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Why modern data governance is SaaS governance

Modern data governance has become especially complex, mainly due to the rise of SaaS. Nudge Security allows you to streamline all aspects of your SaaS data governance process, ensuring that technology is onboarded, managed, and secured properly. 

Reclaim control of your security posture.

In just minutes, Nudge Security discovers, inventories, and continuously monitors every cloud and SaaS account employees have ever created. No network changes, endpoint agents, or browser extensions required.

Immediately spot supply chain risks.

Accelerate security reviews to match the pace of SaaS adoption with insights on each provider’s security, risk, and compliance programs. Gain visibility across the SaaS supply chain to know if you’re in the blast radius of a data breach.

Work with employees, not against them.

The only way to manage SaaS security at scale is to engage with your workforce—not block them. Deliver helpful security cues based on proven behavioral science to nudge employees toward better decisions and behaviors.

“Nudge Security’s trial was very easy to set up. The first value right out of the box was something I knew was going to happen: We had 16 people with licenses for two different applications that offer the same capabilities. We were paying double for something we shouldn’t have been using in the first place.”

Chris Castaldo

“Nudge Security is a pretty comprehensive product. I was impressed with what was available in the employee offboarding playbook. I haven’t found any other product that will actually reset passwords for accounts outside of SSO, and Nudge is unique in more ways than just that.”

Robbie Trencheny
Head of Infrastructure
Cars & Bids

“Whether they're ready to admit it or not, every security leader is contending with a sprawling mix of cloud and SaaS providers, permissions, accounts, and identities. Until now, this emerging attack surface has been largely invisible and vulnerable to the types of supply chain attacks in the headlines week after week. Nudge Security recognized that securing the SaaS supply chain is one of the core challenges of modern cybersecurity, and that’s why the Ballistic Ventures team was so eager to invest.”

Kevin Mandia
Strategic Partner
Ballistic Ventures

“For years, the industry has treated cybersecurity as a technology problem when, in fact, it is humans that play the biggest role in keeping enterprises cyber secure. Finally, Nudge Security has emerged to tackle the hardest soft problem in the industry—human behavior.”

Nicole Perlroth
Best-selling author

"Attack surfaces are growing more complex as organizations adopt new cloud and SaaS technologies across a globally distributed workforce. Nudge Security helps provide organizations with increased visibility into today's modern attack surface, and enlists all employees to help protect it."

Mario Duarte
Vice President of Security

"I am of the opinion that SaaS sprawl is a good thing, you have to give your team the flexibility to explore and discover new tools that will help them become more effective at their job. Ideally all those apps should be authenticating in a centralized way using an identity provider like Okta, however, in the real world, it is imperative to have mechanisms in place to account, find and manage the sprawling of those apps and nudge users to help secure the flow of information."

Hector Aguilar
Fmr. President of Technology & CTO

“Modern CIOs face a difficult balancing act enabling a highly distributed workforce with access to data and technology while trying to control the costs and risks associated with unchecked SaaS sprawl. Nudge Security strikes the right balance and helps modern organizations like ours manage the tide of SaaS sprawl without constraining employees’ abilities to move the business forward.”

AJ Beard
VP Applications and IT
Unify Consulting

“Adversaries are constantly finding new ways to socially engineer employees and attack the vast supply chain of SaaS applications they’re using to gain access to organizations. Every CISO is aware of the challenge they’re up against, and now it’s our job to make sure every CISO knows about Nudge Security and the way they enable employees to be a key part of an enterprise’s defense.”

Roger Thornton
Founding Partner
Ballistic Ventures

“Today, every employee acts as their own CIO and can easily reach for a new cloud or SaaS tool to solve virtually any problem. While organizations see massive gains in productivity and employee satisfaction from such unencumbered IT adoption, cybersecurity has been slow to adapt.”

Ed Amoroso
Founder and CEO
TAG Infosphere
Former CSO

“The work that Jaime and Russell did together at AlienVault to build the Open Threat Exchange changed the way threat researchers and practitioners shared intelligence. As a longtime customer, it was a no-brainer for Castra to sign on as one of the first Nudge Security customers. We’re excited about the potential to use this groundbreaking technology to improve service delivery for our customers.”

Grant Leonard

“As more data moves to cloud and SaaS environments, threat actors are turning their sights on assets and user credentials of which security teams may have little to no awareness. Nudge Security has an innovative approach that helps security teams shore up their defenses against cloud and SaaS threats, starting at the critical point of making the unknown known.”

Chris Doman
Co-founder and CTO
Cado Security

“Even in cybersecurity, people’s attitudes and emotions are strong predictors of their behaviors. Security leaders are setting themselves up for failure when they implement security controls and policies under the false notion that employees will comply unconditionally, regardless of how frustrating or unreasonable they find the experience to be.”

