How to Secure Your SaaS Applications

SaaS App Security

Editor’s Note: This is part four of a blog series on securing privileged access and identities in the cloud.

  • Part 1: Five Best Practices for Securing Privileged Access and Identities for the Cloud Management Console
  • Part 2: Best Practices for Protecting Your Organization’s Dynamic Cloud Infrastructure
  • Part 3: Secure Your Cloud Native Applications and DevOps Pipeline in Six Steps

Now more than ever, Software as a Service (SaaS) applications not only enable communication and collaboration, they’re also a lifeline for remote workers, and are helping organizations efficiently manage internal operations, rapidly innovate to stay ahead of the competition and deliver greater customer value.

While a majority of enterprises rely on these business-critical SaaS applications, like cloud-based CRM and email platforms, a CyberArk survey of business and IT decision makers found nearly 70% do not prioritize their protection. Further, 56% or respondents reported an issue that affected the confidentiality, integrity or availability of their business-critical applications within 24 months of the study.

With SaaS applications, it’s relatively easy for an individual within an organization to purchase a subscription with a credit card without going through formal procurement processes or involving finance or IT. While this ease of deployment and adoption is a benefit over traditional on-premises applications, it also gives rise to “shadow IT.” When IT security teams don’t approve, manage or even know about rogue SaaS applications, the risk of exposure and data breaches can increase substantially.

Properly securing and managing SaaS applications is an essential part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Here are five ways to get started:

Treat all administrative access to SaaS applications, such as admin accounts used to set up single sign-on (SSO) integrations, as privileged. In most organizations, a variety of users access admin accounts for SaaS applications, such as Salesforce, ServiceNow, Jira, Docusign, DropBox and more. Take shared accounts for corporate social media platforms, for example. Credentials are often shared across teams and even third-party contractors, and are…