23 February 2024

Has Your SaaS Gotten Sassy? Know When Your SaaS-to-SaaS Interconnections Have Gotten Too Loquacious.

Know when SaaS-to-SaaS crosstalk has crossed the line.

Daniel Wallace
Daniel Wallace Senior Security Architect LinkedIn


SaaS-to-SaaS security is a critical aspect of modern business operations, where companies increasingly rely on a variety of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications for their daily activities. This interconnected SaaS ecosystem allows for streamlined workflows and enhanced productivity but also introduces unique security challenges. Ensuring the security integration and interaction between these SaaS applications is paramount to protect sensitive data and maintain operations integrity. Here, we’ll explore the importance of SaaS-to-SaaS security and outline best practices for organizations to implement. Don’t allow your SaaS to get sassy by talking too much beyond your pre-defined risk scope. Sometimes, too much talk can land you in a heap of trouble!

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides comprehensive guidance on security considerations for cloud systems, including connections between SaaS. Their publications, such as SP 800-210, offer a foundational approach to understanding security challenges in cloud systems by analyzing access control considerations across all cloud service delivery models. Moreover, NIST SP 800-207 focuses on the principles of zero trust architecture (ZTA), which is highly relevant to security SaaS-to-SaaS connections. It provides design advice, implementation considerations, and use case examples, and identifies technology gaps for ZTA — emphasizing the shift from traditional network-based security perimeters to a focus on protecting resources regardless of their location.

Understanding SaaS-to-SaaS Security

SaaS-to-SaaS security focuses on the measures and strategies that ensure the safe exchange of data and services between different SaaS applications. As businesses adopt multiple SaaS solutions — ranging from email and communication tools to customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems — the need for these applications to share data and functionality increases. However, each integration point can potentially serve as a vector for security breaches, data leaks, and compliance violations. As a matter of fact, we’ve all witnessed a desire of our workforce to improve their productivity by connecting their SaaS to other SaaS. From Slack, to SalesForce, to Grammarly, to Snowflake, to Teams, to Microsoft 365, and beyond – users want to connect and get more done in shorter periods of time. Concrete examples of these interconnects may sometimes look like this:

Salesforce to Mailchimp: This integration allows businesses to automate their marketing campaigns by syncing Salesforce customer data with Mailchimp. It enables targeted email marketing based on customer interactions and data stored in Salesforce.

Slack to Google Drive: Teams can share and access files stored in Google Drive directly from Slack. This integration simplifies collaboration by allowing users to share files and collaborate on documents without leaving the Slack interface.

Trello to Asana: This integration helps teams manage projects across both platforms. Tasks and projects can be synced between Trello and Asana, allowing teams to use both tools in harmony according to their project management preferences.

Shopify to QuickBooks: E-commerce businesses can streamline their accounting by automatically syncing sales, expenses, and inventory data from Shopify to QuickBooks. This integration simplifies financial reporting and tax preparation by keeping financial records up-to-date.

Zendesk to Jira: Customer support and development teams can work more efficiently together by linking support tickets in Zendesk with tasks or bugs in Jira. This connection ensures that customer feedback and issues are directly channeled into the development process.

HubSpot to LinkedIn: Businesses can enhance their lead generation and content marketing efforts on LinkedIn by integrating with HubSpot. This allows for seamless publishing of content from HubSpot to LinkedIn and the automation of lead capture and nurturing processes.

Intercom to Salesforce: This integration bridges customer support and CRM, enabling businesses to sync customer conversations from Intercom with Salesforce records. It provides a comprehensive view of customer interactions and data.

Dropbox to Adobe Creative Cloud: Designers and creatives can easily access and share their work between Dropbox and Adobe Creative Cloud. This connection streamlines workflows by allowing files to be updated and shared across platforms seamlessly.

Xerox to Stripe: Businesses can automate their invoicing and payment processes by integrating Xerox with Stripe. This enables automatic recording of Stripe transactions as invoices in Xerox, facilitating easier accounting and financial management.

Airtable to Zapier: This versatile integration enables businesses to connect Airtable with hundreds of other apps through Zapier. It allows for the automation of workflows across various tools, such as automatically adding new Airtable records to other apps or triggering actions in Airtable based on activities in other connected services.

