8 Tips To Protect Your Organization in the Evolving SaaS Landscape

By Yoav Kalati
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[By Yoav Kalati, Head of Threat Intelligence at Wing Security]

Today, we’re seeing the growing dependence on and adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) tools by businesses and organizations. However, this increased reliance also has posed challenges on the security front, as threat actors try to take advantage of vulnerabilities inherent within SaaS usage – capitalizing on its seamless connectivity and convenience. Wing Security recently released an extensive analysis of 493 companies and found alarming trends regarding the usage of SaaS and its security. For example, Wing discovered that 97% of organizations are facing threats from compromised SaaS supply chain apps, shadow IT increased the risks of data leakage and one-fifth of organizations exhibited incomplete offboarding practices – leading to a growing concern about insider risks.

From managing the risks of third-party applications to implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and optimizing anomaly detection, the strategies below are crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and mitigating potential security threats. Despite some of the concerning statistics above, experiences point to the fact that SaaS is safer than ever before – due to the availability of technologies that allow Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) and security teams to navigate the complex landscape of SaaS security.

Here are eight practical tips to bolster your organization’s SaaS security.

1. Discover and Manage Third-Party Application Risks

To mitigate the risks of third-party breaches, it’s crucial to identify and get ahead of the risks of potential weaknesses in your interconnected SaaS supply chain. By knowing about all the third-party SaaS applications connected to your organization, you can be better prepared to take action should a breach occur somewhere in the SaaS supply chain. In addition, making sure that you onboard only trusted applications with secure third-party security controls, policies and procedures is critical.

A supply chain attack occurs when an attacker singles out a vendor, aiming to exploit it as a means to infiltrate a larger network of companies. Entrusting sensitive data to external SaaS vendors exposes organizations to supply chain risks, beyond immediate security considerations. This approach opens the possibility of data breaches, compliance issues and more extensive security challenges.

  1. Regain Control of Your AI-SaaS Landscape

Your SaaS security toolkit should encompass essential capabilities such as uncovering Shadow Artificial Intelligence (AI), controlling AI usage, identifying impersonator AI applications and automating remediation workflows. Additionally, security teams must take decisive actions by granting or restricting access to AI models and implementing necessary AI security measures.

Efficiently discovering and monitoring all AI-using SaaS applications training on your data is crucial, along with constant monitoring of your broader SaaS environment for updates in their terms and conditions regarding AI usage. Embrace methods that promote cross-organizational collaboration through automated remediation workflows, empowering end users to proactively mitigate risks.

  1. Establish Effective Offboarding Procedures

Weak offboarding practices introduce significant security risks to organizations, such as unauthorized access, data breaches and compromised system integrity. This can result in severe consequences, including legal penalties, financial losses and damage to reputation and customer trust. Shockingly, Wing detected that 1 out of 5 organizations have experienced incomplete offboarding processes for some former employees.

To address this issue, it’s critical to implement effective offboarding procedures, especially for managing insider threats. Leveraging centralized methods like SaaS security posture management (SSPM) can facilitate the manual process of de-provisioning users from core business SaaS and shadow IT applications, minimizing the risk of data leaks and unauthorized access.

  1. Leverage Threat Intelligence for Data Breach Tracking

Access to near-real-time threat intelligence alerts is crucial for staying informed about security incidents, enabling quick reactions to mitigate potential damages. In 2024, CISOs and their teams will continue to face various SaaS security threats, both known and new. To effectively manage these risks, prioritizing threat monitoring and leveraging an SSPM solution is essential.

  1. Gain Control Over Data Sharing Practices

Ensuring effective access control and managing file sharing are crucial steps for organizations wanting to mitigate data-related risks and prevent sensitive data exposure. However, implementing these security measures while adapting to the evolving demands of a rapidly changing business landscape can be challenging.

To address this challenge, implement stringent automated access control measures for your data and regularly review sharing settings and permissions. Additionally, consider adding password protection to sensitive files and actively promote general cybersecurity awareness to prevent data leaks and unauthorized exposure.

  1. Prioritize SaaS Misconfiguration Remediation

Misconfigurations of SaaS applications create vulnerabilities that can lead to data breaches. Mistakes during the setup and onboarding of SaaS applications can lead to accessing sensitive data stored in the cloud. That’s why it is critical to align with best practices in SaaS security to prevent unauthorized access. This can be done by swiftly correcting misconfigurations in your SaaS environment. With a proactive strategy to identify and resolve errors on time, you can boost your defenses against potential breaches.

  1. Optimize Anomaly Detection for Threat Identification

Nowadays, threat actors exploit vulnerabilities more easily, with a growing trend of abusing unsecured credentials found through scanning public codes. Over the past year, this trend has surged across multiple platforms, particularly software development platforms where developers commonly use hard-coded credentials. By remaining vigilant and addressing these vulnerabilities, organizations can effectively mitigate the risk posed by unauthorized access and potential breaches.

Strengthening threat detection capabilities and maintaining vigilance through anomaly detection guards, tracking user behavior, and detecting unusual or suspicious actions are crucial for preserving a resilient cybersecurity posture and safeguarding sensitive data.

  1. Enforce MFA for User Protection

Wing’s findings reveal crucial insights into MFA implementation from within numerous customer environments. We found that a surprising number of organizations did not implement MFA on any of their users, leaving them vulnerable to potential security breaches and compromises. Unauthorized individuals may exploit this lack of authentication protection to gain access to sensitive data, systems or resources.

Implementing MFA is highly effective in strengthening defenses against unauthorized access and SaaS attacks. It stands as the optimal solution to thwart credential-stuffing attacks. It is recommended to implement multiple forms of identification and multi-step login processes, such as numerous passwords and additional verification steps.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected through cloud-based services, the attack surface for organizations continues to grow. From supply chain risks to misconfigurations and the introduction of new risks through AI, the SaaS threat landscape is continuously expanding. However, companies can get ahead of SaaS attacks by taking a proactive and vigilant approach by leveraging the right technology.

Yoav Kalati is the Head of Threat Intelligence at Wing Security, with extensive experience in the security field since 2008. Beginning their career as an Intelligence Analyst with the Israel Defense Forces, they transitioned to a cybersecurity analyst role, eventually leading a team as a cyber threat analyst. In 2018, Kalati assumed the role of Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence Analysis Section at J6 & Cyber Defense Directorate, IDF, subsequently serving as Acting Head of Cyber Research Branch. Currently, Kalati serves as the Head of Threat Intelligence at Wing Security. They attended The Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 2015 to 2018, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and International Relations.

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