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Insight Alert #3: Why It’s Essential to Have Full App Visibility

Natalie Robb

October 27, 2020

4 minute read

SaaSOpsReport discovering featureImage

Last week’s Insight Alert compared SaaSOps users and CASB users. And the week before that, we explored SaaS usage trends published in our 2020 State of SaaSOps report. In this third Insight Alert of the series, we explore what the State of SaaSOps survey data says about how enterprises have (or don’t have) full app visibility to discover all SaaS apps used throughout the organization.

Why you need to have full app visibility to all SaaS apps in your environment

The answer is simple: Because you can’t manage and secure what you can’t see.

Without full app visibility, you can’t fully enforce your security policy. Also, since you can’t prove it either, it’s hard to claim that your organization complies.

So while running those unknown SaaS apps (or Shadow IT) on your corporate domain may help user productivity, the truth is they cause security and compliance blind spots.

Too many teams rely on outdated, manual processes

In the absence of an automated way to know what happens on the corporate network, IT teams have relied on:

  • Employees to involve IT in the decision to use a SaaS app, and
  • Spreadsheets to create a system catalog of all known SaaS applications in use.

Of course, some IT teams may not have access to individual admin consoles. This is essential to understand what OAuth API access third party applications have into their core SaaS applications.

Benefits of using automation to discover your SaaS environment

In addition to generally improving IT operations, enterprise IT can:

  • Increase visibility: Gain visibility into the SaaS applications in use within your organization
  • Reduce costs: Identify redundant and unused applications to deprovision and remove from the environment to reduce SaaS spend
  • Reduce security risks: Understand how applications are being used and report on risky third party applications that need attention

But only one-third of surveyed enterprises routinely search for all SaaS apps

According to our State of SaaSOps survey research, when asked about routine searches on the corporate network to find new end-user app subscriptions, 31% say they simply don’t do them at all.

And regardless of this fact, 72% say they’re very certain they know how many SaaS apps their organizations use.

But what happens in reality?

As we published in the State of SaaSOps report, perception is often different than reality. Take confidential information that is shared publicly. BetterCloud customers who use content scanning and alerting tell a different story.

Source: BetterCloud 2020 State of SaaSOps and anonymized internal BetterCloud customer data

The chart above shows that enterprises of all sizes consistently underestimate just how often confidential information is publicly exposed.

A similar disconnect emerges around perception vs. reality for the number of SaaS apps that an enterprise uses, as well. Survey respondents report that, on average, they use 80 SaaS apps. But in reality, after using automation for full app visibility to learn just how many SaaS apps are running on the corporate network, that average is about 3 times more than originally thought.

And as you can logically expect, the larger the number of users, the larger the disconnect. Smaller organizations tend to have nearly twice as many SaaS apps than IT teams think and the larger ones have about four times more than IT teams think.

Source: BetterCloud 2020 State of SaaSOps and anonymized internal BetterCloud customer data

Use BetterCloud for full app visibility of your SaaS environment

With the addition of the new Discover function, BetterCloud is the first all-in-one SaaSOps platform that enables organizations to discover, manage, and secure all the SaaS apps in your environment.

BetterCloud Discover gives IT teams full app visibility around employee SaaS adoption and deep insights into the scope of sanctioned and unsanctioned applications running within the company’s environment. Additionally, IT departments improve operational efficiency by using auditable spend reporting, which helps teams eliminate redundant applications and reclaim unused licenses for redistribution. Finally, by leveraging new insights on SaaS usage, Discover helps IT and security teams consolidate control over their environment and help mitigate risks in their current security posture.

To learn more about how BetterCloud can help you with giving your full app visibility in your SaaS environment, sign up for a webinar or request a demo.

For more information on SaaSOps, including webinars, books, and success stories from SaaSOps practitioners, check out

BetterCloud surveyed more than 600 IT leaders and security professionals from the world’s leading enterprise organizations. Download the full report here.