There is no doubt that SaaS has revolutionized organizational operations. However, its popularity also presents a variety of security challenges, specifically when it comes to controlling and monitoring its usage. The increase in SaaS adoption has led to a significant rise in shadow IT, creating security risks and vulnerabilities that often go undetected by security teams. To ensure secure SaaS usage, organizations should prioritize SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solutions as an effective and proactive measure against SaaS security breaches.

SaaS usage is skyrocketing

In recent years, SaaS has seen a surge in popularity. Organizations enjoy its scalability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of implementation. At the same time, employees use SaaS for its simplicity and accessibility. By embracing SaaS solutions, both organizations and employees can streamline operations, foster collaboration and boost productivity, all without the heavy and time-consuming infrastructure investments or lengthy onboarding procedures.

Shadow IT and its problems

While many enjoy the benefits of SaaS, it has consequently given rise to shadow IT, where employees independently install and utilize SaaS applications without the knowledge or approval of security and IT teams. While the decentralized nature of SaaS may empower employees, it also creates significant security challenges for organizations. Until now, one of the main concerns has been the lack of visibility into the security status of these applications. Without proper oversight, organizations remain unaware of whether these applications meet their security standards or not, leaving them vulnerable and exposed to potential breaches.

The absence of formalized security measures and oversight increases the chances of unauthorized access, data leakage and malicious attacks. Organizations must address the issue of shadow IT to mitigate potential breaches and protect their valuable assets.

The impact of breached applications

Breached SaaS applications can cause serious harm and damage to an organization, by severely impacting business operations, reputation and customer trust. For example, ransomware attacks are breaches that not only disrupt operations but can also lead to financial losses, reputational damage and compliance issues. In addition to immediate consequences, the long-term impact of breached SaaS applications can be substantial. 

Organizations may face lawsuits, regulatory penalties and fines for failing to protect sensitive data. The loss of customer trust and confidence can result in reputational damage that takes time and resources to fix. Financially, the costs associated with incident response, remediation and implementing enhanced security measures are significant too. In 2023, an IBM report showed that the global average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high figure of $4.45 million, representing an increase of 15% over the previous three years.

Overall, breached SaaS applications can have a cascading effect on an organization, impacting its financial stability, operations, reputation, and relationships with customers and stakeholders. Taking proactive measures to prevent breaches and implementing robust security practices is crucial to mitigate these risks and protect the organization's assets and reputation.

Mitigating the risks of a breach

To mitigate the risks of shadow IT and potential breaches, organizations should leverage an SSPM solution. SSPM enables organizations to monitor, assess and enforce security policies across their SaaS landscape effectively. By utilizing an SSPM solution, security teams gain a holistic view of their SaaS environment, allowing them to identify potential vulnerabilities, ensure compliance and proactively address security concerns.

SSPM solutions provide security professionals with valuable and actionable insights such as risk assessment, near-real-time monitoring and automated security controls. Such solutions empower organizations to enforce security policies consistently with automated remediation, enable security teams to detect and respond to threats quickly and enhance overall SaaS governance. By leveraging SSPM, organizations can stay ahead of potential breaches, protect their sensitive data, and ensure compliance.

Proactive SaaS monitoring to avoid breaches

While reactive measures will always be necessary, prevention remains the ideal approach when it comes to SaaS security. The key is to identify and address potential vulnerabilities before they can arise. This is done by leveraging automation to continuously monitor the SaaS environment to detect suspicious activities, unauthorized access attempts, and irregular user behavior.

There is no doubt that SaaS has transformed the business landscape, offering valuable benefits and opportunities. But the lack of control and visibility associated with shadow IT can expose organizations to SaaS security breaches. By addressing the challenges of shadow IT and adopting SSPM solutions, organizations can implement proactive monitoring practices to help them prevent breaches and better secure their SaaS environment in general.