New Azure tool helps IT tame SaaS apps

More organizations are moving their data out of their data centers and into the cloud, which complicates IT’s efforts to keep track of applications in use. With the new Microsoft Cloud App Security within Microsoft Azure, IT and security teams can step up application discovery and apply controls in line with existing security, privacy, and compliance policies.

Most enterprises rely on cloud applications, whether or not they are officially sanctioned. Shadow IT is pervasive, with employees signing up for SaaS applications on their own without first going through IT. According to Microsoft’s statistics, an employee uses 17 cloud applications on average, and an organization shares 13 percent of its files externally, of which a quarter are shared publicly. Business units do what they must to get the job done, but IT is left in the dark about what applications employees use and where corporate data is stored.

Security teams need deep visibility, strong controls, and threat protection for cloud applications. That’s where Cloud App Security, originally announced in February and now generally available, comes in. To use Cloud App Security, organizations will need a Microsoft Azure subscription, which supports Azure Rights Management (RMS), such as Office 365.

“Microsoft Cloud App Security brings the same level of visibility and control that IT departments have in their on-premises network to their SaaS applications, including apps like Box, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Ariba, and of course Office 365,” Microsoft said.