SaaS Application Security: Top Issues and 10 Ways to Mitigate the Risks

The topic of cloud solutions as an innovative form of optimizing business processes has gained popularity in recent years. One of the main advantages inherent in cloud technology is the simplification of IT infrastructure with a high level of scalability and rich functionality. However, the security of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model is the headache of cloud computing. 

The Great Potential of Cloud Technologies

The change in the field of information hosting and the need for mass use of information data has provoked the appearance of cloud solutions. The essence of the concept is that the end user is given remote, distributed and dynamic access to all available services, computing resources, and applications. This allows managing IT from within the enterprise while reducing the associated costs.

The case is, all computer (or server) programs very often raise their requirements for the technical support of a user’s personal computer, which, of course, leads to high costs for various updates. A SaaS app development company helps to get rid of such a problem.  SaaS makes it possible to eliminate a large number of requirements of any program for end-user resources.

There are many reasons why cloud technology is in demand

Cost optimization. Introducing cloud technologies means reducing company’s expenses per unit of products and services used. Often, the team can work in online programs without purchasing them or downloading them for a fee with a full range of functions. 

Fast set-up and performance optimization. Formation of access to the cloud much more rapid than program installation – you only need to send an online application to the provider and pay for it. The use of clouds makes it possible to introduce the latest products on the market faster and keep ahead of the competition.

Access from anywhere in the world. Cloud technology helps to organize a workplace without attaching to a specific computer. The company can recreate the internal network of the company, including network drives, shared folders, scheduler programs. Thus, the solution promotes simultaneous work on projects, accessing the necessary information when meeting clients or attending conferences, engaging remote employees, etc.  The latter can save the rental and equipment costs.

Flexibility. It is possible to pay for the necessary software solutions on a monthly basis. This allows more flexibility, as you can test the software or acquire it only for the specified period avoiding the costly and lengthy installation of a technical base.

Security Breaches in SaaS 

At present, security is the most important issue when designing SaaS applications, since the client data is always located on a remote information resource not controlled by users. 

Existing SaaS security issues are:SaaS does not always involve the use of cloud solutions as a platform for hosting applications and, as a result, data replication, characteristic of cloud storage, is not provided. 

Lack of SaaS security standardization. Not all web services and SaaS providers are certified according to the system standards.

Running a SaaS application under administrator rights, which can lead to unauthorized access to the resources of a SaaS provider. 

Access from anywhere in the world puts SaaS at risk of unauthorized access to the service. The privacy issue lies on the shoulders of SaaS application development company.  The data protection model proposed by the developer should only be accessible to everyone, and data protection should depend only on the implemented security measures, and not on the confidentiality of the description of the protection system.  

Lack of information about where data is located. Some countries have regulations governing the flow of data outside the country; for instance, Federal Information Security Management Act, which operates in the United States, prohibits private organizations from storing confidential data outside the country. 

In the process of SaaS application development, it’s worth including a complete “chain” of protection, starting from the security of physical data centers and ending with an audit of secure connections and vulnerabilities.  Authentication, proactive auditing, and encryption should be part of the SaaS design in order for the client’s business to restrict access to private and confidential information. SaaS application development services must take responsibility for the costs and losses associated with any of these violations.  

10 SaaS Safety Measures

Here are the 10 main protective measures that should be part of SaaS application development to ensure the security of the solution:

  1. Certification of compliance with international information security; at the moment, this is an ISO 27001 standard.  
  2. Allowing access to SaaS from trusted sites only. 
  3. Alignment of SaaS activities and structures in accordance with the rights of SaaS users. 
  4. The use of firewalls and VLANs as needed. 
  5. The use of IDS (intrusion detection systems) and IPS (intrusion prevention systems).
  6. Careful logging of all types of activities, starting with routers, firewalls, IDS, IPS, databases and ending with the application code.
  7. Making the server for storing logs independent of the equipment, on which SaaS is deployed.
  8. Current antivirus updates on each server.
  9. Strong passwords. Each user must have a unique login. There should be no connection with existing accounts (OAuth). 
  10. SaaS applications should not be run under the administrator account. 

Final Thoughts

Despite the lack of standards guiding the protection of confidential data, SaaS continues to gain popularity due to the undeniable advantages: the relatively low cost of ownership and the speed of deployment for the enterprise. That is why so many companies want to build a SaaS app. Partnership with a trusted development company and implementation of the 10 SaaS security measures mentioned above will ensure the safe use of a SaaS solution.

A blogger by passion and working as a digital marketing manager in one of the leading digital marketing agencies of USA. Also, loves music, travelling, adventure, family and friends.