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How BetterCloud Is Building a Platform for SaaSOps Professionals

Maddie Buyers

November 7, 2019

8 minute read

IntegrationCenter_featuredImage

If you attended our annual Altitude conference, or have been following the post-conference coverage, there are probably two things you’ve heard a lot about: SaaSOps and Integration Center in our SaaSOps platform. Our Chief Product Officer Jim Brennan and Product Manager Richard Floyd hosted a webinar to show you around the brand new Integration Center, define SaaSOps and its role in the modern workplace, and begin your initiation into the BetterCloud community. 

Check out the recap below for the highlights, or click here to watch a recording of the webinar.

SaaSOps: Defining a new practice

While you may not have heard of “SaaSOps” yet, it’s a concept that you’re probably already familiar with if you’re a modern IT professional. SaaSOps refers to how SaaS applications are managed and secured through centralized and automated operations (Ops), resulting in reduced friction, improved collaboration, and better employee experience.

When SaaS first entered the workplace, managing and securing the small handful of SaaS apps that a company used was a reasonable task. However, the proliferation of SaaS means companies now use 163 SaaS apps on average, which makes managing and securing SaaS apps a goliath task for IT teams.  

SaaSOps can be divided into 3 categories: People & Process, SaaS Management, and SaaS Security. 

People & Process

This is where SaaSOps starts. People and Process encompasses:

  • Team Structure: understanding how to organize an IT team in order to best tackle SaaS.
  • Team Skills: determining what skills are necessary to realize the promise of SaaS in your environment, empower your end users, and mitigate SaaS-related security threats.
  • End User Training: training your users to empower them to use SaaS to its full potential and to understand the implications of their actions.
  • End User Support: supporting your end users has gotten progressively more challenging as more SaaS applications are adopted.
  • Change Management: rethinking how we absorb and react to the changes that come from constantly evolving SaaS apps.

SaaS Management

  • User Lifecycle Management: ULM is one of the top challenges in managing SaaS. It’s onboarding, offboarding, and everything in between. ULM goes beyond just creation and deletion of accounts—it’s also managing all of the assets that live in each application. These assets can be anything from a file, to a group, or even a calendar event. Part of this is knowing how your user interacts with all of their assets and how to assign assets when a user departs the organization. 
  • Visibility and Auditability: Visibility and auditability into all of the assets and how they interact with each other is critical to understanding operations and liabilities. Therefore, IT admins need this operational intelligence to audit across applications in order to demonstrate compliance, which is considerably more difficult in a SaaS environment than it previously was with on-prem environments. 
  • Application Configuration: Determining how to best configure SaaS applications in order to empower end users while also keeping your environment secure is paramount. 
  • Least Privilege Access: The least privilege access model is a security best practice. It ensures that users don’t have elevated permissions in SaaS applications that leave environments susceptible to attacks from insider threats. 
  • Spend Management: This entails understanding which apps are in use, where you’re spending on licenses, and how those licenses are being used—are you able to tell where there are unused licenses in your environment?

SaaS Security

  • Identity and Access (IDaaS): IDaaS solves the first order problem of SaaS. It gives initial access to users.
  • Insider Threat: Insider threats are not typically malicious. They are usually well-meaning end users who need better training on the applications they are using and the ramifications that misuse creates. Insider threats are a larger threat than malicious external threats.
  • File Security: File security goes hand in hand with insider threats. Files can be a huge weak spot for security teams—depending on their configurations and sharing permissions, files can leak data. Understanding when and if sensitive data exists within apps is critical. 
  • Incident Response: This refers to the ability to mitigate risks and quickly respond if an incident does occur within your environment, which is increasingly difficult as more SaaS apps are added to organizations’ stacks.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Organizations need to be able to demonstrate that they are in compliance. While SaaS applications have made this harder, it does not mean that companies get a “pass” when it comes to proving compliance to regulators.

SaaSOps is bigger than BetterCloud. It’s a movement, and it’s necessary in order for organizations to realize all the promise of SaaS.

Three ingredients to building a platform for SaaSOps professionals

Since our inception, BetterCloud has undergone a few evolutions in order to better help organizations adapt to the challenges that SaaS has bought our way. Our most recent evolution has us hyper-focused on building the leading platform for SaaSOps professionals. 

In order to achieve this vision, there are three ingredients that we need to accomplish in order to succeed. 

SaaSOps platform

 

Empowered outcomes

Our job is to enable IT admins to achieve their expected outcomes. These outcomes have become increasingly challenging to attain as IT environments grow to encompass more SaaS applications. 

BetterCloud’s objectives are to give IT the tools in the platform for SaaSOps to successfully navigate user orchestration and protect your company’s data. We give you visibility into where sensitive data lives across your SaaS apps and help discover where you have liabilities within that data. User orchestration and data protection are so important to BetterCloud that these two outcomes help to determine the direction of our roadmap. 

Operational intelligence

As great as SaaS applications are, they have clouded IT’s view of what is happening in their environment. Operational intelligence is admins’ ability to see, and therefore, understand what is happening in each of the SaaS apps. 

However, operational intelligence is more than visibility. It’s also insight into the interactions that take place between applications and assets, which are equally important to understand. Operational intelligence allows you to take more effective action and achieve your empowered outcomes. 

