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How to Track SaaS Adoption Without Employee Privacy Invasion

Let's face it: there's a SaaS solution for just about everything these days. Got a startup idea? There's probably a tool out there that's perfect for it. These digital wonders have transformed the way we work, making processes efficient without the burden of in-house development.

With just a few clicks and a couple of dollars, you're set. Maintenance worries? Gone. It's all sunshine and rainbows in the world of SaaS, right?

Hold that thought.

The vast expanse of the cloud comes with its own set of challenges‚ÄĒnamely, security. When everyone's sharing responsibilities in this vast digital playground, it's easy for things to get, well, cloudy. If team members keep hopping onto new SaaS platforms without a heads-up to IT, crucial business data could be hanging in the balance.

Nearly half (43%) of companies have faced security breaches due to SaaS misconfigurations.

The verdict? Monitoring SaaS usage is a must in today's digital workspace. But should we compromise employee privacy or limit access? That's a resounding no. And here's why...

Prevention might kill productivity

In the early days of business technology, companies were enthusiastic about the new digital tools that promised transformative boosts to productivity. The allure was undeniable. But as they delved deeper into the digital world, a realization dawned: with new tools came new vulnerabilities.

The instinctive reaction? Adopt a strict posture of prevention. This era saw businesses limiting access to tools, constricting functionalities, and implementing close-knit monitoring systems. While these measures offered a sense of security, they often came at a tangible cost: productivity.

Why simply blocking SaaS isn't the answer

saas usage concept

The problem with the restrictive approach was, as with all restrictive systems, loopholes emerged. Enter the age of 'Shadow IT'. Employees, driven by their tasks and the promise of efficiency, started sidestepping official protocols. They began using non-approved SaaS platforms, often under the radar of their IT departments.

Fast-forward to today, and we're firmly in the midst of a SaaS boom. Every department, from HR to Marketing, is intertwined with dozens of platforms. In such a vast and intricate landscape, the old-school mantra of prevention feels not just outdated but nearly impossible.

We're left grappling with a pressing question: How do we balance productivity and privacy with digital security?

Detection at the cost of privacy?

As digital frontiers expanded, the security strategies of businesses had to evolve. With the limited success of prevention, detection became the next logical step. The goal was clear: monitor the vast digital ecosystem for anomalous or suspicious activities. But this approach, while more agile than its predecessor, brought its own set of challenges.

The heart of the matter? Privacy.

In an effort to detect potential threats, businesses found themselves monitoring a wide spectrum of activities, many of which were benign. This broad surveillance net invariably included the legitimate activities of employees. Consequently, while the detection strategy didn't restrict what an employee could do, it raised serious questions about their privacy.

  • Employee Trust:¬†Surveillance can erode trust even with the best intentions. When employees feel that their every move is being watched, it can create an atmosphere of unease and suspicion.
  • Effectiveness:¬†Ironically, a pervasive detection system can sometimes be its own downfall. With an overload of information, distinguishing between legitimate threats and false alarms can become an uphill task.
  • Ethical Concerns:¬†Beyond the practical challenges, businesses also had to grapple with the moral implications of extensive monitoring. Where does one draw the line between ensuring security and infringing individual privacy?
employee cybersecurity quote

The risky nature of SaaS

In today's fast-paced digital age, with a new tool just a click away, how do we stay safe online? As we dive into the world of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), it's not just about allowing or blocking software. We need to think deeper:

  • What type of information are users plugging into these external platforms?
  • How reliable are the security measures implemented by these third-party providers?
  • Do their safeguards align with the sensitivity of our data?
  • Are we duplicating tools and services (like using both Trello and Asana for task management)?
  • Is there a system in place to manage access for new and departing employees?
  • Could using this platform jeopardize our compliance posture? For instance, does it affect our adherence to laws like the CCPA or GDPR?

Certainly, the task isn't a walk in the park ūü§®

While some companies block tools to avoid risks, it's essential to understand each tool's value and risks.

Knowing which SaaS tools are in use is the first step. Some methods to find out might be invasive, risking employee trust. Balancing safety and privacy is key.

Building trust with your team

When it comes to SaaS security, things go beyond mere IT/security departments. It directly includes the users, a.k.a. your coworkers. 

When implementing security measures, it's crucial to communicate the reasons behind them to your team. Always remember, that the main role of security is to enable employees to work safely, not to put them in a box with limited tools. Think of the security team as guardians rather than gatekeepers.

While not all team members might be deeply concerned about the rationale of the IT/security decisions, a transparent approach fosters trust. And when trust is established, employees are more likely to respect and adhere to security protocols.

Monitoring SaaS usage without compromising employee privacy

Transparent monitoring = secure and trustworthy workspace

At Resmo, we prioritize both security and user transparency. Our approach is to set up company directory tools such as Google Workspace and Azure Active Directory, then deploy the Resmo browser extension to users' browsers. 

Resmo quick start

When deployed, this extension and integrations are specifically aligned with the work domains used by the organization, such as 

We maintain a clear boundary between professional and personal use by focusing on logins using the designated work domain email.

resmo chrome extension

This transparent method is introduced to employees during their initial orientation, ensuring they are informed right from the start. For further clarity, a click on the Resmo browser extension provides insights into the monitored domains:

At Resmo, we take your privacy seriously. We won't report your browsing activity or send personal information like passwords.

This transparency helps employees trust the process and understand why you monitor SaaS tools. It's all about establishing a sense of collective responsibility towards security.

Utilizing this approach, you'll be able to obtain a holistic view of the SaaS tools adopted by your teams. This birds-eye perspective aids in pinpointing where your critical data resides and identifies which platforms warrant additional security measures. Moreover, as employees explore new platforms, you can proactively engage with them, understanding their objectives and guiding them towards secure usage right from inception.

This sounds something like you want to try? You can try Resmo for free and detect the SaaS adopted by your employees and their security issues.

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