SaaS Security Checklist

Every business needs to increase their security posture in a world where cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly relevant. The security plan you put in place will depend on your unique circumstances, so think of this checklist as a starting point and not a final destination. With a reliable SaaS security checklist, you can reduce the number of unknown variables and prepare for potential threats that could burden your resources.

For companies looking to ensure compliance for SaaS, Trava has compiled this SaaS security checklist guide so you can more easily organize and reach your security objectives and know that you are covered for the worst-case scenarios.

What Are the SaaS Security Categories?

Some SaaS examples of appropriate security categories for SaaS companies include application security, cloud security, critical infrastructure security, Internet of Things (IoT) security, and network security. Each area may have its unique techniques, but there is some overlap between areas, which often have similar security vulnerabilities or concerns.

There are many different categories that you'll want to pay attention to when you are creating your SaaS security checklist. These categories each have unique needs and risk factors. Some areas will be more relevant to you than others but all highlight the diverse nature of cyber threats.

Application Security

Application security refers to monitoring applications, particularly ones that are vital to your mission. These types of measures include access controls, security suite components, software updates, and antivirus. However, that's just a small sample of the different measures that companies can use in this category.

Cloud Security

So much of all our lives exist in the cloud. Thus, ensuring all that information is secure must be a priority for any company that uses the cloud. Stronger authentication procedures like password-less authentication are common in this security category. Cloud security can also include access and identity management.

Critical Infrastructure Security

Another important category when making a SaaS security checklist is critical infrastructure security. This is about protecting assets that are required to have safe and secure environments. This security is often related to government, economies, and public safety. Businesses are impacted by critical infrastructure because they need infrastructure like networks to function.

Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Internet of Things (IoT) security refers to the security of IoT technologies, including applications and devices. Protective measures can resist phishing attacks, denial of service attacks, data theft, and more.

Network Security

Organizations have a network infrastructure that has several parts that need protection. Data centers, servers, and routers are examples of key parts that should be secure. Both the technical and administrative portions of these networks must be managed with care. Hence, this type of security focuses on areas like account-based restrictions, file management, data encryption, and beyond.

How to Secure SaaS Applications

A SaaS application audit checklist may help you understand what problem areas your company may have and secure your SaaS applications. Your audit checklist should include:

Remember, when auditing your current security tools, you don't want to only think about present security. Your SaaS security checklist should also include the emerging trends that will influence your future security. It's better to prepare early than to wait until issues are harder and more costly to manage.

What Are the Security Risks of SaaS?

SaaS security risks include vulnerable exploitation, in-house ignorance, third-party risks, unauthorized access, data loss, and loss of resources. These risks are not something you want to neglect. These applications commonly have sensitive data, personal customer information, business data, and many other types of information that can be compromised during a security breach. Cybercrimes are only becoming more prominent and more complex, so SaaS companies must work harder than ever to avoid the potential risks that come if you aren't compliant with security standards.

Vulnerability Exploitation

One issue that SaaS companies face is that they deal with many vulnerabilities. Many of these vulnerabilities can be protected to reduce potential damages. However, when you must deal with so many, it can be a daunting task. New vulnerabilities are constantly emerging, so SaaS deals with a dynamic obstacle that can never be dealt with once and left alone.

In-House Ignorance

When thinking about security, most people think of defensive threats, but well-intentioned ignorance can do just as much damage. If you run a SaaS company, you may have employees who specialize in certain tasks but aren't necessarily that familiar with security measures. As a result, an employee can easily make a mistake without realizing the security risk they are causing. For example, a phishing email can cause a lot of harm. Thus, SaaS companies must be aware of the risk of all types of actors, not just the explicitly malignant ones.

Third-Party Risks

Many SaaS companies work with third parties to reach their goals. These third parties add another layer of potential risks because it's harder to know the behaviors of a third party as intimately as you know your security measures. When working with third parties, you want to pay attention to their security measures and standards.

