The need to strengthen security: Growing cyber threats and choosing a cybersecurity SaaS

At a Glance

Reports have indicated the vulnerability of SaaS applications to cyber threats, much like anything in an internet-driven world. Thus, comes the need for an organization to be prepared to counter such threats and remain cyber resilient. As Cybersecurity issues continue to grow, many of them have also started to adopt and outsource modern solutions to cybersecurity SaaS providers, which is another growing trend

A world without the internet is unimaginable. Everyone uses the internet today; from brick and mortar companies to large multinational corporations, businesses have benefited from the internet boom. However, the boom is also accompanied by numerous lacunae and vulnerabilities, occurring time and time, for which redressals are worked upon, now and then. A major vulnerability comes in the form of ever-evolving cyber threats. 

Rising cyberthreat issues call for immediate actions. In a data-driven world such as this, cyber-attacks targeting data breaches can have severe ramifications for an enterprise, organization, or individual. Therefore, it becomes more critical for businesses to safeguard themselves from rising cyber attacks by strengthening their cybersecurity prowess.

Cybersecurity issues for organizations are not one-time occurrences. Attacks that occurred recently point to trends and rising troubles. RSI Security, a cyber-security-focused technology company that helps private and public sector organizations using data-backed patterns in cybersecurity attacks, seconds this claim. Quoting a report from a 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Overview, it states that the average cost of data breach amounts to $3.62 million, which has a 25 percent chance of recurring in the next couple of years.

 An example of this would be Facebook’s user data breach, otherwise known as the infamous Cambridge Analytica Scandal in 2018, soon followed by the Instagram data breach, which again witnessed user data scraping instances. Hence, it is a fact that until the internet is freed from the clutches of cyber threats, everything that relies on the internet remains under a vulnerability radar.

Another trend that has picked up pace in the recent past alongside the all-time-high demand for the internet, is the rise in software-as-a-service (SaaS) model adoption instead of on-premise software or commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS). Companies that use SaaS rely on their vendors to host their applications in the cloud instead of running them on their own data centers. With the growing popularity and adoption of SaaS comes security concerns, owing to the vast volumes of organizations’ crucial data being involved in running a business. They are exposed to cyber threats such as malware (malicious software), ransomware, phishing (obtaining data under pretense), and others.

According to a Mckinsey survey, companies do not always feel comfortable with the indirect relationship to cybersecurity risk that SaaS vendors present to organizations they sell. More importantly, the post states that SaaS vendors do not always ensure that their products meet customers’ security requirements. 

Where are the lacunae?

Now comes the question of how SaaS-powered organizations fall prey to cyber threats, which gives rise to the security challenges of SaaS companies. In the report mentioned above, Mckinsey-surveyed companies mostly used SaaS for their office automation, IT-services support, and niche business applications. It states that while each issue in the security area that an organization faces had more to do with the interface and interactions between the customer and SaaS provider than with the SaaS product’s internal problems.

An article on Hacker News elucidates another issue. The problems of unsanctioned applications’ as it states, contribute to a set of problems. For instance, if one writes an article on Google Docs, then the actual problem is not in the G-Doc itself but in other departments being informed that the report is being compiled on G-Docs. Ultimately, the matter comes down to visibility within existing departments in an organization. These apps are considered ‘shadow IT‘ and are used without the permission or knowledge of internal departments. Similar issues can occur when a word document is synced through other SaaS applications such as DropBox. 

Another issue can be with respect to unfixed bugs. The 2017 Equifax breach, where hackers had penetrated an open-source web application due to an unpatched bug in Apache Struts, is an example. The incident led to the breach of volumes of confidential information of about 148 million Americans. This reveals another lacuna. Untimely repair of bugs and installation of updates can lead to potential problems.

Suggested ways

Since organizations deal with huge volumes of data that are also shared with their SaaS applications to run their businesses, it becomes crucial to look towards cybersecurity. While standard IT security solutions include an in-house security team or outsourcing to cut down on organizational time spent on it, cybersecurity SaaS is also growing in popularity. Cybersecurity SaaS involves an outsourced approach that lets organizations pay for their service on a subscription basis.

A blog post of RSI Security states that since cybersecurity is mainly outsourced, with only about 25 percent of the companies having their own standalone department; firms these days are turning towards cybersecurity SaaS companies. However, there is the need for a diligent approach to be followed in choosing one.

  • Knowing the company

One important thing to assess before availing of service from any company is knowing their background. And for something as imperative as cybersecurity, it becomes all the more necessary. Coupled with it is the need to understand the compliance requirements. For instance, a healthcare business looking to outsource cybersecurity, must be assured that the cybersecurity SaaS provider understands compliance requirements such as HIPAA. 

That asunder, information on the type of technology such companies use to determine their capabilities, background information, and data on client base they cater to must be thoroughly analyzed.

  • Customer support

A report by Oracle suggests that about 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better consumer experience. Opting for a SaaS cybersecurity company with solid support and providing open communication channels becomes a crucial element. This is essential as the company must not just work towards addressing and mitigating the cyberthreats involved but also communicate it and openly discuss its implications with its customer. 

  • Technologically updated

As the cyber arena is constantly evolving, giving rise to different kinds of threats, there is a need for cybersecurity SaaS providers to be technologically sound and updated to counter it. A 2018 Thales data threat report indicated that companies using SaaS applications were afraid of preventing attacks from the outside. There is a need to choose a company that relies on reports, partnerships, and personal expertise to provide cutting-edge services for development and growth. Cybersecurity SaaS providers must think about protecting an organization and update its battle plans frequently.

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