SaaSOps Becomes a Thing in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

    Organizations have turned to software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications to enable employees to work from home more easily during the pandemic. Now a survey of 700 IT leaders and security professionals finds 30% of respondents already use the term “SaaSOps” in their job title or plan to include it soon.

    Conducted by BetterCloud, a provider of tools for managing SaaS applications, the survey finds on average organizations use 80 SaaS applications today. Even if the term SaaSOps isn’t formally being used, someone is still doing the work.

    The survey found that most processes employed to manage those applications are manual and very time-consuming. The only thing more tedious than onboarding employees to a SaaS application is offboarding them as they leave an organization or change roles. The survey finds IT teams spend an average of 7.12 hours offboarding a single employee from all the SaaS applications being employed.

    BetterCloud CEO David Politis says the pressure on IT teams managing these applications has never been greater.

    “The amount of manual work required to manage access is crazy,” says Politis.

    Top SaaS access security concerns

    Not surprisingly, the top two security concerns are sensitive files shared publicly and former employees retaining data access.

    The BetterCloud survey also finds many IT teams are still struggling with usage of unsanctioned SaaS applications, also known as shadow IT. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents see unsanctioned apps as a security risk, with just under half (49%) being confident in their ability to identify and monitor unsanctioned usage of SaaS applications on corporate networks.

    It’s not clear to what degree IT teams will regain control over the SaaS applications being employed within their organization. When the pandemic first hit, many business leaders were given unilateral permission to keep the business operational by any means necessary. However, as organizations become more adjusted to the new normal, there are naturally questions arising concerning potential usage of redundant SaaS applications. Consolidating SaaS applications affords organizations an opportunity to reduce their total IT costs.

    Employee retention at stake

    Organizations would also do well to take into account the toll managing all those SaaS applications has on their internal IT teams. As stress levels rise the rate of turnover within IT organizations rises. Even in the current economic climate, experienced IT personnel generally prefer to work in organizations where chaos isn’t allowed to rule the day.

    It may take a while for many organizations to reduce the chaos. No one expected the pandemic to last this long. However, there’s no going back either. SaaS applications are playing a much bigger role in the wake of the pandemic than they ever did. In many cases, the pandemic simply accelerated a shift toward SaaS applications that has been underway now for the better part of two decades.

    The challenge and the opportunity now is combining all those SaaS applications in a way so that the business value winds up being much greater than the sum of the individual parts.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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