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Best Practices to Secure SaaS Applications

Cloud computing is undoubtedly prevalent today, but there is no doubt that over time, cybercriminals also have become more vicious. Today, more and more businesses are embracing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments because any user from any device can easily access it and store vast amounts of data. However, various security risks are also present, including security breaches, compliance issues, data access risks, unsecured APIs, security misconfiguration, and more.

Best practices to secure SaaS applications

SaaS environments are becoming a seductive target for cybercriminals because businesses store a large amount of confidential data in SaaS applications, including payment card data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), as well as business activities like financial transactions, records, and so forth. Therefore, businesses need to secure SaaS applications to safeguard their customers’ data from cyber criminals and avoid being a target of cyberattacks. We need to implement top-notch security practices to defend SaaS applications adequately. Let us look at some of the best methods to secure SaaS applications.

SaaS security best practices

1. Recognize risks: To secure your SaaS application, you must first recognize your cloud security threats. The most significant security risks for SaaS applications are:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Account Takeovers (ATOs)
  • Data theft
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attack
  • Security misconfiguration
  • Data access risk
  • Lack of transparency
  • Insufficient logging and monitoring
  • Lack of robust Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Insider threats
  • Zero day attacks

Once you have a clear understanding of risks, create a security review checklist and continually make efforts to reduce or eliminate the threats that can affect your SaaS application.

2. Create a security review checklist: By creating a security review checklist, you can more quickly evaluate your current SaaS security requirements. With that, you can periodically review and update your checklist with newer security-related issues or risks; it will help to prioritize application security and quality.

3. User-level data security monitoring: To adhere to internal and external application security procedures, organizations must periodically monitor the security of user-level data. You will be given Role Based Access Control (RBAC) features by the cloud service provider, which enables you to define user-specific access and other activity permissions. It guarantees the most significant level of SaaS application security and confirms that only the appropriate individuals have been authorized permission to access data on SaaS applications.

4. Data encryption: Implement data encryption techniques to guarantee the security of your SaaS application. Data encryption secures both at-rest and in-transit data from unauthorized users. Malicious hackers cannot decrypt the encrypted data without the encryption keys. SaaS applications commonly employ Transport Layer Security (TLS) to secure data while it is being transmitted.

5. Educate employees: Provide security training to educate your employees about current threats and how to avoid typical phishing, vishing, cross-site scripting, and other attacks to protect their SaaS applications. Educate your employees about comprehensive zero-trust policies, Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technology, and Identity and Access Management (IAM) procedures to keep them and their SaaS applications safe. Employees can easily combat various malicious hacking techniques with security awareness training.

6. Incorporate real-time protection into your SaaS applications: Incorporating real-time monitoring into your SaaS applications will increase your SaaS applications’ visibility, control, policy management, and compliance and protect your data from exploitation. Real-time monitoring protects your SaaS applications from attacks like cross-site scripting, SQL injections, and account takeovers. You can incorporate real-time protection technologies during the development phase, which helps to quickly identify attacks and take action to reduce SaaS security issues.

7. Implement SaaS security controls : The SaaS security controls must be implemented by organizations to secure SaaS applications from potential threats and risks. These security controls are designed to identify, prevent, and reduce security risks. The following are a few security measures that each organization must implement:

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Password control policy
  • Data encryption and tokenization
  • Advanced malware prevention
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Proxy-based real-time detection
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Privileged Access Management (PAM)
  • Logging and monitoring controls

8. Implement data retention and deletion policies : Data must be stored and erased by the legal requirements. Data retention policies are crucial for SaaS applications, especially for account management and subscriptions. They frequently play a vital role in compliance and allow you to build backups and free up space on your files. Organizations must be clear about which data has to be retained to apply data retention. For legitimate needs, it is required to delete customer data that is no longer needed. Accurate and prompt enforcement of the data deletion policy ensures the creation and maintenance of new relevant logs.

9. Ensure certification and audit compliance: It is crucial to adhere to all required certifications to protect against security breaches, data loss, and sensitive data theft. The two certifications that every organization must possess are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and SOC 2 Type II (System and Organization Controls). PCI DSS aids in protecting sensitive data. A SaaS provider conducts exhaustive audits for PCI DSS certification to ensure that sensitive data will be transmitted, processed and retained safely. The SOC 2 Type II aids in data protection by maintaining the highest level of security. These two certifications will defend your business and guarantee that appropriate confidentiality and integrity are upheld.

10. Employ SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM): SSPM is an automated security tool that detects security vulnerabilities in SaaS applications. The SSPM solution regularly monitors your organization’s SaaS applications to find gaps between stated security policy and actual security posture. It identifies compliance risks, unused user accounts, configuration errors, excessive user permissions, and other cloud security problems.

How can InfosecTrain help you?

For an in-depth understanding and expert-level knowledge of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), consider taking InfosecTrain’s Cloud Security Fundamentals Knowledge, AWS Cloud Practitioner, and Microsoft Azure Fundamentals training course. We are among the top training providers in the world because of our highly experienced and knowledgeable instructors. These courses will help you comprehend the key ideas and give you a complete understanding of the topic.

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You can also refer to the CompTIA Cloud+ training course, which gives detailed knowledge about the cloud computing platform.

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My Name is Ruchi Bisht. I have done my BTech in Computer Science. I like to learn new things and am interested in taking on new challenges. Currently, I am working as a content writer in InfosecTrain.
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