Universal integrations 

Empowered outcomes and operational intelligence cannot be realized without universal integrations. The above two ingredients cannot be achieved across the entire digital workplace, a space that is always growing, if universal integrations are not available.

A true platform for SaaSOps professionals will be able to unite all cloud apps and unlock a better digital workplace.

Universal integrations give IT the tools to make user orchestration seamless. IT now has the ability to onboard and offboard with ease and completion across their entire stack. Additionally, data protection is elevated to new heights with universal integrations. Users have unparalleled insights into their applications, sensitive data locations.  In addition, they have the ability to take remediatory actions where necessary. 

Universal integrations provide unrivaled operational intelligence; the ability to see where all of your digital assets live and how they interact gives IT all the tools they need in order to successfully tame their SaaS environment. 

Actions. Alerts. Assets. The future of integrations.

BetterCloud integrations will evolve over time

Empowered outcomes, operational intelligence, and universal intelligence have influenced BetterCloud’s approach to integrations. As you work with BetterCloud integrations, each of them will offer one or more of the following capabilities:

  • The ability to take actions in a cloud application
  • The ability to receive alerts from a cloud application
  • And finally, the ability to understand assets in a cloud application

BetterCloud integrations will evolve over time, just as the digital workplace is constantly evolving. These continual improvements are dictated by the outcomes we strive to deliver. 

For some integrations, we first bring the ability to take actions, followed in future updates by the ability to receive alerts and understand assets. For others, we will bring you all three capabilities at once. We will continuously deliver additional actions, alerts, and assets for all integrations. BetterCloud integrations will evolve to support additional use cases and deliver new SaaSOps outcomes.

New: custom integrations

BetterCloud is excited to introduce custom integrations, which are an evolution from our Platform API feature. There are three main features that define custom integrations.

“We’ve been able to customize our own integrations in the last year which has granted our IT org more control over our SaaS stack—BetterCloud is an IT admin’s dream.” — Information Technology Manager at Excella

  1. Custom integrations are in the BetterCloud application that you already know and love. Before, the Platform API was in a separate portal; now, we’ve united the two to streamline your experience. 
  2. Creating an integration is easier than ever. The process now includes a guided step-by-step experience.
  3. Integrations that you build will have the same look and feel as integrations built by BetterCloud. They  will also appear in your library in the same way that anything made by BetterCloud does.

BetterCloud: More than a platform—it’s a SaaSOps community

BetterCloud is not just building a SaaSOps platform, we’re building community. 

The BetterCloud Monitor, our daily IT newsletter, and BetterIT, our Slack community for any and all IT-related topics, and Altitude, our annual IT conference, are three pillars of the BetterCloud community.

The Monitor curates tech news, IT trends, productivity tips, and SaaS updates to make staying in the know as easy as opening your inbox. 

BetterIT gives admins a space to ask questions and share best practices. It’s also a place to network with like-minded professionals, and joke about their recent IT challenges. 

Altitude is a two-day conference that brings together IT and SaaSOps professionals to explore the changing digital workplace, define best practices, and build a network of their peers. A lot of learning happens during the conference.  But, of course, not without equal amounts of bonding (and nearly equal amounts of partying). Altitude is the place where the BetterCloud community physically comes together and enjoy the company of people with similar professional interests and struggles. 

Community is an integral part of what we do, and it has helped guide the direction that we have taken our product in, which brings us to…

Introducing our new Integration Center

Integration Center: the fourth pillar in the BetterCloud community. Our community has asked us to further empower them by fueling ways to interconnect community members.  They also ask to share the features they’ve built within BetterCloud. 

“BetterCloud is leading the SaaSOps movement and giving us access to a community that allows for the sharing of integrations, workflows, policies, and reports.” —System administrator at Upside

BetterCloud’s Integration Center is a centralized exchange for users to discover integrations. It’s built not just by BetterCloud, but also by other BetterCloud and SaaSOps platform community members. Members submit their custom integration to BetterCloud for review. And once we complete the review process, we add it to the Integration Center.

We couldn’t release the Integration Center without adding new integrations of our own. BetterCloud is excited to announce 32 new integrations that are available now in the Integration Center.

In total, we now support more than 450+ actions across 41 integrations.

This isn’t just a milestone for BetterCloud. Although these integrations are key to building a platform for SaaSOps, it’s also a milestone for the SaaSOps movement.

In true BetterCloud fashion, we are just getting started and intend to add a steady stream of integrations to our Integration Center while continuing to evolve our existing integrations. 

Q&A

Q: What SKU do you need to be on in order to access the Integration Center?

A: You can access the Integration Center on any of the “plus” SKUs. If you aren’t sure what SKU you are on or wish to upgrade, contact your customer success manager. 

Q: Could you explain more about the review process for submitting integrations? 

A: The review process is triggered any time someone submits an integration to the Integration Center. The BetterCloud team reviews integrations for security purposes. Once the new integration passes the security review, the BetterCloud team publishes it to the Integration center.

Q: What if there’s an integration that I want to use, but the action I want isn’t built out yet? Can I extend this integration?

A: You can add actions to an existing integration, which will also be reviewed by the BetterCloud team. 

If you have any other questions or have an action that you would like to see, please feel free to email Jim at jim@bettercloud.com

If you’d like to see what BetterCloud has to offer or what any of this looks like in practice, tune in to our weekly live demo with Solutions Engineer Mike Connery. 

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