Cloud Security

Using SSPM to combat insider threats

In recent years, businesses worldwide have experienced significant changes and challenges due to various factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical conflicts. Amidst these unsettling times, SaaS applications have emerged as essential tools for supporting employees in the new nature of work. However, with the frequent offboarding of employees, specifically those using SaaS applications, organizations face increased risks related to data security and compliance. In this article, we will explore the importance of Insider Risk Management and delve into the risks associated with inadequate employee offboarding. Additionally, we will discuss how leveraging a SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solution can help mitigate these risks effectively.

SaaS Security in Uncertain Times

The shift to remote work has led to a surge in the use of SaaS tools, thanks to their cloud-based nature and ability to support non-centralized teams. However, as the business landscape became more uncertain with mass layoffs and financial constraints, security and IT professionals faced challenges in properly offboarding employees. One of the major concerns during the offboarding process is terminating access and permissions to company applications and files. Failure to revoke these privileges effectively can lead to unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Therefore, security teams need efficient processes and tools to disable users, revoke permissions, and terminate access across multiple SaaS applications.

The Risks of Inadequate Offboarding

During the offboarding process, security teams, IT, and HR carry a substantial responsibility in preventing sensitive information from leaving the organization with departing employees. Inadequate offboarding can lead to various SaaS security risks, including unauthorized access, data breaches, compromised system integrity, and security vulnerabilities. These risks can result in severe consequences for organizations, including legal penalties, fines, reputation damage, and loss of customer trust.

Why Effective Employee Monitoring is a Must

One of the biggest risks that organizations face is data theft. Former employees or malicious insiders can target sensitive and confidential information, leading to serious consequences. To prevent this, security teams must prioritize disconnecting offboarded employees from SaaS applications, revoking privileges, and securing physical devices. Additionally, monitoring suspicious user behavior, such as unusual data transfers or excessive downloads, can help detect potential threats and mitigate risks. SSPM solutions enable non-intrusive monitoring, focusing on file-sharing analysis rather than reading file content.

SaaS Security in a Rapidly Changing Workforce

2023 witnessed a significant number of employee layoffs, putting immense pressure on security teams to ensure safe and streamlined offboarding procedures, as departing employees held varying levels of permissions in addition to data stored in the cloud. To address this, security professionals and CISOs must leverage SSPM technology to make the offboarding process more secure and efficient. Supporting this, Wing's 2023 State of SaaS Report highlights the importance of properly offboarding employees and revoking their access to sensitive company data.

Where User Offboarding Meets Compliance

Proper offboarding plays a crucial role in mitigating legal and compliance risks. Organizations must ensure a smooth transition for departing employees by revoking physical and digital permissions. Failure to do so can result in not only security risks but also significant legal repercussions. Compliance standards, such as those required in ISO and SOC audits, require effectively disabling access and permissions, securing company assets, and conducting other essential offboarding procedures. SSPM solutions provide a clear view of user access to different applications, facilitating compliance and proving that only relevant users have access to critical information.

Four SSPM Tips for Insider Risk Management Mitigation

  1. Discover your organization's SaaS usage:

Gain visibility and understanding of the SaaS applications being used by your employees to effectively identify potential risks and enforce appropriate security measures.

2. Revoke unnecessary access to SaaS applications:

With complete visibility into SaaS usage, take immediate action to ensure proper offboarding by terminating access for former employees, preventing unauthorized data access.

3.Constant SSPM monitoring:

Reduce the risk of data theft and breaches by maintaining vigilant posture management practices all year round, allowing you to identify abnormal user behaviors.

4. Proactive SaaS Security Practice:

Be proactive in monitoring and securing your SaaS environment, ensuring that all applications, users, and data align with your organization's security policies and compliance requirements.

Using SaaS Discoverability to Your Advantage

Maintaining awareness of user access permissions is crucial in preventing data breaches. Organizations should establish processes, and procedures, and leverage SSPM solutions to gain full visibility over users, applications, and data. Discoverability capabilities such as those offered by Wing enable monitoring of risky applications and continuous review of access permissions, ensuring that only authorized individuals have appropriate access levels based on their roles and responsibilities. By taking proactive measures and utilizing free SaaS security tools like Wing's Free SaaS Discovery, organizations can protect sensitive information, meet compliance requirements, and minimize insider risks.

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