Turn back the clock a decade back and you might need all the hardware and software in the world to power your business. Fast forward to today, businesses are slowly but surely embracing software as a service model. Not only does that help them save them from the hassle of maintaining and upgrading their tech infrastructure from time to time but it also saves them a lot of money.
As software as a service solution continues to improve, we have also seen a significant reduction in deployment time. Additionally, deploying SaaS applications can minimize the operational overhead costs and increase business agility in the process. That is why many businesses are jumping on the SaaS bandwagon. Like every other technology, it also has its downsides, which comes in the form of cybersecurity risks.
In this article, you will learn about seven cybersecurity risks you must address before adopting SaaS based applications.
1. Account Takeover
In account takeover attacks, hackers either launch a phishing attack to compromise the corporate credential of an employee or purchase personal and financial information of users on the dark web. Next, cyber attackers use those credentials to escalate privileges and get access to other accounts. The worst part of account takeover is that you might not know that your account has been compromised for months or even years.
Thankfully, you can easily prevent account takeovers by changing your passwords frequently and follow the best practices when setting passwords. Implement two factor authentications so that hackers won’t be able to get access to your accounts even if they have cracked your passwords.
2. Phishing Attacks
Email is still being used as a preferred mode for both internal and external communication and hackers know that. That is why hackers send phishing emails to trick users into delivering payloads through malicious attachments or malicious links. In fact, 90% of all successful cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. That is why it is important to. As more and more businesses adopt SaaS based solutions for email such as Office 365 and G suite, we will see phishing attacks that will target those cloud-based applications too. Hackers will use sophisticated phishing attacks to bypass security protocols in place to protect these cloud applications.
3. Data Theft
Data breaches and data theft are two of the biggest concerns businesses have about SaaS based systems. Using SaaS based applications means that you are storing your data outside your servers and data centers. Even though SaaS vendors are doing their bit to offer data security, lack of control and visibility can deter many businesses from adopting SaaS based applications. You can overcome this problem when you buy VPS server. Cyber criminals can take advantage of vulnerabilities in SaaS applications and poor security practices implemented by SaaS service providers and steal your sensitive personal and financial information.
4. Zero Day Exploits
Hackers are always looking for loopholes in security systems so they can exploit them to fulfill their malicious designs and cloud-based SaaS based applications and platforms are no exception to this rule. There are instances where hackers identify a vulnerability and exploit it before the software vendor releases a patch for it. These types of attacks are known as zero day attacks or zero day exploits. With focusing shifting towards the cloud, we will experience the same phenomenon on the cloud instead of desktop applications and operating systems. SaaS providers should be ready to cope up with unknown security threats as cybercriminals try new techniques to compromise the data stored in the cloud.
5. Unauthorized Access
With little to no control over your data, IT departments do not know who has access to which data and the level of access. For instance, an employee has access to critical business data and he or she deletes that data by mistake, it could result in data loss and make other data more vulnerable to unauthorized access. This could result in data leakage and can dent your business reputation and cause financial damage.
6. Insider Threats
Most businesses tend to focus on external threats and design their cybersecurity strategy accordingly. Due to this, they tend to ignore insider threats, which can usually slip under the radar and can cause you more damage than external attacks. What’s worse is that insider threats don’t always have malicious intent, it can also be caused by human errors or employee negligence. This makes it difficult to track and mitigate. The best way to combat insider attacks is to implement constant monitoring and delete accounts of employees who have left your organization. Keep an eye on employees who have privileges and rights to access your critical business data.
7. Lack of Transparency
Many SaaS providers will claim that they are capable enough to keep your data safe, but many customers still have their reservations on their claims. Lack of transparency complicates things further. Usually, SaaS providers don’t reveal the security protocols and security mechanisms they are using to keep your data safe, which creates doubts in the customer’s mind.
When a customer doesn’t receive satisfactory answers to many security questions, it creates distrust and speculations start creeping, which is not good news for SaaS providers. On the contrary, SaaS providers claim that this lack of transparency and staying tight lipped about operations and data center location is important to ensure the safety of your data. Some users might buy into that argument, but others won’t.
SaaS based apps have different security requirements as compared to traditional apps. You will have to take steps to prevent unauthorised access, data theft and minimise the risk of account takeovers. More importantly, you should increase awareness and train your staff, so they don’t become a victim of phishing attacks. Keep everything up to date to minimise the risk of zero-day attacks. Keep an eye on employees that have access to sensitive data to reduce the risk of insider threats.
How do you cope up with cybersecurity risk associated with migrating to SaaS based applications? Let us know in the comments section below.