Signisys Blog

How to Discover and Govern the Use of Unvetted SaaS Applications by Employees?

Use of SaaS applications has grown rapidly in recent years. An estimate forecasts public cloud services to grow 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020. It further forecasts that the worldwide revenue for cloud application services (SaaS) alone will jump over 117 million in 2021. This growth is fueled by widespread availability of SaaS applications, pay per use pricing and ease of usage.

Employees can try out and self-provision SaaS applications in minutes without needing to contact IT or request approval from the procure­ment department. This gives users unprecedented control of software selection, administration, and usage – often without the IT department’s approval or oversight. This growing popularity of SaaS applications among employees has made CIOs or CISOs job difficult. They must deal with a mix of sanctioned (Company Approved), tolerated (Not Ideal but Allowed) and unsanctioned (Unauthorized / Shadow IT) SaaS applications that employees use for both business and personal reasons.

Use of unvetted SaaS applications can introduce significant blind spots for enterprise IT security team, including data loss and leakage, misconfigured or missing security controls, and noncompliance with privacy and industry regulations. As SaaS adoption expands exponen­tially, manual discovery of SaaS usage in the enterprise becomes rapidly untenable. Instead, to quickly identify risk – and extend appropriate security controls – your organization needs an automated way to continuously discover all SaaS applications in use by employees.

The answer to all the challenges posed by growing use of SaaS applications is Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB). It has been in the market for nearly ten years, specifically to protect and govern the usage of SaaS applications and address many of these issues. Coined by Gartner, the term “Cloud Access Security Broker” (CASB) refers to technology that delivers granular visibility and precise control over the enterprise usage of cloud applications as well as governance and protection for cloud-based data. Unlike other se­curity tools your enterprise may use, CASBs offer cloud-specific capabilities that address security gaps in your organization’s use of cloud services, including identifying shadow IT risk through visibility into application usage across your network.

CASB identifies all the applications enterprise users’ access, whether sanctioned by the IT department or not, and access the level of risk these resources pose to the organization to help inform policy decisions. It also protects users and corporate data from malicious activity, especially when using unsanctioned applications, and ensure that threats do not compromise sanctioned application environments. CASBs help organizations map their assets in the cloud back to the regulator mandates to which they are subject.

Adding a good CASB solution into your organization’s security strategy can benefit you in many ways including but not limited to:

  • Strengthening the visibility around usage of unsanctioned applications.
  • Reducing reliance on manual use of data to uncover usage of unsanctioned applications.
  • Figure out if the sensitive data is stored in unsanctioned SaaS applications, and if yes do those applications have necessary security controls.

Signisys has been helping its clients overcoming the challenges posed by increasing use of SaaS applications by implementing Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solution. We have a team of certified engineers to design, implement and manage CASB solution at enterprises. We should be happy to help to evaluate a good CASB solution and take a step forward in securing your enterprise’s IT security posture.