Data Security In SaaS: Who Is Responsible For It?

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It is not uncommon for enterprises to worry about data security while working with SaaS (Software as a Service) applications.

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The responsibility of securing data can often be shared by all parties involved, but each party needs to understand their specific responsibilities.

This article will help you better understand the security risks associated with SaaS applications and what are your responsibilities when working with these products.

Why is SaaS data security so important?

Cloud services have changed the way businesses operate. By incorporating cloud services, companies may access their data from any location on the planet thanks to the internet. This increases flexibility and allows for greater collaboration between employees.

However, with all the gift-wrapped benefits of SaaS applications, comes its own set of security risks. Because SaaS applications are hosted by a third-party, your data is more vulnerable.

If the third-party experiences a data breach, your data could be compromised. This is why it is important to understand the security risks associated with SaaS applications and take steps to mitigate them.

Issues with SaaS security

Issues with SaaS security are often due to the complexity of the environment. Because SaaS apps are multi-tenant, they are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than on-premises applications.

In addition, many companies do not have dedicated security teams to manage and monitor these applications. As a result, data breaches in SaaS environments are on the rise and often result in compliance concerns along with other consequences.

There are several security risks that you should be aware of when using a SaaS application:

  • Data loss: Your data could be lost or deleted if the third party hosting your application experiences a data breach or faces technical issues.
  • Unauthorized access: Hackers could gain unauthorized access to your data if the security of your SaaS application is not properly managed.
  • Theft: Your data could be stolen by hackers or employees of the third-party hosting your application.
  • Tampering: Your data could be tampered with or changed by unauthorized individuals.

If your company is using SaaS applications, it is important to have a comprehensive security strategy in place.

This includes assessing the risks associated with each application and implementing appropriate security controls. It is also critical to be proactive in detecting potential risks and vulnerabilities.

An IT security audit identifies underlying weaknesses and security threats in an organization’s information technology assets. Identifying hazards, on the other hand, has a positive ripple impact on the overall security of the company.

Who is responsible for SaaS security?

Data security in SaaS is a shared responsibility. There are often two sides in the data security of SaaS applications, one being The SaaS Provider and the other being The Business Customer (or End-User).

Both parties have specific responsibilities when it comes to securing sensitive information within SaaS applications.

Provider’s responsibility:

The provider has many responsibilities, including securing their infrastructure. Some may even argue that the entirety of SaaS security should be their responsibility. The basic responsibilities of the SaaS provider include:

  • Security controls: Securing the network, Implementing firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
  • Updates: Ensuring that the applications have the latest security patches installed.
  • Authentication: Restricting access to authorized users and implementing multi-factor authentication.
  • Employees awareness: Employees have been properly trained with the best data security practices.
  • Disaster recovery plan: Have an extensive disaster recovery plan in place in case of an emergency.
  • Security testing: Regularly audit their SaaS applications to ensure that the security controls are in place and functioning properly.

The provider should also be transparent with their customers by making their SaaS security policies available to anyone who wishes to use their services. In case of a data breach, SaaS providers should inform their users and provide access to security dashboards that display all activity within the environment.

User’s responsibility:

The client is also responsible for safeguarding their data. Here’s what every SaaS user must try to follow:

  • Authentication: Ensure that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive data.
  • Security controls: Implement security controls, such as multi-factor authentication and means to share files among peers securely.
  • Regular checks: Assign a team to conduct regular data audits to ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with.
  • Keep tabs: Maintaining a current inventory of all SaaS applications being used by your employees and any vendors who may have access to them.
  • Know your SLA: Make sure that the SLA (Service Level Agreement) includes data security provisions. This will help to hold the provider accountable for any breaches that occur.
  • Use a reputable provider: Only use providers who have a strong track record of protecting data.
  • Review the security features: Make sure the provider has strong security features in places, such as firewalls, encryption, and authentication procedures.
  • Limit access to your data: To limit access to your data, restrict it to only those who need it.
  • Back up your data: Back up your data regularly and store the backups in a secure location.
  • Educate your employees: Make sure your employees are aware of the security risks and how to protect themselves.
  • Maintain your software: Make sure you update and maintain the SaaS applications regularly.
  • Monitor for suspicious activity: Monitor user activity, especially those from unusual locations or devices, and report any suspicious behavior.
  • Security Information Event Management (SIEM): Using a SIEM tool that will report anomalous behavior detected by other security layers. These events might include specific IP addresses trying to brute force into accounts, repeated failed login attempts, or administrator account abuse.

The best way to protect your data is by working with a provider who takes data security seriously and follows the industry’s best practices. By following the suggestions outlined above, you can play your role in safeguarding your data.


As SaaS becomes an increasingly popular way to run businesses, it is important to understand how to protect your data and stay compliant with industry regulations.

If your company is currently using SaaS applications or planning on incorporating them, it is important to be aware of all the associated risks.

In most organizations, security risks are unique to each situation and must be evaluated accordingly. Data security is a joint responsibility. Both sides must collaborate to keep sensitive information safe. By understanding your responsibilities and implementing appropriate security controls, you can help protect your data from being compromised.

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