As a business grows, it needs to manage more customers and more data than ever before. And if the business aims to attract larger clients, these clients will no doubt have greater security concerns and stricter standards to adhere to.
Of course, there’s also the reality that once your SaaS business reaches the scaling phase, your team will likely have spent a lot of time and effort establishing the place of business in the marketplace.
That’s why we’ll take a look at the top SaaS security issues and how they can be avoided.
What is SaaS Cyber Security?
In case you didn’t know, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a software delivery method that allows data to be accessed from any device with an Internet connection and a web browser.
In this web-based model, software vendors host and maintain the servers, databases, and code that make up an application.
Most service level agreements (SLAs) confirm your company’s ownership of your data located on the provider’s servers, as well as your right to recover the data.
Most SaaS contracts also have built-in, prepaid contingencies that will provide access to your data if the provider closes its doors and guarantees that you own that data.
Also, most SaaS providers will allow you to export your data and take a local backup anytime you want. It is highly unusual for any provider to insist that you retain ownership of your data.
This SLA is an important and quite complex document that should be discussed with your stakeholders before committing to purchase a new solution.
SaaS Security Issues, Concerns, and Challenges
When SaaS companies start, their main focus is to attract and acquire customers to support their growth. After all, if you don’t have customers to buy your product, then you don’t have a business.
In the startup phase, security doesn’t even make the list of the top 10 reasons companies fail.
However, when a SaaS business reaches the scaling phase, security becomes one of the main concerns. And breaches can take down a well-established company in no time.
But how serious is the problem of online security for SaaS companies in these modern times? The short answer: it’s very serious. Security is the top concern when adopting business cloud computing strategies, according to 66% of IT experts.
It’s worth noting that the repercussions of data breaches don’t end after headlines fall off the first page of Google results.
For example, when MyFitnessPal suffered a data breach, it affected some 144 million subscribers. In response, these subscribers were encouraged to change their passwords in addition to other suggested protection measures. But in many cases, suggestions like these may come too late.
One year after the data breach, that original compromised data along with hacked data from 15 other websites were offered on the dark web marketplace to the highest bidder.
In 2012, SaaS file-sharing giant Dropbox had its security dilemma. Hackers gained access to 68 million user accounts, including email addresses and encrypted passwords. From there, the 5 gigabytes reportedly made their way to the dark web market as well.
High-profile breaches like these prompt escalating SaaS companies to examine their security measures and take preventative action. At least they should.
SaaS Security Checklist
Here are some of the top security concerns for scaling SaaS companies and some tips on how to address them using more stringent technology and processes.
- Data Storage – As a SaaS business scales, this is the ideal time to implement processes and platforms to keep data secure. For example, there should be a process of continually evaluating the data that the company manages and identifying potential vulnerabilities, taking action to remediate those vulnerabilities, and then immediately and transparently reporting any issues so that immediate action can be taken.And in terms of secure platforms, options like a robust subscription billing platform can maintain a high level of financial security for your SaaS billing, a great selling point for customers who trust you with their financial information. Solutions that offer PCI Level 1 certification adhere to the strictest standards for storing credit card data.
- Firewall – If that customer decides to make a one-time purchase or sign up for a service that has a recurring monthly fee, the information the customer shares is no longer protected solely by their own computer’s firewall. That data is sent elsewhere, to be stored for future invoices or purchases.The SaaS company they are working with needs to have its firewalls.
Therefore, ensuring that your SaaS business is protected by a secure firewall is essential for the security of your data, as well as that of your customers. Additionally, companies should consider partnering only with technology that is protected by state-of-the-art firewalls to fully protect the data they are storing.
- Business Processes – By the very nature of a SaaS product, data must be easy to access and fast. The faster information can be obtained, the more agile a business becomes, which is essential to maintaining a competitive advantage. A scaling company brings in much more data than ever before because it’s handling all the information for more customers than it was when it was in a startup phase. For example, consider databases running scripts that are clogged with unnecessary information. That data can get tangled up and slow down processes.
However, some steps can be taken to ensure that scripts are sped up and that you have access to the data output you need quickly. Additionally, with data stored in the cloud, accessibility is increasing thanks to processes accelerated by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
- Transparency – While a business can assure its customers that their information is stored securely, it may be hesitant to illustrate what those security measures are and risk compromising that security. By not being honest with customers, it can appear that the company is not being transparent. However, SaaS companies can maintain transparency while demonstrating their security protocol.
A service level agreement (SLA) is used to explain to a customer what to expect from the company, such as downtime and response times if there is a problem with the service.
- Safety Measures – Network intrusion detection differs from a firewall in that a firewall works from a static set of pre-established rules, whereas network intrusion detection actively terminates connections. They are interconnected but have different responsibilities. At the same time, security must encapsulate content delivery networks that allow data to be transmitted quickly and allow for a high rate of availability and performance.
They must also ensure that the transmission is protected by security protocols that are always “on”.Regardless of which providers and platforms you select, remember that what may be the best security at any given time may not always be the most secure in years to come. You must ensure that the partners you select maintain a high level of security in the future because protocols change, the software is updated and new threats emerge.