Unmanaged Software as a Service (SaaS) applications represent a category of cloud-based software solutions that operate with minimal intervention or oversight from the user or organization. In contrast to managed SaaS applications, unmanaged SaaS applications often require less hands-on maintenance and configuration, allowing users to access and utilize the application without the need for extensive customization or ongoing administrative involvement.

This simplicity in deployment and operation makes unmanaged SaaS applications an attractive choice for those seeking streamlined solutions that efficiently address their specific needs.

Risks of Unmanaged SaaS Applications

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the dangers of using unmanaged SaaS applications. We’ll look into how these apps can make your supply chain more at risk, and we’ll explain why it’s crucial to focus on keeping SaaS systems secure in your organization. We’ll also share some good ways to handle unmanaged SaaS apps and the advantages that come with taking these actions.

Understanding Unmanaged SaaS Applications

Unmanaged SaaS applications are software tools that aren’t overseen by an organization’s IT department. Instead, individual employees, teams, or departments often independently adopt these applications to meet their specific needs. This practice can result in what’s known as shadow IT, bringing about several potential issues.

  • Increased IT Costs: When various departments use different unmanaged SaaS applications, it can lead to increased IT costs. This is because each application may require separate support, updates, and licenses.
  • Compliance Issues: Unmanaged SaaS applications may not adhere to the organization’s compliance standards, leading to potential legal and regulatory issues. This lack of oversight can result in unintentional violations.
  • SaaS Sprawl: The widespread use of unmanaged SaaS applications can result in a phenomenon known as SaaS sprawl. This refers to the scenario where multiple applications are utilized within an organization without centralized control. As a result, it can be challenging to gain a clear understanding of all the applications in use.
  • Security Breaches: Unmanaged SaaS applications pose security risks. Without proper oversight, there’s a higher likelihood of security breaches that could compromise sensitive data. This is a significant concern for organizations aiming to protect their information.
  • Data Fragmentation: SaaS applications often store and manage data differently, causing fragmentation and difficulty in integrating information. This can impede efficiency and decision-making.

Managing Unmanaged SaaS Applications:

To mitigate the risks associated with unmanaged SaaS applications, organizations can implement the following measures:

  • Establish Policies: Develop clear policies regarding the use of SaaS applications within the organization. These policies should outline the criteria for adopting new applications and the approval process.
  • Educate Employees: Provide employees with training on the risks associated with unmanaged SaaS applications and the importance of adhering to organizational guidelines. Awareness can help prevent the unintentional use of insecure applications.
  • Centralized Management: Consider implementing a centralized management system for SaaS applications. This involves having a designated team or individual overseeing and approving the adoption of new applications.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits to identify and assess the usage of SaaS applications across the organization. This helps maintain visibility and ensures that security measures are consistently applied.
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Unmanaged SaaS applications can introduce various risks to an organization. Taking proactive steps to manage and regulate their usage is crucial for maintaining security, compliance, and overall operational efficiency.

Unmanaged SaaS Applications Risks

Using SaaS applications that are not managed by the organization can bring various risks, such as:

Security Risks

These applications might not be as secure as those managed by the organization’s IT department. They may lack necessary updates and security patches, making them more susceptible to cyberattacks. Non-compliance with industry regulations can also lead to security and legal issues.

Increased IT Costs and Inefficiencies

Unmanaged SaaS applications may not work seamlessly with existing systems, requiring extra resources for management. Duplicate applications can lead to wasted resources and higher costs. The lack of standardization makes providing support or training more challenging.

Lack of Visibility and Control

Multiple unmanaged applications can result in a lack of visibility and control over data and systems. It becomes hard to get an accurate view of all the data in use. Managing user access and permissions becomes challenging when individual employees use different applications, leading to potential data breaches.

Data Fragmentation

Unmanaged SaaS applications can cause data fragmentation, making it tough to integrate data across different systems. When each team or department uses a different application, creating a comprehensive picture of the data becomes difficult. This can result in inconsistencies and hinder accurate reporting and analysis.

Addressing the Risks:

To tackle these risks, organizations can take the following steps:

  • Prioritize Security Measures: Ensure that security measures are in place, even for unmanaged SaaS applications. This includes regular updates, security patches, and compliance checks.
  • Streamline Application Usage: Encourage using standardized applications that integrate well with existing systems to reduce inefficiencies and unnecessary costs.
  • Implement Access Controls: Establish clear access controls and permissions, even for unmanaged applications. This helps prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits to maintain visibility over the applications in use and ensure compliance with security standards.
  • Employee Training: Educate employees on the risks associated with unmanaged SaaS applications and the importance of following organizational guidelines.

Unmanaged SaaS applications present significant risks, ranging from security concerns to increased costs and data fragmentation. Taking proactive measures to address these risks is crucial for maintaining a secure, efficient, and well-controlled digital environment within the organization.

What distinguishes a SaaS platform from regular software applications Accenture?

Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms differ significantly from traditional software applications in several key aspects. Accenture, a global consulting and professional services firm, has been actively helping businesses navigate the transition to SaaS models. Here are some distinctions that set SaaS platforms apart:

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Delivery and Deployment Model

  • SaaS: It follows a cloud-based model where the software is hosted and maintained by a third-party provider. Users access the application through a web browser, eliminating the need for local installations.
  • Traditional Software: Typically requires installation on individual machines or servers, with updates and maintenance managed by the user or IT department.

Subscription-Based Pricing

  • SaaS: Typically employs a subscription-based pricing model, where users pay a recurring fee for access to the software. This often includes ongoing updates and support.
  • Traditional Software: Often involves a one-time upfront cost for a perpetual license, with separate fees for updates and support.

Scalability and Flexibility

  • SaaS: Offers greater scalability as resources are dynamically allocated in the cloud. Users can easily scale up or down based on their needs.
  • Traditional Software: Requires careful planning and resource allocation, often involving additional hardware or server upgrades for scalability.

Maintenance and Updates

  • SaaS: Updates, patches, and maintenance are handled by the SaaS provider, ensuring users always have access to the latest features and security patches.
  • Traditional Software: Users are responsible for managing updates and maintenance, which may lead to delays in adopting the latest enhancements.

Accessibility and Collaboration

  • SaaS: Being cloud-based, SaaS applications facilitate easy access from any device with an internet connection. This promotes collaboration among geographically dispersed teams.
  • Traditional Software: Often limited to specific devices or locations, making collaboration more challenging, especially in a remote or distributed work environment.

Customization and Integration

  • SaaS: While SaaS platforms may offer customization options, they are often more standardized to ensure compatibility and ease of updates. Integration with other cloud services is a key focus.
  • Traditional Software: Allows for extensive customization, but this may result in challenges when integrating with other software or adapting to evolving technologies.

Security and Compliance

  • SaaS: Security measures are typically managed by the provider, with a focus on data encryption, access controls, and compliance certifications.
  • Traditional Software: Security is the responsibility of the user or organization, requiring dedicated efforts to ensure data protection and compliance with regulations.

SaaS platforms, championed by companies like Accenture, have transformed the software landscape by offering a more agile, cost-effective, and collaborative approach to delivering and managing applications. The move to SaaS represents a paradigm shift in how businesses access, utilize and benefit from software solutions in today’s dynamic and interconnected world.

In Conclusion

Using SaaS applications without proper management can bring significant risks to an organization’s security and efficiency. Let’s explore some potential issues that may arise:

  • Shadow IT: When different teams or employees independently use unmanaged SaaS applications, it can create what’s known as “Shadow IT.” This means that the IT department might not be aware of all the software being used, leading to potential security gaps.
  • SaaS Sprawl: Unmanaged SaaS applications can lead to what’s called “SaaS sprawl.” This happens when there are too many different applications in use across the organization without proper oversight. It can make it challenging to keep track of everything and may result in security vulnerabilities.
  • Supply Chain Vulnerabilities: The use of unmanaged SaaS applications can introduce vulnerabilities in the organization’s supply chain. If these applications are not secure or compliant, they could become entry points for cyber threats, affecting the overall security of the organization.
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To address these risks, organizations can take specific actions:

  • Prioritize SaaS Security: Make sure that security is a top priority for all SaaS applications, even those not directly managed by the IT department. This involves regular updates, security checks, and compliance assessments.
  • Implement Proper Management Practices: Create formal policies and procedures for the use of SaaS applications. This includes guidelines for adopting new applications and processes for approval. Regular audits can help maintain visibility over application usage.
  • Access Controls and Monitoring: Set up access controls to manage who can use the applications and what level of access they have. Monitoring tools can help keep track of activities, ensuring that everything aligns with security standards.

By taking these steps, organizations can effectively manage their SaaS applications, leading to increased security, reduced costs, and better control over their IT environment. It’s all about putting in place the right measures to enjoy the benefits of using SaaS applications without compromising on security and efficiency.

FAQs

What is SaaS Application Management?

SaaS Management is the way businesses actively keep an eye on and handle everything related to getting, starting to use, licensing, renewing, and stopping the use of all the software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications in their tech collection.

What are the Examples of SaaS Applications?

Famous SaaS applications include Dropbox, Google Workspace, and Salesforce. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provides access to things like servers, storage, memory, and various services. This lets organizations buy the resources they require when they need them.

What are the Risks of Unmanaged SaaS Applications Installation?

Using unmanaged SaaS applications raises the risk of unauthorized individuals accessing sensitive data. If an application isn’t authorized, it’s probably not being properly managed with essential updates, patches, configurations, and security measures. Without awareness of these software applications, IT managers can’t fully safeguard their data and information.

What are SaaS Applications also called?

SaaS applications are sometimes referred to as Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. Regardless of the name, these applications operate on servers provided by a SaaS provider. The provider takes care of tasks such as managing access to the application, ensuring security, maintaining availability, and optimizing performance.

How Many SaaS Applications Do We Have?

Vainu reports a count of over 72,000, while Statista suggests the number exceeds 31,000. Capterra showcases over 50,000 solutions, and SaaSHub lists more than 168,000 products. According to Statista, the United States alone boasts over 17,000 SaaS companies.

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