IT Pros Hungry for SaaS Apps, But Have No Plan (or Budget) to Secure Them: Report

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SaaS applications are systematically taking over enterprise IT, but the process is not going smoothly for everyone. Half of the IT teams using G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work), and a third of those using Office 365 will run 100 percent cloud environments by 2020, but most lack the budget necessary to secure them properly, according to BetterCloud.

The report, Trends in Cloud IT: G Suite vs. Office 365 and the Meteoric Rise of SaaS Applications, released on Wednesday, surveyed over 1,500 people, about two-thirds of them IT professionals. It found that 60 percent of G Suite teams and 64 percent of Office 365 teams are underfunded for SaaS application security, and many do not have a line item in their budget for it.

Part of the problem with cloud SaaS application adoption is the sheer number of them, with 17 percent of organizations using G Suite and 13 percent using Office 365 having more than 11 SaaS applications in use. By the middle of next year, BetterCloud says large enterprises expect to have adopted an average of 52 SaaS applications.

As a result, 56 percent of IT professionals using G Suite and 62 percent of those using Office 365 say their job has been made more difficult by the complexity that rapid SaaS adoption creates.

Office 365 and enterprise SaaS in general were a central focus of this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, where the company revealed that Facebook’s 13,000 employees use Office 365. Google Apps for Work became known as G Suite as part of Google’s recent brand reorganization under the Google Cloud umbrella.

The survey shows that a previously observed tendency for organizations with younger workforces to choose Google over Microsoft for SaaS applications has almost completely disappeared. Last year, 40 percent of organizations using G Suite (then Google Apps for Work) had an average employee age of 18-34, while only one-quarter of Office 365 organizations fell into that demographic.  Now about three in ten companies in the millenial age group use each application suite. A major difference remains in organization size, however, with the average enterprise using G Suite growing from 110 to 150 employees, while the average enterprise using Office 365 grew from 500 to 513 people.

Users of both G Suite and Office 365 have similar priorities when selecting applications. Cost is considered most important by a majority from both groups, followed by security. Ease of use and integrations are each considered important by about a third of those surveyed, while reporting and analytics is a priority for less than 10 percent of each group.

The only major differences in criteria are in administration and management, which is important to 25 percent of those using G Suite, but only 18 percent of those using Office 365, and in data center infrastructure and disaster recovery plan, which are important to 8 and 5 percent more Office 365 organizations, respectively.

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