Moving data and applications to the cloud is a natural evolution for businesses. Adopting new technologies that save money, bandwidth and resources is a smart choice, allowing companies and their employees to focus on what’s important. Gartner estimates that software-as-a-service (SaaS) revenues will grow to $151.1 billion by 2022. Organizations making the journey to the cloud should consider the benefits of SaaS, but also how to maintain SaaS security.

Benefits of SaaS Applications

  • Ease of use – User experience and acceptance are key when introducing new technology. SaaS applications are easy to use, making adoption within the organization a breeze.
  • Quick deployment – Installation and configuration of SaaS apps are quick and painless. By utilizing the cloud, the apps are easily accessible to users.
  • Cost-effective – IT can quickly spin up the apps without needing to buy hardware. Additional cost savings come by reducing the time employees spend on installation, configuration and management.
  • Simple maintenance – Instead of having your IT department manually upgrade your apps, that responsibility falls to the SaaS vendors, saving you IT resources.
  • Scalable – Since SaaS apps live in the cloud, they are scalable, no matter how small or large your organization is. Remote users are able to access the apps no matter their location.

The average employee uses at least eight applications, but as employees use and add more SaaS apps that connect to the corporate network, the risk of sensitive data being stolen, exposed or compromised increases. It is important to consider the security of the apps, what data they have access to and how employees are using them.

SaaS Security Considerations

  • Vet an app’s credibility, IT resilience and security before allowing it access to your data. If security is not a top priority for the SaaS vendor, then it is best to look for a different vendor. Make sure the vendor has a backup plan in the event of a disaster. You don’t want a downed app affecting your business.
  • Visibility and control over unvetted SaaS apps that employees are using. Without knowing what apps employees are using, you won’t be able to control what that app has access to.
  • Protect sensitive data from SaaS apps and limit what users can access. Access controls for employees, third parties and contractors are critical to protecting data and reducing data leaks. While sharing is a key benefit of SaaS apps, oversharing and accidental exposure of sensitive data can happen without proper control in place.
  • Ensure proper protections are in place for when users access SaaS applications from untrusted devices.

Learn additional best practices and SaaS security tips in our e-book, “Making SaaS Safe: 7 Requirements for Securing Cloud Applications and Data.”

View the original post by Palo Alto Networks.

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