7 ways to mitigate the security risks of your SaaS applications

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If you are a SaaS entrepreneur or looking to build a SaaS application, then you may already be aware that there is a new economy that has evolved around Software as a Service (SaaS). Core business services are offered to consumers as a subscription model through pay-as-you-go in this SaaS marketplace. Studies have shown that Software as a Service (SaaS) companies are evolving at breakneck speed. They become the first choice because of their simple upgrade, scalability, and low infrastructure requirements. Through Smartkarrot.com, the market capitalization of the SaaS industry in 2020 was around $ 110 billion and is expected to reach $ 126 billion by the end of 2021. And it is expected to reach $ 143 billion by 2022 .

However, security is one of the main reasons small and medium businesses hold back from taking full advantage of powerful cloud technologies. While total cost of ownership was once considered the biggest blockage for potential SaaS customers, security is now at the top of the list. Concerns about SaaS security have evolved with more and more users embracing the new technology, but is it all that bad as reviews and opinions suggest? Here are 7 SaaS security best practices that can help you reduce SaaS security risks, too cost-effectively:

1. Use a powerful hosting service (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.) and take full advantage of their security

The biggest cloud providers have spent millions of dollars on security research and development and made it available worldwide. Leverage their infrastructure and the SaaS cybersecurity best practices they have made available to the public and focus your energy on the core problem (s) your software solves.

  1. API Gateway Services
  2. Security monitoring services
  3. Encryption services

2. SaaS Application Security – Reduce Surface Area and Attack Vectors

  1. Computer hardware software – For example, don’t set endpoints in your public API for administration related tasks. If the endpoint does not exist, there is nothing else to secure (regarding SaaS endpoint protection)!
  2. People – Limit people’s access to sensitive data. If necessary, for a user to access sensitive data, record all actions taken and, if possible, force to have more than one person involved in accessing the data.

3. SaaS Security Checklist – Don’t Save Sensitive Data

  1. Capture only the data you absolutely need. For example, if you never use a person’s national identification number (for example, SSN), do not ask for it)
  2. Designate a third party for the storage of sensitive data.
    In this case, for example, your system never holds a credit card number, so you don’t have to worry about protecting it.

4. Encrypt all your customer data – Adopt the best SaaS security solutions

  1. Data at rest: When data is saved as a file or in a database, it is considered “at rest”. Almost any data storage service can store the data when it is encrypted and then decrypt it when you request it. For example, SQL Server allows you to enable a setting to encrypt stored data with their Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) feature.
  2. In-flight data: When data is read from storage and transferred out of the current process, it is referred to as “in-flight”. Sending data via any network protocol, be it FTP, TCP, HTTP, is “in-flight” data. Network sniffers (if they’re connected to your network) can read this data, and if it’s not encrypted, it can be stolen. The use of SSL / TLS for HTTP is a typical example.

5. Record all access and changes to sensitive data – Choose a robust SaaS security architecture

There is no guarantee that the security of your system will never be breached. It’s more a question of “when will it happen” than “if it will happen”. For this very reason, it is crucial to log all changes and access to sensitive data stored and adjustments to user permissions and login attempts. When something really goes wrong, you have an audit log that can be used to troubleshoot how the breach happened and what needs to change to stop other similar security breaches.

6. Implement two-factor authentication

Social engineering is the most common way hackers use to hack any system. Make social engineering hacks more complex by requiring users to have a second step to authenticate with your system. Implement a system that requires at least two of the following three types of information:

  • Something the user knows (e.g. username / password)
  • Something the user owns (for example, a phone)
  • Something the user is (for example, fingerprint)

Sending a code to a user’s phone or voicemail is a simple but effective way to implement two-factor authentication. To balance the added security with the demand for usability, give your customers the option of choosing whether they want to use phone or email and an option for passcode validity for the device being used.

7. Use a key safe service

Key vaults allow stored sensitive data to be accessed only by applications that have been granted access to the key vault, eliminating the need for a person to manage secrets. A Key Vault stores all the secrets to encrypt data, access to databases / databanks, electronically signed files, etc. Cloud platforms like Azure and AWS offer highly secure and configurable Key Vault services.
For added security, use different key vaults for different customers. For advanced security, allow your customers to bring their keys.

To take with

There are several reasons why businesses should take advantage of cloud computing to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs. Still, security concerns often prevent businesses from putting their valuable data in the cloud. But, with the right technology and best practices, SaaS can be much more secure than any on-premise application, and you can have many options for staying in control of your security infrastructure and resolving corporate security issues. front with your respective supplier.


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