Over the past few years, more and more businesses have been turning to the Software as a Service (SaaS) model to bring down costs, improve efficiency, handle more load, and more. A sub-category which deserves some attention in today's world is the Security as a Service (SECaaS).
Security as a Service ( SECaaS ): A Changing Market
Today, more and more traditional security companies are developing and enhancing their service based offerings. These include web security, email threat management, network security, cloud, mobile and more. While many argue that reduced costs should not be the driver for a switch especially in security products, only a few companies, including Appknox, argue that their solutions are better offered as a service.
This is a market in transition and this is what all CIOs and CTOs need to observe and understand. Previously, security services that moved to the cloud basically just moved the centralised management console. Today, offerings have gradually matured to utilise the strengths of the cloud. For example, at Appknox, not only is the security tracking and management on the cloud, the whole security analysis also takes place in the cloud using a cloud-based emulator that we've custom built. As a user, this gives you immense power to perform multiple tasks while the benefits of cloud take care of all the performance-related pain. This helps us conduct faster and deeper analysis and provides you with more horsepower to perform better.
As the demand and use of cloud services skyrockets, users are more vulnerable to attacks than ever, as they access the Internet through varying and relatively unsecured highways. This is where SECaaS comes in, serving as a buffer against the most persistent online threats.
SECaaS: Why it deserves attention from CIOs and CTOs?
Amidst the ongoing global pandemic, the digital world is moving towards new trends like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and work from home. In order to accommodate this change, businesses are progressing more and more towards the adoption of cloud solutions, and eventually driving the need for more robust security measures.
A recent research report published by Markets and Markets forecasts that in the post COVID scenario, the global cloud security market is expected to grow from $35 billion in 2020 to a whopping $68.5 billion in 2025. This growth will happen at a CAGR of 14.7% over the forecast period.
The report attributes this growth to the rising adoption of cloud computing services and an increasing number of sophisticated cyberattacks and cyber espionage campaigns on cloud infrastructure. Moreover, the stringent compliance measures now being adopted across the globe are also driving this growth further.
A 2020 research on the state of mobile app security by Intertrust reports some alarming insights:
- Almost 75% of all mobile apps won’t even pass the basic security tests.
- Mobile security vulnerabilities will be found in more than 90% of both IoS and Android apps.
- IoT devices will be the next big target for the hacking community
- Almost 40% of the businesses don’t have an appropriate plan in place for their mobile app security programs.
Stats like these highlight the growing necessity of adopting a viable SECaaS framework for your business and who would fare better than the CIOs and CTOs to take the first step in this direction.
SECaaS: The Benefits
Be it saving money, improving the operational efficiency or safeguarding an organization’s resources from complex security threats, the benefits of SECaaS are endless. Let us take a look at some of the most promising ones:
1. Saves Cost
The biggest gain that businesses can have from the Security as a Service model is that it saves money. Since SECaaS solutions are often available as subscription programs, businesses only need to pay for the services which they actually utilize. The need for expertise is also eliminated as a result of this. And we should never forget how much a cyberattack would cost in the absence of an effective security program!
2. Keeps Security Tools Updated
After the implementation of SECaaS, the latest security tools and resources are available across all devices within your organization. In order to enhance the effectiveness of anti-virus and other security tools, it is required that they are kept up to date with the latest virus definitions and patches. Moreover, SECaaS services ensure that these patches and updates are implemented and managed on every server, mobile and PC throughout your organization.
3. Easy to Access and Use
One of the most viable benefits of SECaaS solutions is that your users can immediately get access to these tools. SECaaS solutions are available on-demand where and when you need them and can be scaled either up or down as and when required. This also eliminates the uncertainty when it comes to deployment or updates since everything is visible to you through a web-enabled dashboard and is serially managed for you by your SECaaS provider.
4. Reduces Load on your Internal Resources
Once you manage your security matters with the help of external solutions like SECaaS, your internal IT teams can focus on other important affairs. SECaaS gives you complete visibility through interactive dashboards and also the confidence that your IT security is being managed viably by an outsourced team of security specialists. If you prefer to manage your system and policy changes through a web interface, then you can also choose for your IT teams to take control of the security processes.
How to Choose a SECaaS Provider?
It’s obvious that transferring the responsibility of managing the security of your sensitive business assets is a tough task. Moreover, it requires mindful evaluation and consideration before undertaking this enormous task. Here is a list of some of the most important considerations before selecting a SECaaS provider:
One of the most important factors to consider is the continuous availability of your vendor’s services. Make sure that your vendor’s SLA can provide the uptime your business needs and also clarify in advance how they are going to handle any outages or breakdowns.
2. Response Times:
Fast response times are equally important to availability. You need to search for SECaaS providers who offer guaranteed swift response times for queries, incidents, and system updates and outages.
3. Plans for Recovery:
Your SECaaS provider needs to align with your business goals in order to understand the fragility of your infrastructure and the external threats which can cause serious damage to your system. Ranging from vandalism and reverse-engineering attacks to severe weather disasters, your SECaaS provider must ensure that your business will recover quickly from any adverse event.
4. Partnership with Other Vendors:
Any SECaaS provider is only as good as the kind of relationships it has built with other vendors in the same field. You need to look for service providers who work with the best-in-class SECaaS vendors and can manage and support any additional service requirements quickly when the need arises.
Examples of Security as a Service Offerings
SECaaS generally involves the delivery of software solutions on the cloud as well as in-house security management. Let us take a look at some of the solutions that you can avail yourself once you opt for a SECaaS provider:
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: This category of tools ensure that your infrastructure and operations are back to normal within no time whenever a security incident takes place.
Regular Monitoring: This includes tools that monitor the security processes that are in place and allow you to manage risks continually.
Prevention of Data Loss: Involves tools that monitor, protect, and verify the security of all of your data, whether in use or storage.
Security of Emails: Plays a vital role in safeguarding your business from spam, phishing, and malicious attachments.
Vulnerability Scanning and Web Security: Being the key attributes of SECaaS tools, these features detect any vulnerability in your IT or network infrastructure and help you protect your online applications which are accessed by the public in real-time respectively.
Network Security: This feature of SECaaS tools helps you manage network access and protect, monitor and distribute network services.
Security Assessment: Checks the current security measures and verifies if they are compliant with the current industry standards.
Encryption: This feature of SECaaS tools makes your data unreadable unless and until it is decrypted using cryptographic and numerical cyphers.
Access Management: These tools identify verification, provide authentication, access intelligence, and also provide user management facilities.
Intrusion Management: Identifies and detects unusual behaviours and events using pattern recognition technology. These tools also play a major role in helping you manage intrusions apart from detecting them.
Event Management and Security Information: Consists of a range of tools that combine log and event information, that can be accessed in real-time to help you detect possible security loopholes and intrusions.
The Solution? - Security By Design
It is often difficult to convince business leaders of the importance of something new and novel, like mobile SECaaS. I came across a great analogy which I want to share here. Imagine if the auto companies manufactured their cars without seat belts or airbags, and then added them later, following scares or accidents. It would be both senseless and outrageously expensive.
The same thing is applicable to the biggest vulnerabilities that we see today, be it in mobile space or web or network. It leads to direct revenue and reputation damage and then companies wonder why they did not think security first before implementing other services.
The only solution is to build in security from the start. It is essential to carry out regular automated and human-assisted tests to track conformance and compliance. This not only saves money but also saves a lot of time, which translates to more money.