Securing SaaS, Part 4: Physical Security and Breach Detection

A weathered, blue door locked with a large chain and a padlock.

By Ian Hamilton

After discussing hybrid SaaS architecture, security through the customer journey, and secure design principles, we turn in the last of our 4 part series to operational policies and procedures in Media Shuttle controls.

Operational policies and procedures are key to the security of any SaaS offering. Signiant operational policies and procedures are established in accordance with industry standards for service organization controls. Connectivity between the production service environment and Signiant business operations is restricted in accordance with least privilege and defense-in-depth principals. Fully independent production and development Media Shuttle environments are also maintained. This blog highlights some of the operational controls in place for production elements of the cloud environment.

Physical Security

All Signiant services and infrastructure are hosted by Amazon Web Services. AWS maintains strict physical access policies that utilize sophisticated physical access control mechanisms. Environmental controls like uninterruptable power and non-destructive fire suppression are integrated elements of all data centers. Signiant uses multiple geographically distributed data centers as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy.

Change Controls

Access to production infrastructure is managed on a least privileges basis and is limited to the Signiant operations team. Background checks are performed and security training is provided to ensure the background and skills of operations staff are consistent with security objectives. Sensitive product service data stored in service databases never leaves the production system and access is controlled according to least privilege principles.

Firewalls rules are maintained so that production systems can only be accessed for maintenance from defined Signiant locations using secured access mechanisms. Systems are maintained in a hardened state with defined baselines for all host and network equipment. All changes to systems are tracked and managed according to well-established change management policies and procedures. The patch level of third-party software on systems in regularly updated to eliminate potential vulnerabilities.

Breach Detection and Response

Signiant continuously monitors using external monitoring tools. System logs are aggregated and archived centrally facilitating both continuous analysis for suspicious access patterns and future forensic analysis. Regular external vulnerability scanning is also performed.

In the event of a breach, Signiant has the ability to isolate components of the system to contain the breach and maintain ongoing operations. Signiant’s incident response team is at the ready to notify customers of security or service impacting events according to defined notification policies.

Independent Security Evaluation

Signiant engages independent third parties on an ongoing basis to review the security of Signiant products and services. Services performed by these third parties include design, implementation and deployment assessments as well as white and black box penetration testing. Third parties are given full access to design documentation and source code as part of these reviews.

Signiant believes that quality independent third party review provides invaluable insight into system security and how to continuously improve it.


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