Unauthorized Access

Access control is a vital part of security. SaaS use lends itself to takeover through accounts. Credentials can be stolen or illicitly obtained by malignant actors. Many companies have protocols that are too lax, leading to poor access control. Tools like multi-factor authentication or single sign-on can help businesses ensure they have a clear idea of who is accessing their information.

Data Loss

One of the biggest concerns that any company has is losing data. Companies rely on their data to run smoothly and promote their company's objectives. Data is especially integral in the SaaS space. While you want to protect all data, certain data is more sensitive and will have greater consequences if it is breached. Data loss doesn't just harm a company's bottom line, but it also harms a company's future potential.

Loss of Resources

When talking about SaaS security, data is the main concern that companies have, and for good reason. Losing data, whether by mistake or malicious attack, compromises the integrity of a company, but it also creates a dangerous chain reaction. Companies lose billions of dollars from cyberattacks each year. Cyberattacks can result in legal damages, countless hours of labor lost, exploitation of sensitive information, reputational damage, resource drainage, and huge financial losses. When you have to recover, especially without a recovery plan, even a small attack can have huge ramifications for a SaaS company.

SaaS companies must be responsible for ensuring that their revolutionary tools provide a certain level of security. If they can not provide this security, they not only set their customers up for failure but also set themselves up to lose reliability and customer loyalty.

What Is the Security Policy of SaaS Companies?

Your SaaS security checklist may show some areas where you need a lot of work. These changes cannot usually happen overnight, and you may not know where to begin. A great starting point is to take your security and review what changes you need to make to fulfill your security goals. You can then create a security policy. This security policy is fundamentally your company's personal "laws" of security. Your policy should outline what security measures you want and how you plan to fulfill them. It should also embody how you want people in the company to engage with the security policy because security is something that everyone in a company is part of, even though one or two people will be making the majority of security decisions.

How Do You Ensure Data Security in SaaS?

One way to ensure data security is to create a SaaS security checklist. There are always going to be incidents that breach and exploit data, but if you take security seriously, you can drastically reduce the issues you have. While some malignant actors use complex methods, many rely on small vulnerabilities they can exploit. Thus, even modest changes can make a huge difference.

For example, training employees on phishing scams and proper security behaviors is a great way to promote data security. Most companies will need to make multiple changes to get up to par but always remember that every change you make has a profound impact on your security.

How Do I Write a Cloud Security Policy?

You can use a SaaS security policy template that helps you outline the way you want your security to function. This can include choosing different policy areas you want to work on, such as cloud security. A strong policy not only defines how you are doing something but why you want to do it. It should make it clear to anyone who reads it where your company stands on cloud security.

A clear policy means that you can maintain best practices with more ease and people within your company are less likely to make mistakes because of ignorance.

What Is a SaaS Questionnaire?

One SaaS risk assessment template you can use is a SaaS questionnaire. This offers some points and questions you can ask yourself to know how you are doing with your security and what kind of risks you've got to deal with. With tools like a SaaS questionnaire, you can better understand where you stand and get in control of your security rather than feeling powerless to unknown threats.

What is NIST 800-53?

The NIST 800-53 was created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is a United States federal agency that deals with a range of tasks, including the development of cyber security standards, guidelines, and best practices. Of the available security frameworks, one of the best-known in the industry is the NIST 800-53.

If you want to comply with the NIST 800-53, you need to comply with NIST's clearly defined standards. Thus, having a SaaS security checklist for NIST 800-53 can help you keep organized.

The heart of the NIST framework includes five functions:

Using this framework, organizations can create security protocols that not only protect against threats but also detect incoming threats early so that response and recovery issues are mitigated.

Optimize Your SaaS Security

When you're looking to get your security into order, having a SaaS security checklist helps you ensure that you are on the right track and are making efficient decisions for your business needs and objectives.

Learn more with Trava about how to make the best decisions for your SaaS company and let us help with important security tasks like compliance project management, compliance strategy, compliance maturity testing, vulnerability management, and overall cybersecurity.


We can help!  Talk to the Trava Team and see how we can assist you with your cybersecurity needs.