SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is ubiquitous. And with SaaS comes another cool kids prevalent and cheaper technology: the cloud. But as more and more business engage with applications “in the cloud” or contract SaaS applications for their businesses that are based in the cloud, can they be sure that their data is going to be secure? I am going to touch on some of the questions that you can ask about the security level of these cloud-based solutions. But first, let’s look at both Software-as-a-Service and cloud computing. It is too often that these terms are used interchangeably but there are some important distinctions to be made.
Software-as-a-Service vs Cloud Computing
In its simplest form, SaaS is a form of cloud computing. Historically, it can be argued that SaaS led to the larger development of cloud computing, which then took the baton and ran with it. Now, SaaS encompasses a narrower category than cloud computing does. A distinction for businesses lies in the way they elect to store data. Businesses can elect to store data on premises with security they purchase. They may also elect to host applications and data in the cloud. The cloud service provider then gives two choices, for the general cloud security available to all businesses in that cloud, or, unique security in that cloud for just that business.
The Benefits of SaaS
There are numerous benefits to utilizing Software-as-a-Service. One of the most prevalent is the ease of installation. There are no extensive networking or physical installations of these services. This can take the immense strain off your IT department. Overall, the amount of time spent downloading and upkeeping the software is diminished as well, since it is housed in the cloud. SaaS has immense potential for scalability and is overall a very reliable option for anything from data sharing to CRM programs.
Security in SaaS
As with any form of technology, it is important that we examine the security risks and benefits. And that is no different with SaaS programs. While there are many ways in which SaaS can be more secure than cloud computing or standard hardware, there are some key questions that you should be prepared to ask in regards to the security of your SaaS programs.
Will My Data Be Secure?
Probably the most important question to ask a SaaS provider. For so many years, this is a question that businesses only needed to ask their in-house teams since data was physically stored within the confines of the business. But with the rise of external services housing this data, it is imperative that you are able to ensure that it will secure even if it is not on your premises.
Are We Still Compliant?
This question should not be ignored! Whether your data is stored on sight or you have contracted the use of a SaaS program and said data is now stored off-site, you still need to make sure you are meeting your compliance requirements. Your SaaS provider will need to be audited to ensure that they have the certifications necessary to keep your data compliant with any industry-regulated laws.
Is SaaS and Cloud Computing, a Growth Generator for Information Security?
Prior to the prevalence of SaaS and cloud computing most of the info security market was limited to on premise based solutions. However, a cloud based solution can have one security package for many businesses. Thereby potentially reducing market opportunity. The overall growth in security, seems to be the high-tide-lifting-all-boats as information security has seemed to grow on premises security solutions, cloud based security solutions, and individual security cloud based solution. For larger business having a unique cloud based security solution will be a requirement as the risk of being a target in an aggregated hosted premises is perceived as too great. The definitive growth in security has been the dramatic increase in awareness and fundamental need for more secure systems and better protection for client data which every company and board in the world must consider.