Top SaaS cybersecurity threats we’ll see in 2023
With the rise of software as a service (SaaS), cybercriminals are increasingly targeting this area. This year, threats in these environments will continue to proliferate, making it essential to take extreme precautions.
Ensuring security in SaaS environments is not easy. Still, it is not impossible, but it is required for the whole sector because, besides companies from the field of accounting services or paper help for students, these companies are often techno giants represented in the fintech sector. The growth of threats in this area makes it essential to reinforce security in this area, for which it will be key to take into account these four aspects.
Web application weaknesses
Web applications are at the core of SaaS companies’ operations and can store some of the most sensitive information, such as customer data.
Often, SaaS applications are what is called ‘multitenant,’ that is, multiple owners or users. They must therefore be well protected from attacks in which one customer could access another customer’s data by exploiting logical flaws, injection flaws, or weaknesses in access control.
These errors are easy to exploit by cybercriminals and easy to commit when writing code.
Performing security tests with an automated vulnerability scanner combined with regular pentesting (system access testing for vulnerabilities) can help design and build more secure web applications.
CTOs or DevOps engineers are responsible for securing every cloud configuration, user role, and permission to ensure they comply with company policy.
Configuration errors can be extremely difficult to detect and fix manually. According to Gartner, these errors account for 80% of all data security breaches, and by 2025, human error will account for up to 99% of errors in the cloud environment.
To mitigate this risk, monitoring the external network is essential, as well as performing access tests on the cloud infrastructure that will show potential problems that may exist. Among them misconfigured S3 repositories, or firewalls and cloud accounts that are too permissive.
A wide range of tools on the market can help perform these tasks to scan for vulnerabilities and monitor the attack surface, ensuring that only services that need to be exposed to the Internet are accessible.
Vulnerable software and patching
While it may seem obvious, it’s still a big problem that persists in many businesses. And SaaS is no exception.
When hosting an application, it is key to ensure that operating system and library security patches are applied as they are released. But keep in mind that this is an ongoing process, as security vulnerabilities in operating systems and libraries are constantly being found and patched.
DevOps practices and ephemeral infrastructure can help ensure the service is always deployed on a fully patched system with every release. However, monitoring any new weaknesses that may be discovered between releases is also key.
An alternative is free (and paid) serverless and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings that run the application in a container, which takes care of patching the operating system for the client.
Weak internal security policies and practices affecting SaaS
Many SaaS companies are small and growing, and their security posture may be weak. However, cybercriminals make no distinction in this regard. A few simple steps, such as using a password manager, enabling two-factor authentication, and committing to security training, can significantly increase protection.
Having a password manager is a cost-effective and easy-to-implement option that helps maintain unique and secure passwords across all online services.
Enabling two-factor or multi-factor authentication whenever possible will also help to strengthen security. Two-factor authentication (2FA) requires a second token and the correct password. This could be a hardware security key (more secure), a time-based one-time password (moderately secure), or a one-time password sent to a mobile device (less secure).
Not all services support 2FA, but where it is supported, it should be enabled.
And, of course, cybersecurity awareness is critical. Ensure your team understands how to maintain good security hygiene, especially when recognizing and avoiding clicking on phishing links. However, the proliferation of cyber threats means that cybersecurity training and awareness is an aspect to consider and renew often to avoid being left behind.