Wednesday, March 11, 2009

asSaaSsinated: more on SaaS & cloud risk

As previously discussed, SaaS represents frightening scenarios for well intended enterprises seeking to offload cost and resource demands. The same motives are driving businesses into the cloud like lemmings off a cliff.
Yet, these businesses/enterprises may not conduct best effort diligence when it comes to ensuring their vendor of choice is managing their security properly.
Under such circumstances, their well being in the SaaS realm could well be at risk.
Consider previous examples such as Online finance flaw: one flaw to rule them all, or the discussion regarding Sage Live.
Enter Baynote, whose offerings include Social Search.
Following the principles of one flaw to rule them all, a single validation error in the q variable found in http://[Insert customer here].com/socialsearch/query?cn=[customer]&cc=us&q= led to numerous Baynote customers falling prey to cross-site scripting.

VIDEO

To their credit, Baynote was responsive and fixed the issue quickly (well done!) but the issue exemplifies ongoing risks to customers and consumers.
To that end, I've offered some common sense guidelines for businesses (in particular finance, but applicable to all) regarding questions to be asked of SaaS provides.
The article is available at SearchFinancialSecurity.com.
This is an issue we all need to pay close attention to. SaaS vendors take on an entirely new level of responsibility with each customer they add. If they treat the process in the same manner that Sage did, trouble awaits in abundance.
Ask the right questions and expect clear, thoughtful concise answers.

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