Importance of SaaS Discovery
What is SaaS Discovery?
Amidst the ever-evolving technology landscape, we can think of SaaS, or Software as a Service, as a genie in a bottle granting us access to a magical realm of software applications that transform our work.
SaaS revolutionizes how businesses access and utilize software, making it easier, more flexible, and more cost-effective than ever.
But with the growing number of SaaS applications available, it's easy for some to slip under the radar or go unnoticed by your team members. One out of three employees at Fortune 1000 companies regularly use Saas applications without their IT department's authorization.
That means your company might be spending money on licenses and subscriptions for software that's hardly used. If not managed, this can lead to SaaS sprawl, with serious financial and security repercussions.
In this guide, we'll shed light on SaaS discovery for IT departments and businesses alike. We'll explore its significance and benefits, as well as provide practical strategies to tackle the issue head-on.
Whether you're part of an IT department responsible for managing SaaS applications or a business leader looking to optimize your software investments, we aim to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to improve SaaS adoption and maximize its value within your organization.
Businesses increasingly rely on various SaaS apps to streamline operations and drive productivity. As the adoption of SaaS continues to grow, it becomes essential for companies to clearly understand what applications are being used and who is using them. This is where SaaS discovery comes into play.
SaaS discovery refers to identifying and tracking the use of information technology systems or cloud services without the approval of the IT department within an organization.
With the right SaaS shadow IT discovery tool, organizations reduce security risks caused by employees sharing company data over unapproved software.
It provides insights into the SaaS ecosystem, enabling businesses to have a comprehensive view of the software tools employees are utilizing. This visibility becomes particularly crucial when managing access and security, especially during employee turnover.
When an employee leaves a company, it is vital to ensure that all access to corporate and business-related SaaS applications is disabled or restricted.
IT and security teams rely on SaaS discovery to identify which applications the departing employee had access to, so they can promptly take the necessary steps to revoke or restrict that access. This helps protect sensitive data and prevents unauthorized usage.
However, understanding SaaS usage goes beyond just IT and security. Other groups within an organization, such as finance, HR, and business stakeholders, also benefit from SaaS discovery for various reasons, such as the associated costs, employee productivity, and protection of sensitive data.
SaaS Discovery and Finance
Finance departments are concerned with costs and budgets. With insights into SaaS application usage, teams can identify redundant or underutilized subscriptions, negotiate better deals with vendors, and optimize their software spending. This helps them lower subscription costs and allocate resources more efficiently.
SaaS Discovery and Employee Productivity
Human resources departments recognize the importance of offering employees flexibility and options when it comes to software tools.
SaaS discovery allows them to understand which applications are being used across the organization, enabling them to support employees in choosing the tools that best suit their needs and preferences. This, in turn, can contribute to employee satisfaction.
SaaS Discovery and Shadow IT
Many employees use shadow IT tactics in the workplace because they feel their company's tools are inadequate for maximizing their productivity.
Shadow IT is considered a threat to a company's security because it creates a shadow supply chain composed of unknown cloud services, user accounts, data, and permissions connected to the enterprise network over the internet.
With SaaS discovery, organizations identify which applications are being utilized by their teams, providing insights into the software landscape and guiding decisions on adopting additional tools or optimizing existing ones.
This discovery helps organizations better understand the extent of shadow IT and the potential risks associated with unauthorized applications. Using an effective shadow IT policy template can also help kickstart the change.
Knowledge of these tools can also be used to establish an IT procurement process open to new tools to maximize efficiency. Employees can feel heard when they have self-service access to various helpful productivity tools obtained through discovery.
A lack of company-provided productivity tools is encouraging business users to employ shadow IT practices, so understanding users' needs can be a way to minimize this tendency, along with the right shadow IT policy in place.
This way, shadow IT is reduced because approved alternatives meet their functional requirements and preferences.
Benefits of SaaS Discovery
Employing SaaS discovery allows your organization to unlock a wealth of benefits. By embarking on this journey, you will gain valuable insights into the SaaS applications your employees utilize, empowering you to make informed decisions, ensure data security, and maximize efficiency.
Let's explore the remarkable benefits that SaaS discovery brings to the table.
Enhanced Security and Data Protection
SaaS discovery provides organizations with comprehensive visibility into the SaaS applications their employees utilize. This visibility allows IT and security teams to assess potential security risks and ensure that sensitive data is adequately protected.
By identifying all SaaS applications, companies can implement proper access controls, monitor user permissions, and ensure compliance with security standards, reducing the chances of data breaches or unauthorized access.
Ensures Regulatory Compliance
Complying with industry regulations and data protection laws is a critical concern for organizations. SaaS discovery empowers businesses to keep track of the SaaS applications being used and evaluate their compliance with relevant regulations.
