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Managing Saas Part 2 – Discover SaaS Shadow IT


Alpin is now CoreSaaS.

Remember our big infographic from the first post? Like in a Jason Bourne movie, we’re going to hit the enhance button and zoom in to view one part for this discussion:

I always cringe when I see things like this in movies and TV shows. Enjoy the silly homage.

Why Is (Ongoing) Discovery So Important In Managing SaaS?

SaaS has typically been difficult to manage due to its oft-hidden nature and ability to spread virally. Conducting surveys internally may help you find cloud apps. Looking through mountains of internet traffic could eventually help.

But SaaS management requires organized and fast discovery for effectiveness.

When we work with companies to discovery SaaS applications inside their environments, we strive to find all the apps and users, and present them in an intuitive and actionable way.

How Does Alpin Conduct Discovery?

It depends on how much you want to know.

Alpin uses several methods to discover cloud applications, including API integrations with leading apps, connections with SSO platforms, data extraction from accounting and expense systems, browser plugins, on-device agents, firewall log analysis, email scanning, and more.

In other words, Alpin allows you to choose from many powerful options to scan your cloud landscape and automatically discover just about everything out there, whether free or paid, active or inactive, mobile or desktop.

(BTW, compare this to others who say they are discovering Shadow IT, but look only at your financial systems. That only gets 10% or 20%)

What Can You Do With SaaS Discovery?

With your SaaS ecosystem organized and detailed, you can do a lot:

Find tens of thousands of paid and freemium SaaS applications

Your company may not have 10,000 SaaS apps. However, you’ll likely find more apps than you expect.

Why? Cisco reports that large enterprises use over 1,200 cloud services on average, and fewer than 50 of those cloud services are known by IT. And that matches other studies and our experience: Alpin customers with 100-200 employees typically have 120-250 SaaS applications, and it scales up from there, into the thousands for our larger customers.

Plus, Alpin’s application discovery is ongoing, which is important since your employees will invariably add new applications, you might acquire companies with their own sets of applications, etc.

Get a full picture of your SaaS estate in one dashboard

What do we mean by a full picture? Not only does Alpin discover all the apps, but it organizes them by automatically putting them into categories. You can see how many apps are in various categories, such as collaboration, chat, or video conferencing, to help you reduce the sprawl.

Likewise, you can tag apps with categories of your own making and report based on those tags.

Questions that were hard now become easy. “How many SaaS applications do we have, in total and by user?” Which apps does the customer service department use? Find the answer in just a couple clicks.

Find all users of all applications

Alpin finds not just the applications, but also finds all application users. Now you can know who uses what, and who to speak to if there are issues.

Likewise, as new SaaS products emerge and begin to spread, you know exactly who to quarantine to stem the infection (if you need to).

Monitor usage and activity

Apps and users are great – but what are users actually doing with apps? Alpin can show you how recently and how often apps are being used, and even what actions people are taking inside those apps.

Combine this with sentiment analysis, and you could have a better view of cloud software than desktop software.

Combine this with financial analysis, and you will definitely find ways to cut costs — often up to 30%. Alpin pays for itself many times over just from this.

Support M&A due diligence by analyzing target company

Acquiring a company and want to know what cloud software assets they have? And maybe get a sense of their security posture?

You can find that through Alpin. View all the apps, and view our security ratings for those apps. Make decisions informed by data, not just what the target company execs are telling you.

As the saying goes, you can’t improve something unless you measure it. SaaS application discovery is the foundation for the 4 other areas we mentioned in the overview: 1) managing finances (costs, licenses, and renewals); 2) improving security; 3) complying with regulations and certifications; and 4) managing vendors. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about each of those areas in future posts!

Interested in discovering what’s inside your cloud app ecosystem? We can  do a 10-minute demo and you’ll see how Alpin can work for you.

See how CoreView can help you with this

Learn more about securing and optimizing your M365 and other SaaS applications.