About 70% of the business apps organizations use are SaaS based, which will be about 85% by 2025! Most of this growth is spurred by the remote and hybrid work culture that came into effect during the pandemic.
This means these organizations store their data(including sensitive and confidential data) in the cloud using these apps, which makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks if not protected.
On average, a data breach could cost about 4.24 Million USD to an organization. Not to forget the impact it can have on a business’s reputation and sales!
Fortunately, there are ways for you to prevent your SaaS website from becoming the next victim and protect your company’s and your customer’s data.
Let’s explore them all in this article and help you take a step towards securing your SaaS website.
Enforcing website security for your SaaS application
Today, SaaS website security has become more complicated than ever— because of increased users and new features being introduced regularly. Even big companies like LinkedIn have suffered a data breach this year, making it a bigger concern for most SaaS companies out there!
What does that tell you? Though you can’t fully protect your website against such mishappenings, following security measures and data privacy protocols will help you prepare for such incidents and nip them in the bud!
Here are some security measures you should never fail to implement.
1. Know the threats you’re subject to
The first step to prevention is seeking education. Gather information about vulnerabilities, security threats, malware attacks, data compliance, etc. Invest in courses or hire a professional to educate yourself and your team about website security.
Keep yourself updated through websites like OWASP, which provides news and updates related to security and helps you learn many aspects of it.
While you’re at it, if you use an application to track vulnerabilities on your website, understand how the application works. Dig deep into how the tracking software collects information and how effective it is so that you can make informed decisions about the kind of security measures you need.
2. Strengthen access management
Make it difficult for a hacker to break into your network. This is best done by encrypting the information you send to the server and receive from it.
When you encrypt data, it’s garbled, so only someone with the key can read it. One can do this using software or hardware, and there are different levels of encryption depending on the type of information being protected (e.g., credit card numbers).
Another way to restrict access of an unknown party to your network is to implement two-factor authentication (2FA) on your website. 2FA is a form of security requiring two forms of verification before accessing your account.
The simplest way to implement 2FA is via SMS text messages sent from the service provider’s server at specific times and intervals during the day. However, you can also send one-time codes over email for authentication.
Additionally, you can opt for VPN services to mask your server’s IP address with end-to-end encryption.
3. Know your CCPA and GDPR compliance protocols
Data breaches during the 2020 Covid lockdown affected more than half a million people. This was when most of the global population used video conferencing apps to stay connected during the crisis.
These cyber-attacks led people to become more concerned about their data privacy. They’re now keen to know how companies use their data and if it’s safe with them.
Luckily there are laws that govern users’ rights to data privacy, making it mandatory for companies to follow the protocols to avoid hefty fines.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) law allows residents of California to gain control over their personal information. They can opt out of sharing their information on a website or request the company to delete or modify their information.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), on the other hand, is a set of security protocols for businesses to implement to stay compliant.
How does CCPA differ from GDPR?
Knowing how CCPA differs from GDPR will help you make an informed decision for your business and avoid paying fines and handling repercussions. The idea is to know what all laws apply to your business based on location, products, company size, revenue, etc.
CCPA is essentially an “opt out” regulation while GDPR is “opt in”. This means GDPR allows users to provide consent to a company to use their information, while CCPA allows them to modify it.
However, being CCPA compliant doesn’t mean you don’t need GDPR compliance as well (and vice versa).
4. Beware of SQL injection attacks
One of the extreme kinds of cyber-attacks is SQL injection, where attackers exploit security holes in your database and inject malicious SQL commands.
An SQL injection attack can be detrimental to a company as hackers can access their most confidential data, or worse, they may delete or manipulate it.
You can implement the following techniques to prevent such attacks.
- Enforcing protocols around the kinds of SQL queries your database accepts
- Allowing only valid SQL queries to pass through
- Using generic error messages to fool hackers
- Limiting database admin privileges
- Updating your database and applications frequently
5. Take frequent updates, and backups
Updates are important. They help protect against new threats and vulnerabilities, fix bugs, and ensure your software is up to date with the latest features. Automate every update and have a team dedicated to performing and governing the process.