It enables proactive identification of applications that may introduce compliance risks, allowing companies to take corrective actions, implement necessary safeguards, and ensure adherence to regulatory requirements.
SaaS discovery offers valuable insights into the usage and cost of various SaaS software across the organization. Businesses can identify redundant or underutilized subscriptions by understanding which applications are being used and by whom.
This knowledge empowers organizations to optimize their software spending, negotiate better deals with vendors, and eliminate unnecessary expenses. All in all, SaaS discovery plays a crucial role in enabling finance departments to allocate resources more efficiently and maximize their return on investment.
Improved Collaboration and Efficiency
SaaS applications often serve as collaboration tools, enabling teams to work together seamlessly. With SaaS discovery, organizations can identify solutions used across different departments.
This knowledge allows them to evaluate the effectiveness of these tools, identify potential gaps, and consolidate or standardize collaboration platforms.
By streamlining collaboration efforts, companies can enhance communication, facilitate knowledge sharing, and boost team efficiency.
Shadow IT Mitigation
Shadow IT, where employees adopt unauthorized software applications without any oversight by the IT department, can introduce security risks and compatibility issues. Shadow IT comes in many hidden forms, from file-sharing tools to messaging apps.
SaaS discovery is a powerful tool for identifying instances of shadow IT within an organization. By actively seeking out and tracking SaaS applications, the IT department can uncover unauthorized software usage, assess associated risks, and take appropriate actions.
This helps organizations mitigate the potential risks associated with shadow IT, ensuring a more secure and controlled software environment.
Effective SaaS Discovery Methods
Here are some effective methods to navigate the SaaS discovery process and harness its power.
Employee Surveys and Interviews
One of the simplest yet effective methods to kickstart your SaaS discovery journey is by conducting manual employee inquiries. Engaging with your employees allows you to gain insights into the applications they are using, understand their needs and preferences, and uncover any instances of unauthorized software adoption.
A browser plugin can be valuable for tracking software usage on company-sanctioned hardware. By distributing a browser plugin, you can monitor and gather insights into the applications being used, whether approved or not.
However, it's important to note that relying solely on a browser plugin has limitations. Browser plugins can only monitor activity on the specific browser where the plugin is installed. They cannot track software usage on personal devices or other browsers that do not have the plugin installed.
So, while a browser plugin can be an effective tool to identify software usage on company-sanctioned hardware, it should be complemented with additional SaaS discovery methods to gain a comprehensive understanding of the software landscape within your organization.
Network Traffic Analysis
Analyzing network traffic provides valuable visibility into the SaaS applications being accessed within your organization.
Using network monitoring tools, you can identify the data traffic associated with specific SaaS applications, determine usage patterns, and quantify their impact on your network infrastructure. This method helps you pinpoint the applications that require further investigation, ensuring a more accurate SaaS Discovery process.
This involves tracking the software applications installed on employee devices. By deploying endpoint monitoring tools, you can collect data on the SaaS applications, their version information, and user activity.
This method provides a comprehensive view of the applications utilized across your organization, allowing you to discover any unauthorized or unapproved software usage. Endpoint monitoring is a proactive measure to ensure compliance, security, and proper software governance.
Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)
Implementing a CASB solution can significantly enhance your SaaS discovery efforts. CASBs offer robust monitoring and control capabilities, allowing you to gain visibility into SaaS applications, track user activities, and enforce security policies.
Even though it's a costly investment, CASB can provide comprehensive insights into the usage of cloud services, data sharing, and application interactions, enabling you to identify and manage the SaaS applications used within your organization more effectively.
Admina does a lot more than identify shadow IT within an organization. It operates as a cloud-based IT management platform that assists businesses of all sizes in discovering, managing, and optimizing the utilization, productivity, and expenditure of SaaS apps across an organization.
Employing various methods, including ERP systems, accounting software, and browser extensions, Admina facilitates the identification of shadow IT instances used within your organization.
Effective SaaS discovery is fundamental to managing your organization's software ecosystem. Identifying, tracking, and managing the SaaS applications being used within your organization is essential for security, compliance, cost optimization, and overall operational efficiency.
In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, the importance of SaaS discovery cannot be overstated. It serves as a crucial tool for businesses to gain comprehensive visibility and control over their software ecosystem.
While the rise of shadow IT poses risks and challenges, organizations can rely on powerful discovery tools like Admina to navigate this complex terrain with confidence.
Admina emerges as a standout solution, offering not only shadow IT discovery capabilities but also serving as an all-in-one SaaS management solution. By leveraging its user-friendly interface and robust features, organizations can optimize SaaS usage, productivity, and spending across the entire organization.
To experience the benefits of Admina firsthand, don't hesitate to schedule a demo today. Embrace the power of SaaS discovery with Admina and embark on a journey toward optimized software management.
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