Software as a Service (SaaS), a software delivery model in which applications are hosted by a service provider and accessed on demand via the Internet, is no longer just gaining in popularity. SaaS is becoming the status quo for enterprises, overtaking on-premises software solutions as the primary vehicle for accessing many core business applications, from collaboration tools to human resources to customer relationship management.
In fact, the number of SaaS-based applications used by enterprises increased 46 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to the Application Usage and Threat Report from Palo Alto Networks. As the number and sophistication of SaaS offerings continue to increase, more organizations have taken advantage of the flexibility, agility, cost-efficiency and faster deployment that cloud-based applications are capable of delivering.
However, the growing reliance upon SaaS applications often introduces security risks. SaaS increases the network’s attack surface, providing cybercriminals more opportunities to find and exploit vulnerabilities. Hackers can gain access to corporate networks by targeting insecure IT systems and devices, or by simply stealing login information and circumventing security mechanisms completely.
At the same time, insider threats make it necessary for IT to have visibility across the network and monitor user activity. Security breaches are increasingly caused, intentionally and unintentionally, by human error, disgruntled employees, and the lack of proven tools and processes that can be used to detect suspicious or malicious behavior. “Shadow IT,” the practice of downloading and using cloud-based applications without IT approval or knowledge, puts sensitive data at risk because application usage can’t be monitored or secured by security teams.
In response to the growing need for more robust security in the SaaS space, Palo Alto Networks recently introduced a solution called Aperture that is designed to prevent data exposure in the public cloud and reduce the risk of a security breach. Aperture provides security teams with granular visibility of IT-sanctioned SaaS applications, down to individual users, folders and files. It also enforces security policies that apply to all data and users, and enables deep content inspection and application usage analysis by user and device. This enables IT to accurately assess the risk of data exposure and compliance violations. Aperture is integrated with Palo Alto Networks Wildfire, a cloud-based malware prevention solution that can identify both known and unknown malware and prevent threats from entering a network through a SaaS application.
As more and more essential business applications move to the cloud, the need to secure these applications only increases. Let ProSys show you how Aperture from Palo Alto Networks can help secure your SaaS-based applications without compromising performance or user productivity.
by Allan Doehler