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SaaS identity and access management best practices

Nudge Security's SaaS security services streamline IAM, starting with a complete inventory of every cloud and SaaS application that’s been introduced into your organization.

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

Identity and Access Management

With more people conducting business online and via cloud and SaaS applications than ever before, cybersecurity is top of mind for every organization. Any sort of digital breach can result in significant financial and data loss. To combat these growing threats, businesses are commonly adopting identity and access management (IAM) tools.

IAM is a comprehensive framework encompassing the technologies, policies, and procedures that ensure only approved individuals or systems gain access to certain digital resources. IAM establishes the roles and privileges of network users, acting as a complex security checkpoint that determines what applications users can access and what operations they’re allowed to perform.

Robust IAM procedures are critical for cybersecurity, and are often mandated by regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States.

Meanwhile, “SaaS management” is inextricably linked with IAM. Properly-implemented IAM systems offer granular control over users and their interactions within SaaS platforms. This is vital for defining roles within the system. For instance, while a regular employee may only have access to data necessary for their role, a system administrator might have broad access to most or all of the system.

Developing and managing such solutions in-house can be challenging, and not all companies have the expertise to do so. Many SaaS security solutions provide cloud-based IAM services to clients, making it easier for businesses to implement effective IAM frameworks.

IAM isn’t static—it constantly evolves to adapt to new security threats. For that reason, many IAM systems today include AI-based algorithms that detect anomalous behavior, even if the correct credentials have been used for login. IAM solutions also have to be scalable. They need to be able to accommodate a growing number of users without compromising security or performance. Achieving this level of scalability often involves the use of cloud-based IAM solutions, which allow users to grow or scale down as needed.

Identity and Access Management in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity includes everything from traditional IT infrastructure to cloud services. The role of identity and access management in cybersecurity has become especially important in managing this brand scope. With businesses increasingly migrating to the cloud, the importance of robust IAM systems in safeguarding digital architectures cannot be overstated. 

But what is access management in cybersecurity? It’s a complex process that deals specifically with managing permissions and capabilities once users are authenticated. It involves the use of policies and protocols to restrict what users can see and do, generally operating on the principle of least privilege: that users should only have access to the minimum levels of access necessary to perform their jobs. 

One example of IAM in cybersecurity is multi-factor authentication (MFA). This requires users to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to an account. This layered approach makes it significantly more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access. 

Other examples include role-based access control (RBAC), where users are only allowed access to information pertinent to their role within the organization, or single sign-on (SSO) services, which allow users to access multiple services with a single set of credentials, but can be a vulnerability if not properly secured.

SaaS Identity and Access Management Best Practices

The SaaS IAM landscape is becoming more complex by the day. To keep up with new and emerging challenges, businesses should adopt SaaS identity and access management best practices. These include: 

  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Incorporating MFA adds a critical layer of security by requiring two or more forms of verification before granting access.
  • Role-Based Access Control: RBAC makes it easier to manage large numbers of users. It allocates permissions based on predefined roles within the organization. 
  • Least Privilege Access Principle: Always provide the minimum level of access rights for users to complete their tasks. This helps reduce potential vulnerabilities within the system.
  • Regular Audits and Continuous Monitoring: Implement automated auditing and real-time monitoring to identify and respond to suspicious activities. Regular audits help ensure that all access protocols are working as intended. 
  • Strong Password Policies: Enforcing the use of strong, unique passwords and encouraging or mandating frequent password changes can act as the first line of defense against unauthorized access.
  • Single Sign-On: While SSO offers a convenient way for users to log into multiple services with a single set of credentials, it must be implemented carefully, as it could become a single point of failure if not properly secured.
  • API Security: For SaaS platforms that rely on API integrations, it's important to employ robust security measures such as API keys and OAuth tokens to prevent unauthorized data manipulation or access.
  • Data Encryption: Always encrypt sensitive data both at rest and during transmission. Utilizing strong encryption algorithms and key management systems can safeguard against unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Periodic Access Reviews: Regularly review all access rights and permissions to ensure they align with current roles and organizational needs. Remove or modify permissions that are outdated or unnecessary.
  • Employee Training: Educate employees on the importance of security and the role they play in maintaining it. Make sure they understand how to identify phishing attempts and why they should adhere to company policies on passwords. 
  • Backup and Recovery Plans: Always have a backup and recovery plan in place for IAM configurations and data. That way, in the event of a system failure or cyber-attack, essential IAM functionalities can be quickly restored.
  • AWS Managed Policies: If you use an AWS platform, be sure to adhere to specific AWS IAM best practices.

There’s a lot that goes into IAM these days, and knowing where to start can be tricky. However, by integrating these SaaS identity and access management best practices, organizations can build effective frameworks that address general and platform-specific concerns.

Identity and Access Management Solutions

There are several things to consider when choosing between IAM solutions. To ensure they find the most appropriate solutions for their particular needs, businesses should outline their goals and objectives. They should also carefully consider scalability and the extent to which they’re likely to grow—or downsize—in the short and long term.

The best identity and access management tools prioritize scalability. Look for a platform that’s capable of growing alongside your business without requiring frequent changes or upgrades. Identity and access management solutions that offer a great deal of scalability tend to be more cost-effective and future-proof than those that do not. 

Another key feature is flexibility. Each organization has unique needs, and good IAM tools tailor security protocols and access permissions based on those specific requirements. Customization allows businesses to implement security measures that are directly aligned with their operational needs without imposing unnecessary restrictions or vulnerabilities.

User experience is also crucial. Poorly-designed IAM systems can frustrate users and lead to workarounds that compromise security. Businesses should thus opt for identity management software that provides an intuitive and straightforward user interface. Importantly, the solution should allow for SSO and easy MFA. 

Real-time monitoring and auditing capabilities are also essential. Businesses must be able to track who accessed what information, when, and from where. Effective access management solutions provide robust reporting tools that make it easier for security teams to monitor access patterns, spot irregularities, and take quick corrective actions when necessary.

When selecting an IAM solution, consider its interoperability with other systems. This is particularly important for businesses that use a mix of on-premises and cloud-based solutions. The IAM platform should offer seamless integration capabilities with a variety of other software and systems. 

Automation capabilities should also be evaluated. Automation in IAM solutions can range from automated de-provisioning of user accounts when an employee leaves the organization to automated reports that are generated and sent to compliance officers. The more automated the system, the less manual work is required, reducing the likelihood of human error. Ultimately, while there isn’t a single one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to IAM, it’s important to look for a holistic feature set that’s designed to tackle today’s cybersecurity challenges.

Nudge Security’s IAM Solution

Nudge Security is dedicated to helping organizations improve their cybersecurity posture by empowering each and every employee with the tools and techniques to be a responsible and effective custodian of the company’s online security. 

With Nudge Security, you can streamline all aspects of your IAM process, reducing your team’s workload while promoting a high level of security. Our SaaS security services make it easier than ever for companies to tackle identity and access management, starting with a complete inventory of every cloud and SaaS application that’s been introduced into your organization. Nudge Security continuously discovers and tracks SSO status for all of the cloud and SaaS applications your workforce uses, helping you to reach your SSO goals faster. 

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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