Dr. Aaron Kay, PhD
J Rex Fuqua Professor of Management
Duke University
Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience
Duke University

“Security teams need to focus on fighting real adversaries, not their colleagues. Nudge Security alleviates the time spent chasing down employees to get them to follow security policies, and it does so in a friendly, automated way that’s much more effective and less stressful for everyone involved.”

Kunal Anand

“In today's SaaS-fueled enterprise, monitoring access at the network layer is no longer enough. Context is key, and 'SaaS context as control' becomes the basis for implementing modern identity- and data-based security controls. Nudge Security innovates beyond other cloud and SaaS security technologies by providing SaaS context quickly and efficiently across all applications and user accounts, managed and unmanaged, enabling security and IT professionals to modernize their SaaS governance efforts.”

Frank Dickson
Group Vice President, Security & Trust

"I recently had a chance to try out Nudge Security and the experience was amazing! Here is what I found awesome: They made it super easy to get started (configured in 5 mins). There were zero super aggressive sales tactics. Instead of hundreds of alerts, I got to see which ones mattered most right now. There are no heavy handed controls, it's based on 'nudging' users to make better security choices."

Damian Tommasino
Sales Engineer
Cyber Informants

“With its patented, turnkey approach to SaaS discovery and observability, Nudge Security offers complete visibility and governance over every SaaS and cloud asset ever utilized organization-wide—a critical need especially with the explosive adoption of GenAI and increased supply chain risks.”

Alberto Yépez
Co-Founder and Managing Director
Forgepoint Capital

Data Governance

In today’s world, data management is a multi-step process that involves advanced tools and frameworks. To keep up with required tasks, organizations are increasingly adopting new and improved data governance protocols. 

But what is data governance, and what role does it play in the modern business world? Data governance is the practice of managing and safeguarding an organization's data assets. It involves setting up processes, roles, policies, and metrics to utilize data effectively.

Data governance is more than just a technological intervention—it’s really a business strategy to ensure data remains an asset rather than a liability. A data governance framework outlines how this can be done, stating how decisions should be made and how compliance and data quality are measured. 

Frameworks often incorporate best practices and guidelines to monitor data across its lifecycle. A good framework can accommodate the specific needs and existing infrastructure of an organization. Its components may include data quality management, data lineage, and security protocols.

Data governance roles and responsibilities are clearly delineated within frameworks. Data steward, data owner, data consumer, and data governor are among the most common roles that exist within this process. Each has its own set of responsibilities. 

For example, data stewards are tasked with ensuring that the data complies with both internal and external regulations. Data owners, on the other hand, may be responsible for the quality and integrity of data within their respective business units.

The Challenge of Modern Data Governance

Modern data governance has become especially complex, mainly due to the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS). Traditional organizational boundaries have blurred thanks to the proliferation of cloud-based services and platforms. 

Today, data is not just stored within an organization's internal systems, but distributed across various third-party services and applications. This change calls for agile data governance strategies that can adapt to the dynamic nature of modern data ecosystems.

SaaS platforms, for instance, are bound by governance policies and data management practices. They may also be subject to different regulatory environments depending on their geographical location. As such, organizations have to think about how to integrate these disparate policies and practices into their overarching data governance framework.

The situation is further complicated by the growing volume and variety of data that organizations handle today. Regulatory compliance has also become more intricate, with laws like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) requiring meticulous control over personal data.

Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) add another layer of complexity. These technologies rely on vast datasets to function effectively, but they also pose new risks in terms of data bias, accuracy, and ethical use of information.

SaaS Governance

SaaS governance refers to the set of policies, procedures, and technologies used to manage SaaS applications. It aims to promote the responsible, secure use of SaaS tools. As with data governance, SaaS governance necessitates the involvement of various stakeholders for effective implementation and maintenance.

A SaaS governance framework is similar in structure to a data governance framework, but focuses specifically on cloud-based software services. It lays out roles and responsibilities and plays a crucial role in keeping an organization’s SaaS portfolio aligned with legal requirements and strategic objectives.

Most modern organizations use SaaS applications for everything from email and collaboration tools to customer relationship management and financial software. These applications store sensitive organizational or customer data, making SaaS data security a paramount concern. Without proper governance, this data is at risk of unauthorized access. 

Converging SaaS governance with modern data governance is a logical and necessary step in today's digital landscape. Data governance framework components often extend naturally into the domain of SaaS governance. For example, a typical data governance framework may contain elements that deal with data quality, data lineage, and data catalogs. 

These same components can be adapted to manage the quality and lineage of data within SaaS applications. By ensuring that there are commonalities and integrations between data governance and SaaS governance frameworks, organizations can create a more unified approach to governance overall.

SaaS security tools can also be integrated into both SaaS governance and data governance frameworks. These solutions provide real-time monitoring and protection for data. In this way, SaaS security management acts as a unifying layer that enhances security posture across different governance domains.

