9 Best Practices to Manage SaaS Sprawl

5 min
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February 22, 2023
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SaaS sprawl refers to the uncontrolled proliferation of SaaS applications within an organization, leading to data silos and security risks.

It can cause a significant business impact if it isn’t addressed and managed swiftly. However, managing SaaS sprawl isn’t easy, as it poses credible challenges that can be hard to control. 

We previously discussed the business impact and challenges of SaaS sprawl, which you can check out here. 

Effective management of SaaS sprawl can help businesses avoid unmanaged SaaS applications' inefficiencies, redundancies, and security vulnerabilities.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to manage SaaS sprawl and offer some best practices to follow in 2023. These tips will help you stay on top of your SaaS applications and secure your data.

Best Practices to manage and overcome SaaS sprawl

The increasing adoption of SaaS has led to "sprawl," where multiple unverified SaaS applications are used by different departments, leading to inefficient work processes and increased security risks. 

Managing SaaS sprawl can be complex if you don’t follow these best practices. 

Centralized SaaS Management

This best practice aims to bring order to a business's disparate and fragmented landscape of SaaS applications. It enables the IT team to manage the SaaS applications in a centralized and organized manner, which can reduce the risks associated with SaaS sprawl. 

With a centralized SaaS management framework in place, the IT team can keep track of all SaaS applications in use, enforce security and compliance policies, and provide end-users with a single sign-on experience for all SaaS applications. 

A dashboard image of CloudEagle

Additionally, centralized SaaS management helps with license tracking, allocation, and reconciliation and ensures that the business only pays for the licenses that it uses. Businesses can achieve significant cost savings and reduced risk exposure by streamlining their SaaS environment.

Establishing SaaS Guidelines

This is a crucial step in managing SaaS sprawl. The guidelines should clearly outline the company's SaaS app usage, purchasing, and implementation policies. They should specify the approval process for new SaaS apps, the criteria for selecting a SaaS vendor, and the security and data privacy standards that must be met. 

Employees should be aware of the policies and trained to adhere to them. This helps ensure that the SaaS apps used in the company are in line with the company's overall objectives, policies, and standards. 

The guidelines should also be reviewed and updated regularly to keep pace with the fast-changing SaaS landscape. By establishing clear procedures, companies can ensure that SaaS apps are being used consistently, securely, and efficiently, reducing the risk of SaaS sprawl. 

Regular SaaS Audits

Regular SaaS audits are crucial in managing SaaS sprawl and ensuring the efficient use of cloud-based software. These audits allow organizations to regularly assess and review their software and ensure it is still relevant and necessary. 

Audits can help identify duplicated software and unused or expired subscriptions and ensure compliance with company policies. 

These audits should be conducted regularly, or at least once a quarter, to reduce the risk of SaaS sprawl and ensure that their cloud-based software usage is optimized and secure.

Using SaaS Management Tools

SaaS management tools are an effective way to manage and optimize the use of SaaS applications within an organization. 

These tools provide a centralized platform to discover, manage, and control SaaS applications, helping to ensure that all SaaS usage is secure, compliant, and optimized.


An image depicting SaaS sprawl

By using SaaS management tools, organizations can minimize the security risks associated with SaaS sprawl and gain greater control over their SaaS environment. This can result in improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, and a more secure SaaS landscape. 

Employee Training and Awareness

Employees must understand the company's SaaS policies, usage guidelines, and the potential impact of unauthorized or misused software. Regular training sessions and workshops can ensure that employees are up-to-date with the latest SaaS solutions and best practices. 

In addition, organizations can create a SaaS knowledge base, FAQs, or a SaaS champion program to provide continuous support and encourage employees to ask questions. 

Organizations can reduce the risk of SaaS sprawl and increase productivity and efficiency by educating their employees.

IT Governance and Decision Making 

This is an essential aspect of managing SaaS sprawl. It involves defining the processes and roles of different stakeholders in the decision-making process for using SaaS solutions. It ensures that all SaaS solutions are aligned with the overall strategy and objectives of the organization. 

