With over 50 new features and enhancements released to date (highlights here), recognition from Gartner in the first-ever Market Guide for Cloud Office Management Tools, and a mention at the top of Forbes’ Billion-Dollar Startups list, 2017 has been a watershed year for BetterCloud.
And we’re not done yet. Today at our annual Altitude conference, the BetterCloud product team announced the availability of four major new features: Dynamic Fields in Workflows, Advanced Alerting, and new connectors for Office 365 and Box (which we will be building out much more going forward).
Our entire technology office in Atlanta has been hard at work on these features for months in anticipation of Altitude, and we are all thrilled to get them into the hands of our customers. Below is a quick overview of each feature, along with some of the most powerful use cases we’ve heard directly from customers.
What you will notice as you read through these use cases is that they all work together. Dynamic Fields supports the new Office 365 and Box connectors, and Advanced Alerting launched with alerts for all of our connectors, including Box and Office 365, etc. Our team has been extremely thoughtful in building a true platform for managing and securing SaaS applications, and you will notice how each new feature integrates into the platform in order to become massively useful on day one.
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1. Dynamic Fields in Workflows
With Dynamic Fields, Workflows has transformed overnight into a much more scalable and powerful automation and security policy enforcement solution. This type of dynamic capability was by far the most requested feature by our customers, and our beta testers have been very satisfied with the results.
So how does it work? The three biggest improvements are that BetterCloud customers can now:
- Create much more powerful automation by leveraging field relationships such as User > User’s Manager
- Create more meaningful notifications by inserting dynamic language into tickets, emails, and Slack notifications generated by workflows
- Leverage previous actions in the same workflow (e.g., generate a ticket, and then reference that ticket later in the workflow)
(Want to discuss Dynamic Fields/workflow use cases with other customers? Join the BetterIT community and head over to the #bettercloud channel.)
Dynamic Fields Use Case #1
Use the “User’s Manager” field to transfer assets (Drive files, Groups, Calendars, etc.) to a user’s manager dynamically in Workflows
Dynamic Fields Use Case #2
Insert dynamic language into Zendesk tickets to create tickets with more meaningful, actionable context
These fields are also available when sending notifications like emails and Slack messages, which can be sent as part of a workflow.
Dynamic Fields Use Case #3
Leverage the results of previous actions in the same workflow
For example, you can reference a Zendesk ticket URL in email notifications and Slack messages when offboarding an employee.
2. Box connector
With our new Box connector, BetterCloud customers now have an unprecedented amount of visibility and control over their Box environment. Box was a highly requested connector, especially by our large enterprise customers.
One of the most commonly requested use cases was to sort/filter using specific criteria and then add or remove collaborators from Box files in bulk through the Files grid. Now, you can.
Box connector Use Case #1
Use the Files grid to drill down into Box files and then add/remove collaborators in bulk
Box connector Use Case #2
Alert based on suspicious activity in Box, such as when a spreadsheet with “financial” in the name is shared publicly
We’ve introduced a number of alerts for Box, and alerts in general are now highly configurable through custom conditions (more on this below). Shown here for Box files, a similar alert is available for other SaaS applications as well.
You can scope by type, name, who it’s shared with, and many other parameters so that you can effectively filter out noise from meaningful alerts.
Later in this post you will see how to trigger a security policy based on this alert.
3. Office 365 connector
Our new connector with Office 365 is our very first foray into the Microsoft ecosystem on the new platform, and only the beginning of what we plan to offer Office 365 customers in the coming year.
The most requested use case is to assign and remove Office 365 licenses, typically as part of an onboarding or offboarding scenario. Now, you can take this action in both Workflows and Action Engine.
Office 365 connector Use Case #1
Remove Office 365 licenses as part of an employee offboarding workflow
Office 365 connector Use Case #2
Add or remove Office 365 licenses in a user’s profile with Action Engine
Office 365 connector Use Case #3
Sending a customized alert with Dynamic Fields based on an Office 365 Global Admin alert
We have also added a set of alerts for Office 365, focusing initially on Global Administrators. A secure Office 365 environment should have very few Global Administrators. If a new Global Administrator is added, you may want to be notified each and every time just to be sure no mistakes were made. And if a Global Administrator is removed, you also may want to be notified so you can ensure no integrations are broken or processes abandoned.
And now, you can use Dynamic Fields to send notifications with greater context through Workflows.
4. Advanced Alerting (in Limited Preview)
Alerts continue to improve, with this latest release adding many more options to the Alert Trigger Conditions area (as you saw in the Box alert example above). When you combine the granularity now available in Alerts with the powerful automation in Workflows, you truly have “policies for anything” across your SaaS environment.
