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SSPM vs DSPM: What Are They & Do You Need Both?

Reco Security Experts
June 17, 2024
July 9, 2024
5 mins

What is SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)?

SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) is a security strategy that manages and improves the security posture of SaaS (Software as a Service) applications. SSPM continuously monitors and assesses the security configurations and practices of SaaS applications to ensure security policies and standards are adhered to. This includes checking for security risks, misconfigurations, and potential threats that can compromise the application's security.

Key functions of SSPM include:

  • Configuration Management: Ensuring that SaaS applications are configured securely according to best practices.
  • Risk Assessment: Identifying and evaluating potential security risks associated with SaaS applications.
  • Compliance Monitoring: Ensuring that SaaS applications adhere to relevant regulatory and compliance requirements.
  • Threat Detection: Identifying and responding to security threats and incidents related to SaaS applications.

By implementing SSPM, organizations can reduce the risk of security breaches, protect sensitive data, and ensure the safe use of SaaS applications.

What is Data Security Posture Management (DSPM)?

Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) is a security framework that manages and improves the security posture of an organization's data across various environments, including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures. DSPM protects data throughout its lifecycle, from creation and storage to processing and deletion.

DSPM uses continuous monitoring and analysis of data to make sure it’s secure and adheres to data protection regulations. This includes identifying sensitive data, assessing potential vulnerabilities, and implementing security controls to protect against data breaches and unauthorized access.

Key functions of DSPM include:

  • Data Discovery and Classification: Identifying and categorizing sensitive data within the organization's environment.
  • Vulnerability Management: Detecting and addressing vulnerabilities that can expose data to security threats.
  • Access Control: Ensuring that only authorized users have access to sensitive data.
  • Data Encryption: Implementing encryption techniques to protect data at rest and in transit.
  • Compliance Management: Ensuring data handling practices comply with relevant data protection laws and regulations.

By implementing DSPM, organizations can protect their data, maintain compliance, and mitigate the risk of data breaches and loss.

SSPM vs DSPM: Key Differences

Although SSPM and DSPM both enhance security, they focus on different aspects of an organization's security posture. Understanding the key differences between SSPM and DSPM can help organizations determine which approach best suits their needs.

Focus Area Concentrates on SaaS security postures. Focuses on the security posture of data across various environments.
Scope Primarily deals with ensuring SaaS applications are configured securely and comply with security policies. Encompasses data discovery, classification, protection, and compliance across all data storage and processing environments.
Functions Involves configuration management, risk assessment, compliance monitoring, and threat detection for SaaS applications. Involves data discovery, vulnerability management, access control, encryption, and compliance management for data.
Compliance Ensures SaaS applications comply with security policies and standards. Ensures data handling practices comply with data protection regulations.

When You Might Need Both SSPM and DSPM?

There are scenarios where an organization might benefit from implementing both SSPM and DSPM. Here are some situations where having both can be advantageous:

Comprehensive Security

Organizations that depend on SaaS applications and manage large volumes of sensitive data can benefit from using both SSPM and DSPM for a comprehensive security solution. SSPM ensures SaaS applications are secure, while DSPM protects the data within those applications and beyond.

Regulatory Compliance

Organizations that must adhere to regulatory requirements, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA, need to ensure both their SaaS applications and data handling practices comply with these regulations. SSPM helps with compliance for SaaS applications, and DSPM ensures data compliance.

Risk Mitigation

Implementing both SSPM and DSPM helps organizations identify and mitigate a broader range of security risks. SSPM focuses on application-specific threats, while DSPM addresses data-centric vulnerabilities.

Complex Environments

In complex IT environments with multiple SaaS applications and data spread across different platforms, having both SSPM and DSPM ensures all aspects of security are covered. SSPM manages the security of SaaS applications, and DSPM secures the data within those applications and other environments.

SSPM Use Cases

SSPM is particularly useful in the following scenarios:

  1. App Discovery - Shadow IT: SSPM helps identify and manage unauthorized SaaS applications (shadow IT) within the organization, reducing the risks associated with unsanctioned software use.
  2. Configuration Management: SSPM ensures that SaaS applications are consistently configured according to security best practices, reducing the likelihood of security misconfigurations.
  3. Identity & Access Governance: SSPM manages and monitors user access and permissions for SaaS applications, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access critical systems and data.
  4. Event Monitoring - Detection and Response: SSPM continuously monitors SaaS applications for security events, enabling timely detection and response to potential threats and incidents.

DSPM Use Cases

DSPM is particularly beneficial in the following scenarios:

  1. Data Discovery and Classification: Organizations need to identify and classify sensitive data across their environments. DSPM helps discover where sensitive data is stored and how it is categorized.
  2. Data Protection in Hybrid Environments: For organizations with data spread across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments, DSPM ensures consistent data protection practices are applied throughout.
  3. Access Control and Monitoring: DSPM helps manage and monitor who has access to sensitive data, ensuring only authorized users can access it, thus reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.
  4. Compliance with Data Protection Regulations: DSPM assists organizations in maintaining compliance with data protection regulations by ensuring data handling practices meet regulatory requirements.


Both SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) and Data Security Posture Management (DSPM) are crucial for keeping an organization's security strong. SSPM is all about keeping SaaS applications safe, while DSPM focuses on protecting data wherever it is. Depending on what the organization needs, using both SSPM and DSPM can give complete security coverage, making sure both the applications and the data are secure and meet all regulations. Understanding what each one does and its benefits helps organizations decide which security measures to use for the best protection.

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