Data Visibility in SaaS: 3 Keys for Visibility & Control
June 11, 2019
We need to talk about visibility and control particularly when it comes to your Data Visibility in SaaS services, and the way data is accessed and used.
After all, in these spaces, you’re stretching yourself to make sure that you can allow your users to collaborate and get their work done, while also making sure you fully understand what data is visible, and who controls that.
It can sound a little overwhelming, particularly as security and compliance issues can feel more like a headache. However, it’s important to realize that this is something you can set up and establish early on, to meet the needs of your clients.
Even more impressively, you can do so while providing access to the application software, and providing the kind of rigor and due diligence that are invisible to your users.
Customers using your SaaS are relying on your service for all of their functionality, maintenance, and support. The entire draw of cloud-based SaaS is in the fact that it is easy and effective for the client to set up and keep running. It also means that as the SaaS provider, you can run updates and automatically install them without your client’s need to do anything.
The biggest problem with SaaS and cloud services is that it can be easier for the data and information which is stored on the cloud to be accessed by unwanted or unauthorized users. So rather than waiting for any form of a data breach, pro-active steps here can ease the growth and expansion of your SaaS while still ensuring your data visibility in SaaS has no safety concerns. Here are three keys to making sure your services are offering the best by way of visibility and control.
Key 1: Secure Session Keys
If a customer is using an application in your SaaS service, then you need to be aware of the two kinds of security capabilities that your customer is going to need.
- Using the features and the application within the SaaS in a safe and secure way
- Safe storage of the data that the SaaS application is generating, in an encrypted format
Whoever is providing the cloud is responsible for the security to do with the application and the cloud. Usually, these come in the form of large scale data operations, and an understanding of entire fields of databases which should be encrypted.
Yet for customized sets of data that are generated by the user, it’s important to make sure that there is available encryption to keep this data secure.
As the SaaS provider, it’s important that you provide the opportunity for a secure session to be established – the data needs to be protected from both being tampered with, as well as respecting the client’s privacy.
Running a TLS protocol, or Transport Layer Security protocol, is the most common way to establish the two-way authentification. These run in a very similar way to Secure Shell or SSH. Session keys then allow the customer to encrypt and decrypt the data they are working with and generating the right authentification codes.
This involves establishing an asymmetric key pair for the SaaS – one which is private, and one which is public, as well as potentially offering the same for the customer.
Key 2: Providing Multiple Keys for a Database
When it comes to how the data is stored, usually sections or segments are created in order to keep things organized.
For example, this could involve setting up disk volumes. The best way to ensure the visibility and control of the data here is to create new encryption keys for each volume.
However, as multiple customers might be using the same key to access volumes on the cloud, it’s worth considering multiple key management servers. As each customer will need access to their particular sets of data on the volume, it’s important to make sure that there is the possibility for many symmetric keys to be made.
Multiple key management servers allow you to control and keep track of who is able to access which of the particular volumes.
Key 3: Providing Encryption Gateways
If your customer needs to create customized field encryption, then it makes the most sense to provide an encryption gateway for the network.
In essence, this will act as a reverse proxy server. It will process and monitor every data operation and acts as a sentinel between the client’s application and the cloud. Using various rules, data can then be encrypted as it’s sent to be stored, or decrypted as it’s sent to be used.
This allows security to happen in real-time and allows any number of keys to be used to protect the selected fields. It also allows you to decide which encryption method you’d prefer to use, either using shared keys or public/private ones.
Data Visibility in SaaS: Spinify + Security
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