5 SaaS Security Best Practices

By Jose L. Seara, Cloud Security Solutions Architect - 7 Oct, 2021
Cyber Security
4 Minutes Read

5 SaaS Security Best Practices

Companies are increasingly relying on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications for business-critical operations but struggle with understanding the many attack vectors affecting those products and adequately securing the cloud application. SaaS applications provide business efficiency, continuity and allow internal or remote collaboration. Thus, cloud or SaaS applications offer:

  • Real-time access to business insights
  • Ability to quickly innovate
  • Ability to provide enhanced value to customers

Properly securing and managing SaaS applications is vital for an effective cybersecurity strategy. Below are 5 SaaS Security Best Practices to follow when securing your cloud applications:

1. Implement Strong Authentication Mechanisms

As companies adopt more SaaS applications, user login credentials become increasingly more attractive to attackers. Passwords alone are insufficient in validating a user’s identity or protecting businesses from data loss, fraud, and malicious attacks. Therefore, implementing Single Sign-On (SSO) and a central identity provider to manage user authentication and access grants through a single set of login credentials is recommended.

Additionally, multi-factor authentication (MFA) can ensure users’ identity by requiring them to pass multiple authentication challenges. In the current remote-work era, SaaS applications are regularly accessed from outside the corporate network, therefore, MFA adds another form of authentication providing an extra layer of defense and decreasing the chances of users’ identities becoming compromised.

2. Implement Robust Data Classification and Loss Prevention Controls

Protecting organizational data from leaks and loss is an ongoing activity and a crucial responsibility. Unfortunately, cloud app productivity and SaaS providers only protect such data from common cyber-attacks and malware, not data leaks. Identifying the type of data organizations store in SaaS deployments is the first step in protecting it.  There are several DLP technologies on the market that can scan, catalog, and classify enterprise data repositories.

Data classification alone is not sufficient; what is needed is a policy that specifies access types, conditions for data access based on classification, determining who has access to data and what constitutes correct data usage. Additionally, applying appropriate access controls to data through the principle of least privilege is recommended. Users should only be given privileges essential to perform their job, which ensures that only appropriate personnel can access given types of data.

3. Manage Your Corporate Devices and BYODs

Nowadays, employees often use both their corporate-provided devices and personal devices to access company resources and data. It is crucial to keep employees’ devices safe and comply with company policies, whether checking email or accessing shared documents.

If configured properly, the SaaS security features can assist in blocking suspicious and harmful data entering or leaving corporate devices and BYODs.  These security features and settings allow administrators to apply data controls, preview changes to documents, and if needed remove access to SaaS resources. In addition, enterprise BYOD policy should clearly state what data employees can access with their corporate as opposed to personal devices.

4. Understand SaaS Provider SLAs

Securing a new SaaS application or service comes with a good share of confusion and complexity not helped by the jargon within the provider Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs define the measurable results the customer expects to receive, and the service provider is bound to deliver.

Unfortunately, SLAs are typically written from the provider’s perspective and biased toward their interests, not the customer or end-user. Therefore, you must evaluate the agreement to understand the security responsibilities of each party that may be buried deep within the service provider SLAs.

5. Continuously Educate Your Employees

SaaS adoption has grown exponentially during the 2021 pandemic as it allows for remote employee collaboration. Employees are often labeled as the weakest link in security, so educating and empowering them to recognize common cyber security threats reduces the overall security risk and benefits the entire organization. Security awareness training provides real-life scenarios for recognizing vulnerabilities and threats to business operations and data. In addition, each employee should be aware of their responsibility and obligation to secure corporate data or assets, including data stored and processed in SaaS products.

New Era Technology Can Help!

New Era Technology Managed Detection & Response (MDR) service can assist with implementing sound SaaS security measures, as well as SaaS monitoring and response. If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can prevent, detect, and maintain threats through New Era Managed Detection & Response, please visit our page or email us at solutions@neweratech.com.


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Author: Jose L. Seara, Cloud Security Solutions Architect

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