Do you know about all of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications being used in your enterprise?
Do you know why it matters?
In modern business, keeping your main enterprise applications up and running is vital. The cost of IT downtime to your business averages out at over $5000 a minute – and these numbers just get more terrifying as things become more complex.
For example, 2017’s British Airways systems failure cost the company around $102 million in hard costs, and their parent company subsequently lost $224 million in value.
As in almost all cases, prevention is better than cure, so ensuring that your developers and operations staff have visibility into your infrastructure, networks, and applications is the key to making sure that disasters can be stopped, or allows your team to effectively intervene when they might.
SaaS and Data Visibility
Typically, your SaaS subscription charge will be based on the number of users who are accessing the service. They are easy to use, easy to buy, and frequently cost-effective. Yet there is a darker side to the notion of SaaS which is important to consider.
Have you heard of Shadow and Sprawl?
While SaaS applications are a great way to help your enterprise be more efficient and agile, there are significant challenges to various departments – particularly IT, Procurement, and Finance.
Shadow SaaS refers to applications that your IT team may know nothing about. SaaS sprawl refers to out of control SaaS use.
Without knowing what is being used, and by who, it’s impossible to make clear and accurate decisions about how data is being accessed and used in your organization.
Your IT Department and SaaS Sprawl
When it comes to being aware of your enterprise’s SaaS use, you may find that you are using far more SaaS applications than you know about. Which also means there are more being used than your IT department knows about.
Free SaaS tools like Trello or Dropbox are used by individuals or particular departments, who then use their personal log-in information to work on company data. Or individuals will subscribe personally to a service without being aware of the fact that you may already have a company-wide subscription.
This becomes a problem when IT departments are completely in the dark about this problem. While it may not sound like such a sinister issue, from a security standpoint it is vital that SaaS sprawl doesn’t occur.
Data is being accessed and used in ways that your IT department have no idea about when shadow SaaS applications are being used. This makes it impossible to know whether or not your subscriptions are worth the financial investment.
Far more critically, shadow SaaS makes it impossible for your security to limit who can access the company data. Shadow SaaS applications can still be accessed by employees who have left the company, without anybody knowing about it.
Allowing Procurement Efficiency
From a financial standpoint, it’s important that you also understand how your data is being accessed and used. One of the major selling points of SaaS applications is that they are easy to buy and use, and tend to offer fantastic value for money. So much so, in fact, that the business model of software is shifting to cloud-based offerings.
However, from a procurement standpoint, this can be a problem. Without being aware of the SaaS applications in use, you may find those different departments aren’t using the equipment you have invested in. You can end up with over-licensing, people using duplicate subscriptions, or under use.
Forecasting and Budget for Finance
Data visibility for your SaaS application usage is vital for your Finance department so that they can get a decent idea of how much money is being spent on subscriptions and usage.
This is vital for forecasting and predicting the amount of money that your organization is spending on subscriptions. Without visibility and transparency, you’ll find that it’s impossible to predict future spends – or to cut back on subscriptions that are being wasted. A clear understanding of data usage and visibility across time helps your finance department to accurately budget.
When it comes to understanding the value of data visibility in your enterprise is to understand how SaaS applications are being used across your enterprise, and how they can be used for maximum value. Efficiency across departments is vital to ensure you’re not wasting time or money on your SaaS applications.