SaaS Penetration Testing

Developers of SaaS applications have many considerations, including security. Users must have confidence in the answer and know that their information is safe.


User path safety, reliability of the system, and third-party connections, among other things… SaaS services have numerous security concerns. A pen test is a way of testing and improving the safety of a SaaS network. 


Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses are growing in popularity, providing new alternatives that are both practical and affordable. This year alone, the SaaS market is expected to produce $105 billion in sales. Cyber security is becoming a vital aspect for SaaS companies’ development in terms of maintaining confidence with their existing customers. Since the fluid structure of SaaS businesses, it is critical that they develop an effective and productive security strategy. Penetration testing is one of the most significant and trustworthy security solutions accessible.


Why is penetration testing necessary for SaaS companies?


In two respects, SaaS companies differ from other kinds of technology. For starters, they collect and transfer massive volumes of information, which is frequently delicate. Secondly, they are intrinsically dynamic, owing to the necessity to adjust to constantly shifting client needs and remain competitive by offering new inventive capabilities. Inevitably, the ongoing inclusion of additional capabilities creates plenty of opportunities for weaknesses to be developed, perhaps resulting in network attacks. Penetration testing is essential for detecting and resolving flaws early in the developmental phase to decrease cyber errors and increase overall security.

By evaluating the app and infrastructural level defences, ethical hacking replicates a legitimate cyber-attack in order to evaluate and try to expose any flaws in a company’s security features.


Data security testing for a SaaS application


Security of identification
User verification is a highly delicate process. It evaluates whether the user has an authorized entry and provides the necessary permissions (role and access level).


It confronts multiple threats as an API exposed from outside of the app and should be resilient. Any SaaS program must contend with the durability and impedance of the communication layer.


The SaaS system or an SSO provider can handle identification.  In both circumstances, the code has to be meticulous so that no device can be bypassed. For instance, a penetration test can examine access control policies, authentication standards, login management, and login keys.


Aggression of Privileges – Vertically
Users generally have different responsibilities in SaaS systems, such as user, supervisor, and admin.


Various entitlement tiers should be implemented made depending on features to impose permission detachment among multiple users, organizations, or customer foundations within an organization. It’s critical to follow the basic premise of lowest entitlement, which means giving each position only the privileges it requires. This is the first step in limiting the possibility of rights being elevated.


During pen tests, we often run into issues with access privileges. These are flaws that enable a regular user to gain accessibility to capabilities they shouldn’t have.


Aggression of horizontal privileges
A SaaS system is distinguished by the fact that it serves all of its clients on the same network, servers, and system. Identification and access restrictions are used at the protocol stack to separate information as according to identities.


Multi-tenant webhosting is the most popular option since it enables you to cut expenses by pooling equipment, examples, and so on.


Customer profiles must be maintained distinct from one another in order to maintain data security. Issues with configuration and right weaknesses frequently present ways to obtain an identity other than the one that is generally given. A penetration test can confirm that information segregation has been completed correctly.


Some editors provide specialized servers to their clients with stringent security requirements, reducing the danger of unauthorized network connectivity.


Encryption of data

In a SaaS product, encryption process is a critical step to ensure privacy protection. It must be applied for both data storage and data transmission. In this manner, information will be illegible and useless if a system is hacked or if hackers overhear it.


The contents in the dataset are kept protected using cryptography at rest. Encryption in transport implies that content is encrypted from beginning to end throughout importation, exportation, and transmissions. The database connection method must provide encryption.


The encryption credentials are extremely delicate data. It is recommended that you keep them apart from the information they protect. The cryptographic keys (services and storing) are usually managed by the client.


Data security is a crucial issue to assess throughout a security review because it might be a deciding factor in choosing a SaaS service. A penetration test will examine whether the cryptography is appropriate and installed correctly, whether the secret key is kept and accessed safely, and so on.


On SaaS apps, we test the security of the customer journey.
Business applications with advanced processes is common on SaaS systems. Because of the nature of the activities, the possibilities of deception and phase manipulations must be considered.


The goal is to guarantee that an adversary cannot exploit technological or logical weaknesses to circumvent the user experience and intended processes.


Technical flaws are flaws in the computer’s code, execution, or setup, whereas logic weaknesses are flaws in the software’s functionality. It’s possible that unexpected behaviour was achieved.


Logic problems are harder to uncover than technical faults since pen testers must first grasp how the system works before attempting to circumvent it.


The numerous queries with distinct variables that SaaS apps send often include weaknesses. A pen test entails examining queries, file verification, access control lists, and other factors to guarantee that there are no weaknesses.


Continuity of service for SaaS apps
Since the basis of their company strategy is to be a service that is constantly available, several SaaS software producers take extra precautions to avoid loss of system attacks. Companies cannot tolerate a service that is compromised, or worse, completely inaccessible.


As a result, SaaS app providers are seeking to strengthen their infrastructures in order to protect themselves from these threats. The testing can be carried out during a pen test assess the system’s susceptibility to assaults such as session overload, network flooding, and app rejection all of which are related to the functions of the SaaS program being tested.


Security flaws discovered are at the setup or method that optimizes a problem, and can be fixed.


Validation of third-party connection safety
SaaS software systems have become increasingly connected with one another as they require more information to do their activities. APIs are progressively being used in third-party connections. However, this connectivity might lead to security problems.


Implementations really add new access and escape routes to the SaaS platform, which may be overlooked in vulnerability scanning. It’s critical that the same precautions are taken at these locations. Information transmissions must be protected from surveillance and manipulation, as well as cyberattacks attempted through these pathways.


