March 10, 2023

SaaS Security: How to Keep Your Customer's Data Safe

Rodion Salnik

CTO and Co-founder, Brocoders

11 min

The rising popularity of novel technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, along with a rapidly growing adoption of cloud computing, is driving the growth of the global cloud computing market. Approximately 74% of IT leaders worldwide believe that within the next five years, cloud technology will host 95% of all workloads. Migration to the cloud enables businesses of all sizes to efficiently store, access, and manage critical data without the need to invest in on-premise data centers.

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With the rising adoption of the internet, smartphones, and laptops, the need for storing and processing vast amounts of data has increased significantly. Additionally, there has been a rapid increase in technological advancements and the growing adoption of the work-from-home model since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also fuelled global migration to the cloud. According to the results provided by the 2020 Data Attack Surface Report, the amount of data stored in the cloud will exceed 100 zettabytes by 2025, which amounts to 50% of all data worldwide.

The increased adoption of online communication platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype, along with the rising demand for Over the Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV, are among the main factors contributing to the cloud computing market growth. According to the latest reports, the cloud computing market size is predicted to reach $1,614.10 billion by 2030, growing with a CAGR of 17.43% over the 2022-2030 period.

Cloud computing enables enterprises to save costs, innovate faster, and deliver immediate business results with greater agility and flexibility. Shifting to cloud technology has the potential to completely transform your entire business, so it’s wise to start with a comprehensive cloud transition analysis and evaluate all the risks associated with the migration. In our review, we’ll consider how to protect your cloud-based infrastructure, applications, and data and keep your customers’ data safe when using SaaS.

SaaS in cloud computing. Why choose software as a service?

Many organizations nowadays are migrating from their on-premise software to the cloud due to the numerous cloud computing provides. Each of the companies has a different reason to move its workload to the cloud, and goals for each organization vary as well. For some businesses, moving to the cloud can help to reduce operational costs in the long run, while for others, it gives scalability, agility, and security that their on-premise infrastructure lacks.

Depending on the needs, businesses can engage with cloud vendors for different types of cloud-based schemes, the most common of which are:

  • Software as a service/SaaS;
  • Platform as a service/PaaS;
  • Infrastructure as a service/IaaS.

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Depending on the type of cloud computing options, organizations gain varying degrees of control over infrastructure, the number of tools available, and the scale of costs incurred. Let’s look closer at each of these models and check the benefits SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS can provide you with.


Software as a service is the most commonly used option for business owners in the cloud market. It is forecasted to comprise 33% of the total public cloud end-user spending in 2023, growing to $150 billion in 2023 from $115.7 billion in 2022. Organizations choose this model due to its accessibility, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and easy operational management.

SaaS is a software development model which provides organizations with cloud-based Internet access to a wide range of applications managed by third-party providers. SaaS-based software can be accessed from any device with an internet connection and is available 24/7.

Customers can deploy SaaS in three different models:

  • Private cloud. Cloud-based software is built on an infrastructure designed for the exclusive use of a single organization consisting of multiple consumers. The cloud service vendor runs the software within the customer’s network but takes responsibility for securing and managing it.
  • Public cloud. Cloud-based software is built on infrastructure designed for unrestricted use by the public. The infrastructure exists on the cloud provider’s premises and can be owned, operated, and managed by businesses, academic or government organizations, or some combination.
  • Hybrid cloud. This type of software is built on one type of infrastructure but allows customers to switch to another when needed, for example, in times of high demand. In the case of a hybrid cloud, standardized or proprietary technology provides data and application portability.

Hybrid cloud remains the most common setup in cloud computing, with 80% of organizations using this type, according to the Flexera report.

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Platform as a service, or PaaS, represents an arrangement in which a third-party provider provides a platform or a framework for developers to build and manage applications. PaaS allows programmers to focus on code rather than building and maintaining infrastructure. Platform as a service technology offers users virtual infrastructure, such as data centers, storage, servers, and network equipment. Similarly to SaaS, customers can deploy PaaS in one of the three models - private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud.

PaaS is an excellent decision for small businesses and startups as it’s cost-effective and allows companies to focus on what they specialize in without having to worry about maintaining the underlying infrastructure.


