This blog was originally published by Cybaverse here

5 SaaS security best practices to keep your Web Apps

Picture a world where you no longer need to buy, install, or maintain software on your computer. Instead, you can access powerful applications instantly, from anywhere with an internet connection.  

Welcome to the world of Software as a Service, or SaaS.

We’re going to explore the benefits of SaaS and how it has revolutionised the way we work and collaborate.

What is SaaS?

At its core, Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to cloud-based software applications that are delivered to users over the internet. Think of it as software on demand. Instead of the traditional model of purchasing, installing, and maintaining software on your local devices, SaaS allows you to access and use software hosted on remote servers. In simpler terms, it’s like renting software rather than owning it.

When you subscribe to a SaaS service, you often gain access to the software through a web browser. This means you can use the software from virtually any device with an internet connection, whether it’s your laptop, tablet, or even your smartphone.

SaaS providers take care of all the behind-the-scenes technicalities, including server maintenance, updates, security, and data storage. This “outsourced” approach eliminates the need for users to worry about the nitty-gritty details of software upkeep, making it incredibly convenient.

SaaS security concerns

SaaS security concerns encompass vulnerabilities and the looming threat of data breaches, which impose significant financial burdens on organisations annually. The count of threats targeting cloud services is on a rapid incline.

The challenges tied to SaaS predominantly stem from vulnerabilities in cloud computing. When organisations opt to store their data in the cloud, they entrust a third-party provider with their security while making their data accessible via the internet. Whilst this is beneficial, there are some security concerns that come in hand with this.

Data Breaches: These can occur when unauthorised individuals gain access to your SaaS Web Applications or the data stored within them. These breaches can result from weak passwords, compromised user accounts, or vulnerabilities in the SaaS provider’s infrastructure.

Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks involve tricking users into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials. Attackers often use convincing emails or fake login pages to deceive users. Successful phishing attempts can lead to unauthorised access to SaaS accounts.

Inadequate Access Control: Misconfigured access permissions can result in unauthorised users gaining access to sensitive data. Failing to properly manage and restrict access can leave your SaaS applications vulnerable.

Insider Threats: Not all security threats come from external sources. Insider threats involve individuals within your organisation intentionally or unintentionally compromising security. This could be employees mishandling data or disgruntled staff intentionally causing harm.

SaaS security best practices

Securing your SaaS applications is a top priority when it comes to safeguarding your valuable data, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of SaaS Security Best Practices.

Be aware of data sharing

Begin by overseeing data sharing practices. Utilise collaboration controls to scrutinise fine-grained permissions applied to shared files, including whether external users can access files through web links. It’s important to keep an eye on authorised users who may unintentionally or deliberately share confidential files through team spaces, email, or cloud storage platforms like Dropbox.

Safeguard data with encryption

Employ encryption techniques to secure your data, whether it’s stored or in transit within the cloud. This becomes particularly vital as government regulations often mandate encryption for sensitive data categories like healthcare, financial records, and personally identifiable information.

Prioritise employee security training

Offering security training to all employees is a wise move. A good practice is to steer clear of shared accounts, opting instead for the creation of distinct user accounts.

Additional security measures encompass the enforcement of two-factor authentication (2FA) for all logins and implementing role-based access (RBAC) features. These features enable the customisation of user-specific access and editing permissions for data.

Meeting audit and certification requirements

Certifications such as PCI DSS are pivotal in ensuring the comprehensive safeguarding of sensitive data.

SaaS providers often adhere to regulatory standards and undergo rigorous audits to guarantee the complete protection of sensitive data throughout its storage, processing, and transmission. Another valuable regulatory compliance framework to consider is SOC 2 Type II, which upholds the highest standards of data security.

Implementing Data Deletion Policies

Defining the procedures for both storing and deleting customer data is important. It’s a primary obligation, often mandated by legal requirements, to ensure that customer data is systematically and programmatically erased in accordance with the customer’s contractual terms.

The process of data deletion should be executed with precision and punctuality, accompanied by the creation and maintenance of pertinent logs to demonstrate compliance.

Strengthening your SaaS security

Implementing SaaS security best practices helps to shield your Web Applications from potential attacks. This commitment to excellence should permeate every level of your organisation, fostering heightened awareness among both employees and clients. Through the unified adoption of these best practices, you fortify your SaaS application, ensuring its resilience against threats.

Whilst implementing best practices is a good starting point, there are other measures you can take to improve the security of your Web Applications. A Web Application Penetration Test can look to highlight any vulnerabilities at the time of testing and ensure that your application is correctly configured. At Cybaverse, we will provide detailed advice on any findings and remediations in our report to help align your Web Application to industry best practices. Click here to read more about these.

Published by Courtney Grice, Cybaverse