Software as a service (or SaaS) is a way of delivering applications over the Internet as a service. SaaS also known as cloud application services, does not require software installation and maintenance, you can access it easily through the Internet. Infact, SaaS is anticipated to grow to $104.7 billion in 2020, according to Gartner.

SaaS applications are mostly delivered through a web browser. The subscribers pay for SaaS services and the price depends upon the features they would like to use.

Secure Your SaaS Application

SECURITY is one of the primary concerns for customers as well as for vendors in Saas Application. In 2015, A Survey For Truste Data Privacy Management Solutions, Conducted By Ipsos, found that customer concern for data security was as high as 92%.

There are various challenges with SaaS security.

  1. Limited transparency to maintain Security Review Checklist.
  2. Incapacity to assess the security of the cloud application provider’s operations for secure deployment.
  3. Inability to maintain regulatory compliance.
  4. Theft of confidential data like Customer credit card information by cybercriminals.
  5. Dearth of skilled staff to regularly educate customers from a security perspective.
  6. Incomplete control over DevSecOps.

Such elements could lead to both financial as well as legal liabilities. That’s why it’s important for businesses to plan for and ensure SaaS applications security- to prevent customer’s data from going into the wrong hands.

Best Practices to Protect Your SaaS Application

1. Maintain A Security Review Checklist

Prepare a document for strong security policies and enforce them via training and technical controls. This document will contain all of your security strategies. All team members should be aware of requirements from the start. There is not any universal common standard, it may vary depending upon the project requirements. So Design a list of potential security flaws to keep in mind. What should be included in?

  1. Evaluate your software requirement and detect security vulnerabilities and risks. This Security Knowledge Framework by OWASP might help you to understand.
  2. Understand how to define and eliminate risks.
  3. Create a checklist with both internal controls and security standards for SAAS applications.
  4. Define a policy which tells your SaaS app users about the data you collect and process.

You can add more in the checklist depending upon the requirements. A regular review and updation of the document with new discovered threats can help improve both application security and quality.

2. Ensure Secure Deployment.

SaaS applications are either hosted by a SaaS vendor, or deployed on a public cloud.

If you want to deploy your SaaS application on public clouds then you have to ensure that your security settings comply with the settings recommended by the public cloud service provider. You must pay attention to the protection from the DDoS attacks, which could shut down a machine or network, making it inaccessible to its intended users.

If you are choosing a SaaS vendor, then the application development and deployment team should be trained enough for correctly using Cloud service providers(CSP) services to implement applications. CSP provides documentation for best practices for using their services. It must ensure the system has compliance with security principles and standards.

3. Must Be Strict With Compliance Certifications.

It is highly important to look out for certifications like Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard(PCI DSS), where a SaaS provider has to go through the audit process to make sure the sensitive data is transmitted; processed; and stored in a really secure manner. That is infact a highly security standard which includes the requirement to manage security, policy, procedures, software design, network architecture and other critical protective measures. Now the SOC 2 Type II is very helpful to ensure that the cloud service is designed and managed in such a manner so as to maintain the highest level of data security. Both the above certifications provide useful comparative information about the cloud service providers.

4. Protect Sensitive Data

It is highly important to protect the application and database to prevent attacks like Blind SQL injections, Cross-Site Scripting, Authentication Failure, Security Misconfiguration, XML External Entities, Broken Access Control etc. You can also take reference here on what are the most common attacks and how to prevent them.

5. Educating Customers

Customer education should be one of your biggest priorities. It gives them an understanding of account takeover frauds (ATOs) wherein a criminal can impersonate them and can hack into their account. You can explain to them how enforcing a two-factor authentication (2FA) on all logins and password managers (like 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass, KeePass, and many others) can help in upholding SaaS application security. You can also make provision for role-based access (RBAC) features that would allow user-specific access and editing permissions for data. Customers feel included and empowered when you regularly update them on organization’s security principles and policies.

6. DevSecOps Processes

DevSecOps is the philosophy of integrating security practices within the DevOps process. It helps to ease the bottleneck effect of older security models on the modern continuous delivery/work pipeline. The overall aim is to improve code quality, increase the speed of application development, and bug fixes faster and feature deployment.

DevOps involves combining software development processes and its deployment on production in systematic and continuous iterations using Continuous Integration – Continuous Delivery/Deployment (CI–CD) process.

CI is a practice of integrating new code into different environments like staging, production and testing the new functionality to make sure it doesn’t break existing functionality.

Conclusion

Being aware of these will help you to enhance security and protect sensitive data against security threats. It is highly important to brainstorm in an early stage with the experts of your organization and prepare a checklist which best suits your application security. Reviewing these checklists regularly can help you to look at potential vulnerabilities and also examine your security principles. This route will build more customers trust and go extra miles with them.