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SaaS Security Best Practices: 6 Tips To Secure Your Website

SaaS security best practices

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As of March 2023, 89% of businesses affected by security incidents related to the cloud were startups. According to IBM, in 2022, the cost of a data breach was $4.35 million on average. 25% of the companies that faced a cloud security incident in 2022 had serious compliance violations.

Here are some truths about SaaS security:

  1. No company is small enough to be safe from data breaches.
  2. Not all businesses pack enough resources to bounce back from a serious security incident.
  3. The consequences of weak security heavily outweigh the cost of securing your SaaS website.

SaaS data breaches are especially dangerous since software as a service providers retain access to client data, and a security incident can simultaneously compromise numerous organizations. Hence, building a foolproof security strategy is imperative to ensure a successful SaaS business.

Below, we’ll look at the top SaaS security best practices companies should keep in mind.

1. Treat All Administrative Access To Privileged

You rely on numerous SaaS vendors to run your own application smoothly. You use productivity tools, communication appliances, and online collaboration spaces to run day-to-day operations, necessitating shared access. 

For instance, the credentials for Salesforce, Jira, DocuSign, DropBox, etc., are shared between teams and sometimes even with third-party contractors. Unregulated access to admin accounts makes them susceptible to both external attacks and insider threats.

Hence, all such accounts should be treated as privileged. The access controls reserved for privileged accounts and tools should apply to all such accounts in order to reduce risk and strengthen security.

All such credentials should be stored in a central vault, a password manager, for instance, encrypted and rotated automatically. It helps secure your SaaS application.

2. Vet And Monitor All Vendors Regularly

It’s essential to assess the security practices, certifications, and compliance standards of SaaS vendors you consider partnering with to achieve a specific objective. 

The usual vetting process involves a thorough review of their security controls, data encryption methods, access controls, and incident response plans. But it doesn’t end there.

Regular monitoring of vendors is equally important. The optimal approach here is to consistently monitor their security posture at all times and to be aware of any changes they make in security controls.

Vetting and monitoring allow you to:

Safeguard Data

Being aware of vendors’ security practices allows you to minimize risks by implementing suitable access controls.

Ensure Compliance 

It’s important to verify that vendors comply with relevant regulatory requirements and industry standards. It helps you maintain compliance and prevent legal and financial consequences.

Mitigate Supply Chain Risks

A vulnerable vendor can open a door for a supply chain attack even if you run a tight ship security-wise. Regular monitoring helps you mitigate such risks. 

Coordinated Incident Response

Understanding a vendor’s incident response and communication procedures helps you align your response efforts, facilitating a coordinated incident resolution.

3. Make Use Of Single Sign-On (SSO)

SSO is a great way of streamlining access management which goes on to create a more secure environment. Single Sign-On leverages identity providers such as active directories to help users access multiple SaaS applications with a single set of credentials. 

SSO helps by ensuring employees can access only the necessary tools and applications for their job responsibilities while the IT department diligently oversees access management.

SSO Eliminates The Need For Multiple Passwords

Weak and reused passwords are more dangerous culprits than they are given credit for. SSO reduces the likelihood of weak and repeated passwords.

It Reduces The Attack Surface

If users can access multiple accounts by signing in at one place, it decreases the number of login points that malicious actors can target.

Centralized Access Management

It becomes easier for administrators to grant or revoke access privileges to users based on the need of the situation. This reduces the amount of unnecessary access. 

Enhanced Productivity

Simplification of the login process helps employees use the remote tools required for their tasks without lag. It saves time and reduces complications.

Better Security Overall

Combined with 2FA or MFA, SSO helps create a secure environment safe from brute force and credential-stuffing attacks to a great extent.

Implementing SSO Results In Better Audit Capabilities 

SSO solutions help administrators keep robust trails of user activities and make it easier to produce the documents required for an audit.

Simplified Off-boarding

When someone leaves an organization, de-provisioning their access to SaaS applications can challenge the admins. With SSO, the offboarding process is simplified, and revoking access and permissions becomes easy.

4. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) incorporates an additional layer of authentication beyond the traditional username-password combination, significantly enhancing the protection of sensitive data and mitigating the risk of unauthorized access.

Less Dependency On Passwords

2FA and MFA require additional verification, such as a temporary code sent to a mobile device or a biometric factor like a fingerprint. Therefore, it reduces the dependency on passwords. The susceptibility to credential stuffing and brute forcing goes down drastically.

Better Defense Against Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks trick users into revealing their credentials to malicious actors. However, if an account is protected by MFA, the credential theft becomes inconsequential.

Enhanced Security For Remote Work

Businesses across the globe are leaning towards hybrid work environments necessitating access to sensitive data from user-owned devices and environments outside the corporate perimeters. The layer of security added by 2FA and MFA allows businesses to operate in this mode without compromising information security at every turn.

5. Use Encryption For Data In Transit And At Rest

It is standard practice for SaaS vendors to use transport layer security (TLS) to encrypt data in transit. But it’s more and more important to encrypt data at rest.

Not only does data encryption make it harder to exploit exposures to get access to sensitive information, but it also helps you determine the integrity of data.

Cryptographic algorithms give you the means to verify that data remains unaltered while in transit or during storage.

The benefits of encryption are:

  • Data security across devices and platforms.
  • Maintaining data integrity.
  • Compliance with security regulations.
  • Peace of mind.

6. Regular Security Testing

After implementing the security controls, access management policies, and vendor-monitoring activities, you need a way of assessing whether there are loopholes in your security strategy.

Moreover, you need a way of ensuring secure development practices. Regular security testing enables you to maintain a strong security posture consistently.

Integrating one of the best vulnerability scanners allows you to test your code for potential vulnerabilities before it goes into production. You can stay alert for an extension that goes bad or a piece of software that needs an update. 

You need security testing on an app level, network level, and personnel level to maintain a sound security posture as well as compliance with relevant security regulations.

SaaS Security Best Practices: Wrapping Up!

The security of your SaaS website will depend greatly on the culture of secure operations you build in your company.

When your employees maintain a security-first approach to going about their responsibilities, it becomes easier to maintain a tight, audit-ready security posture.

And yes, ensure you are always compliant with regulations like SOC2, ISO 27001, or whatever is relevant to your vertical.  

Vaslou is a passionate digital creator and blogger who loves to explore unique paths to generate online income. He’s also a musician, always looking for exciting paths to articulate his inventive spirit in the musical realm. When he’s not at work on his online endeavors, Vasco loves to delve into spiritual realms to become a better version of himself.

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