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Regulatory standards for cybersecurity and data privacy are continuing to evolve in response to feedback, industry consultation, and the rapid adoption of cloud services and remote work. Across standards, these updates reflect a broader shift towards a decentralized modern environment. This emphasizes the need for organizations to adapt their IT and security strategies to protect their SaaS estate against potential attacks and maintain the integrity and privacy of SaaS data.
The updated requirements in IT infrastructure v3.1 by NCSC Cyber Essentials introduce significant changes to strengthen security controls for SaaS and cloud assets. The UK government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme, overseen by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), aims to provide organizations with a framework to secure their IT infrastructure against common cyber threats. Specific to cloud assets and SaaS, NCSC requires that the SaaS vendor:
To answer some of these questions, organizations are required to know how SaaS vendors are processing their data at rest and in transit.
Even in the United States, there is an increasing drumbeat of regulation focusing on cloud assets and specifically, SaaS. Whether it is the National Cybersecurity Strategy, which calls for, in some sectors, “new authorities” to set regulations that can drive better cybersecurity practices at scale, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) updates, or new state privacy laws, there are lots of new requirements coming down the pike. Here are three examples:
Keeping track of regulations and what changes can mean from a SaaS deployment and configuration standpoint can be challenging for IT and security teams. The reality is that most organizations have SaaS apps that don’t operate in standalone islands but are inherently interconnected with each other which makes the problem of adhering to regulations even more difficult. Each SaaS application has its own unique set of rules and regulations when it comes to managing integrations, which can create significant difficulties when trying to ensure compliance and security across all integrations.
Organizations in regulated industries must be agile in the face of regulatory chaos and surging SaaS threats. Adapting SaaS security strategies for this new era requires the adoption of automation, embracing collaboration to include more stakeholders in the regulatory compliance process, and continuously advancing the strength of controls and policies—all the while dealing with economic and competitive pressures. It is no easy task.
SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) tools address this issue by continuously monitoring user behavior, configuration, and privileges out of the box without the need for proxy management and complex deployments.
SSPM can help organizations implement and manage robust identity and access management (IAM) policies across their SaaS applications. This includes enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), and the principle of least privilege access. By providing granular visibility into user permissions and access levels, SSPM tools like Obsidian enable organizations to identify and remediate excessive privileges, ensuring compliance with modern authentication and authorization best practices.
But for any automated system to work, the core components that need to come together are visibility and the ability to programmatically take corrective action when certain conditions are met. In the world of SaaS security, missing either of these elements can result in blindness to systemic vulnerabilities and an incomplete understanding of residual risk.
Obsidian solves this problem by continuously monitoring a SaaS application’s configuration, the integrations between them, activity, and the ability to enforce technical measures to detect, prevent, and automatically respond. Obsidian’s Posture Management for instance leverages real-time data to perform continuous risk assessments that automatically inform customers of their risk exposure. Settings Management and Posture Rule features provide the ability to define and automatically enforce an appropriate risk tolerance across the SaaS environment.
One of the most beneficial features that organizations can expect from the Obsidian Platform is its ability to automate the validation of any technical control and prove compliance across all mapped frameworks. For example, let’s say an organization has implemented an Enterprise Password Policy which requires all privileged users to have 16-character passwords. This poses three questions that need to be answered:
With Obsidian, GRC teams can address each of these questions at scale. First, they can create a rule that helps them define what SaaS application permissions constitute as a “privileged user” that looks something like this:
IF “User Permissions” = Role 1 + Role 2 THEN User = “Privileged User”
Once that step is completed, GRC teams can then leverage Settings Management to surface the password setting for a SaaS application. After the setting has been selected, an additional Posture Rule can be created which looks like this:
IF User = “Privileged User” THEN ‘Password Strength’ MUST = 16
With those two steps completed, the GRC team has defined what they consider to be a privileged user and enforced a policy requirement for any user that meets that definition. There is one additional step GRC teams can take to really achieve a ‘validate once, comply with many’ approach. That is to then take that same Custom Rule that was created and by using Obsidian’s built-in compliance mapping feature, they can seamlessly search across frameworks for any control that mentions passwords or privileged user access. Once the compliance framework controls have surfaced, they can be easily mapped to the Custom Posture Rule that was created. The end result is a single Posture Rule that if it’s in a “Passing” state, that means each compliance control that is associated with it is now in a “Compliant” state.
GRC teams iterate on that same process to define and apply Custom Posture Rules to any and all enterprise policy or regulatory framework requirements and achieve peace of mind that if any of those settings revert to a “non-compliant” state, security and GRC teams will be immediately notified and a ServiceNow or Jira ticket will be created to automatically document the issue.
As of today, customers can get access to frameworks that support NIST 800-53, ISO 27001, and CCM. This means that if you are an organization that needs to stay compliant with any of these regulations, you can map requirements across these regulations to technical SaaS controls and know immediately how compliant you are. We are also actively working on supporting other regulatory frameworks such as HIPAA, CIS, PCI DSS, SOX, NYDFS, and more over the coming months.
We are also offering a no-cost risk assessment to help teams better understand the risks present in their environment. A member of our team will provide you with a snapshot of powerful security insights that include: