SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a cloud computing software delivery model that provides access to software on a subscription basis. A SaaS application must not be downloaded or installed, and they are hosted on the cloud and can be accessed over the internet.
There are several benefits of using SaaS applications, some of which are accessibility, agility, scalability, constant updates, and manageable payment options. However, any SaaS development company has to remain cautious about the security of the applications thus developed.
SaaS applications deal with massive amounts of data that might be sensitive. The fact that SaaS applications are easily accessible across all devices also raises the security question. This article discusses some of the best practices of SaaS security which application developers can adopt to ensure network security, manage sensitive data and keep the risk of cyber-security threats at bay!
Why Use SaaS
The use of cloud computing technology makes SaaS applications more flexible. There are plenty of reasons why SaaS is gaining popularity among modern organisations. Some of the benefits of using SaaS for application development are listed below:
- Cloud accessibility, easy accessibility: One can access a SaaS application from any device; it only needs a stable internet connection. This is ideally suited for companies following a work-from-home or hybrid work model.
- Cost-effective: SaaS vendors have a subscription-based pricing model. This means one does not have to pay for installation, licences, or infrastructure management. You only pay for as much as you are availing.
- Easy to deploy: Unlike conventional on-premises software, SaaS applications do not require any installation and configuration. Businesses can roll out the applications almost immediately.
- Scalability: This is another significant benefit offered by SaaS. With SaaS, one can quickly increase the storage or add more services without paying extra for the upgrade. This is ideally suited for growing businesses as they can incorporate the new features as and when required.
- Automatic upgradation: In SaaS, the vendors or providers constantly make updates. These updates are thus made available to the customers.
However, despite all these advantages, there are still some risks associated with using SaaS applications, for which developers need to be equipped with knowledge about the best practices of SaaS security.
Challenges to SaaS Security
With greater development, new challenges abound. As mentioned earlier, security remains one of the significant concerns of SaaS applications. Although SaaS allows individuals and companies to share data outside the company's boundaries, it has resulted in a greater risk of blunders like data exfiltration and phishing attacks.
SaaS applications can be accessed remotely. Stakeholders within and outside an organisation can access the files and data. Although this is an advantage, this can also stand as a loophole.
Anyone with malicious intent can take advantage of this. Some companies deal with users' sensitive personal information such as bank details, health records, etc. Such data are always exposed to the risk of being breached and tampered with.
When you use a SaaS product, you do not have any control over the data management and storage patterns. Therefore, be sure that your provider informs you about the data storage pattern, security measures, recovery procedure, and time in case data is lost.
SaaS is an excellent tool for developing complex applications; however, the more complexity, the greater the chances of misconfiguration. Misconfigurations can expose SaaS products to the risk of cyber-attacks. Also, accessing SaaS applications from public WiFi or unsecured internet sources increases the risk of virus and malware attacks.
Therefore, following the best SaaS security practices is crucial to eliminate the risk of attacks and also improve overall security. An IIT Roorkee cybersecurity course will teach you more about the fundamentals of network security, risks associated with cloud computing, cloud security, ethical hacking, and many more!
Best Practices to Secure your SaaS Applications
Although a daunting task, ensuring SaaS security is one of the top-most priorities of IT professionals. Below are some of the best SaaS security practices that will help you secure your applications.
If everyone gets admin-level access, it is sure to lead to security breaches. In order to identify any risk, it is important to constantly monitor the failed login attempts, the device and location from which the login attempt was made, and also the successful logins.
Also, accesses should be granted for a defined period and renewed as and when required. Organisations also fall victim to internal threats posed by individuals with malicious intent. Not only this but access should also be granted based on the individuals' roles.
Enhanced Authentication of the Logins
To ensure a robust security system, login procedures should be modified, and a multi-factor authentication system should be enabled. In this kind of security system, after users enter the credentials required for login, they are asked to enter an OTP or a code that is shared on both the client's and the server's device screen.
This helps to make sure that access is being granted to the right person.
Secure the Data
Data, both in motion and at rest, should be encrypted. As mentioned above, in the case of SaaS applications, where the data is stored is entirely at the providers' discretion. Encryption helps to safeguard the data from hackers and maintains confidentiality!
Providers should also have a strict policy on data deletion. The data no longer in need should be deleted according to the terms of the agreement.
Developers can also incorporate real-time monitoring techniques to secure the SaaS applications. This will provide better visibility and control and help protect the data against vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, XSS, Cross-Site Request Forgery, etc.
Cloud Access Security Broker
If you are dissatisfied with the level of security your cloud computing service provider is giving to your SaaS application, you can incorporate the use of cloud access security broker (CASB) options. It is a tool that serves as an extra layer of security. It sits between the cloud applications and the service users and examines how data is being used.
CASB helps identify the security system's loopholes and safeguards the data against threats.
Companies are adopting SaaS cloud computing technologies for application development at a rapid pace. Aligning with these security practices can help companies eliminate the risk of cyber-attacks and secure their applications!
HubSpot, Adobe, and Google are some of the many renowned organisations that are offering SaaS applications. It has been estimated that 85% of companies will be using SaaS for application development by 2025.
This also calls for a demand for professionals who are skilled in the aspects of providing security to SaaS applications. Imarticus Learning offers learners an excellent opportunity to pursue an IIT Roorkee cybersecurity course that will teach you the fundamentals of network security, cloud security, ethical hacking, application security, etc.
Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate that will be co-branded by IIT Roorkee. This IIT Roorkee cybersecurity course and the knowledge you acquire from it will be an asset to your professional credentials and will help you step up in your career by leaps and bounds!