Data theft: Cybercriminals often use targeted attacks for exfiltrating such data.
  1. Identity theft: This concern occurs due to incorrect management of access and lack of implementation of vigorous solutions.
  1. Internal threats: An employee may have a malevolent intention to cause harm to the business or at times, sheer negligence can lead to the sharing of user credentials.
  1. Phishing: Above 90% of cyberattacks involve a various form of phishing.
  1. Account takeover: A successful social engineering incident may allow a threat actor to compromise the credentials.
  1. Compliance/Audits: Many businesses do not comply adequately with laws and regulatory standards such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOX, etc.
  1. Weak service level agreements (SLAs): The lack of comprehensive SLAs makes it difficult for organizations to hold someone accountable.
  1. De-centralized identity management: One employee from your organisation will have different user accounts for various services making identity management complex and challenging to secure.
  1. Transparency: Not all service providers are transparent about the security practices they follow to ensure that your cloud environment is secure.

What can SaaS businesses do?

Apart from compliance with security standards, below are a few disciplines that will help:
  1. Passwords: Always discourage their employees from using weak/common passwords, instead encourage the use of stronger and longer passwords.
  1. Multi-factor Authentication: Enable multi-factor authentication, where an OTP or a security code is sent to the user.
  1. Data Backup: Frequent data backup, preferably in encrypted forms.
  1. Organized Access Control: Measure role-based access control to crucial modules/data can go a long way in fostering safe and secure SaaS ecosystems by minimizing the attack window of intruders.
  1. Get Professional Help: Not every SaaS business, especially startups or small/medium-sized, have in-house cybersecurity teams. Due to business optimizations they depend on cybersecurity experts who offer services such as:
a) vCISOA vCISO is an outsourced security practitioner or provider who provides their time and insight to an organization on an ongoing basis, usually part-time and remotely.
b) Penetration TestingPenetration testing, also known as “white hat hacking,” is a process for evaluating the security of a computer system and its applications. The purpose is to have experts try to hack your own system before someone else does and to fix any vulnerabilities uncovered in the process.
c) Audit Data Security Controls: As data security is a prime concern within the cybersecurity discipline and the fact that SaaS businesses are holding terabytes of their customer data, it’s advisable to audit the security controls and meet regulatory compliance.

How can Ofofo help?

Ofofo, Inc has launched its SaaS-Cybersecurity model which is tailor-made for SaaS businesses and offers three categories of models:
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Conclusion

With over 80 per cent of businesses globally relying on SaaS platforms for critical business operations, it has become imperative to have cybersecurity measures in place. Strategies regarding data storage, firewalls, vulnerability scans, network intrusion, etc. have to be put in place to build credibility.

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Written by

Mohan Gandhi Ponnaganti
Mohan Gandhi Ponnaganti

Co-founder and CEO, Ofofo.io