Conducting a SaaS software pen test
Penetration testing of a SaaS infrastructure uses the same tactics and methods that a cybercriminal would use to target the service. This allows you to see where the program is powerful and where it requires improvement.


Cloud hosting and system setup tests
A SaaS system’s safety depends heavily on its hosting. A SaaS pen test examines the hosting environment, identification and access control policies, bandwidth limits, accessible applications, and other factors.


Versions can be evaluated in a black box environment to mimic an outside intruder, or in a grey box environment with restricted login details.


A white box audit is another option. This technological inspection enables for a comprehensive examination of cloud server settings in order to identify faults and offer best strategies for various situations. Our specialists have extensive experience working in virtual servers (for example: AWS).


The white box guarantees that every aspect of the SaaS platform is thoroughly evaluated. You focus on providing the pen testers administrative authority to the network so they may test it.


SaaS platforms’ service tier is being tested.
SaaS applications, like any other web application, provide a service through the internet. A substantial portion of a pen test is concentrated on the application level, which contains technological and logic issues.


A black box, grey box, or white box software pen test can be performed.


In a black box test, the analyses focus on the threat landscape that is visible externally, in order to evaluate all vulnerabilities in the range that an external adversary can reach. Before the testing, you never provide data or profiles.


Grey box testing is also an option. We run tests with a normal user account that is typically offered prior to the tests. The goal is to test root access and profile segregation in specific.


In white box, the investigation is carried a step further by granting accessibility to the SaaS computer’s code.


Conducting social manipulation tests as part of a penetration test for a SaaS platform
A SaaS software pen test can also check for the emotional side. Since social engineering are especially efficient when groups are unaware of the hazards, they are a common route of assault. When safeguards are robust, social engineering allowing the adversary to get around them.


To deceive employees into making errors, cybercrimes depend on human behaviour: opening on a phishing scam, handing up a password, activating a payload, and so on.


A social manipulation assessment increases team understanding. It entails evaluating and training workers’ responses in the presence of genuine attacks that are tailored to your situation. To train staff to identify escalating sophistication attacks, the pen test can incorporate situations of increased complexity.


How can you run a successful SaaS software safety experiment?


When it comes to running a successful test, there is no “one size fits all” strategy, so companies must first determine the element of danger they face before deciding which tests to run. However, most businesses follow a set of guidelines.


1) Be aware of your company’s needs.
You must first grasp your organization’s objectives and what will be regarded an accomplishment before deciding on any series of tests (and who will run them). Some companies are looking for the lowest possible cost, while others are prepared to pay more for continuous examination that encompasses all of their bases. Consider what kind of knowledge and experience you can bring in-house vs assigning duties to an outside consulting company, or even a combination of the two. It is also recommended that businesses stay up with the newest cybersecurity information.


2) Pick which tests to run.
Once you’ve determined your business’s tolerance for risk, you may choose from a variety of cybersecurity testing options, ranging from penetration tests to vulnerability scans to comprehensive evaluations. When comparing suppliers, ensure sure they offer specialized services like cloud supporting infrastructure (for instance, Amazon Web Services), DevOps technologies, CMDB software configuration database abilities, PaaS framework as a support team, and so on.


3) Find the right service supplier
With so many various security testing services and applications from which to choose, picking one that meets your needs can be difficult. You should ask the following questions:

  • What are the solutions they provide?

  • What is the business’s expertise in your specific industry?

  • Which consumers are comparable to my company?

  • Are on-premise or cloud-based technologies required?

  • Will their crew be dedicated just to me, or will they also deal with other customers?

Once you’ve identified a few organizations that appear to be suitable fits for your company, ask if they can offer recommendations from previous clients that operate in a similar fashion. This will help guarantee that the company’s offerings are compatible with your requirements.


However, if you require a full-time cyber security expert, Labsard can assist you in hiring the necessary professionals within a week.


4) Recognize the outcomes
Knowing and understanding the actual services being given and what will be generated by assessment before accepting a security testing agreement. Also, inquire about any follow-up services, such as remedial guidance if any flaws are detected — many suppliers charge extra for this function.


Consider how long it will take for various carriers to get test findings — one might require months of accessibility before they can start their research, while others may have baseline information within days, based on your needs.


5) Decide for third-party audits.

Simply since a security supplier promises to follow relevant industry norms does not mean these assertions should be taken literally. You should schedule an impartial third-party evaluation of their policies and practices ahead of time to guarantee they are going to live up to any assertions made. This will assist keep your company from being the next target, especially if you’re going to make testing results public.



6) One last suggestion
Always ensure that whoever performs security assessment for your SaaS platform has sufficient expertise working with businesses similar to yours; this will reduce the risk of accidents whilst the increasing the likelihood of succeeding.



Security testing for SaaS apps has many advantages.

  • Lessen the probability of a cyber attack.

  • Keep consumer information safe.

  • Observe industry guidelines

  • Preserve the brand’s image

  • Enhance staff efficiency.

To summarize

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the value of security testing in securing SaaS apps. Security is described as “the condition or attribute of being safe from harm,” which encompasses weaknesses that could result in data intrusions and damage. If your company keeps critical data on a third-party server, it needs to be protected from cyberattacks, no matter how little. In this ever-changing digital ecosystem, the best approach to secure your organization is to hire a competent group of safety experts who can find and solve these flaws before they cause any harm. Labsard can assist you in locating the necessary expertise within a week.


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