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IT Leaders May Underestimate the Risk of Shadow SaaS, Finds New Snow Software Survey

Snow Software, the global leader in technology intelligence, today unveiled new data highlighting the challenges facing IT leaders due to expanded software as a service (SaaS) usage. While a huge majority of IT leaders (96%) indicated they were ‘confident or very confident’ in their organization’s SaaS security measures, the top challenge for leaders managing SaaS was ‘employees adding new SaaS applications without notifying IT,’ suggesting that leaders may underestimate the importance of visibility in security.

According to IDC, SaaS is the top source for cloud spend in 2022, accounting for $177.8 billion of the market. In the new Snow survey examining the state of SaaS management, which surveyed 1,000 IT leaders from large organizations of 500+ employees in the United States and United Kingdom, 44% said ‘employees adding new SaaS applications without notifying IT’ is their top challenge to managing SaaS applications at their organization, closely followed by managing SaaS security (42%). When asked why these issues were so challenging, IT leaders indicated the impact to other IT programs (47%), organizational dynamics (38%), lack of time and resources (37%) and lack of visibility (36%).

“Post-pandemic IT teams are seeing a large increase in SaaS applications procured without the knowledge of IT,” said Becky Trevino, Executive Vice President of Products at Snow. “Amid increasing cybersecurity risks and mounting pressure to cut costs, IT leaders realize they need to better govern unknown and unsanctioned SaaS usage. CIOs are ultimately responsible for the security and management of SaaS applications regardless of where they are procured, and to do this effectively IT needs complete visibility into what it is they need to secure.”

Views on budget and security ownership depends on your leadership level

Cybersecurity is a major focus for IT decision-makers right now, particularly as business leaders navigate market uncertainty and plan 2023 budgets in anticipation of a recession. However, ownership is not clear among IT leaders, which can put organizations at risk for elevated costs and gaps in security.

  • IT leaders ranked ‘managing the security of SaaS applications’ as the #1 most important issue to managing SaaS applications at their organization, followed by ‘identifying usage of all SaaS applications within our organization.’
  • Ninety-six percent of those surveyed reported feeling ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ in their organization’s SaaS security measures.
  • According to the survey, SaaS purchasing power and IT/security responsibility rests firmly within two groups: CIOs/IT leadership and IT asset management (ITAM) or software asset management (SAM) teams.
  • Senior leaders (41% of vice presidents, 45% of sr. vice presidents and 52% of C-level executives) look to the CIO and/or IT leadership to take responsibility for SaaS purchasing and security issues over other departments and roles, while more mid-level management (50% of managers and 44% of directors) put the onus of SaaS management and security on peers within ITAM/SAM.
  • Forty-eight percent of IT leaders surveyed said that if budget, resources and time were not a factor, they’d like to pivot all SaaS application spending to IT to address SaaS sprawl.

Economic uncertainty is elevating cost concerns among IT leaders – though it’s not the top priority

Market conditions are driving increased scrutiny across all areas of cost in most organizations and optimizing spend while eliminating waste is an ongoing priority for IT teams. However, of those surveyed, IT leaders are currently more focused on cybersecurity of SaaS applications than costs.

  • Despite continued uncertainty across the global markets, reining in the total cost of SaaS applications was ranked 5th on respondents’ priorities.
  • If global uncertainty persists, more than three quarters of all respondents (77%) believe IT spend will decrease by as much as 50% to 75%.
  • If IT spending decreases, IT leaders believe that the two core areas impacted will be IT staffing (20%) and strategic IT initiatives or programs (19%).

For more information about Snow’s latest survey, please visit: https://www.snowsoftware.com/blog/survey-anxiety-over-saas-security-plagues-it-leaders/

About Snow Software

Snow Software is changing the way organizations understand and manage their technology consumption. Our technology intelligence platform provides comprehensive visibility and contextual insight across software, SaaS, hardware and cloud. With Snow, IT leaders can effectively optimize resources, enhance performance and enable operational agility in a hybrid world. To learn more, visit www.snowsoftware.com.

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