SaaS Security: Best practices and challenges

Maciej Bartłomiej Sikora
Content Writer

At some point in 2022, it was revealed and confirmed through comprehensive research that 60% of the world's corporate data was stored in the cloud. Given the ongoing trend of increasing cloud adoption, it's safe to assume that this percentage has likely grown even more since then — and will continue to do so.

This just highlights the fact that today’s organizations need robust security measures that can keep up with the growing volume of data. In this context, the significance of software-as-a-service (SaaS) security becomes paramount.

How so? Let us explain.

First, what is SaaS security?

The term software-as-a-service (SaaS) security refers to the measures and security protocols implemented to safeguard the data, applications, and infrastructure associated with SaaS solutions used by a given organization.

To put it differently, SaaS cybersecurity is about implementing the right strategies to protect an organization against unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats that may compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its SaaS-based resources.

So, the core focus of SaaS security requirements is making sure the digital tools and data you use through SaaS services are safe and sound. This is usually achieved through incorporating measures such as encryption (to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of the data), authentication (to verify user access), and access control (to manage permissions). It also requires regular security assessments to identify and address potential vulnerabilities.

The most common SaaS security threats

Switching to SaaS is a significant move for businesses aiming for success, even though it means they sometimes have to give up some control over how their data is handled, how apps are managed, and how systems are customized.

This shift in approach, known as SaaS security management, introduces its own set of risks, particularly concerning SaaS data security. Let's now explore the top seven challenges that organizations using SaaS solutions must face these days:

Data breaches — Unauthorized access to sensitive information can result in data breaches, leading to the exposure of confidential data.

Phishing attacks — Cybercriminals can use various social engineering techniques to trick users into revealing sensitive information, compromising the security of SaaS accounts.

Insecure interfaces and APIs — Vulnerabilities in interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs) can be exploited by cybercriminals, which poses a risk to data integrity and security.

Insufficient data encryption — When the protective layer around your information during transmission or storage isn't strong enough, it makes it easier for unauthorized parties to intercept or access your data without permission.

Account hijacking — Cyberattackers might break into user accounts, getting unauthorized access to potentially mess with or steal data.

Configuration flaws — Improperly configured SaaS settings can lead to security vulnerabilities, creating opportunities for unauthorized access or data exposure.

Non-compliance issues — Failing to meet regulatory compliance standards can not only result in legal consequences but also jeopardize the overall security of SaaS applications.

SaaS security: Best practices

When it comes to keeping your online activity safe and sound, especially with software as a service (SaaS) applications, it's crucial to follow the best practices outlined in what we refer to as "the SaaS security checklist." Here are the most crucial guidelines:

Protect data using encryption

Encryption plays a vital role in ensuring the security of sensitive data. The way it works is by transforming sensitive information into an unreadable code, decipherable only by authorized parties possessing the right decryption key. This protective measure can help secure your data both in transfer and at rest so that confidential information remains confidential.

Implement identity and access management tools

Identity and access management (IAM) are essential tools in software as a service (SaaS) environments, helping control access to applications and data. In essence, IAM solutions help you make sure that only authorized individuals have the necessary permissions, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches. IAM is also involved in tasks like setting up, removing, and overseeing user identities throughout their time using the system.

Introduce effective authentication methods

Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a way to take your organization’s SaaS security standards to the next level. When you enable this feature, users will be required to provide more than just a password — for example, a special code or a security token — to confirm their identity and get access to company resources. Therefore, MFA makes it much harder for someone to get in without permission, giving an added layer of protection beyond the usual passwords.

Become compliant with data privacy standards

Achieving compliance with data protection standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) underscores an organization's ability to legally and securely handle sensitive data. Therefore, if a company aims to ensure the safety of the data it stores, nurture customer trust, and avoid potential legal complications, it is imperative that it prioritizes compliance efforts, regularly updates policies, and educates employees on the significance of adhering to the standards.

Improve SaaS security with NordPass

All the practices we mentioned above can be followed by using just one cybersecurity solution, NordPass. Let us prove it to you.

First, NordPass is an encrypted password management platform, which means that you and your team can use it to securely and easily generate, store, manage, and share company credentials, knowing that they are protected by advanced encryption algorithms.

Second, you can use NordPass as an identity and access management (IAM) tool, ensuring the secure provision of access to company data, services, and applications. In other words, with NordPass, you have full control over access to company resources, plus, you can monitor all company logins in real time so that you know exactly who accessed what and when.

Third, NordPass enables multi-factor authentication (MFA) and the single sign-on (SSO) method, allowing you to double-check and confirm the identity of each user whenever they attempt to access one of the company accounts.

Fourth, NordPass can play a crucial role in helping you meet regulatory compliance by adhering to some of the most essential data privacy standards such as HIPAA. Also, you can use the platform to set up various rules, procedures, and policies in a way that will allow your organization to be in line with specific requirements.

Of course, there is a lot more to NordPass than we can discuss in just one blog post. So if you want to learn more about how it can help your organization improve its cybersecurity and productivity, make sure to visit our website or reach out to us via email: [email protected].

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