To save money, organizations provide employees with a wide variety of tools that they can use, and conserve IT resources, businesses are migrating from on-premises to SaaS apps. Price, uptime, and service are all key things to consider when selecting SaaS vendors, but security should be your first priority. The goal of this article is to give advice on how to assess possible SaaS vendors’ security policies.
Why SaaS Security is So Important
Let’s start by considering application security in an on-premises scenario. Most of the time, after licensing technology from a vendor, the internal IT staff is responsible for hardware and software installation, software management on business servers, upgrades, security, and disaster recovery. However, in the SaaS model, the vendor handles the majority of this work–configurations, software updates, security, and management–and delivers these to the client via a cloud platform. Check your cloud’s susceptibility before performing these actions to guarantee you’re being as secure as feasible.
Because a SaaS vendor is likely to have access to some of your company’s sensitive data, it’s critical to engage with companies you can trust. Failure to conduct due diligence could cost your firm millions of dollars and force you out of business.
Furthermore, the ease with which SaaS programs may be purchased (by just making an account on a website), creates an environment that may expose your firm to further danger. On average, companies with 200 to 500 people use 120 SaaS applications. You must be able to handle all of these services consistently, and you must be certain that individual vendors are focused on the security needs of their clients.
What to Evaluate in the Vendor-Client Relationship
You can begin your evaluation of any SaaS vendor by observing how they handle events that directly affect their customers. Here are some things to think about:
Data breaches have become all too common in today’s environment. Every IT outlet has cautioned big and small businesses about how expensive these may be. While merchants should make every effort to avoid such incidents, having a strategy for what follows next is the next best thing they can do. A SaaS vendor should be able to tell you how long it will take them to notify a client after a breach, what they plan to do to rectify or respond to it, and what their financial liability policies are if they are at fault.
Internal Security Audits
Your company probably conducts its own security audits on a regular basis to assess network, infrastructure, and application usage. Reputable SaaS providers follow suit. Potential vendors should be willing to reveal what they review, how frequently they evaluate it, and how it pertains to client data security.
Employees utilize an average of eight SaaS applications per month, in addition to the on-premises systems they must use. If you control employee access with single sign-on (SSO) or identity and access management (IAM) solutions, a new SaaS application must integrate with them. Check that any vendor you’re considering is compatible with the security tools you already have.
State of the Business
While a vendor isn’t required to tell you about its financial situation or whether it’s in the process of being bought, it should be able to tell you what will happen to your data if it goes out of business or changes hands. You don’t want to find yourself in a scenario where you can’t get sensitive information or have to get it through a third party.
What to Evaluate Pertaining to Technical Details
Now consider the more technical aspects of a SaaS vendor, such as how their software is developed, supported, and used by other businesses.
Inquire with your seller about if their product was produced with proprietary, one-of-a-kind code or if it was partially built with open source software (OSS). This is crucial to know because security breaches involving open-source software surged by 71% between 2014 and 2019. The infamous 2017 Equifax data breach was traced back to a known vulnerability in open-source software that the company’s IT team should have corrected.
There’s nothing wrong with employing open-source components, but vendors should be aware of known problems and vulnerabilities and address them as quickly as possible.
Security’s Place in the Development Lifecycle:
A SaaS provider’s security should not be an afterthought. Inquire about their engineering teams’ security considerations during the development process. Is it anything for which they have a specific resource? What part of the development lifecycle does security testing play?
Knowledgeable Support Staff:
Although a salesman may not always have a quick solution to a technical inquiry, their company should have a system in place to route technical inquiries to the person best qualified to respond. Client service teams should follow the same procedure. Be aware of salespeople who rely on marketing materials rather than researching the answers to their prospects’ questions.
Potential SaaS vendors should be able to offer you with a list of firms that are currently using their software. These businesses should ideally be similar in size and industry to yours. This will allow you to speak with a technical leader about the SaaS vendor’s capacity to deliver and whether they have any issues about the service quality.
Regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA may apply to your company, depending on its business and region. Your SaaS vendors must also have rules in place to ensure that they comply with these regulations.
It’s not enough for a vendor to have a logo or a short statement on their website stating that they follow the most popular regulatory frameworks. If you ask, they should be able to provide you with documentation of what they’re doing to meet the requirements’ individual components.
All of these suggestions have one thing in common: they all demand the seller to be open and transparent. SaaS vendors should be as concerned about security as you are. They may not be the proper partner for you if they refuse to share details on how they keep clients’ information safe.