Ensuring compliance for SaaS platforms is not just a best practice—it’s absolutely essential. Organizations gravitate toward SaaS solutions for their flexibility and scalability, but along with the benefits come significant security considerations. Understanding the top security issues in SaaS is crucial for safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining regulatory compliance.

When discussing compliance for SaaS, it's essential to address the potential security risks involved. Implementing a robust SaaS security checklist is key to fortifying your organization's defenses against cyber threats.

This article will cover the seven major categories of security challenges related to SaaS and cloud computing, as well as how you can keep your data, systems, and applications secure.

What Are the Vulnerabilities of SaaS?

The first step toward keeping your SaaS environment secure is understanding the most common vulnerabilities. SaaS risk assessments help you understand the vulnerabilities inherent in SaaS environments, a crucial component of risk management. Some of the most common vulnerabilities include:

  • Insecure APIs: Weaknesses in SaaS application programming interfaces (APIs) can expose sensitive data to unauthorized access.

  • Data Leakage: Inadequate data leakage prevention mechanisms can result in the unintentional exposure of sensitive information.

  • Inadequate Authentication: Weak authentication mechanisms, such as reliance solely on passwords, can compromise SaaS security.

  • Lack of Data Segregation: Failure to segregate data properly within a multi-tenant SaaS environment can lead to data leakage between users.

  • Limited Control: Organizations may have limited control over security configurations and updates in SaaS environments, increasing the risk of vulnerabilities.

What Are the Seven Security Issues Relating to Cloud Computing and SaaS?

As businesses increasingly rely on a growing number of different SaaS applications to power their day-to-day operations, they must be vigilant about certain security issues—especially when you consider that the average business uses over 100 different SaaS applications. Among the most common SaaS examples include CRM platforms, collaboration solutions, communication channels, and so on.

But with these versatile applications come unique security challenges. Here are the seven major categories to consider:

1. Access Management

By configuring the right access controls, issues like account hijacking and insider threats can be effectively mitigated.

  • Access Controls: Implementing granular access controls ensures that only authorized users can access sensitive data within the SaaS platform.

  • Account Hijacking: Cybercriminals may target user accounts to gain unauthorized access to SaaS platforms. Strong password policies and multi-factor authentication can help prevent account hijacking incidents.

  • Insider Threats: Malicious insiders or negligent employees can pose a significant risk to SaaS security. Implementing strict access controls and conducting regular security training can mitigate the threat of insider attacks.

2. Cloud Misconfigurations

One of the most commonly-experienced SaaS security issues arise from misconfiguration or setup errors related to cloud services. Whether these misconfigurations reduce an organization’s efficiency or create major vulnerabilities, they can cause a wide range of problems.

3. Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the industry a company operates in, it is required to comply with certain regulations—such as HIPAA or PCI. As the number of SaaS applications in use continues to grow, so too does the need for a proactive approach to compliance. That way, companies can meet their compliance obligations and always be ready when it’s time for an audit.

  • Compliance Challenges: Meeting regulatory compliance requirements, such as GDPR or HIPAA, can be challenging in SaaS environments. Organizations must ensure that their SaaS providers adhere to relevant compliance standards.

  • Regular Audits: Conducting regular security audits helps identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance with industry standards.

4. Storage and Retention

Customers increasingly expect companies to keep their sensitive personal information safe and secure—without conditions or exceptions. Organizations must be careful about how they store data, underscoring the importance of data encryption and the prevention of data loss.

  • Data Encryption: Encrypting data both in transit and at rest is crucial for protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access.

  • Data Loss: Accidental deletion or corruption of data can result in substantial losses for organizations. Implementing robust data backup and recovery procedures is essential to mitigate this risk.

  • Disaster Recovery: For subscription-based SaaS applications, time is money. Organizations must enact measures for quickly addressing issues to minimize unplanned disruptions and downtime.

5. Risk Management

In addition to maintaining internal security protocols, organizations must also be vigilant in mitigating any vendor or third-party risks.

  • Vendor Risk: Assessing the security posture of SaaS vendors is essential to mitigate third-party risks effectively.

  • Third-Party Risk: An organization’s own data security is only as strong as the security measures of any third parties—including individual SaaS vendors—the company works with.

6. Security Monitoring

Any business that uses one or more SaaS applications and stores any sort of sensitive data needs to have plans in place for ongoing security monitoring. That way, recognized threats can be quickly discovered and addressed, and when new threats emerge they are promptly detected and investigated.

  • Ongoing Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of SaaS applications helps detect and respond to security incidents promptly.

7. Privacy and Data Breaches 

As mentioned before, customers have little patience for lax security. Companies don’t immediately gain their customers’ trust, after all. It must be earned, over time, as the organization demonstrates that not only are their systems and procedures entirely secure—they are also agile and alert to new or emerging threats.

  • Data Breaches: Unauthorized access to sensitive data poses a significant threat in SaaS environments. Weak authentication measures and inadequate data encryption can leave data vulnerable to breaches.

How Do You Mitigate SaaS Risks?

At the end of the day, when it comes to SaaS security, companies have little room for error. Mitigating SaaS security risks with efficiency and effectiveness requires a proactive approach to security, including measures such as:

  • Implementing Robust Authentication: Enforce strong authentication measures, such as multi-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to SaaS platforms.

  • Encrypting Sensitive Data: Utilize encryption technologies to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access both in transit and at rest.

  • Regular Security Training: Educate employees about SaaS security best practices and raise awareness about potential threats.

  • Monitoring User Activity: Implement robust user activity monitoring to detect suspicious behavior and unauthorized access attempts.

  • Staying Informed: Stay abreast of emerging security threats and vulnerabilities in the SaaS landscape and adapt security measures accordingly.

How Do You Mitigate SaaS Risks?

At the end of the day, when it comes to SaaS security, companies have little room for error. Mitigating SaaS security risks with efficiency and effectiveness requires a proactive approach to security, including measures such as:

Better Security Starts with Trava

Ensuring the security of SaaS platforms is paramount in today's digital age. By understanding the top security issues and implementing proactive security measures, organizations can mitigate risks and safeguard sensitive data effectively.

Ready to Learn More about Safeguarding Your SaaS Platform?

At Trava, we’ve built a platform that brings together a unique set of cybersecurity compliance features, including data privacy services, vulnerability management, and more. Contact us today to speak with a security expert and take your first step toward a more secure SaaS environment.