- April 12, 2021
A pragmatic change has been brought to modern business environments by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools. As such, customers and business partners tend to inspect the software capabilities of organizations before engaging in business activities with them. Therefore, to capture attention and interest in product and service offerings, several organizations are now relying on third-party SaaS applications to help facilitate sensitive data; maintain privileged accounts and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) assets. However, organizations sometimes rely on software tools that are integrated into their supply chain infrastructure – such an absolute reliance manifests into software vulnerabilities that impact data privacy and security.
Unfortunately, software developers tend to focus more time on usability and use-case integration, than accounting for the security of a SaaS tool. Therefore, threat actors continue to devise newer methods to circumvent and exploit vulnerabilities in the software code architecture that power critical industries. Hence, the need for consistent SaaS-based penetration testing. SaaS Penetration testing is used to detect for security weaknesses or loopholes in the code structure of a SaaS tool.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of penetration testing (pen-testing) in the software industry, how it can help to validate your SaaS infrastructure and enhance customers’ trust, and how engaging with a competent third-party pen-testing service provider is an efficient option.
Risks Associated with SaaS Tools
Below are some risks that a SaaS software holder should watch out for:
- Phishing threats – Phishing has become a crucial threat to SaaS infrastructures as 90% of reported cyber-attacks are through email phishing. Cybercriminals get important credentials via fake logins by using emails to trick victims. Phishing has also grown to be a form of cloud-based attack as organizations continue to adopt SaaS emails and other productivity applications.
- Account Takeovers – An Account Takeover attack occurs in cases where there has been data leakage by a third party. This type of attack can be performed by employing SaaS infrastructure against organizations using the dark web. Such an account may remain hidden for a long time as it is difficult to find its details.
- Data Loss and Theft – Organizations that depend on SaaS infrastructure always have concerns around the risk of data theft or breach. SaaS applications store their data outside their data center, and in such a condition, the organization has no control over the data, but they are responsible for the security of their customers’ data. Cybercriminals attempt to infiltrate the data by exploiting poor security practices that the general organization is not aware of.
- Malicious Software (malware) Codes – SaaS applications have also become a big source for the spread of malware. According to Bitglass, 44% of SaaS-based organizations have some malware problems, and the attacks taking place within SaaS environments are difficult to identify through control software without the user’s awareness.
- Non-Compliance – As the threat landscape continues to evolve at a rapid rate, governments and industries decided to mandate that software (SaaS) developers are in compliance with certain data security and privacy standards. However, due to the pace of evolution of the said threat landscape, several SaaS platforms tend to fall out of compliance. Thus, they face steep fines that could threaten business operations.
How Pen-Testing Validates SaaS Infrastructures
Security in SaaS companies is relatively different, due to the plethora of customer data and regular updates applied to applications that are used on a daily basis. Therefore, to remain compliant with policies, standards, and regulations, organizations must embark on consistent pen-testing operations. These pen-testing operations help to realign functional requirements with the operational requirements of a SaaS tool.
Below are key factors that are associated with how pen-testing helps to validate SaaS infrastructures:
- Pen-testing checks SaaS companies’ service agreements to ensure that the right policy has been implemented between the company and the client.
- Pen-testing audit software code architectures, to ascertain data governance and regulatory compliance levels, which are useful for determining the responsibilities of users as well as service providers.
- Pen-testing methodology checks for unused system protocols and blocks those services whose dormancy could be exploited by malicious actors.
- Pen-testing probes the functionality levels of security controls, to ensure that they are functioning according to expectation.
- To ease the concerns of customers, whose sensitive data are controlled by an organization, an experienced third-party pen-test provider checks a SaaS tool for all of the OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities, including XSS, CSRF, SQLi attacks, etc.
- A third-party pen-testing service provider delivers after-test reports, laced with actionable steps to mitigate any vulnerabilities that were discovered.
Penetration tests provide documented recommendations that ensure the continuous validation of the SaaS infrastructure. It also helps sites to establish acceptance criteria and mitigates the risk of unknown changes. All companies with the SaaS infrastructure should run penetration tests properly to meet the SaaS validation criteria. If you are a SaaS company holder, ensure that you run a SaaS penetration test as soon as possible by contacting the trusted pen-testing websites with pen testing certification and experience because prevention is better than cure.