Infrastructure as a service is a more comprehensive arrangement in which a third-party vendor delivers the cloud infrastructure to a customer via a dashboard or virtualization. IaaS offers customers maximum control over the infrastructure, while the cloud service vendor manages the storage, servers, and network. Customers can deploy IaaS in models such as private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Providing users with computing, storage, memory, networking and related software like operating systems and databases, IaaS offers excellent flexibility when it comes to hosting custom-built applications and increased security and instant recovery from outages.

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SaaS remains the most popular option among the three cloud computing models reviewed above. According to Gartner, SaaS will account for 33% of the total public cloud end-user spending in 2023, followed by IaaS (25%) and PaaS (23%).

The great popularity of software as a service is due to its cost-effectiveness, accessibility, and operational management. In contrast to the traditional software installation model, where you have to build the server, install the application, and configure it, SaaS-based apps reside on a remote cloud network accessed through the web or an API, while the service vendor manages all the technical issues.

TOP SaaS advantages for businesses

For software developers, SaaS provides faster deployment time than traditional on-premise software. Other crucial benefits of using this model include:

  • Reduced time to benefit;
  • Scalability and integration;
  • Lower costs;
  • Analytics
  • New releases and upgrades.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from SaaS technology, while Brocoders can help you with it, saving you time, effort and resources. SaaS solutions are beneficial for small businesses that don't have the capital, time, or expertise to build their applications or host apps on-premises. Larger companies can also benefit from this software development model using SaaS for short-term projects. Regardless of the size of your company, at Brocoders, we’ll bring your business idea to life and help to develop a SaaS product your costumes will love.

Importance of SaaS security

Securing customer data has become paramount with the increasing popularity of SaaS solutions. In a recent survey of IT professionals, 63% said that security was their biggest concern when it comes to software as a service, as SaaS solutions store and process sensitive customer data, such as financial information and personal data. In today's data-driven world, data breaches can be catastrophic for any business leading to the theft of personal and sensitive data, damage to reputation, and financial losses.

Security is not a product, it's a process. It's a journey

Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier

Cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist, and writer

According to the data provided by Statista, approximately 15 million data records were exposed worldwide as a result of data breaches during the third quarter of 2022. This figure increased by 37% compared to the previous quarter. Since Q1 2020, Q4 2020 saw the most significant number of unprotected data records discovered in Q4 2020, with nearly 125 million datasets.

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SaaS is becoming business-critical, but traditional security measures don’t fully protect SaaS-based apps and the data they contain, which means businesses may be at greater risk of a breach. According to an IBM report, the average cost of a data breach is $4.35 million globally. However, the data breach is not only about financial losses - productivity losses, potential penalties for non-compliance, reputational damage, recovery and legal costs, and the loss of sales prospects also need to be accounted for when assessing the true impact of a security breach.

As the global use of SaaS technology keeps growing, businesses must take a particular interest in their security measures to prevent costly cybersecurity mistakes. Below, we've collected some of the primary SaaS security risks to remember when purchasing a new software.

Main SaaS security risks

SaaS has become a game-changer in the entire IT environment, bringing many benefits to its users and helping companies reduce costs and deploy their products faster and easier. As global SaaS usage and adoption continue to grow, software- as-a-service security concerns are growing along with them. As the most dominant service delivery model, SaaS has the most critical need for security practices, and organizations must keep their security policy flexible enough to keep up with this changing environment.

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SaaS security has generated a lot of controversy in the software as a service community, revolving discussions around the same question- who is responsible for security, the service vendor or the customer? According to an Oracle and ESG5 report, 66% of all organizations found the shared responsibility model for SaaS confusing. It means that organizations don’t fully secure the SaaS elements they are responsible for in the shared responsibility model, putting their data at risk. Listed below are the main perceived security risks that should be discussed with your SaaS provider during the evaluation phase.

Access management

Due to the presence of sensitive data, access management is critical for every SaaS-based application. Customers should know if a single access point to the public cloud can reveal confidential information. You may also ask your provider about the design of access control systems to determine if there is any chance of network security issues like lack of monitoring or poor patching.


Most SaaS products make their system more complex, thereby increasing the chance of misconfigurations. Even minor configuration errors can affect the availability of cloud infrastructure.