These workplace efficiencies improve productivity, but what does it mean for the organization in terms of exposure? These connections require rights: the right to read, create, update, and/or delete corporate or personal data. And while they require rights, we should require insights (and controls capabilities). This rights access is granted in seconds, and is usually far outside of the view of the IT and security teams. There are key challenges that organizations must consider. Let’s explore.

Key Challenges

Data Protection: Ensuring data remains secure as it moves between SaaS applications is a primary concern. Data in transit and at rest needs to be protected against unauthorized access and breaches.

Identity and Access Management (IAM): With multiple SaaS applications, managing who has access to what and under which circumstances becomes complex but essential.

Compliance: Adhering to regulatory requirements, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), or Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2), is crucial for businesses operating within and across borders or in regulated industries.

Visibility and Monitoring: Gaining comprehensive visibility into the security posture and real-time monitoring of all SaaS interactions can be challenging but is necessary to detect and respond to potential threats.

Best Practices for SaaS-to-SaaS Security

  1. Conduct Comprehensive Vendor Assessments: Before integrating with another SaaS application, evaluate its security measures, review and peruse compliance certifications, and thoroughly review its data protection policies. Only proceed with vendors that meet your organization’s security standards. You may also aid reviews with continuous Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) analysis. I clearly outline details on this in my blog post, "Who Dropped the SBOM 💣? How to Size-Up Tooling in an Inchoate Space."
  2. Implement Strong Authentication and Authorization: Use robust IAM practices, including phishing-resistant multi-factor authentication (MFA) and least privilege access, to ensure that only authorized users may access specific data and functionalities across SaaS applications.
  3. Encrypt Data In Transit and At Rest: Ensure that all data exchanged between SaaS applications is encrypted using strong encryption standards to protect against interception and unauthorized access.
  4. Regularly Review and Audit Permissions: This is paramount! At intervals and as needed, you should audit who (and what services account(s)) have access to what across your SaaS ecosystem. Adjust permissions as necessary to ensure that users and service accounts only have access to the data and functionalities required for their role.
  5. Use API Security Gateways: When SaaS applications communicate via APIs, use API security gateways or management platforms to monitor and control the traffic, authenticate API calls, and detect and prevent malicious activities. API gateways aid in controlling access to APIs in order to protect them, reduce API abuse, and increase their value.
  6. Monitor and Log Activity: Implement comprehensive monitoring and logging of all interactions between SaaS applications. Use security information and event management (SIEM) tools to analyze logs for suspicious activity. Strong information security programs fine-tune their SIEMs, leveraging signals to automate controls.
  7. Develop a Comprehensive Incident Response Plan: Prepare for a potential security incident by developing an incident response plan that includes procedures for quickly isolating affected systems, conducting forensic investigations, and communicating with stakeholders.
  8. Educate and Train: Provide ongoing training for your organization's staff on the importance of SaaS-to-SaaS security, how to recognize phishing attempts, and best practices for safe data handling to foster a culture of security awareness.


In today’s fast-paced world of SaaS applications, it is crucial to consider the security of SaaS-to-SaaS connections. We don’t want to be careless and bestow plenipotentiary-level powers onto an account so that it can simply work and get the interconnect working. It requires strategic planning, thorough and rigorous implementation of best practices, and continuous monitoring. By taking preventative measures to secure your SaaS ecosystem, you’re in a better position to protect your data, firm up your regulatory compliance, and optimize the benefits of your SaaS investments. Be a wise practitioner, and always ensure you’re operating within your organization’s defined scope of acceptable risks.

Need help defining your organization’s threat model or risk appetite? Reach out to us! We love building meaningful relationships with organizations to measure and strengthen their security posture. Aquia offers best-in-class professional services to bring you the expertise you need to counter evolving threats, de-risk, and deliver high-quality, robust, and scalable solutions.

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If you have any questions, or would like to discuss this topic in more detail, feel free to contact us and we would be happy to schedule some time to chat about how Aquia can help you and your organization.


Cloud Risk Management Compliance Security SaaS