SaaS Security Best Practices: Bring Shadow SaaS into Light
The increasing adoption of cloud-based applications has drastically changed how software is produced and delivered. Thanks to cloud apps, it became considerably easier to buy and start utilizing new software than ever before. The benefits of cloud apps led to a growing tendency by business units and workgroups to sign up for cloud services without checking with IT or security teams. Therefore, this tendency creates serious risks for enterprises, including sensitive data leaks and compliant charges from regulations like GDRP.
What are SaaS Security Risks?
The Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model provides a service in the cloud for a reasonable price tag. It also allows users to quickly deal with business process challenges.
Today, employees access and use SaaS apps without having IT to help out. This way, security specialists in organizations can’t ensure the safety of corporate information and compliance with data regulations since they simply don’t know how many cloud services are there and who’s using them. Such services are called “shadow SaaS”. Employees are using them without acknowledgement and approval of IT or security departments. Without proper governance, shadow SaaS presents significant data security risks and ruin reputations by landing organizations in court.
Shadow SaaS risks include inadvertent exposure of regulated data, improper access and control over protected and confidential data and intellectual property and breaching of rules pertaining to how some data should be handled. Beyond that, shadow SaaS risks also lead to over-spending and over-provisioning of unknown apps. Gartner estimates 30% of breaches due to shadow IT by the year 2020. Thus, organizations should be concerned not only how to minimize shadow SaaS risks, but also how soon they could find an extensive solution.
How to Minimize Shadow SaaS Risks?
Many companies are trying to manually control application access or restrict access to cloud services completely. However, these actions aren’t practical. In many cases it increases the length of time to get work done, thereby increasing costs and impacting on the bottom line. There are few steps are described below that can help to reduce security risks in shadow SaaS:
Practice 1: Initialize SaaS management
Perhaps the most basic protection against such risks would be to start managing SaaS apps in your organization. By using a comprehensive SaaS management platform your company would never be unaware of your existing apps and policies. This platform provides clear visibility of your cloud services, so you may find shortcomings where your employees are being enabled to create a shadow SaaS infrastructure. Reviewing and managing these apps and policies is an easy first step in reducing shadow SaaS.
Practice 2: Engage your employees
When businesses leaders first discover shadow SaaS problems, they respond with anger in most cases. After all, their employees are bypassing IT and security. Nevertheless, employees are just trying to get their job done in the most efficient way possible. Shadow SaaS apps often provide the simplest path. That is why it’s important to communicate with your employees, understand what tools they’re using, and what they’re trying to accomplish.
Practice 3: Monitor for Threats
Discovering security vulnerabilities and threats is important step to minimize shadow SaaS risks. By using a robust SaaS management platform, you can find where such threats exist. Beyond that, this platform helps not just monitor for vulnerabilities and threats, but it also helps creating additional layers of security. By implementing a proxy solution you can monitor software usage and web traffic in real time
Practice 4: Ensure License Compliance
You IT and finance teams might not be aware of all SaaS subscriptions and their licenses. Therefore, you can’t ensure complete license compliance in your company. Luckily, this can be easily done by deploying a SaaS licensing tool. This tool displays every single license and highlights important legal clauses. As a result, you can instantly find what SaaS licenses are not compliant and require attention of your IT, security or finance departments.
Practice 5: Discover Exact Usage
Along with ensuring license compliance, it’s highly crucial to discover and monitor exact usage of SaaS applications in your company. A SaaS management platform provides visibility into actual SaaS usage and delivers information if an application is used, underused, or unused. Thus, you will gain valuable insights that help greatly reduce shadow SaaS sprawl in your organization.
The use of shadow SaaS within an enterprise is on the increase and is set to continue in an upward trend. As ever more applications are developed, their use will be commonplace. Employees often see these third party applications as a way to get their job done in a more efficient manner, usually for little cost.
Therefore, organizations should keep balance between the freedom of usage of employee’s device and the security and liability of these devices. Binadox helps achieve and keep this balance. By using this platform, companies can easily complete each of aforementioned steps and prevent any shadow SaaS risks. Learn more about Binadox and how can it support your organization by signing up your free account.
Keywords: saas security best practices