SaaS applications have become deeply embedded in every business function, enhancing business productivity and efficiency within forward thinking organizations. The ease and speed by which applications can be activated encourages business users to adopt and interconnect them directly. This is often done without IT security oversight or security controls leaving businesses open to a number of SaaS security issues, risks and misconfigurations.
Security Issues Related to SaaS Integration
As a result of this indiscriminate adoption, management and use, SaaS applications have also opened a new attack surface consisting of a mesh of interconnected applications, users and data. This has resulted in a growing web of SaaS security issues such as:
- Insecure, inactive and over-privileged integrations
- Randomly used and forgotten applications
- Security misconfigurations
- External or improper internal data sharing
- Ungoverned identities
- Over privileged users
This growing SaaS mesh can leave organizations vulnerable to data loss and account compromise. Recent Okta/Lapsus$, GitHub, and Mailchimp breaches highlight this growing risk and the fact that SaaS attacks are becoming a common threat vector.
How Can SSPM Help to Detangle the SaaS Mess?
After Cloud Security Access Broker (CASB) which were the first generation of SaaS security solutions, SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solutions have recently emerged to address modern SaaS security challenges, but only solve part of the problem.
What is Saas Security Posture Management (SSPM)?
SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) supports automated monitoring for the security of SaaS applications. It is used primarily to minimize risky configurations and help ensure compliance.
SSPMs make it easier for organizations to ensure proper SaaS application configurations from the start and detect policy drift over the lifecycle of application use. In addition, they enable IT security teams to detect over-privileged user access, ensuring users have only the minimum privileges to access data that is necessary to remediate these SaaS security issues.
However, many security risks go beyond application configurations which current SSPMs focus on. SaaS applications empower business users to make decisions on a daily basis that can expose critical business data to attack. Existing solutions fall short in addressing such risks since they don’t understand business context. This context is required to properly address the risk of changes made by large organizations and business users without disrupting the natural flow of operations.
Securing SaaS Applications Properly Goes Beyond SSPM
IT and security teams often feel like they have to rely on strict security controls such as blocking collaborative features in SaaS applications, which could reduce the value of our innovative SaaS applications, ultimately impeding the business. Even worse, when security teams restrict the usage of popular SaaS applications like Slack, Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, business users often find workarounds that allow them to accomplish their business goal. These workarounds may be accomplished with unsanctioned apps and methods that could create additional SaaS security issues and vulnerabilities.
Engaging with the users who adopt, use and manage each application in the first place is critical for security teams to determine which applications, integrations and configurations are business critical. Working with individuals is necessary for IT teams to maintain a reputation as collaborative security enablers, not the department of “no”. Unfortunately, existing SSPMs lack collaborative remediation workflows that incorporate user engagement.
Additionally, the scale of remediations across hundreds of applications is daunting since every application has different terminology, usage models, logic and privileges. By engaging with end users, IT departments can leverage the knowledge and efforts of the business users to remediate SaaS risks themselves while educating them on proper SaaS application security hygiene.
Choosing Valence Security
It is time for a new generation of SaaS security solutions that can understand business context and maintain visibility. There is a need for the ability to collaboratively remediate SaaS security issues across the SaaS mesh. Valence Security’s Collaborative Security Remediation Platform for SaaS has been built as a solution to bridge the gap between IT and end users.
We started Valence to deliver collaborative remediation workflows that engage with business users to contextualize and reduce SaaS data sharing, supply chain, identity, and misconfiguration risks with scalable policy enforcement and automated workflows.
With Valence, security teams can secure their critical SaaS applications like Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, and Slack and ensure continuous compliance with internal policies, industry standards and regulations, without impeding business productivity or the speed of SaaS adoption.