Cloud Applications Management
June 1, 2018 | By Deepak Balakrishna
Over the past few years, enterprises have been moving very rapidly to use SaaS applications. Gartner estimates the market for SaaS applications at $73.6 billion dollars in 2018, a growth of 22% from the prior year. By 2021, they expect SaaS applications to account for 45% of all application software spend. Enterprises today are investing more and more in a cloud-only strategy rather than the traditional on-premise IT infrastructure, with a significant shift in IT’s role to a strong governance role.
Cloud applications are popular because of their benefits: better collaboration, cost savings, efficiency and much more. However, they bring with them a new set of issues for IT admins to deal with.
1. Security: Cloud applications make it very easy to collaborate and to share data widely. But that just means that there are new ways that data can be exposed outside of the company. Recent headlines have highlighted exposed public calendars, public Google Drive documents, dangerous third-party apps, etc. IT admins would like to know what data is shared, if it is sensitive, which external users have access and which employees are inadvertently or maliciously sharing data.
2. License Management: Unlike on-premises infrastructure purchased on long term contracts for the entire company, the business model of SaaS applications is predicated on per-user / per-month licensing. While this typically starts off looking inexpensive, the costs spiral quickly with more users and more SaaS apps. Add in varying license refresh dates and license management of SaaS applications becomes another nightmare for IT.
3. Auditing and Reporting: Moving to the cloud does not absolve enterprises from industry standard compliance and audit reports. With SaaS sprawl, it becomes difficult for IT to get a single pane of glass from which to audit their data access – no matter where in the cloud the data may live.
4. Administration: Each new SaaS application brings with it a new management console that an admin has to get familiar with. With each new console they have to repeat the same set of steps they have had to do across other consoles – create users, groups, apply policies, etc. This is a waste of time and is error-prone.
These items typically form part of IT Operations Management which, among other things, is responsible for centralized administration, licensing, security and auditing of IT services. But traditional IT Ops has not kept pace with this new SaaS-only world. To keep pace with the challenges due to the rapid changes in application delivery, IT Ops has to reinvent itself to be agile, proactive and always on top of all the changes happening across all cloud operations. All this while continuing to offer the stability and reliability that many users will continue to want, regardless of where your content resides.
What is needed here and now is a new paradigm for managing and securing data on SaaS applications. We call this new paradigm Cloud Applications Management.
Until now, administrators have depended on the native consoles of SaaS vendors and sometimes some amount of scripting to try to cobble together a solution that addresses their concerns. What is truly needed is a single tool that provides the following benefits:
1. Central Administration: Perform the most critical and oft-repeated tasks from a single console to save time and to reduce administrator errors. No more logging into each application separately to perform your tasks – you can do all of it on a single dashboard.
2. Security and Compliance: Understand where sensitive data is, who outside the company has access, who inside the company has been sharing it and take steps to prevent it. Get alerted in real-time if sensitive data is exposed outside of your company.
3. Auditing and Reporting: Get pre-defined and custom reports to understand activity of privileged users, of employees on their way out the door, consultants etc. Prepare reports quickly to satisfy your auditor on who has access to critical data – no matter where in the cloud that data may be.
4. License Management: Understand how many licenses are provisioned for your critical (and expensive!) SaaS applications and get alerted if licenses are under-utilized to find potential savings. Manage your licenses from a single console and get an impartial and independent third party to help save you money.
Adya is a pioneer in this nascent Cloud Applications Management domain. Adya helps enterprises manage and secure their SaaS applications. To know more, go to https://www.adya.io/