What is SaaS security? Top cloud security challenges retailers face in 2023

3 min read

SaaS security refers to the measures, strategies, and protocols employed to protect data, user identities, and the overall infrastructure within SaaS applications from potential threats or breaches.  Because SaaS applications are cloud-based and the number of retailers moving from On-Premise to SaaS is rising, this growth in cloud adoption has introduced a new set of cloud security challenges. Addressing these challenges is becoming increasingly important as retail businesses migrate to the cloud. Let’s take a look at some of the most pressing security issues confronting cloud retail systems today.

Top SaaS security challenges

Data breaches

Data breaches are one of the most difficult challenges in SaaS security for retail systems. Sensitive data, such as customer personal information, credit card numbers, and other transaction details, are stored and processed in the cloud in the retail industry. If this information is compromised, it can result in significant financial losses as well as damage to a retailer’s reputation. The challenge is exacerbated by cybercriminals’ increasing sophistication, who are constantly devising new strategies to exploit vulnerabilities in cloud systems.

Different reports and market analyses confirm this reality:

  • According to a report from Check Point Research, global cyberattacks increased by 38% in 2022, compared to 2021. The same document reports 124 average daily cyber attacks in Retail/Wholesale in the US, which represents a 66% increase from 2021.
  • 45% of breaches occurred in the cloud, according to the report Cost of a data breach 2022 by IBM.
  • According to the same report by IBM, $4.35M is the global average total cost of a data breach, which represents a 2,6% increase from 2021.

Not surprisingly then, according to Gartner, 68% of companies will invest more in 2023 on cybersecurity strategy than in previous years, as part of their SaaS security strategy. 

Cloud Compliance

Cloud compliance describes the process and act of meeting regulatory standards, industry guidelines, and applicable legal requirements for using cloud technology. 

Retailers with multiple locations must adhere to a plethora of regulations, including GDPR, CCPA, and PCI DSS. Due to the dynamic nature of cloud environments, ensuring consistent compliance across all cloud systems is a daunting task. Taking the time to conduct a thorough risk assessment also allows security teams to create policies and governance models that are tailored to the business and support the ongoing use of cutting-edge cloud technologies.

Growth of IoT devices

According to the State of IoT — Spring 2023 report by IoT Analytics, the number of global IoT connections grew by 18% in 2022 to 14.3 billion active IoT endpoints. In 2023, this number is expected to grow another 16%, to 16.7 billion active endpoints. 

The rapid proliferation of IoT devices in the retail sector, ranging from RFID tags to smart shelves and mirrors, has complicated the SaaS security landscape even further. Each connected device provides a potential entry point for cybercriminals. It is a delicate balancing act to ensure robust security protocols for these devices while not interfering with their functionality.

A related risk is shadow IoT, or, IoT endpoints deployed without IT’s or the security department’s official support or permission.


Another challenge when we talk about SaaS security is multi-tenancy, a key feature of most SaaS platforms. Multiple customers share the same cloud computing resources in a multi-tenant environment. While this model optimizes resource usage and reduces costs, it also increases the risk of ‘noisy neighbors’—other users who may access or affect your data. 

Hybrid cloud environments

Finally, managing security in the hybrid cloud is a common issue. For its flexibility and efficiency, many retailers prefer a hybrid cloud model, in which some data is stored in the public cloud and some in the private cloud. However, maintaining consistent security across multiple cloud environments can be difficult and time-consuming.


To overcome these SaaS security challenges retailers must take a comprehensive, proactive, all-encompassing approach to cloud security. This can be accomplished by establishing clear policies and utilizing standard tools and mechanisms provided by SaaS retail software providers such as Openbravo as part of their cloud offerings.