How a $10B enterprise customer dramatically increased their SaaS security posture with a 201% ROI using SSPM

SaaS Security Posture

SaaS applications are the darlings of the software world. They enable work from anywhere, facilitate collaboration and provide a cost-effective alternative to owning the software outright. At the same time, the very features that have made SaaS apps so widely embraced – anywhere access and collaboration – can also be exploited by threat actors.

Recently, Adaptive Shield commissioned a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study conducted by Forrester Consulting. The research shows the impactful ROI achieved by a multimedia company with annual revenues of $10 billion. While the quantitative ROI is significant, the qualitative improvements in security ROI were significant at 201%.

Adaptive shield
Figure 1: Summary of the TEI study

In this article, we explore the study’s findings on the impact of Adaptive Shield’s SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) platform on this global enterprise.

Learn how a $10 billion media company dramatically improved its security posture with SSPM

The organization’s most important SaaS challenges

In interviews with Forrester Consulting, the organization surveyed highlighted a number of key challenges facing their SaaS stack heading into 2022.

  1. The organization recognized that they did not have the knowledge and skills to manage the applications. They did not understand many of the unique configurations or the impact they had on security or compliance, leaving them unaware of the risks or measures that needed to be taken.
  2. The organization had experienced an increase in SaaS adoption across IT, HR, sales, marketing and other departments. They realized that sensitive assets and valuable data were being moved to SaaS applications and distributed in a way that the security team could no longer monitor their comings and goings. Furthermore, they needed to foster collaboration between the app owners, who manage the applications, and the security teams in charge of keeping them secure.
  3. They also had to deal with increased complexity resulting from their merger and acquisition (M&A) activities. Each merger and acquisition increased the number of applications they had to manage, many of which were geographically dispersed tenants that could not easily be combined with existing app tenants.

The organization began looking for a solution that could alleviate the SaaS misconfigurations they were experiencing at scale. They needed a platform that would integrate with multiple business applications, reduce communication issues between app owners and security teams, and help them maintain regulatory compliance across their SaaS stack.

They were impressed with Adaptive Shield’s platform, which not only demonstrated the broadest coverage of supported applications, but also discovered configuration issues during the proof of concept phase. In 2022, Adaptive Shield was selected and deployed to secure the organization’s stack.

Security benefits Adaptive Shield introduced in the organization

Forrester Consulting found that Adaptive Shield enabled the security team to “gain full control and increase visibility into the security posture of all business-critical applications.”

Improved SaaS security posture

The security team had previously addressed six security issues that stemmed from misconfigurations and low security levels. However, the organization saw attitudinal improvements starting with the POC. They “achieved a substantial improvement in security score through visibility, remediation guidance, and continuous monitoring,” while experiencing a 30% increase in attitude.

Improved collaboration

Forrester Consulting also found evidence of increased collaboration between security teams and app owners. They noted that business owners are critical players in securing applications because they hold “the key to the kingdom,” but they lack the security expertise needed to secure their ecosystem. Deploying Adaptive Shield helped bridge this gap and promote collaboration between app owners and security teams.

Many other security benefits

While some security benefits were quantifiable by the Forrester Consulting team, they were unable to put a dollar value on everything Adaptive Shield offers. For example, Forrester Consulting found that the automated processes within the Adaptive Shield platform allowed security teams to focus on security management rather than interviewing app owners about their configurations. It also helped the organization overcome the challenges introduced by the democratization of SaaS security. It helped the organization achieve continuous compliance, avoid business disruptions, and stay ahead of SaaS security trends.

Learn how an SSPM can deliver impressive ROI and security benefits

Why economic benefits indicated a 201% ROI

The Total Economic Impact™ study measured the return on investment that the organization interviewed experienced. To quantify these findings, Forrester Consulting first calculated the value of an improved SaaS security posture. They took into account the number of breaches that had occurred before Adaptive Shield was deployed and predicted the number of breaches over a three-year period. Their calculations include reduced productivity, impacts on business and security users, and payroll data. Their three-year present value estimate of an enhanced SaaS security position was $1.49 million.

Adaptive shield
Figure 2: Breakdown of ROI by category

Next, Forrester Consulting assessed the operational efficiencies achieved through Adaptive Shield’s SSPM platform. They took into account the number of applications monitored, hourly wages, and the cost of securing SaaS applications with and without an automated solution. Their estimated present value of their savings over three years was $397,000.

Forrester Consulting then turned its attention to compliance. They calculated efficiencies based on the time it takes organizations to assess their applications and ensure they meet various standards. Their current value in three years was worth $260,000.

Improved collaboration between security teams and business app owners resulted in an additional 32,000 savings over three years at today’s value. While the study noted other ROI areas, the study was unable to quantify them.

Total benefits over three years (at today’s value) totaled $2.18 million. The total licensing and implementation costs over those three years, at today’s value, were $723,866. The payback period was achieved in less than six months and the ROI over three years was 201%.

A push towards SaaS security

Today, organizations are increasing the volume and value of data stored in the cloud. Modern SaaS apps contain highly sensitive data, including PII, intellectual property, and confidential third-party information. Protecting this data is of utmost importance, and the only realistic way to secure it is through a SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) tool.

Organizations understand the need to secure their SaaS stack. At the same time, they must justify the costs of adding new security tools. By demonstrating significant, measurable ROI, organizations can finally make the case for implementing an SSPM solution.

For the full TEI study, click here.

Note: This article was expertly written by Maor Bin, CEO and co-founder of Adaptive Shield.

The hacker news

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