Make sure you backup your data before launching an update. If you’re not regularly backing up your data, an attacker can steal it and use it against you or someone else who has access to their files.
You should also store backups offsite in case there’s ever an emergency. Because if someone does manage to steal them from your server room or office building location, no one else can get at them too easily, either electronically or physically.
If you have a set process for this, it will be easier for everyone involved in running your company to follow through on their responsibilities.
6. Add layers of security
If a hacker or malicious actor gains access through one avenue (like an unprotected password), they might also try another route. They might use multiple methods at once to hack straight into your system without being detected by any of them!
Ensure that access privileges are restricted by role and assigned appropriately throughout the organization. For example, suppose a customer service representative needs access to a system that contains sensitive information. In that case, it’s important to map out who has what level of access to prevent any breaches or unauthorized actions from being taken.
It may seem like overkill at first glance, but restricting access privileges can help protect your data from being stolen or lost in an attack by minimizing the chances of someone taking control of your systems without you knowing about it.
Moreover, this will allow you to understand better how people use your website so they can be made aware of any unusual changes taking place on their end. This could indicate an issue with security measures within the SaaS platform.
7. Audit third party integrations
This is one of the most important things you can do to improve your website security. Ensure that all your business partners have an up-to-date certificate and that they’ve been tested by a third party to ensure they work as expected.
It’s easy to get carried away with managing everything yourself, but if you’re not careful, this can lead to problems down the line when a vulnerability in one part of your site affects another part.
For example, if someone hacks into your PayPal account, you might not be able to pay for something on Amazon because its payment system was compromised too!
8. Security in SDLC process
Often, businesses think about security as their last resort—when the unfortunate has happened or when the news about data breaches haunts them!
When designing and developing your website, you must think about security from the beginning. This includes choosing secure hosting providers and using secure coding practices.
Following security practices from the start helps you avoid any major or minor setbacks and security bugs. You may use static application security tools to examine your application’s source code and identify any security flaws.
Keep these things in mind
Keep files out of folders with names like “docs,” “pdfs,” etc., because these are often targeted by hackers looking for information about new products or services (and often contain sensitive data). Instead, use descriptive file names like “Order form” or similar terms that don’t have anything else in them besides what you’re trying to hide!
Additionally, avoid public access to sensitive information on your website. If you don’t want anyone to see the details of a specific product or service, consider making it available only through an internal portal that only employees can access.
9. Test for security vulnerabilities
SaaS applications are cloud based, and multiple users can access them simultaneously. Therefore, it gets difficult to identify malware and threats explicitly.
Instead of manually looking for vulnerabilities, you can use a real-time SaaS application security testing system to do so. A tool that can detect vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Social Engineering, etc., is the one you want to invest in.
Go for a mix of manual and automated security testing approaches for your SaaS applications. This will help you save time, money, and resources in the long run!
Some things to consider
Performing periodic security scans are essential for making sure your website is secure.
- Scan for vulnerabilities and track down potential access points to prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access to your systems.
- Perform a monthly or quarterly scan. The less time between when an attack occurs and when they’re detected by your system, the better.
10. Formulate a recovery plan
There’s always a chance that an attacker might manage to sneak in, no matter how well you protect your website. You must have an action plan for mis happenings like these.
- Analyze the impact of the vulnerability, how severe it is, and what you should immediately do
- Find out if anything was stolen, manipulated, or only accessed.
- Secure your logins and change your passwords
- Get immediately notified after a breach with a fraud alert or credit freeze action
- Try to reduce the time between discovery and remediation by hiring the best team to help you out
Summing it up
As a SaaS company, your website is the foundation of your business. It’s where you generate leads, showcase your product, and close deals. A security breach can not only damage your reputation, but it can also jeopardize your customers’ data and your business’s future.
However, you need to be able to understand all aspects of security and how they intersect with each other. Moreover, your business and technical teams must work together to protect your site from hackers and other threats.
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