By: Aaron White

Employees used to just fall in line with whatever technology the IT department told them to use. But now, SaaS apps have made it much easier to choose the technology that works best for their jobs, with little to no oversight. The explosion of SaaS apps has also has created an invisible issue of SaaS sprawl, opening companies up to a lot of chaos and unintended consequences.

An app inventory can help organizations not only get a handle on which apps are in use, but also who’s using them and if there’s any overlap. Here’s why it’s so important:

Security and Compliance Concerns

On the positive side, SaaS apps open up more opportunities to collaborate amongst teams, as well as with external contractors and partners. These apps also enable employees to experience flexibility and freedom to work from anywhere, making them more efficient and happier in the long run.

On the flip side, SaaS apps can create real issues when it comes to security and compliance, if they’re not used properly. Here are just a few of the common security concerns we’ve seen arise, based on our own experience and talking to other SMBs:

  • Access Controls. Answering the question of “who has access” can become difficult as an organization grows and adopts more apps. Once employees or contractors leave an organization, this question can become an issue. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people with access to certain documents or systems can become insider threats, leaking sensitive information to unauthorized third parties.
  • Passwords. It can be challenging for organizations to force employees to use complex and unique passwords, making it much easier for hackers to access to data contained within SaaS apps.
  • Third-party SaaS providers’ security practices. Giving a third party SaaS app access to sensitive data, such as customer or employee records, can open up your organization to major liability, if you’re not careful. In the past, the IT department vetted all technology being used by organizations, but as that responsibility became democratized, tracking vendor security practices has become more complex.

SaaS Spending = Cold Hard Cash

Today, the average SMB spends just over $15,500 every month on SaaS products. Annualized, this equates to over $186,000 per SMB. Dramatic increases in spending began in 2014, and spending has increased substantially every quarter through 2016, continuing to rise today.

While a single app may not seem like a huge financial burden for an organization, these costs certainly add up when compounded across teams. Often times, it can be difficult to manage actions that generate unneeded expenses, like free trials that unwantedly convert to a paid subscription or apps that go underutilized by teams.

Overlap or Missed Opportunities Between Teams

When thinking about your SaaS stack, it’s important to evaluate how different teams use SaaS applications, and what types of data are being stored or analyzed within these applications. For example, it’s very possible that the sales team could leverage insights from a SaaS app used by the marketing team. Are there areas of overlap that could be leading to missed opportunities for collaboration or knowledge-sharing at your organization?

In addition to missed opportunities, many organizations are using multiple apps that perform similar functions, leading to unneeded spending across departments. Some teams may even be using multiple subscriptions to the same app without even knowing it, where there could be opportunities to consolidate or increase seats on a single, existing subscription.

An Easy Way to Do Inventory

In the past, doing an app inventory was a really lengthy and manual process, which often left apps undiscovered if people left an organization or forgot about a free trial. Luckily, Blissfully has found a better way to evaluate your SaaS stack with this free, instant SaaS audit.

Sign up for a free trial to get your assessment today.