Application Security SaaS – Pros and Cons 

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02 Sep, 2019

Application Security SaaS – Pros and Cons 

The number of vulnerabilities that have been discovered in recent years has been increasing exponentially. Attackers are now getting more sophisticated than ever, and they are heavily focussing on the information having tangible value. Organizations have been investing in terms of security and money, and this investment is bound to increase significantly in the years to come. 

There is a possibility that you are quite familiar with this situation. Not just with your organization, the same stands true for other organizations as well. As far as return on investment (ROI) is concerned, all the organizations are a part of the same ship. Increasing investments in cybersecurity lead to continuous changes and upgrades for a wide range of tools, irrespective of whether such move aligns with the organization’s business objective or not. We have seen many decision-makers asking us whether this is the best possible way to utilize the investment efficiently. 

To counter such issues, many businesses opt for comprehensive application security SaaS tools. These tools are provided by a third-party service provider (or vendor), and it is generally seen that businesses select a vendor with proven experience. A comprehensive application security SaaS includes vulnerability assessment, browser security, identity management, firewall management, anti-malware tool, etc. At times, businesses also go for different service providers for specific components to get the best set of tools possible. 

On the other hand, many businesses have been reluctant to outsource one of the most critical IT functions, even though their counterparts are successfully embracing it. This division of views on application security SaaS prompts one to ask questions such as – 

  • Why are businesses, whether they are leading enterprises or small-to-medium sized business, outsourcing the security of their technical infrastructure? 
  • What are the factors they consider before taking this decision? 
  • How would you identify an ideal vendor to fulfill your security requirements? 
  • Will you go for one-vendor-for-all or specific services from different vendors? 

In this article, we will discuss such issues about application security SaaS in terms of advantages and challenges for businesses. 

Application Security SaaS – Advantages 

When an organization opts for security SaaS tools, the responsibility for maintaining the security of its technical infrastructure is taken up by the third-party service provider. Considering that a vendor provides service to multiple organizations at a time, an organization gets easy-to-adopt access to up-to-date software and applications. For enterprises, their resources are freed, and they can now be focussed on more important priorities strategically. While for small or medium businesses, they get access to capabilities which was beyond their reach had they opted for in-house security consultants. 

A. Ease of Adoption 

When it comes to application security SaaS, there is little or almost nothing for an organization to do to deploy a tool, they either need to enable to disable the services. For example, to run live scans on the BreachLock cloud platform, a customer only needs to go the Scans page and click on the Live Scan button. 

B. Reduced Maintenance Burden 

When an organization avails the service from a vendor, it now becomes the vendor’s responsibility to maintain and ensure that the service is as per the standards agreed in the Service Level Agreement. With lower subscription costs, an organization is not required to invest its capital for buying security products, tools, or technologies. From a capital expenditure, the costs incurred now shift to the operations side in the balance sheet. 

C. Enterprise Benefits 

For a modern-day business, scalability is a major factor while deciding for an application security SaaS tool. An efficient SaaS tool addresses this concern without requiring an organization to hire additional security experts. Ability to be accessed from anywhere over the Internet is another enterprise benefit which helps in the long run. 

D. Cost-Effective 

 A vendor can provide its services to tens, hundreds, and even thousands of customers, which brings down the overall subscription costs. As compared to investing for onsite capabilities, availing security SaaS tools significantly reduce the costs for businesses, irrespective of their size. Moreover, it is mainly beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses as they get access to enterprise-level security services at a reasonable amount.

Application Security SaaS – Challenges  

 

Even after all the advantages we discussed, the application security SaaS industry is still transforming, and SaaS landscape for security management is still taking shape. The vendors are slowly picking up the pace by understanding how to maintain a balance between their services and customer demands. Many prospective security SaaS adopters still hesitate in choosing a vendor that fits their requirements. With so many new service providers coming into the market and launching lucrative services, whether they can be trusted remains a major challenge for the decisionmakers. 

For some organizations, whether a security SaaS tool can be cohesively integrated into their environment is indeed a concern. Some of the services such as vulnerability assessment and message filtration have been around for years, and they have limited impact on the internal infrastructure of businesses, however, same cannot be said yet for the newly developed services. 

In the outsourcing of any IT related service, service level agreements (SLAs) play a vital role in determining the quality of services being provided. The vendors must take note that though a customer is outsourcing its security, it can directly measure the quality of the service being provided based upon the factors agreed in the relevant SLAs. 

Furthermore, a prospective adopter must understand that application security SaaS tools are designed to meet the requirements of a broad range of users, but that does not mean that a vendor cannot customize its service as per your business requirements. However, customizations do come at a cost.