Achieving Complete Control Across Your SaaS Applications: Is it Possible?

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Today, organizations rely on SaaS platforms for just about everything.

Think about it for a moment; almost all organizations have lots and lots of SaaS applications running. Slack, Office 365, Zoom, Zendesk, Salesforce, Hubspot, Jira – you name it, these applications are at the core of basically all modern enterprises, and trying to run your business without them would be nearly impossible. This is because SaaS applications make ‘getting stuff done’ so simple – from staying in constant contact, to automating marketing campaigns, to billing vendors and third parties, to collaborating despite distances. All of these use cases, and countless others, have been vastly simplified with the adoption of SaaS based tools. 

Moreover, SaaS applications are super-scalable and enable valuable cost- and time-saving benefits, allowing organizations to grow and simultaneously conserve resources. Now, in part inspired by some recent high-profile breaches, they come with many built-in native security controls to protect sensitive corporate data.

The Risks in Your SaaS Landscape: Hiding in the Complexity

However, despite the huge benefits, using SaaS platforms can come with some risks. While it’s true that platform developers have definitely put a whole lot of effort into solidifying their own security posture, organizations using these platforms still experience security breaches. These breaches are generally not due to security shortcomings in the platforms themselves, but rather, they are due to misconfigurations in their SaaS applications, which is very much the responsibility of the application owner and not the responsibility of the application vendor.

Misconfigurations in SaaS applications often catch organizations off-guard and keeping SaaS applications continuously configured properly is a mammoth-sized challenge. With so many settings, controls and policies to manage and track, things often fall through the cracks and it’s understandably difficult to get total visibility across the entire ecosystem. 

This is because, in order to get all configurations ‘set’ properly, you need to know what you’re doing across countless different applications. You have to be well-acquainted with the settings ‘ins and outs’ of potentially hundreds of services and you have to be able to take into consideration any potential relationships and dependencies that could also be affected. What’s more, considering that business-critical SaaS platforms often have dozens (or more) of different security and user related settings, trying to maintain them on your own is basically impossible. 

All too often, this complex and overwhelming landscape leads to major security holes, which can put your organization at risk.

To illustrate, think about Zoom; while the omnipresent video conferencing platform has spent the better part of the pandemic optimizing security, simple misconfigurations can allow meetings to be recorded to local devices. This small misstep can set the stage for data exfiltration and breaches. In project management tool Jira, an easy-to-overlook setting can expose internal dashboards to the internet. 

The Automatic Approach to Securing Your SaaS Applications

It’s pretty clear that properly configuring the hundreds of potential settings in each platform cannot be done in a manual fashion. Organizations need to take an automated approach to dealing with, and managing, SaaS application configurations to prevent misconfigurations. Without an automatic approach to maintaining security settings and controls, organizations do not stand a realistic chance of getting total control of their SaaS applications. Trying to maintain consistent policies across all applications, understand which applications involve which security features and account for each one’s specific methods, is just too complicated and time consuming, and leaves room for mistakes and oversight. 

The new category of tools called SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) addresses this need. According to Gartner, these are “tools that continuously assess the security risk and manage the security posture of SaaS applications. Core capabilities include reporting the configuration of native SaaS security settings and offering suggestions for improved configuration to reduce risk.” SSPM tools examine posture in a customized and automated manner, tailored to the specific circumstances of the application. If you want to prevent misconfigurations in your SaaS applications, check out this relatively new group of solutions. 

Gartner says that, by 2025, nearly 99% of security failures in the cloud will be human-driven. The complexity of SaaS environments only serves to make circumstances more complicated. Now is the time to take corrective actions and ensure SaaS misconfigurations aren’t putting your organization at risk.

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