What is SSPM? SaaS Security Posture Management

Written by Michael Cooley on August 31, 2022

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SSPM, or SaaS Security Posture Management, is an automated security solution designed specifically to monitor and manage potential risks within Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. SSPM tools identify risks such as misconfigurations, dormant user accounts, over-privileged user roles, and potential compliance infractions.

Unlike Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), SSPM focuses solely on SaaS applications, ensuring that platforms like ServiceNow, Office 365, and Salesforce remain secure from potential threats. In a world where SaaS solutions are central to business functionality, SSPM acts as the guardian, maintaining the integrity and security of these essential tools.

Gartner introduced the SSPM (SaaS Security Posture Management) category to represent solutions dedicated to ongoing risk evaluation and management of the security stature of SaaS applications.

What is SaaS security posture?

Security posture refers to the status of an enterprise’s resources and capabilities in place to detect, mitigate, and respond to cyber security threats. It encompasses a wide range of tools and controls to safeguard your data, users, networks, and devices, including information security, network security, data security and penetration testing.

  • Information security
  • Network security
  • Data security
  • Penetration testing

The concept is the same with SaaS security posture, but it applies to SaaS applications, which are cloud-hosted solutions rather than an internal network. This is what differentiates SaaS security from traditional network security. Since SaaS tools are hosted remotely, they are substantially out of your organization’s control.

Because they are accessed through the internet, from any device, anywhere in the world, they can increase your attack surface and risk of unauthorized access. As a solution, SSPM tools help close security gaps in your SaaS applications by detecting the security risks.

What Is SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM)?

SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) leverages SaaS security controls and continuous SaaS application monitoring to help you maintain a strong security posture. SSPM can help you:

  • Identify and address risks
  • Reduce vulnerabilities and manage risks before they become a problem
  • Identify high-risk areas in your SaaS tools, assess their impact, and determine how best to mitigate them
  • Ensure security and compliance

What Is an SSPM Tool?

An SSPM tool, which stands for SaaS Security Posture Management tool, is a specialized software solution designed to manage and enhance the security posture of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. Given the widespread adoption of SaaS applications in modern business environments, ensuring their security is of utmost importance. SSPM tools address this need by helping organizations identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities specific to their cloud-based software applications.

How do SSPM tools work?

SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) ensures SaaS application security by providing a means for visibility, policy enforcement, alerting, and remediation. Here’s a closer look at how SSPM works:

Step 1: Discovery and Inventory‍

The first step involves cataloging all the SaaS applications in use within an organization. This discovery phase ensures that there are no “shadow IT” applications (unsanctioned apps) being used without the IT department’s knowledge.

Step 2: Configuration Assessment

SSPM tools continuously scan the configurations of the SaaS applications to identify any settings or parameters that might be vulnerable or pose a security risk. This includes checking for weak password policies, improper sharing settings, and any other security misconfigurations.

Step 3: Policy Enforcement

Organizations can set predefined security policies within the SSPM tools. When a misconfiguration is identified, the SSPM solution can either automatically rectify it or send alerts to administrators for manual intervention.

Step 4: User and Access Monitoring

SSPM solutions monitor user activities and access patterns. This helps in identifying unusual behaviors like excessive permissions, unused accounts, or potential insider threats.

Step 5: Compliance Checks

Many SSPM tools come with built-in checks for various compliance standards like GDPR, HIPAA, and more. They ensure that the SaaS applications are aligned with the necessary compliance requirements.

Step 6: Threat Detection

Advanced SSPM solutions may also incorporate threat detection capabilities. They can identify suspicious or malicious activities within SaaS applications, like data breaches or unauthorized data access.

Step 7: Integrations with Other Systems

Most SSPM tools can integrate seamlessly with other security and IT tools. This integration ensures that alerts and data can flow between systems, providing a holistic view of the organization’s security posture.

Step 8: Reporting and Dashboards

SSPM solutions often offer detailed reporting and dashboard capabilities. Administrators can get an at-a-glance view of the security posture of their SaaS apps and dive deeper into any potential issues or historical data.

Step 9: Automated Remediation

Some SSPM tools have the capability to not only detect but also automatically rectify certain vulnerabilities or misconfigurations. This ensures that vulnerabilities are addressed swiftly, minimizing potential exposure.