Regulatory compliance

After ensuring that your provider has strong endpoint security measures, the next step is to check regulatory compliance. Ask your cloud vendor which jurisdiction governs customer data and how it is determined. Ask whether your cloud apps comply with regulatory, privacy, and data protection requirements like GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, or SOX and whether your cloud service provider holds security certifications like ISO and ITIL.


It’s also essential to check how long the SaaS environment retains the sensitive data you enter into the system and clarify who owns the information available in the cloud: the user or the SaaS vendor. Ask your provider about the cloud data retention policy, who enforces it, and whether there are any exceptions.


Before purchasing new software, you should also check where all the data is stored. To cross-check data storage policies, ask your SaaS provider whether you’ll have any control over the location of the data stored and whether security solutions are available in all stages of data storage. You can also specify whether the data is stored with the help of a secure cloud services provider like AWS or Microsoft, or in a private data center.

Disaster recovery

Ask your SaaS provider what happens to the cloud app and all your data in the event of a disaster and if the force majeure clause in your master service agreement applies. Check if your service provider promises a full recovery and how long it will take.

Data breaches

Specify what measures your cloud application vendor has to prevent security breaches and whether they can investigate any illegal activity or intrusions. Check if your contract holds the other party liable if the breach is due to the pure negligence of your service provider's security team.

International and US/EU-Specific Laws and Regulations

Ensuring SaaS security also involves compliance with international and country-specific laws and regulations related to data protection. Some of the key international laws and regulations that impact SaaS security include:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR);
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are both laws that regulate how companies collect and use data. They both aim to protect consumers' privacy but differ in several ways.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The GDPR is a European Union (EU) regulation that governs the processing of the personal data of individuals within the EU. This regulation applies to companies that collect data from EU citizens, regardless of the company’s location. The GDPR requires businesses to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal data. The regulation imposes significant fines for companies that violate its provisions, up to 4% of a company’s global annual revenue. According to Gartner, "The GDPR is one of the most comprehensive data privacy regulations in the world, and it has far-reaching implications for businesses that operate in the EU."

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

The CCPA is a California state law that gives California consumers the right to know what personal information businesses collect about them and the right to have that information deleted. This regulation applies explicitly to those who live and work in California and have a gross annual income of more than $25 million or collect personal information from more than 50,000 consumers. The CCPA requires businesses to implement reasonable security measures to protect personal information. It is considered one of the strictest data privacy laws in the United States, with fines running into the thousands of dollars if a website doesn’t comply with the regulation.

GDPR and CCPA cover any information relating to an identifiable individual, such as an IP address, email, phone number, name, or whatever else that could match a specific person. The primary difference between these regulations is the scope and territory of their application. Also, unlike California law, the GDPR gives consumers the right to edit or correct their data.

Best practices to ensure SaaS security

Effectively addressing SaaS security challenges requires a new category of products that build on the strength of the existing solutions like CASB and incorporate features from other point solutions, such as data security software as compliance. Most importantly, the solution must keep pace with the growing speed of SaaS environment changes and meet the unique requirements and challenges associated with each stakeholder's responsibilities.

Security is not a one-time task, it's an ongoing process that requires constant attention and improvement

Eric Vanderburg

Eric Vanderburg

Cyber security, storage networking and information technology professional and writer

In order to secure SaaS solutions, it's essential to understand the critical security measures that should be in place. Here are some recommended practices that need to be implemented to ensure SaaS security.

Data encryption

Encryption is converting data into a code to prevent unauthorized access. It's a basic but essential security measure for any SaaS solution. Data should be encrypted both in transit (while it's being sent between devices) and at rest (when it's stored on a server) using encryption protocols such as SSL and TLS.

Encryption is considered one of the critical security measures a company can implement to protect its customer's data. When done correctly, it ensures that even if data is stolen, unauthorized parties cannot read it.

Enhanced authentication

Cloud providers can handle authentication in various ways, making it complicated to determine how users should be given access to SaaS resources. To select one of the available SaaS offerings, the security team must understand which services are being used and the supported options for each service. It will allow administrators to choose the most advantageous authentication method according to the organization’s needs.

A good option is to use Single Sign-On (SSO) paired with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). SSO is a primary security requirement for any company with more than five employees. It allows you to access all SaaS apps after entering your credentials just once and gives IT and security teams the ability to effectively manage user accounts across hundreds of vendors.

