As SaaS began to explode in the 2010s, the concept of managing all those new applications seemed near-impossible or cost-prohibitive. And as companies traversed the long economic recovery, I think many were forced to make a tough decision:
Do we try to lock out SaaS from our network unless it’s purchased by IT, or should we allow employees to buy their own software?
For some, a loss of control was scary, and they chose to try to lock everything down.
Others focused on the upside: employees could find themselves cost savings and productivity improvements. They allowed their relationship with software to change.
Regardless of which choice was made, SaaS should scare companies for a different reason – employees DID buy a lot of SaaS on their own, and IT didn’t find out about it, so the majority of tools in use at just about every company should be considered “Shadow IT.”
Companies Are Finding Out That 95% of Their Cloud Services Were Previously Unknown
A survey from Cisco found that the people who should know were aware of less than 5% of their company’s cloud services. And a separate study from Gartner revealed that those services may cost the equivalent of 30-40% of IT budgets. We’ve reported on these stats and the stampede of SaaS in the 2010s before.
With unknowns, come risks.
Risks from unmanaged SaaS can include:
- Employees exposing data by uploading that data to a risky vendor or accidentally sharing an entire cloud storage folder, with no thought of remediation.
- Ex-employees retaining access to SaaS providers for years after their departure, as there may be no onboarding / offboarding processes or audits.
- Some employees using freemium subscriptions for apps with an enterprise contract, resulting in exorbitant license compliance fees.
For an entire list of real-life examples, check out our shadow IT horror stories.
Is A Slowdown Or Recession Coming Soon?
If I were a CFO, Controller, or even an AP Supervisor, I know exactly what I would do to cut costs – audit all SaaS.
SaaS audits may dramatically increase if an economic slowdown comes in 2019 or 2020 as so many economists predict. Before that happens though, I think we will see companies proactively “kicking the tires” on their cost-cutting initiatives.
It’s already started in IaaS, where the promised cost savings were sometimes negated by active developers spinning up whatever they needed, and a lack of oversight and tools. Now, there are more tools available, more oversight possible.
I think it’s clear that SaaS is next on the chopping block.
Alpin Helped The Impossible Became Possible
If SaaS is next up, it’s good to have a tool that does the work for you.
Alpin uses API integrations to tap directly into key SaaS applications. But it doesn’t stop there. Alpin also gets data from what you already have: central network devices, edge device agents, financial systems, email, file sharing platforms, and more.
The result is a torrent of data — Alpin processes millions of events for each customer. There’s no way a human can make sense of all that data without assistance. Alpin applies algorithms and machine learning to discover SaaS products, identify security risks, profile cost saving opportunities, and improve governance of the vast and rapidly-growing SaaS landscape.
By using Alpin, companies can now do what was once impossible.