IT governance also involves establishing a clear communication channel between IT and business departments to make informed decisions. 

Furthermore, IT governance should define the criteria for selecting and evaluating SaaS solutions, such as security, compatibility, and data privacy requirements. This helps to ensure that the organization is not exposed to unnecessary risks and that SaaS solutions are appropriately integrated and optimized for maximum benefit.

Documenting SaaS contracts 

To effectively manage and overcome SaaS sprawl, you must create a centralized repository of all SaaS contracts, licenses, and agreements. This helps to ensure that all SaaS apps are appropriately accounted for and that there is a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of each contract. 

A dashboard image of CloudEagle

Documenting SaaS contracts also makes tracking renewals, upgrades, and cancellations easier. This information can be used to identify underutilized or redundant applications and make informed decisions about the future of these applications. 

Having clear and accurate records of SaaS contracts and agreements can also help organizations avoid legal issues and disputes.

Real-time monitoring and reporting

Regular monitoring of SaaS usage and reporting on it can help identify instances of sprawl. This includes tracking the number of active users, the frequency of use, and the amount of data being stored. 

Reports can be used to identify underutilized or redundant applications, which can then be decommissioned, reducing the overall sprawl. 

With real-time monitoring, organizations can stay on top of their SaaS usage and make necessary changes to optimize their environment.

Automating the SaaS procurement process

This is one of the best practices for managing SaaS sprawl. Organizations can streamline and standardize their SaaS procurement procedures, reduce manual errors, and increase efficiency by automating the process. 

The automation process can involve the following:

  • Creating a centralized repository for all SaaS apps.
  • Setting up approval workflows for procurement.
  • Implementing automatic contract renewals and termination processes. 

You’ll need a procurement automation tool to automate SaaS buying. It’ll help you create an ideal procurement process to help organizations control their SaaS sprawl and avoid financial, operational, and security challenges.

Overall, these best practices provide a roadmap for organizations to manage SaaS sprawl and overcome its challenges. By implementing these strategies, IT, procurement, and finance departments can effectively control the proliferation of cloud-based applications and keep their networks secure, efficient, and productive.

The Need For SaaS Sprawl Management

The rise of SaaS applications within an organization has brought various challenges for businesses, the chief among them being SaaS sprawl. 

This is when organizations have a proliferation of cloud-based software applications, which can be challenging to manage, resulting in decreased efficiency, higher costs, and increased security risks.

That's why SaaS sprawl management is so critical for modern businesses. Businesses can better control costs, improve efficiency, and reduce security risks by taking a strategic, centralized approach to managing SaaS apps.

An image of CloudEagle which can prevent SaaS sprawl

And that's where CloudEagle comes in. Our platform provides businesses with the tools and insights they need to manage their SaaS sprawl and minimize risks. 

From automated SaaS procurement, app discovery, and contract management to cost optimization, CloudEagle makes it easy to regain control of your SaaS environment and ensure that your organization operates at peak efficiency.

With a centralized dashboard, real-time reports, instant alerts, app usage insights, and user visibility, you can comfortably stay on top of your SaaS portfolio and overcome the challenges of SaaS sprawl.


SaaS sprawl is a growing concern for organizations that use cloud-based software applications. The uncontrolled proliferation of multiple SaaS applications can lead to increased costs, security risks, and difficulty managing the software and data. 

To mitigate the opposing challenges of SaaS sprawl, businesses should adopt best practices such as centralizing the management of software applications, regularly reviewing and auditing the use of software applications, and promoting open communication and collaboration among departments. 

By following these best practices, organizations can effectively manage SaaS sprawl and reap the benefits of cloud-based software applications.

Don't let sprawl get the best of you. Take control of your cloud-based software solutions with CloudEagle today.

Get complete visibility into your SaaS spend and app usage data!

Written by
Joel Platini
Content Writer and Marketer, CloudEagle
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