SaaS security automation may be able to self-heal

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Despite massive investments in cybersecurity, SaaS security remains a major enterprise challenge. One reason is the explosive growth of SaaS adoption. According to recent research, organizations use an average of 110 SaaS apps, representing a nearly 7x increase in SaaS app usage since 2017 and a nearly 14x increase since 2015. SaaS security automation could aid in the resolution of current security issues.

But it’s not just SaaS growth that’s putting a strain on security, and the use of shadow applications still plagues most organizations. Nearly three-quarters of IT professionals are concerned about unapproved SaaS applications to paint a picture.

The rise of SaaS has broadened attack surfaces, increasing the probability of data breaches. We’ve seen a 20-fold increase in the number of files containing PII created at companies that use SaaS applications. Attackers are well aware of this and are increasingly adept at locating the back door — whether it is a flaw in the infrastructure or an unintentional misconfiguration.

Better automation and visibility: SaaS security

Most security teams are incapable of managing the access privileges of thousands of users across hundreds of SaaS applications daily without missing something. And if they discover any problems, such as thousands of exposed files containing sensitive information, they have no way of controlling them.

SaaS applications are designed and built to facilitate collaboration and data sharing, which is essential for both employee and business productivity. However, sensitive information passes through these apps, and employees frequently make mistakes, such as leaving files open to the public without realizing it. Bad actors are well aware that most employees are not security experts, and they take advantage of this.

Once IT overcomes the visibility challenge and automates, there will be significant progress toward “self-healing security.” It shows security that improves over time rather than degrades.

Is self-healing SaaS security possible?

But how does self-healing security work in practice? A group of platforms that work together with significant automation is required to make it fast and accurate. These platforms address visibility across SaaS applications, file and user management, and automated “red team” testing to identify and prioritize security gaps. They then manage the remediation process and ensure that the fixes are effective. Some industry ecosystems have already integrated platforms to address this cycle of Visualize→ Detect→ Prioritize fixes→Automated remediation→Validation of “healing.”

Much of the response, depending on the issue, can be automated. For example, suppose a user publicly shares a social security number file. Your security should detect the problem automatically, unshare the file, and notify your security team. Another universally applicable example: every company requires automated detection of employee terminations and immediate user de-provisioning across all applications and personal information resources.

Because data exfiltration can occur quickly, automation is critical for speed. The average time to repair (MTTR) application security breaches are typically estimated to be 50 days, unacceptable. Cutting it by 99.99 percent would be an excellent place to start!

Self-healing SaaS security should not necessitate many vendors and platforms, nor should it necessitate dozens of point security controls. There is reason to be optimistic about reversing the constant security breakdown with careful product selection to acquire and align SaaS management and security platforms. Self-healing security should relieve your security teams of the most time-consuming and error-prone aspects of SaaS oversight, allowing them to be more strategic and proactive.

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