What Is SaaS Ransomware & How Can You Defend Against It?

by | Oct 30, 2023 | Business, Cybersecurity

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It offers convenience, scalability, and efficiency. No more dragging software from one device to another. Everyone can collaborate easily in the cloud.

But alongside its benefits, SaaS brings with it potential threats. When software and data are online, they’re more vulnerable to attacks. One of the latest threats to move from endpoint devices to the cloud is ransomware.

Ransomware has been around attacking computers, servers, and mobile devices for a while. But recently there has been an alarming uptick in SaaS ransomware attacks.

Between March and May of 2023, SaaS attacks increased by over 300%. A study in 2022 by Odaseva found that 51% of ransomware attacks targeted SaaS data.

In this article, we’ll delve into what SaaS ransomware is and the risks it poses. And, most importantly, how you can defend against it.

What is SaaS Ransomware?

SaaS ransomware is also known as cloud ransomware. It’s malicious code designed to target cloud-based applications and services. These include services like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and other cloud collaboration platforms.

The attackers exploit vulnerabilities in these cloud-based systems. The ransomware then encrypts valuable data. It effectively locks users out of their own accounts. Cybercriminals hold the data hostage. They then demand a ransom, often in the form of cryptocurrencies. The ransom is in exchange for the decryption key.

The Risks of SaaS Ransomware

SaaS ransomware adds a new layer of complexity to the cybersecurity landscape. It presents several risks to individuals and organizations.

  • Data Loss: The most immediate risk is the loss of critical data. You lose access to your cloud-based applications and files. This can cause productivity to grind to a halt.
  • Reputational Damage: A successful SaaS ransomware attack can tarnish your organization’s reputation. Customers and partners may lose trust in your ability to safeguard their data. This can negatively impact your brand image.
  • Financial Impact: Paying the ransom is not guaranteed to result in data recovery. It may encourage attackers to target you again. Furthermore, the cost of downtime and recovery efforts can be substantial.

Defending Against SaaS Ransomware

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. When it comes to SaaS ransomware, proactive defense is key. Here are some effective strategies to protect your organization against these threats.

Educate Your Team

Start by educating your employees about the risks of SaaS ransomware. Include how it spreads through phishing emails, malicious links, or breached accounts. Teach them to recognize suspicious activities and report any unusual incidents immediately.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is an essential layer of security. It requires users to provide an extra form of authentication to access accounts. This is often a one-time code sent to their mobile device. Enabling MFA reduces the risk of unauthorized access. This is true, even if a hacker compromises an account’s login credentials.

Regular Backups

Frequently backing up your SaaS data is crucial. In the event of a ransomware attack, you still have your data. Having up-to-date backups ensures that you can restore your files. You won’t need to pay the attacker’s ransom demands.

Apply the Principle of Least Privilege

Limit user permissions to only the necessary functions. Follow the principle of least privilege. This means giving users the lowest privilege needed for their job. Doing this, you reduce the potential damage an attacker can do if they gain access.

Keep Software Up to Date

Ensure that you keep all software (SaaS applications, operating systems, etc.) up to date. They should have the latest security patches installed. Regular updates close known vulnerabilities and strengthen your defense.

Deploy Advanced Security Solutions

Consider using third-party security solutions that specialize in protecting SaaS environments. These solutions can provide many benefits. Including:

  • Real-time threat detection
  • Data loss prevention
  • And other advanced security features

Track Account Activity

Put in place robust monitoring of user activity and network traffic. Suspicious behavior can be early indicators of an attack. One example to watch for is several failed login attempts. Another is access from unusual locations.

Develop an Incident Response Plan

Prepare and practice an incident response plan. It should outline the steps to take in the event of a ransomware attack. A well-coordinated response can mitigate the impact of an incident. It can also aid in faster recovery. The sooner your team can respond, the faster business gets back to normal.

Don’t Leave Your Cloud Data Unprotected!

SaaS ransomware is a significant cybersecurity concern. The best defense is a good offense. Do you need help putting one together?

Our team can help you stay ahead of the cyber threats that lurk in the digital world. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Here Are 5 Data Security Trends to Prepare for in 2024

With cyber threats evolving at an alarming pace, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. It’s a must for safeguarding sensitive information. Data security threats are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent. The landscape must change to keep up. In 2024, we can...

Google & Yahoo’s New DMARC Policy Shows Why Businesses Need Email Authentication… Now

Have you been hearing more about email authentication lately? There is a reason for that. It’s the prevalence of phishing as a major security threat. Phishing continues as the main cause of data breaches and security incidents. This has been the case for many years.A...

10 Most Common Smart Home Issues (and How to Fix Them)

Back when you were a kid, living in a “smart home” probably sounded futuristic. Something out of Back to the Future II or The Jetsons. Well, we don’t yet have flying cars, but we do have video telephones as well as smart refrigerators and voice-activated lights.But...

What Is Microsoft Security Copilot? Should You Use It?

It can be challenging to keep up with the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Companies need to process large amounts of data. As well as respond to incidents quickly and effectively. Managing an organization's security posture is complex.That's where Microsoft...

Smart Tactics to Reduce Cloud Waste at Your Business

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. But cloud services also come with a downside: cloud waste.Cloud waste is the unnecessary spending of resources and money on cloud services. These...

Eye-opening Insights from the 2023 Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report

We are living in an era dominated by digital connectivity. You can't overstate the importance of cybersecurity. As technology advances, so do the threats that lurk in the online world.Often, it’s our own actions that leave us most at risk of a cyberattack or online...

9 Signs That Your Smart Home Device Has Been Hacked

Smart home devices are becoming more popular and convenient. But they also pose some serious security risks. Hackers can target these devices to access your personal information. As well as spy on your activities or cause damage to your home.Often the dangers of smart...

5 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2024 You Should Plan For

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. There are new threats, technologies, and opportunities emerging every year. As we enter 2024, organizations need to be aware of current and future cyber threats. Businesses of all sizes and sectors should plan...