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2023 SaaS Security Survey Report Reveals Data Leaks Are #1 SaaS Security Incident

A new report titled "The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2024 Plans and Priorities" sheds light on the growing concerns surrounding SaaS security incidents and the inadequacy of current strategies. The report, conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance and commissioned by Adaptive Shield, provides valuable insights into the state of SaaS security in organizations today.


With the prevalence of cloud-based solutions and the ever-evolving threat landscape, this report's findings highlight the urgent need for robust security measures and increased investment in SaaS security resources.


SaaS Security Incidents on the Rise

One of the most significant findings of the report is the increasing occurrence of SaaS security incidents. Over 55% of organizations surveyed reported experiencing at least one incident in the past two years, with an additional 12% unsure of their security status.


As shown in figure 1, these incidents included data leaks (58%), malicious third-party applications (47%), data breaches (41%), and SaaS ransomware (40%).


The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: Plans and Priorities for 2024
Figure 1. The types of security incidents organizations have experienced

These numbers demonstrate a disturbing trend that organizations are grappling with the harsh reality of on-premises attacks such as ransomware, malware, and data breaches transitioning into the SaaS environment. As businesses continue to adopt cloud-based solutions, the need for effective security measures becomes paramount.


Inadequacy of Current SaaS Security Strategies

The report's findings reveal that organizations' current SaaS security strategies are falling short. Common approaches like Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs) and manual checks are not sufficient to protect organizations' entire SaaS stack.


Astonishingly, 58% of organizations estimated that they cover less than half of their SaaS applications with their existing security measures. This deficiency leaves a significant portion of their SaaS ecosystem vulnerable to potential threats and compromises. It is evident that traditional security approaches are struggling to keep pace with the rapid evolution of SaaS and the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks.

The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: Plans and Priorities for 2024
Figure 2. Percentage of the SaaS apps being used that are monitored by a SaaS security solution

Drastic Increase in Investment

To address the mounting concerns surrounding SaaS security incidents, organizations are recognizing the need for increased investment in SaaS security resources. The report reveals a substantial growth in investment in SaaS security postures, with the adoption of Security Posture Management (SSPM) solutions rising from 17% in 2022 to an impressive 44% in 2023.


Investment into SaaS security extends beyond purchasing an SSPM solution. 71% of organizations have increased their investment in SaaS security tools, while 68% have either hired more personnel or increased training for SaaS security.

The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: Plans and Priorities for 2024
Figure 3. Organization’s change in investments over the past year

This surge in investment underscores the recognition of the importance of proactive security measures that can help organizations effectively manage their SaaS environments, monitor configurations, and detect potential vulnerabilities.


The Path Forward: Proactive SaaS Security Measures

Given the growing complexity and diversity of SaaS applications within organizations, it is imperative to implement proactive security measures that can effectively mitigate risks. Organizations should adopt a comprehensive approach that combines automation, threat intelligence, and real-time monitoring to safeguard their SaaS environments. Security teams should consider implementing advanced security solutions like SSPM, which can provide continuous visibility into their SaaS applications, enforce security policies, and automatically detect and remediate vulnerabilities.


Furthermore, organizations should prioritize employee education and awareness to foster a culture of security consciousness. Implementing robust training programs and promoting best practices can significantly reduce the likelihood of successful cyberattacks stemming from human error or negligence.


The release of "The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2024 Plans and Priorities" provides a stark reminder of the increasing SaaS security incidents and the inadequacy of current security strategies. With a majority of organizations reporting incidents and limited coverage of their SaaS stack, it is evident that a proactive and comprehensive security approach is needed. Increased investment in SaaS security resources, as indicated by the rise in SSPM adoption, demonstrates the industry's commitment to addressing these challenges.


As organizations move forward, they must prioritize proactive security measures, employee education, and collaboration within the industry to effectively mitigate SaaS security risks. By taking these steps, businesses can protect their valuable data, maintain customer trust, and navigate the evolving threat landscape with confidence.


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