Please note these new alerting capabilities are available only through our limited preview program at the moment. To gain access, please email your CSM or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a couple of example use cases we’ve heard from customers:
Advanced Alerting Use Case #1
When a Google Group is set to “Anyone Can Join” but “external” is not in the group name or email address, trigger an alert and automatically change the group’s settings
Managing Google Groups permissions is an important part of maintaining a secure SaaS environment, but some scenarios may call for groups set to “Anyone Can Join.” You can set an internal policy that these groups will always contain “external” in the email address and/or group name, and then use BetterCloud to monitor your environment for violations of the policy, and even automatically adjust group settings via a workflow as shown here:
Step 1 – Policy for Groups: Anyone Can Join (setting up the alert)
Step 2 – Policy for Groups: Anyone Can Join (setting up the workflow)
Note that ALL alerts, including customized alerts, are available as “When” events in the Workflow builder. This creates endless possibilities for automation and policy enforcement.
When you set up this workflow, every time the alert is triggered, the workflow will run. You can even set the workflow to create and log a ticket with information about the group in question, as you see below.
Advanced Alerting Use Case #2
Policy for Box files shared publicly with potentially sensitive information
Pairing these new alerting capabilities with automated workflows is extremely powerful, and an excellent way to enforce policies across your entire SaaS environment. Have a request or suggestion for an alert? We would love to hear from you. Email email@example.com or click “Suggest an Alert” in the left hand menu in the new BetterCloud interface.
5. BONUS: Assign Salesforce Roles and Permission Sets in Action Engine and Workflows
Roles and permission sets in Salesforce are highly customizable, and often differ from one organization to another based on the type of business, size of organization, and number of installed packages in your Salesforce environment (which often auto-create permission sets). Permission sets determine object and field-level access, while roles determine record-level access. Both are highly dynamic and will change as your company evolves, and/or as employees move throughout the organization.
You can now set roles and assign or remove permission sets for any Salesforce user, helping you further centralize SaaS management and security within BetterCloud.
Note: Since roles and permission sets vary from one organization to another, these fields function as type-aheads and will bring up potential options as you type, by making live API calls to your Salesforce environment. You will not see a dropdown list of options.
Here are a couple ways you might use this functionality:
Salesforce Roles and Permission Sets Use Case #1
Employee is promoted and their role in Salesforce should be changed
Let’s say Amanda was just promoted to Head of Sales, which means her role should be updated so that she can view certain manager-only data and reports within Salesforce.
That’s now a simple action from her user profile in BetterCloud.
Salesforce Roles and Permission Sets Use Case #2
Assign role and permission set as part of employee onboarding
In the onboarding scenario, you may know that you want to assign the exact same role and permission set to every new entry-level sales team member. Because you need to take the same action each and every time, you can automate this as part of your employee onboarding workflow.
6. BONUS: Google Drive in Files grid (in Limited Preview)
Last but not least, we have introduced support for Google Drive in the new BetterCloud for our limited preview customers. If you are interested in joining the limited preview program, please contact our Customer Success team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This means BetterCloud customers can now use the new and vastly improved sorting, filtering, and other grid capabilities to manage their Drive environment. Over time, we will be introducing more functionality for Google Drive in the new BetterCloud.
Please note that there is no support for Drive Policies at this time, and the legacy BetterCloud interface will continue to provide this functionality. If you have questions, please contact email@example.com.
To illustrate the power of the new Files grid, imagine your HR department comes to you and says, “We just heard that the CEO accidentally shared a spreadsheet containing salary information with an employee, and it’s visible to the company. Can you remove sharing on that file?”
With the powerful filtering capabilities in the new Files grid, this takes only a couple of seconds. Step 1) Search the “Shared With” column for the employee’s email address, since the file is shared with that person, and Step 2) Search the “Name” column for any keyword (in this case “Salary”).
Then you can remove that collaborator and update the file permissions in two simple steps, all with BetterCloud.
These new features demonstrate how BetterCloud is truly a platform–a management and security platform purpose-built for SaaS application environments.
And this means that when we introduce new functionality, whether those are connectors (like Box and Office 365) or platform capabilities (like Dynamic Fields or Advanced Alerts), that functionality works immediately and seamlessly across the entire platform, helping us build value for our customers quickly.
Hundreds of organizations have adopted BetterCloud Core and Enterprise to manage and secure their SaaS applications, and there’s nothing else like it out there today. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can use BetterCloud in your SaaS environment.