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Four Reasons Multi-Factor Authentication Secures SaaS Apps

Gal Nakash
November 29, 2023
5 min

Cyber security historically centered on firewalls, network perimeters, and specific ports and protocols. However, the landscape has evolved, with SaaS technology driving a shift toward a new security paradigm. Today, identities and access have emerged as the foremost security boundary. Factors like the widespread use of cloud computing, remote work, and the ever-expanding SaaS application ecosystem have propelled this transformation. In this modern era, safeguarding user identities and managing access has become the cornerstone of cybersecurity. Relying solely on network security is no longer sufficient.

SaaS apps with millions of global users, have become prime targets for cybercriminals. As vital tools for developers and organizations, these platforms facilitate code collaboration, communication, and project management. To enhance security, SaaS apps are enforcing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as the default setting for users. Slack recently sent a notification to business accounts regarding an upcoming deadline to enforce MFA in response to unauthorized access to a subset of Slack’s code repositories. Github recently sent a similar communication to all users contributing code to repositories. MFA adds an extra layer of protection beyond passwords, requiring users to provide multiple authentication factors. This step fortifies security by significantly raising the bar for unauthorized access attempts, protecting user accounts from potential compromise.

Here are some compelling reasons why SaaS apps such as Slack and Github are taking this proactive step:

1. Mitigating the Risk of Account Compromise:

User accounts on these platforms often hold valuable intellectual property, code repositories, or confidential conversations. Default MFA is a powerful safeguard against unauthorized access, even if passwords are compromised.

2. Strengthening Phishing Defense:

Phishing attacks are a prevalent threat, and MFA is a potent defense. With MFA enabled by default, users are less susceptible to falling victim to phishing schemes.

3. Proactive Security Culture:

By making MFA the default setting, GitHub and Slack promote a culture of proactive security among their user base, emphasizing the importance of protecting their accounts from day one.

4. Simplified User Experience:

Modern MFA methods, like authenticator apps, are user-friendly and can be seamlessly integrated into the login process. Users will find it easy to set up and use MFA, enhancing their overall experience.

SaaS Security & SSPM: A Broader Perspective

GitHub and Slack are just two examples of the vast SaaS ecosystem, which boasts an average of approximately 250 SaaS applications per organization, according to industry recommendations. This highlights the magnitude of the security challenge faced by organizations today. While enforcing default MFA on these major platforms is a significant step, it underscores the need for comprehensive security strategies across the entire SaaS landscape. SaaS security policies focus on aspects such as encryption and access control, and are vital practices to protect the data flowing to SaaS applications.

It's imperative for organizations to recognize that the responsibility for securing these applications is shared. Users, service providers, and organizations all play a role in maintaining a robust security posture. While GitHub and Slack taking the lead in default MFA implementation is commendable, organizations must also proactively embrace this practice and extend it to other SaaS applications they use.

The decision by GitHub and Slack to enforce MFA as a default setting is a step in the right direction, enhancing the security of their platforms. However, it's crucial to remember that the SaaS landscape is vast and varied, with countless applications that demand equal attention to security. As the reliance on SaaS apps grows, the need for proactive security measures, such as identity & access governance, user behavior analysis, and configuration management becomes even more critical. 

At Reco, we are on a mission to help organizations prevent the risk of data exposure. You can learn more by reaching out to schedule a demo.

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