One study found that attacks on internet-connected devices happen, on average, every 39 seconds. But there’s every reason to believe that number is a conservative estimate. The sheer volume and ferocity of those attacks, however, means that businesses have to defend their digital infrastructure or suffer the consequences.
But there’s one part of business IT infrastructure that tends to get overlooked during cybersecurity planning. It’s the often large number of SaaS solutions businesses now rely on. Those solutions, while cost-effective and convenient, may represent a massive security vulnerability just waiting to be exploited. And if you’re running a business, here’s why you should conduct a SaaS audit before it’s too late.
SaaS Audits Explained
If you’ve never encountered the term before, a SaaS audit refers to a review process to make sure that every SaaS platform and service you’re using meets the highest possible security standards. In this way, you can be certain that whatever business data you entrust to your SaaS providers will remain safe and secure at all times. Without conducting one, your business could be exposing itself to undue cybersecurity risks.
The process, once completed, will allow your business to take appropriate steps to see to its cybersecurity needs. In some cases, this could mean switching to alternative SaaS providers. In others, it might mean taking some remedial steps to address any security issues identified through your audit. And by the end, your business will have addressed its SaaS security posture and eliminated a critical vector of potential cyberattacks.
Why SaaS Audits Are So Important
With so many digital threats to contend with, businesses often have their hands full trying to secure the hardware under their direct control. And it’s all too easy to assume that a SaaS provider will take care of security on its own. So it’s very common for SaaS security to slip through the cracks. But hackers know this and are all too happy to take advantage of it.
According to an industry survey, at least one in four SaaS applications came under attack in 2020. And in the same year, the average organization reported using 80 separate SaaS apps. That means the average organization – and possibly your business – may have been targeted as many as 20 times through such attacks last year alone.
But unlike attacks on individual devices, a successful attack on a SaaS platform could give hackers access to massive amounts of your data all at once. This means the risk they represent to your business is much greater than you might think. And when data breaches on that scale happen, the damage may be catastrophic. It’s so bad, that up to 60% of businesses fail within 6 months of a successful data breach.
How to Proceed With an Audit
Now that you know why it’s so important to look into your business’s SaaS vulnerabilities, you’re probably wondering how to go about it. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might imagine. The typical SaaS audit roadmap only involves a few steps and doesn’t take long to complete with each of your vendors.
First, you’ll want to gather all of the stakeholders involved in using and managing a particular solution. As an example, for an accounting SaaS platform, you’d need:
- The accounting department manager or a designated representative
- A member of the IT team tasked with integrating or managing the solution
- A member of your business’s cybersecurity team, or a representative of your cybersecurity vendor
Then, you’ll need to prepare a list of questions for the SaaS provider. The department representative can provide the specifics of the data that will flow through the SaaS solution. Then, the IT and security team can craft a list of questions about how that data will be stored and protected on the platform in question.
When the questions are ready, all you have to do is submit them to the SaaS vendor and wait for their answers. If those answers are satisfactory, the SaaS solution has passed its audit. If not, go back to your IT and security team to come up with mitigation steps. If none are possible, it’s time to find a new SaaS solution. And with that, you’ve reached the end of the typical SaaS audit roadmap.
Of course, in isolation, it isn’t difficult to conduct an audit of a single SaaS solution. But since there’s a very good chance that your company uses a multitude of SaaS products, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the scale of the task. For that reason, you may wish to engage the services of a SaaS audit vendor to assist you with the work.
Because they’re so familiar with the audit process and may already have working relationships with many of your SaaS vendors, they can cut down on the time it takes to get the work done. And when it comes to cybersecurity, every saved minute counts. Plus, an experienced SaaS audit vendor will also be able to make recommendations as to how your company can best protect its data at all times. And they’ll often be able to suggest alternative SaaS providers that could be a better fit for your company’s needs.
The Bottom Line
There’s plenty of upside to using SaaS solutions for your business. They can cut costs, increase productivity, and make your business more agile and competitive. But they are not without risk. Every moment that your business spends using SaaS solutions that haven’t gone through a security audit invites the possibility of a successful cyberattack.
And the stakes for your business couldn’t be higher. That’s why you can’t afford to leave your business’s SaaS security to chance. So you should conduct a SaaS security audit before it’s too late. It’s not hard to do, and there’s plenty of help available should you need it – and your business’s continued success may depend on it.