Software as a Service (SaaS): Productivity, Waste and Security Risks

How businesses of all sizes should manage software as a service

It’s a new day and age. IT has released control—no doubt reluctantly and for good reason—over app purchases and expenses, namely SaaS (Software as a Service).

SaaS is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. A 2018 survey of businesses across multiple industries and sizes confirms that SaaS is a big business and here to stay.


For starters, SaaS is easy to consume, with most models having a monthly subscription by user or seat. Also, it’s relatively inexpensive and often leads to greater productivity. Add these benefits to the sheer volume and diversity of solutions provided by SaaS applications and it is almost inevitable that every business can benefit in some way from at least one SaaS solution.

As we’ll discuss below, in many cases businesses are actually leveraging a variety of SaaS applications that work together to drive productivity and new business.

But has this monumental change opened up businesses to potential issues?

First, let’s look at the numbers to get an idea of just how big a deal this may or may not be.

SaaS statistics and growth rate

Here are some quick statistics of what businesses are doing annually with SaaS-based on size.
Number of Employees Annual SaaS Spend Cost Per Employee Number of Apps Per Company Number of Billing Owners Per Company Number of App Connections
0-50 $21,700 $1,371 40 4 123
51-100 $153,300 $2,163 79 12 584
101-200 $361,300 $2,583 94 19 1,120
201-500 $840,600 $2,756 120 32 2,478
501-1,000 $2.45M $3,570 144 43 5,671
1,000+ $6.91M $3,297 211 100 19,848

SaaS challenges and risks

We can probably all can agree that SaaS is a big business and every one of us is using it in some way to make our daily business and personal lives more efficient. But there’s a big challenge for businesses to make sure they’re spending wisely and efficiently because the seeming simplicity of turning up a new seat on a company credit card means there’s also a greater risk of exposure.

Some examples of risk include duplicate subscriptionsabandonmentloss of ownership of an app altogether and app churn.

It’s estimated that as much as 30% of the money being spent on SaaS today by all business sizes is wasteful.As you move up the company size stack, the potential for waste is compounded due to the complexity of the number of connections per employee.

Another major risk is with security.

All of these apps ride on the corporate network and are exposing the corporate network to potential security risks and attacks. Since many of these applications integrate with other corporate solutions, often when you purchase a license for a new application you are also giving an outside party—that particular SaaS provider—access to your network and data (at least within a narrow scope).

For that reason, any SaaS deployments should be done in conjunction with the IT department and strictly follow documented company security guidelines.

SaaS adoption techniques for businesses

So what can be done?

IT is clearly not in a position to approve every app purchase, so they’ll need to work together with the various business units to implement processes that allow the business leaders to adopt the most efficient applications, while also putting into place measures that ensure a secure and cost-effective way to eliminate waste.

Although IT may not fully understand the problem that the SaaS solution is solving for the individual business unit, they should understand how that new application can fit within the company’s larger network securely.

Although SaaS adoption is decentralized, IT will need to be aware of what applications are on the network and who they are connected to in the organization. This visibility will need to be provided to the business units as well so they can individually manage churn and on-boarding.

It’s also important to establish early on who is responsible for the management of licenses. As employees are added to the team or part ways with the company, a failure to manage their software licenses can lead to significant overspend.

The takeaway

SaaS solutions offer extensive opportunities for companies to increase productivity, provide incredible amounts of visibility and data to management, and to better connect internal teams with their customer base to improve the customer experience. The current surge in SaaS adoption is only the beginning of what will be a wonderful relationship between cloud-based applications and businesses.

There’s no question that SaaS is here to stay.

In order to operate efficiently and keep up with the rapid pace of change, businesses will need to adopt strategies for maintaining SaaS applications. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with costly and wasteful spending, which will open up your business to the risk of security breaches.

As you may have guessed, EnableIP has already done the difficult work of assisting businesses with potential strategies and tools to assist in these efforts. Wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others so that you don’t have to make them yourself. We’re happy to share wisdom from the lessons we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to save you and your users some pain.

Whatever you end up doing, SaaS adoption is trending up so we recommend you plan accordingly.

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About EnableIP

EnableIP is a telecom solutions provider founded by Wired Networks’ founder Jeremy Kerth and head engineer Steve Roos after they realized there was a deep market need for helping mid-size businesses establish better uptime rates for their Wide Area Networks (WANs). Armed with the best-in-class carriers and partners, Jeremy and Steve set out with a bold plan: Guarantee better uptime rates than the industry standard of only 99.5%.

Their bold plan became a reality. EnableIP’s solutions guarantee clients 99.99% (even 99.999%) network uptime. But we don’t stop there. Many telecom providers promise high availability network solutions but fail to deliver because they’re in the business of providing services, not solutions.

That’s the EnableIP difference: We deliver highly available networks by providing a complete system (called “Cloud Assurance”) that ensures 99.99% or above uptime.

We deliver this bold promise by:

The EnableIP solution is like no other. Contact us to get started and experience the difference of a system that truly delivers on its 99.99% network uptime promise.