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    HOW A CLINICAL-STAGE BIOTECH COMPANY ENHANCED SAAS VISIBILITY USING AXONIUS SAAS MANAGEMENT

     

    Key Challenges

    • Lack of visibility due to rapid SaaS adoption
    • Cost optimization of redundant apps and unneeded user licenses
    • Identifying SaaS security risks, including API extensions and misconfigurations
    Results

    The company’s team leveraged Axonius to obtain comprehensive visibility into its SaaS environment, discover misconfigurations across its SaaS app stack, understand app utilization for cost optimization (resulting in 50% savings in licensing costs with a major SaaS app), and collaborate and align with department leaders on SaaS app adoption.

    IMPROVING SAAS VISIBILITY AND COMPLEXITY

    SaaS applications help organizations increase flexibility, streamline communication, manage tasks, boost productivity, and more — and for this fast-growing biotech company, it was no different.
    The company’s IT environment is based on a cloud-native, SaaS-first strategy. They have approximately 300 employees and 140 apps, making for a fairly complicated IT environment.

    “There was the rapid growth of the company, and the desire for IT not to get in the way of productivity,” said the technology consultant. “We were saying ‘yes’ to everything. So if somebody requests a license for something, we just buy it. That was the default answer. But we didn't have visibility into the actual SaaS usage patterns.”

    "We were able to save half of the licensing cost of one of the major apps because it became immediately clear, thanks to the new visibility that we gained."

    – Technology consultant

     

    The IT team’s lack of visibility created challenges — like what SaaS apps were in use, and who was using what apps. Employees identified the “freemium” sales strategies for SaaS as a top concern. Employees can initially access and share information for free — but that later created a need to buy licenses.

    Another challenge was tracking apps where duplicative functionalities were being used — and paid for. Even though the IT team suspected there were many SaaS apps not in use, they didn’t want to take functionality without the proper data to back up those decisions.

    “The bulk of what people do day-to-day is in various SaaS applications, and we had no way of knowing: do we need all of these licenses or not? Are people utilizing the right tools or not?”, their consultant said. We don't want half the company using one tool to do the same thing, and the other half of the company using a different tool. We wanted visibility into those patterns, so IT would be better equipped than just by default saying ‘yes’ to everything and letting things grow in whichever direction.”

    UNDERSTANDING SAAS UTILIZATION WITH AXONIUS

    Between the amount of SaaS apps in use and the company’s rapid growth, the IT team sought ways to manage their SaaS strategy.

    The company thought the way Axonius addressed SaaS management challenges with its product seemed like the most promising approach.

    “You don’t design the product that you think people will want and hope to sell it,” they explained. “Instead, you build the product that people actually want. So we were convinced that’s what Axonius was doing.”

    During the trial phase, the IT team made requests for additional integrations and enhancements to the Axonius SaaS management product.

    "Before we even signed anything, we’d say to the Axonius team, ‘Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could integrate with such-and-such app?’. Or ‘Hey, wouldn't it be great if you clicked on this thing and then this thing happened?’” their consultant said. “Within days, we got those features — and this was before we were even a customer."

     

    When the IT team began the trial phase, they initially integrated about five SaaS apps to the Axonius tool. They went app by app to fully understand how Axonius worked in different scenarios.

    “It wasn't just, ‘Let's integrate it and be done,’” they explained. “It was more, “Let's integrate it, but then adjust the specific ways in which the views are built, so that it gives us the information we're looking for.’”

    With Axonius, the IT team immediately had insights into SaaS app utilization and cost optimization.

    “We were able to save half of the licensing cost of one of the major apps because it became immediately clear, thanks to the new visibility that we gained, we didn't need half of the licenses,” they said.

    STRENGTHENING SECURITY
    POSTURE ACROSS ALL
    SAAS APPLICATIONS

    Along with comprehensive SaaS discovery, the company’s IT team is gaining more visibility into users and potential security issues.

    “Right away, we found an API key that was active for a product that was no longer being used,” they said. “That bubbled up to the top as one of the alerts that we got out of the box. As soon as we integrated Axonius with the app, we were alerted the API was still open. So we didn't even go looking for it or anything. The alert came up basically saying, ‘Hey, is this real? Do you want this thing?’”

    “This was an important discovery, because it was a backup tool with access to important information. It was great that, once again from the visibility angle, we immediately found out problems along those lines,” they added.

    Through the Axonius SaaS Management tool, the IT team now emphasizes configuration best practices. The company said Axonius provides security advice about the configuration of specific apps, giving IT an “unplanned win.”

    “The tool gives IT a very productive and partnering approach with other departments to be able to say, ‘Hey, look at what your team is doing. Here's a bunch of accounts that haven't been logged into for the past X number of days. Do you think you need them or not?’” they explained. “So it's this visibility — and the ability to talk with other departments — that's been probably the most valuable thing for us.”

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