24 May 2024
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What is SaaS management (Image by OCTOBITS)

Octobits Blog – As businesses increasingly rely on various SaaS solutions, managing SaaS services is fundamental to ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and security. So, what is SaaS management?

Before too far, we can all agree that Software as a Service (SaaS) is changing how we do business. For further information on SaaS, kindly visit What is Saas? How does SaaS Reduce IT Costs? Is SaaS Right for You?

So, rather than purchasing and installing software on local computers, SaaS offers applications over the internet.

This means no hefty upfront investments, quick setup, and the convenience of accessing your tools from anywhere.

As the number of SaaS applications used by companies grows, the complexity of managing these tools also increases, underscoring the need for effective SaaS management strategies

Then, SaaS management oversees all aspects of SaaS services, from software licensing and usage to security protocols and compliance.

So, let’s learn why we should care about SaaS management.

What is SaaS User Management?

First of all, a good SaaS Management solution (SMP) ensures complete visibility into your SaaS stack.

This visibility, including shadow IT and unmanaged SaaS, optimizes SaaS spending and secures and ensures compliance across all applications.

This visibility helps optimize costs – identifying redundant software, unused subscriptions, or opportunities to negotiate better pricing based on actual usage.

Maintaining control of SaaS subscriptions directly impacts operational efficiency and the bottom line.

The primary role of SMPs is to provide tools and platforms that enable IT administrators to gain deep visibility into each SaaS application’s performance and usage patterns.

This is crucial for optimizing the use of SaaS products, managing software licenses effectively, enhancing security, and ensuring compliance across all SaaS solutions​

Additionally, a core aspect of SaaS Management is ensuring data security and compliance. This involves enforcing access controls, monitoring application settings to prevent misconfigurations, and aligning SaaS usage to relevant regulations like GDPR or CCPA.

Platforms like Octobits are examples of SMPs that offer functionalities. 

These functionalities allow businesses to see every app in their environment, identify who uses each app, and uncover any apps that have been granted unauthorized access.

This level of detail supports businesses in managing their SaaS environments more efficiently by reducing costs and mitigating security risks.​

The Importance of Effective SaaS Management

The widespread adoption of SaaS has fundamentally changed how IT departments operate.

While SaaS offers flexibility and cost benefits, it also introduces management complexities that, if addressed, can have far-reaching consequences. Effective SaaS management tackles these challenges head-on.

And perhaps the most immediate impact is on cost. SaaS subscriptions, without oversight, can quickly lead to budget overruns.

Gartner’s 2022 report indicates that organizations risk overspending on SaaS by at least 25% without centralized SaaS management due to uncoordinated SaaS lifecycles and redundant tools​.

Then, consider how effective SaaS management means enforcing access controls, ensuring only authorized users can access sensitive data.

It also includes monitoring configurations within SaaS applications.  A misconfigured setting may inadvertently expose data, so proactive management is critical.

Additionally, adhering to data privacy regulations like GDPR or CCPA is an increasing concern for businesses.

SaaS management platforms often include features specifically designed to assist with compliance, helping track data access, permissions, and other factors relevant to demonstrating adherence to those regulations.

Beyond cost and security, SaaS management generates valuable data. With detailed analytics on how each SaaS application is used, IT teams can make better-informed decisions.

This data-driven approach aligns software investment with real needs and helps inform planning.

Core Components of SaaS Management

Successful SaaS management depends on specialized tools and strategic processes.

SaaS Management Platforms (SMPs) consolidate these essential functions, providing a single pane of glass for managing the complexities of the SaaS landscape.

Please note that the most fundamental element is comprehensive discovery.

SMPs utilize  APIs and integrate with systems like SSO providers to uncover every SaaS app in use, even the shadow IT that often falls outside of ITs traditional oversight.

Once visibility is established, SMPs allow for centralized management, a single point of control for enforcing policies and monitoring the settings of SaaS applications.

Then automation is another crucial component. SMPs streamline user access management based on job changes, ensure timely license renewals, and automate account deactivation during offboarding.

These automated workflows improve operational efficiency and mitigate security risks.

Following automation, SMPs focus on optimization, continuously analyzing software usage and expenditure.

This assessment is used to identify underutilized resources, unnecessary spending, and opportunities for cost savings, ensuring that the organization’s investment in SaaS is maximized.

Finally, SMPs play a significant role in security and compliance. Their security assessment tools can help uncover misconfigurations within SaaS apps that might create vulnerabilities and alert IT teams.

These roles lead to potential non-compliance issues that could result in costly fines under data privacy regulations.

For more information on the basics of remote monitoring and how it relates to SaaS management, please read How Remote Monitoring and Management Keeps Your Business Efficient?

SaaS Management Best Practices

When it comes to SaaS management, gaining visibility into all SaaS applications in use across the enterprise is the cornerstone of effective software oversight.

This requires tools like SMPs that leverage integrations with SSO providers and financial systems to map every SaaS application.

Uncovering shadow IT – unsanctioned apps – is essential since these can expose an organization to security and compliance risks.

Knowing your baseline is key, as research suggests businesses often underestimate their actual SaaS footprint.

Once you see the complete SaaS picture, it’s time to consolidate and optimize.

Look for overlapping feature sets. Are multiple subscriptions providing similar functionality?

Detailed usage data can help identify opportunities to eliminate redundancies or re-negotiate contracts based on actual usage patterns. Optimizing licensing directly impacts the bottom line.

Automation is another powerful tool in SaaS Management you need to use.

SMPs often enable automation around adding new users and ensuring they can access only the necessary SaaS tools with the correct permissions.

Automating the reverse – removing access when someone leaves the organization –  is equally vital for security.

Automation also streamlines routine tasks like license renewals – increasing efficiency and minimizing delays.

Finally, security and compliance must be front and center. Enforce strong access controls, which can be managed centrally through your SSO provider or the features built into many SMPs.

Regularly auditing the settings within individual SaaS applications can prevent vulnerabilities caused by misconfigurations.

Tracking data access and permissions becomes important for adhering to data privacy regulations, a task many SMPs simplify through their reporting capabilities.

How Octobits Can Help You

Octobits gives you complete control over your SaaS environment. Our platform uncovers every SaaS app used throughout your organization, even those IT may not be aware of.

This visibility is key for eliminating wasted spending on unused licenses or redundant applications.

We also provide clear data on how your software is used. This helps you make informed decisions about subscriptions, ensuring you’re paying for only what you need. 

Yes, we help you stay secure and compliant with robust security tools that proactively identify potential vulnerabilities.

So, Octobits makes SaaS management easy. We automate time-consuming tasks and give you a single place to manage all your software.

That means your IT and finance teams can focus on what matters – growing your business, not managing technology.

For further information on how Octobit’s services can benefit your company, kindly visit Octobits.

Conclusion

SaaS has transformed the software landscape, but management complexities can overshadow its benefits.

A proactive SaaS management strategy ensures you reap the full benefits of your investments.

Your company can eliminate redundancies and optimize licensing costs by gaining visibility into all applications.

So, at the end of the day, it’s not about figuring out what SaaS management is; let’s focus on the function of your business.