SaaS and cloud management challenges for the digital workplace

Complexity brings cost and risk. You start off by giving your staff a simple, cloud-based email client, then suddenly find that you’re administering dozens or even hundreds of apps…:

[…] App management in the SaaS world isn’t necessarily more difficult than managing on-premise; however, what has changed is the increase in usage across all business lines. Many SaaS applications feature easy sign-ups and one-click setups, making it easy for the IT department to lose visibility and control over their cloud environment. For instance, Microsoft 365 was one of the largest benefactors of the shift to remote work. IT teams typically own and manage the platform, but Microsoft continually adds in new applications. What started as an online version of MS Office and Outlook now incorporates Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and several other applications, all with their own administrative interfaces.

Lack of visibility is where shadow IT creeps into many corporate cloud environments. Each new application connected to the corporate network – be it cloud, hybrid, or on-premises – represents a potential security vulnerability. Cloud apps can make it easy for cybercriminals to exfiltrate sensitive information or facilitate employees’ risky online behaviors, such as sharing files to an external Box account.

However, shadow IT is a finance issue as much as it is a security one. CIOs and finance leaders must be mindful that every app connected to the corporate network has a financial impact on the organization’s bottom line. For instance, usage of Microsoft Teams skyrocketed in 2020. Still, many IT leaders identified small pockets of resistance within their workforce because people were more comfortable with alternatives like Slack or Zoom. It’s ok for businesses to enable their employees to work with their preferred tools, provided CIOs know what apps are accessing corporate data and their costs.

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