Security Considerations For SaaS Application Security

Posted By : Arpita Pal | 11-Oct-2023

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a subscription-based model that offers its services as a software application over the Internet to its users. It provides great convenience and flexibility to its subscribers as it can be accessed from anywhere over the internet and does not require its users to install it on their devices. 

SaaS architecture works as a delivery platform that serves as the foundation for supporting infrastructure of the software offered as a service. The architecture of the software dictates the level of functionality, scalability and security it will be able to provide to its users. This article explores how users can benefit from numerous types of architectures in SaaS and employ best practices for SaaS application safety. This article delves into multiple types of architectures in SaaS, best practices for SaaS application security and trends expected to shape SaaS architecture in the future.



What are the types of SaaS Architecture?


Based on Industry Specificity: 

1) Vertical SaaS: 
Also known as Niche SaaS, Vertical SaaS architecture caters to industry-specific needs for achieving targeted objectives and specialized functions. It acts as a comprehensive solution for various SaaS requirements in a particular industry such as finance, healthcare, retail, logistics etc. 

As its users don't require multiple applications for performing functions, Vertical SaaS-based software provides greater efficiency and enhanced performance. They have usually lower acquisition costs and enjoy better chances of obtaining new customers and retaining them due to comparatively lesser competition than horizontal SaaS.

2) Horizontal SaaS:
The architecture of Horizontal SaaS applications is constructed in a manner that enables heightened functionality to its users across numerous industries. It has a significantly wider user base as it involves a broader approach to providing targeted solutions for various business requirements.

Horizontal SaaS applications benefit from a larger pool of customers due to their ability to provide increased flexibility and scalability in their range of functions. Their pricing model focuses on delivering a range of features according to the differently priced premium plans ranging from high to low. As they target a more generalized approach for offering higher functionality, they share greater competition in the SaaS market for acquiring new customers.


Based on Tenancy:

1) Single Tenant Architecture: 
This type of architecture focuses on developing customized SaaS solutions for a single tenant or a customer after paying premium fees for its subscription. The software service will be solely dedicated to the single user by providing exclusive infrastructure and features where the maintenance of databases, servers etc, will be done by the software provider.

This software service is meant for individual use and cannot be shared among other users. This architecture-based solution is highly beneficial for users who are looking for a significant amount of flexibility in customization and control over how it operates and utilizes data.


2) Multi-Tenant Architecture
The most commonly used type of architecture in SaaS is multi-tenant architecture where a similar software solution is utilized among many users but in separate versions while employing the same servers and infrastructure. This allows SaaS providers reduced costs and efforts as they are able to provide same software delivery model to multiple users and ensure individual confidentiality for their operations and storage of data. 

3) Hybrid Tenant Architecture:
Mixed Tenant architecture or Hybrid Tenant architecture supports functions of both single-tenant architecture and multi-tenant architecture. Its customers or tenants can decide which functions they are willing to use in a shared environment among many users and which functions they want to keep separate and confidential. It is beneficial for users looking for flexible options that can provide scalability and control in their operations and data. They, however, can prove to be complex in nature and require additional training for effective utilization of the software.

Also Read: How Are No Code Platforms Disrupting SaaS Development


Best Practices to Ensure SaaS Application Security

1) Robust Identification & Authentication Measures:
Authentication in SaaS applications requires specific solutions for diversified platforms and users to verify and provide them access. It is crucial to ensure that the authentication feature holds up as a substantial security measure and is easy for users to follow in processes such as login/sign-up. To solidify SaaS application security, features such as strong passwords, SSL/TSL encryptions, session management etc., can be employed for verifying users that are allowed to have access to the software application based on hierarchy, data requirements etc. The authentication feature being utilized will be dependent on the use case of the service being offered. 

2) Data Security: 
Security for data management is an essential feature for providing services that clients can trust in terms of confidentiality and is safe against data breaches. Through robust data encryption and access control measures, software data access will only be available to those authorized to do so.

It will help to maintain both the client and server-side confidentiality which can be done through encryption technology such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) and security protocols such as Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to ensure security for both ‘data-in-motion’ and 'data-at-rest' for comprehensive SaaS application security.

3) Ensure Regulatory Compliances:
Integration of regulatory compliances is vital for SaaS applications for smooth functioning and security, financial and legal considerations. There are numerous compliances applicable to SaaS applications namely, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), SOC 2 Certification and others depending on the kind of service being offered through the application. Following and adopting these regulations will help SaaS companies to avoid risks, penalties and build credibility.