5 Key features of SSPM

  • Relentless Oversight: SSPM is like a security camera for your online tools. It’s always on, always checking, making sure everything’s safe and no one’s breaking any rules.
  • Proactive Defenses: Instead of a mere alert system, think of SSPM as an active defense mechanism. It doesn’t just signal a threat; it springs into action, nipping potential risks in the bud. Such capabilities offload the burden from IT teams, enabling them to focus on broader strategies.
  • Adaptable Integration: SSPM’s strength lies in its adaptability. Be it a collaborative workspace, an organizational management tool, or niche SaaS solutions, SSPM flexibly merges its capabilities. This ensures that every corner of an organization’s digital infrastructure is scrutinized for vulnerabilities, from erroneous settings to ill-defined user access.
  • Benchmarked Security Protocols: SSPM is anchored in globally recognized security benchmarks. It’s like having a watchdog trained by the best in the business. The system meticulously scours application setups, flagging configurations that veer off the secure path, ensuring businesses remain in the clear, both security-wise and regulatory-wise.
  • Consolidated Security Insights: One of SSPM’s crowning features is its intuitive dashboard, a singular pane that offers a comprehensive snapshot of the organization’s SaaS security health. This not only streamlines the process of monitoring but fosters collaboration among stakeholders, ensuring everyone is aligned and enlightened.

SSPM vs CASB vs CSPM: Comparative Analysis

SSPM, cloud access security broker (CASB), and cloud security posture management (CSPM) are pivotal in the cloud security context. While they all share the mutual goal of enhancing cloud security, their functionalities and scopes differ. Here’s how:


CASB protects sensitive data by combining multiple security policies into one robust defense mechanism. It can be visualized as a gatekeeper stationed between cloud service consumers and providers, ensuring that traffic complies with the company’s security policies. It has the flexibility to be hosted on the cloud, on-premises, or as stand-alone software. Moreover, CASB’s scope extends to a range of cloud environments such as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), SaaS, and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), making it a versatile solution.

Conversely, SSPM narrows its focus predominantly to SaaS applications. It hones in on the security configurations and user activities within these apps, rather than taking a holistic view of the broader cloud ecosystem like CASB.


SSPM shares common ground with cloud security posture management (CSPM) in monitoring cloud applications for potential configuration weaknesses. However, their approach and depth of inspection vary. CSPM delves deeper into the intricacies of cloud configurations, pinpointing specific vulnerabilities that could jeopardize network security. 

Imagine a scenario where a user is inadvertently granted elevated privileges that allow them to access confidential segments of a cloud application. CSPM is designed to spot and rectify such lapses.

Furthermore, CSPM integrates advanced automation to consistently scan and evaluate potential security gaps, recommending or implementing remedial measures where necessary. This proactive stance empowers businesses to perpetually assess risks, rectify misconfigurations, maintain cloud security, and safeguard sensitive organizational data.

In essence, while SSPM offers a microscope to closely inspect individual applications, CSPM provides a telescope, enabling businesses to view and secure their entire cloud galaxy.

Frequently Asked Questions about SSPM

What is the difference between CASB and SSPM?

CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker) serves as a gatekeeper between cloud users and multiple cloud services, ensuring company-wide security policies are followed. In contrast, SSPM (SaaS Security Posture Management) specifically targets the security of SaaS applications, continuously assessing and managing potential vulnerabilities. Essentially, CASB provides broader cloud security coverage, while SSPM specializes in safeguarding SaaS applications.

What is Gartner SSPM?

Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, introduced the term SSPM, which stands for SaaS Security Posture Management. Gartner’s SSPM category refers to solutions that are designed to continuously assess and manage the security posture of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. These solutions help organizations detect potential vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, or non-compliance in their cloud-native applications. Gartner’s categorization and subsequent reports on SSPM provide insights and guidance for businesses looking to understand and invest in these security tools to enhance their SaaS application security.

What is the difference between SSPM and SASE?

SSPM (SaaS Security Posture Management) focuses on continuously assessing and optimizing the security configurations of SaaS applications, pinpointing potential vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. On the other hand, SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) offers a unified cloud-based solution combining network security and WAN capabilities, ensuring secure and efficient access to cloud resources for users, irrespective of their location or device. In essence, SSPM addresses SaaS application security, while SASE looks at broader network access and security.

Learn about JumpCloud

JumpCloud provides customers a unified solution of SaaS, IT security, and asset management that empowers them to eliminate shadow IT and gain full visibility into all apps and cloud infrastructure in an all-in-one solution. JumpCloud’s help customers to deliver secure and streamlined user provisioning, access request management, and utilization monitoring.

Our customers tell us that asset management is also important for security and IT operations. JumpCloud is enhancing its platform to unify SaaS, IT security, and asset management.transactions.
You can try JumpCloud for free to determine if it’s right for your organization.

Michael Cooley

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