What is SaaS Security Posture Management? SSPM Explained

What is SSPM?

Cloud security is the umbrella that holds within it: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Gartner created the SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) category for solutions that continuously assess security risk and manage the SaaS applications’ security posture. With enterprises having thousands of employees relying on dozens to hundreds of apps, the need for deep visibility and remediation for SaaS security settings is only getting more critical.

The SaaS Security Challenge

While the native security controls of SaaS apps are often robust, it falls on the responsibility of the organization to ensure that all configurations are properly set —  from global settings, to every user role and privilege. The security team is burdened with knowing every app, user and configuration and ensuring they are all compliant with industry and company policy.

Volume

Each app can have hundreds of global settings, multiply this by the number of employees and number of apps in use, making it impossible for security teams to cope with the volume.

Lack of Visibility & Ability to Manage

These apps are managed by various business units, such as Marketing, Sales, Legal, and R&D, which makes it impractical for security teams to gain deep visibility into the security controls of the SaaS apps. If security teams do have visibility, they typically require consent from the app owner to make any changes.

Velocity

The rapid pace of changes within each SaaS app poses significant challenges for governance. With apps continuously evolving through updates to security settings, fluctuations in user activity due to joinings, movements, and departures, and the continual onboarding of new apps, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the velocity of changes.

Why Adaptive Shield?

Adaptive Shield is the only SSPM platform to integrate with over 150 applications and fully automate security management at depth throughout the increasingly complex SaaS app stack.

SSPM vs CASB

There is often confusion between Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) and SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solutions, as both are designed to address security issues within SaaS applications. CASBs protect sensitive data by implementing multiple security policy enforcements to safeguard critical data. For identifying and classifying sensitive information, like Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Intellectual Property (IP), and business records, CASBs definitely help. However, where CASBs fall short is that they identify incidents after they happen.

SSPM vs Manual Audits

The amount of apps, configurations, user roles and privileges an organization must manage and monitor grows with every onboarded app. If you break it down by the numbers, a typical enterprise has hundreds of SaaS apps. Each app has as many as hundreds of global settings; multiply this by the number of users. Add in the dynamic, ever-changing environment. This requires security teams to stay on top of thousands to tens of thousands of configurations, equalling an impossible and unsustainable workload — without an automated solution in place.

SSPM vs CSPM

While the umbrella term as mentioned above, when specified as CSPM refers to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) security solutions. An SSPM solution is one that is specialized in SaaS app technology and offers unique value to be able to integrate with any app in the organization’s SaaS app stack.

Resources

Resources

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The Ultimate SaaS Security Checklist 2025 Edition

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The Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: Plans and Priorities for 2024

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The Total Economic Impact™ of Adaptive Shield's SSPM Solution