SSO also makes it much easier to apply Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), an additional critical layer of SaaS security, to all of your accounts. For example, after signing in using SSO, the user is prompted using MFA to confirm the session by receiving a push notification or text on their phone.

Regular security audits

Regular security audits can help you identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your SaaS solution. A security audit involves reviewing your SaaS solution's security protocols, testing for vulnerabilities, and making recommendations for improvement.

Components of an effective SaaS security audit may include:

  • Data management;
  • Infrastructure review;
  • Checking data accessibility and availability;
  • Privacy concerns;
  • Monitoring logs;
  • Regulatory compliance.

After each successful completion of a security audit, it is crucial to create a penetration testing report that offers an overview of the audit results and recommendations for meeting the business objectives of the SaaS security audit.

SaaS security posture management (SSPM)

SSPM solution ensures that your SaaS apps are correctly configured to protect them from being compromised. It continuously monitors the applications to identify gaps between stated security policies and actual security posture, allowing you to automatically find and fix security risks in SaaS assets and automatically prioritizing misconfigurations and risks by severity.

CASB tools

Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solution will be effective when the SaaS provider doesn’t provide an adequate level of security. It allows organizations to add controls not included or natively supported by SaaS vendors. There are different CASB deployment models, so you can choose the proper deployment configuration (for example, API or proxy-based) for your organization’s architecture.

Employee training

Your employees can be the most vulnerable point in your SaaS security, and a single employee who falls for a phishing scam can put your entire company at risk. That’s why it's essential to train them on best security practices. It can include everything from creating strong passwords to identifying phishing emails.

Training employees on security best practices requires ongoing effort and resources but can effectively help prevent security breaches.

Multi-level guide to integrating SaaS security best practices

To help you incorporate these best practices into your SaaS solution, we've put together a multi-level guide:

Level 1: Basic Security Measures

At a minimum, your SaaS solution should have the following security measures in place:

  • Data encryption in transit and at rest;
  • Strong passwords and password policies;
  • Firewall protection;
  • Regular data backups;
  • Disaster recovery plan.

Level 2: Advanced Security Measures

In addition to the basic security measures, consider implementing the following:

  • Multi-factor authentication;
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems;
  • Regular security audits;
  • Employee training on security best practices.

Level 3: Industry Best Practices

For maximum security, consider incorporating the following industry best practices:

  • Real-time monitoring and alerting;
  • Security information and event management (SIEM);
  • Penetration testing;
  • Regular security training for all employees.

Incorporating these security measures will not only protect your customers' data but also provide peace of mind for you and your business.

Brocoders’ SaaS security solution

To date, SaaS applications have become a valuable target for attackers due to the sensitive nature of the information stored on these systems and the knowledge that SaaS application security is often less stringent.

At Brocoders, we understand the importance of SaaS security. That's why we've developed a comprehensive SaaS security solution that includes the best practices discussed in this article and even more. Our solution includes:

  • Data encryption in transit and at rest;
  • Multi-factor authentication;
  • Regular security audits;
  • Employee training on security best practices;
  • Real-time monitoring and alerting;
  • Security information and event management (SIEM);
  • Penetration testing;
  • Disaster recovery plan.

By incorporating our SaaS security solution into your business, you can rest assured that your customer data is safe and secure. We’ll do our best to protect you from data breaches and malicious insider attacks and help you bring your business idea to life with our SaaS solution.

Wrapping up

More than 60% of organizations worldwide state their cybersecurity budgets are underfunded, while SaaS adoption continues to grow. It means that SaaS adoption will likely continue to outpace the ability of security teams to secure their organization’s critical data leading to data breaches and resulting in productivity losses and reputational damage for companies. The only reasonable way for security teams to bridge this gap is to implement SaaS security best practices by detecting security threats, protecting SaaS environments, and monitoring applications for deviations from established security baselines.

By implementing the best security practices discussed in this article and integrating Brocoders' SaaS security solution into your business, you can ensure the security of your customers' data and protect your business from the devastating consequences of a security breach. Security is a continuous process requiring constant attention and improvement, and at Brocoders, we’re ready to help you with this.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best practices for securing SaaS solutions?
What are the key international and US/EU-specific laws and regulations related to SaaS security?
What is MFA, and how does it enhance SaaS security?
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