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Up In The Cloud: Cloud Management Services
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Up In The Cloud: Cloud Management Services - Executive Leadership Articles

Up In The Cloud: Cloud Management Services

Executive Leadership Articles

Up In The Cloud: Cloud Management Services

A year ago, we explored cloud-to-cloud file transfer, a service for the private user who’s managing multiple cloud storage quotas. Services like these give users a quick glance at how much space they’ve got left in each of their connected cloud, even allowing for file transfers from one cloud service to another.

As businesses get more and more dependent on the cloud, they find a different set of needs for managing their cloud services, especially with software-as-a-service (SaaS) licenses and compliance monitoring. Yes, a lot of the grunt work can be kept an eye on with a good spreadsheet, but these emerging services promise much more.

One service offers administrators a quick, graphical glance at who has permissions to use which software, and when individual software subscriptions are due for renewal. Clicking an icon opens up user and admin documentation, maintained by the management service for a growing number of SaaS products.

The same service offers employee off-boarding, for when someone leaves the company and must have access revoked completely and quickly. This by itself can make the service worth its fee for large companies with high employee turnover.

Another SaaS management service offers alerts for suspicious behavior: suspicious logins, unusual file downloads, deletions, or logins outside normal IP ranges. Email forwarding outside the company domain, new users with admin access, or external users added to groups can be flagged as well. Many of these security risks are innocent -- exposure as a result of carelessness or lack of awareness -- but if thousands of files are left in a publicly shared cloud folder, a service like this will alert you to the danger.

As we’ve discussed recently, cloud sprawl can be an expensive, undetected problem. One SaaS manager will monitor usage across the company so you can keep an eye on the software licensing costs versus their actual, practical value to the company. Are you paying for a site license when only two people actually use the software entire departments petitioned for? There may be less expensive solutions.

Some services keep an eye on cloud software’s handling of files and data specifically for the purpose of compliance monitoring. If your databases contain sensitive data protected by privacy laws, management services can tell you where data is vulnerable as it is accessed by other cloud software. One employee pulls data from the database, but is she doing something with that data with another cloud app, and how secure is the second app? A one-app service that promises to keep an eye on data security could be golden -- or it could be another vulnerability.

If all your SaaS apps come from one provider (such as G Suite), chances are you don’t need third-party management, but if your graphics people need an Adobe suite and your drafting people need another suite, while your clerical staff needs yet another, you might look into these management services: they may enable your keeping an eye on everything in one place.


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