The need for integrated governance strategies becomes particularly evident when considering the regulatory landscape. Laws like the GDPR have stringent requirements for data protection and user privacy. These laws make no distinction between data stored on-premises and data stored in the cloud, meaning businesses need a holistic governance strategy. 

With the advent of technologies like AI, data has become a dynamic asset that flows through multiple SaaS applications before reaching its final destination. Each of these applications has its governance policies and security protocols, making integrated governance part and parcel of effective data management.

SaaS Governance Best Practices

The overlap between SaaS governance and data governance is a natural consequence of the evolution of business technology. Both are concerned with ensuring that data is accurate, secure, and used responsibly, but the tools and processes involved in each differ somewhat. This overlap has created opportunities—and challenges. 

A framework for data governance might focus on metadata management within the organization's own databases and storage solutions. A SaaS governance framework extends these practices to third-party SaaS platforms, keeping them aligned with the organization's internal data governance objectives.

When working within these frameworks, it’s important to adhere to proven standards for success. SaaS governance best practices include:

  • Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Roles should be well-defined in the SaaS governance framework. Knowing who is responsible for what aspect of the SaaS portfolio can aid in accountability and effectiveness.
  • Comprehensive Access Control: Implement strict user permission settings to ensure only authorized personnel have access to specific SaaS applications. This is particularly critical for SaaS platforms that contain sensitive or regulated data.
  • Regular Audits and Monitoring: Audit user activities and security settings in your SaaS applications on a continual basis to detect any unauthorized or suspicious activity. Automated monitoring can also help identify security threats in real time.
  • Data Backup and Recovery Plans: Make sure to regularly back up data. Have a recovery plan in place in case of data loss or other disasters. A SaaS vendor's policies should be cross-referenced with your organization's needs.

Be sure to integrate data governance framework best practices into your SaaS governance strategy as well:

  • Data Quality Assurance: Consistent protocols should be in place to validate the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of data. 
  • Data Lineage and Metadata Management: Clearly document where data comes from and how it's transformed. Metadata should be systematically managed to enable easier tracking and compliance.
  • Data Privacy and Compliance: Align your data governance framework with existing regulations.
  • Monitoring and Reporting: Regularly monitor adherence to data governance policies and prepare reports that measure the effectiveness of data governance activities. Use these reports for ongoing improvement.

Successful frameworks are held up by data access governance best practices. Inadequate access controls in a SaaS application can compromise the integrity of data and lead to non-compliance with data governance policies. Similarly, monitoring and auditing features in SaaS governance frameworks can provide necessary oversight. 

In terms of SaaS security best practices, the encryption of data at rest and in transit in a SaaS application supports the data privacy and compliance component of data governance. It ensures that sensitive data stored or processed through SaaS applications is protected, thereby meeting the regulatory requirements specified in a data governance framework.

Choosing a SaaS Security Solution

With the number of quality tools available on the market today, picking the right SaaS security solution for your business can be difficult. Here’s what to look for when making your decision:

  • Compatibility with Existing Systems: Make sure the solution is compatible with your existing technology, including operating systems and network architecture.
  • Comprehensive Security Features: Your solution of choice should offer a broad range of security features that protect against various types of threats, from phishing attacks to data breaches. Features like firewalls and anti-malware are two standard offerings.
  • User Access Management: Effective user access management is crucial. Look for solutions that offer robust capabilities like role-based access control and multi-factor authentication.
  • Integration with Data Governance Tools: Seamless integration between your SaaS security solution and existing data governance tools is essential. This ensures that your data governance policies are uniformly applied across your entire software landscape.
  • Total Cost of Ownership: Don’t just consider the upfront costs, but evaluate the total cost of ownership. This includes subscription fees, setup costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses. Make sure to weigh these costs against the benefits that the solution provides.
  • Vendor Reputation and Reliability: Choose a security solution from a reputable vendor. Research customer reviews and ask for case studies to assess their credibility.
  • SaaS Management Platform: Check whether or not the security solution includes a SaaS management platform that can help you manage multiple SaaS applications from a centralized dashboard.

Nudge Security's SaaS Governance Solution

Nudge Security allows you to integrate and streamline all aspects of your SaaS governance process, ensuring that technology is onboarded, managed, and secured properly. 

First, discover and secure all SaaS and cloud apps, accounts, and assets with a full inventory of all accounts ever created in your organization—by anyone, anywhere, on any device. Consolidate technology and reduce wasted SaaS spend with complete visibility and the ability to remove abandoned or redundant accounts. And for emerging technology like generative AI, Nudge Security allows you to fuel innovation while mitigating risk.

Get in touch with the Nudge Security team for more information about use cases or pricing, or start a free 14-day trial to start exploring today.

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