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The Paradox of SaaS Security in High-Tech Companies

High-tech companies, with their cutting-edge technology and young, tech-savvy workforce, might seem to have a leg up when it comes to cybersecurity. However, their familiarity with technology can sometimes lead to a blind spot when it comes to Software as a Service (SaaS) security configurations.

During the previous holiday season, Slack experienced a security breach where private code was stolen from its GitHub repository. Although Slack assured that the stolen code did not affect production and no customer data was compromised, this incident serves as a wake-up call for tech companies. The breach was facilitated by stolen tokens, which allowed threat actors to access the GitHub instance and download the code. If such an attack can happen to Slack, it can happen to any tech company, underscoring the need for a serious approach to SaaS security.

This is not the first time a GitHub breach has occurred. In April, an attacker downloaded data from numerous private code repositories after stealing an OAuth token from Heroku and Travis CI-maintained OAuth applications. MailChimp, a popular SaaS app for managing email campaigns, suffered three breaches over a year, with customer data being used in attacks against cryptocurrency companies. Other tech companies like SevenRooms, PayPal, and Atlassian have also fallen victim to data breaches.

These incidents highlight that tech companies are not impervious to data breaches. Protecting proprietary code, customer data, and employee records stored within SaaS applications should be a top priority.

Tech companies often rely heavily on a diverse range of SaaS applications, from collaboration platforms to sales and marketing tools, making it even more challenging to secure the entire stack. Employees frequently use SaaS apps for their daily work, necessitating strict governance of identities and access. Furthermore, these users often log into their SaaS apps from various devices, potentially posing a risk based on the device's security hygiene.

The high-tech industry is characterized by periods of rapid growth followed by downsizing. During such transitions, it's crucial to manage access to SaaS applications effectively. Deprovisioning employees from SaaS applications is a critical element in data security, but it's not always straightforward, especially with SaaS applications not connected to the company directory.

The industry is also rife with mergers and acquisitions, which bring their own set of challenges. The acquiring company needs to establish a baseline for SaaS security and monitor all SaaS stacks of merged or acquired companies, while ensuring business continuity.

Most data breaches impacting tech companies originate from stolen credentials and tokens. Therefore, Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) is crucial for picking up suspicious events that might otherwise go unnoticed. A SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solution with threat detection engines can alert when there is an Indicator of Compromise (IOC).

In conclusion, high tech companies, despite their technological prowess, face significant challenges in maintaining a robust SaaS security posture. SaaS Security Posture Management is essential to prevent SaaS breaches, and an SSPM with ITDR capabilities can significantly enhance the security of your SaaS data.


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