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SaaS Security: How to protect user data as a SaaS?


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Last Updated on 01/06/2022 by TheDigitalHacker

In today’s world, most businesses use multiple Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to run their daily operations and store data. The main reason why is that SaaS applications offer great flexibility to businesses as SaaS hosts applications and data storage on their servers. While using SaaS applications, businesses don’t require any additional on-premise setup to use the apps or store data. Additionally, the adaptation of multiple SaaS applications helps businesses reduce their costs, and enable the capability to scale up operations rapidly. 

Today, the SaaS market is estimated to be worth 176 billion dollars globally, and by 2023 it is forecasted to reach 208 billion dollars annually. In this regard, the SaaS market will continue to expand drastically in the future. SaaS market growth promises new SaaS vendors to generate good revenue and expand their businesses globally. 

Although SaaS applications or data storages provide a lot of benefits to businesses, SaaS brings increased security risks along, especially when vendors fail to maintain overall security in their services. Poor SaaS security often is the main cause of data breaches, and both vendors and SaaS users are responsible for securing sensitive data that they collect, store and share. To combat cybercriminals and safeguard sensitive data, maintaining SaaS security is really important for both parties. Let’s look at the necessary security practices to protect user data as SaaS. 

1- Authentication 

On a daily basis, hundreds of thousands of users access SaaS applications, and their access might be the biggest risk, especially if the application solely requires passwords. Depending solely on passwords is a tremendous mistake because user IDs and passwords can be easily compromised, and cybercriminals can take advantage of stolen credentials. 

That’s why SaaS applications should implement verification tools such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), and single sign-on (SSO). Additionally, access control tools like active control (AC) can be a good combination with authentication tools for strengthening SaaS security. 

Authentication tools require users to authenticate their identities by entering multiple credentials before gaining access to the application. When SaaS providers put authentication and access policies in place, they mitigate the risks of unauthorized access and network intrusions. In short, authentication and access control tools are essential components of SaaS security. 

2- Data Encryption

As a SaaS, encrypting data in transit and at rest is more important than ever. Most providers usually use Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect the data in transit between users and cloud services. But, most providers don’t provide encryption for data at rest as they think it is their client’s responsibility to encrypt the data at rest. Only some providers offer data encryption features for the data store as they think encryption is a necessary feature.

In reality, encrypting the data in transit and at rest improves the SaaS security because even if cybercriminals access the data storage, they won’t be able to read it because encrypted data usually doesn’t make any sense, and it is unreadable. So, encrypting data in transit and at rest should be one of the main security practices for SaaS providers. 

3- Monitoring

SaaS providers should constantly monitor user activities, behaviors, and current systems. Monitoring can help providers to detect unusual or suspicious behaviors quickly. Additionally, monitoring allows SaaS providers to alert clients immediately in the event of a breach. But, monitoring thousands or millions of users’ activities can be daunting, so providers can automate monitoring and security policies to safeguard sensitive user data. Lastly, providers should monitor their current systems and conduct constant audits to see if all security tools are functioning adequately. 

4- Meet Compliance Regulations and Standards

Meeting compliance regulations and standards is really important for SaaS providers because these standards are the indicators that you have certain data protection policies in place. Additionally, being a compliant SaaS provider can increase your business’ trustworthiness in the eyes of customers. Lastly, adherence to these standards will require a provider to implement security tools, and policies in place to safeguard user data. 

What Should Businesses Do For Improving SaaS Security?

1- Implement Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB)

Today, many SaaS applications are compatible with Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) software configuration deployment. CASB can be API or proxy-based, and it allows businesses to have more security control over the SaaS applications. CASB can enable any security policies, and functions that are needed such as behavior monitoring, authentication, access control, encryption, or anti-virus checking. 

2- Implement SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)

Implementing SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) tools are necessary. These tools constantly monitor SaaS application environments to detect and reduce the gaps or weaknesses in their security policies and current security posture. When SSPM tools are integrated well, they will function as a shield against all kinds of cyber threats. 

3- Train Your Staff 

Staff training is an essential part of improving SaaS security. All employees should be informed about cyber security basics, common cyber attacks, avoidance of shared accounts, password security, etc. If your staff isn’t trained well, your businesses can face increased security risks associated with SaaS. Staff training will allow your business to minimize SaaS-related security threats.  

4- Create Backups

Almost every SaaS provider will require businesses to back up their data during SaaS usage. To protect data, businesses can back up their data in three copies, two in on-premise locations, one can be stored in a safe off-site location. Backing up your data in three copies guarantees that you won’t lose any piece of sensitive data. 

If you want to learn more about SaaS security best practices, check out NordLayer.


A well-known cyber security company to protect your business, partners, branch offices, and employees. 

Last Remarks 

In today’s world, businesses are dependent on SaaS applications as these services enable great flexibility and capability to scale operations quickly. But, poor SaaS security usually leads to successful cyber attacks. So, both SaaS providers and businesses should implement some security practices to protect user data.

thedigitalhacker.com is an independent organization publishing news and information about data breach, hacking, bad actors in the industry, Our goal is to keep you updated with the latest happenings in the tech industry. You can report a breach anonymously with our report form
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