4) Counter Vendor-Lock In Issues:
Vendor-lock-in issues can make it tough for companies to opt for different SaaS services as they might become dependent on previous software due to confidentiality issues and difficulty in shifting IT structures. 

SaaS service providers should address these problems effectively by creating exit strategies, inventory for system databases, data migration strategies and flexible services that can make the transition easier and cost-effective for the client. These measures would help the client to effectively counter rigid conditions of previous services and choose relevant SaaS software as per their requirements.

5) API Integration
API integration in SaaS applications allows it to have quality extended functionality for various features when connected with the main software. When constructing architecture for SaaS applications, it is crucial to keep focus on API integration, as it helps to become the connecting point between numerous third-party software which is useful for providing greater benefits to the subscriber. With larger benefits and greater functionality, it would help in enforcing reliability and utility in SaaS applications.

6) Employ Comprehensive Monitoring:
To ensure that the SaaS architecture is reliable, can meet subscriber requirements and can handle its tasks effectively, comprehensive performance monitoring should be implemented for best results. Tracking and analyzing the performance of the SaaS application would highlight where it is performing well and where changes need to be made for improvement. 

Continuous monitoring would help to make sure that architecture is able to properly support the functions of the software, and release necessary deployments for optimum SaaS application security and performance for maximum client satisfaction.  


Future Trends in SaaS Application Security

1) AI-Powered SaaS Applications: As with almost every other field in technology, AI is also transforming how SaaS’s architecture is constructed and provides its services. With the utilization of technologies like NLP and Machine Learning, AI-powered SaaS applications can offer extensive benefits such as automation of tasks, personalized features, enhanced scalability and powerful insights for handling large data sets and achieving streamlined workflows. 

2) Platforms requiring low coding or no coding: SaaS architectures involving no coding or very little involvement in coding are gaining traction quickly due to a considerable reduction in time and effort in developing the software. Users with limited expertise and resources greatly benefit from this trend as they are only required to perform minimal functions to get the software running and are able to enjoy high functionality and operational efficiency from it.

3) Cloud-Native SaaS: Services offered by SaaS applications on the cloud are gaining popularity as functions relating to the maintenance of servers, databases etc. are performed by the SaaS providers. This allows the reduction of burden on clients in dealing with routine maintenance tasks and enables them to focus on tasks of priority. This negates the requirement of installing the software on the client’s device as the functions can be performed over the web on a cloud platform. It facilitates cost efficiency, reduced duration for releases, enhanced scalability and streamlined workflows.

Final Thoughts
SaaS for businesses serves as indisputable support to help achieve its goals and objectives with greater efficiency and streamlined workflows. For SaaS applications to achieve their targets, customers or subscribers should research and choose the optimum architecture for their SaaS application as those matching the requirements of the business in terms of functionality, control and flexibility would only be successful in doing so. 

Also to ensure that the architecture is able to support the infrastructure of the software, security considerations must be followed with discipline for best performance. All these requirements can only be fulfilled if business users have a clear understanding of what they require from their desired SaaS application and collaborate with SaaS providers to choose a software service that is able to achieve their expectations optimally. With rapid developments in the SaaS application industry through integration with innovative technologies such as AI, machine learning, etc., it will be able to provide enhanced comprehensive solutions that will simplify resolving problems quickly and effectively in less duration.

Oodles Technologies is an innovation-driven company that offers advanced solutions in SaaS application development and more. If you’re looking for advanced solutions in SaaS to enhance your business operations, we would be happy to be your partner in creating solutions that fit your business requirements . You can contact us here, and our experts will get back to you in 24 hours.

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Arpita Pal

Arpita brings her exceptional skills as a Content Writer to the table, backed by a wealth of knowledge in the field. She possesses a specialized proficiency across a range of domains, encompassing Press Releases, content for News sites, SEO, and crafting website content. Drawing from her extensive background in content marketing, Arpita is ideally positioned for her role as a content strategist. In this capacity, she undertakes the creation of engaging Social media posts and meticulously researched blog entries, which collectively contribute to forging a unique brand identity. Collaborating seamlessly with her team members, she harnesses her cooperative abilities to bolster overall client growth and development.

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