How Zluri's Discovery Engine Works

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Any SMP is as good as its discovery engine. This is because only depending on the discovery of the SaaS in an organization the SMP will be able to manage, optimize and secure the applications.  

Discoverability: The Foundation of SaaS Management

Qualities of an SMP

When an organization keeps purchasing and using more SaaS, the need for visibility into all applications grows as well. Applications should be discovered first to monitor, control, and secure them. Hence SaaS discovery is the prime and crucial step to gaining visibility into the SaaS landscape.

The SaaS management platform is structured on five engines. The discovery engine is the foundation; then comes the manage engine, the optimization engine, the security engine, and the compliance engine.

The discovery engine contributes to discovering all the applications present in a company’s SaaS landscape. It collects crucial data like users' names, usage reports, license details, etc.

The manage engine contributes to managing all the SaaS applications which are visible through the discovery engine. At the same time, the optimization engine is a framework that embeds optimization-based control and monitoring of all SaaS applications in the organization. 

The security engine ensures that all the SaaS applications and the data shared within the organization remain secure. The compliance engine maintains all the compliance in accordance with the company policies and terms.

Benefits of App Discovery for SaaS Management

  • It discovers unauthorized apps running in the organization, and you can act on them, hence eliminating shadow IT.

  • Provides real-time app insights. Gives information about who has purchased the app, who its users are, and how frequently it is being used.

  • Identifies the idle and least used apps from a SaaS landscape and discards them right away to cut off the excessive SaaS spend.

  • Help you stay compliant by ensuring all the apps present in a SaaS environment meet the industry-wise compliance standard.

Working of Zluri's Discovery Engine 

Zluri is a SaaS management platform (SMP). With over 225,000 apps, it has the largest app library in the world. This, combined with various discovery methods, helps Zluri to provide 100% SaaS discoverability. 

Zluri uses five powerful discovery methods to trace the SaaS apps present in an organization's SaaS landscape. It offers a granular view, and IT admins can stay up to date on apps that are being used or left idle to take relevant actions. 

These five discovery methods that Zluri uses to gain visibility into the SaaS ecosystem of your company are SSO or IDP, finance systems, direct integrations, browser extensions, and desktop agents.

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Once identified, it further helps to find and eliminate redundant, unused, underutilized, and risky apps. 

SSO and ID Providers

Zluri connects with single sign-on and identity provider systems such as Okta and Google Workspace and collects different types of data.

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Through single sign-on and identity provider systems, it gathers directory information. Note that you can also make your HR management system (HRMS) the primary source for this information.

To do this, first, you need to connect your HRMS with Zluri. Currently, Zluri supports 19 HR software (and these lists keep increasing with every month). 

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See the updated list here

Then, you can select the source for department, users, and their title by navigating to the setting option.

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From the SSOs, Zluri also collects lists of authorized apps and login events like sign-in attempts, the number of times the user has accessed the app, and if it was a successful or failed attempt.

This discovery method also provides data shared with third-party apps. Example name, email, and other details.

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Finance Management Systems

Zluri connects with the expense and finance management systems, such as Netsuite and QuickBooks, to collect data.

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This discovery method accumulates information on the apps that are missed by the SSO, such as those brought by employees. These apps may be purchased by the employees on their corporate cards or on their personal cards but later reimbursed.

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See the updated list

Through finance systems, Zluri also collects transaction details, such as the amount spent on apps and the date of the expense. 

Here the data is obtained by finding when a transaction happened and what was the value of the transaction. Zluri then maps the transaction with the apps to collect data.

Note that if for any reason, you don't want to connect your financial system, you can also upload the transaction data manually by uploading a CSV file.

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Upload transactions data

Zluri automatically captures the transaction data and maps them against SaaS apps.

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Direct (Out-of-Box) Integration 

Zluri connects directly with 600+ most commonly used SaaS apps across hundreds of categories, and this list keeps on increasing month over month. If you don't find any app in this list, we also offer a custom integration option within a record 36 hours turnaround time.

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Through direct integration, Zluri understands which users have access to a SaaS app and what level of permission they have, i.e., if it is a user or admin. We also collect user activity data that helps you measure the SaaS usage by individual users.

Zluri also collects license details for each user. These details include plan, pricing, and features available in the tier.

This discovery method also looks at the access and audit logs and gains information about what changes have been made to understand the app usage. Zluri is able to get deeper insights via this method as the data is collected directly from the source.

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Desktop Agent

Zluri collects only non-sensitive information from the system through desktop agents. This data includes apps installed on a device, apps running in the background, and app sign-in and sign-out details.

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Through desktop agents, Zluri even gets device-level information, like product ID and hardware information. 

This discovery method is optional for users and not mandatory for Zluri to perform its basic tasks. Zluri still does its best to surface all SaaS applications of an organization with the methods discussed in the previous slides.

The Zluri desktop agent is a lightweight application that lives in a computer's toolbar. This application reads SaaS usage and activities and sends them to the Zluri server for further analysis. These analyzed data are then presented on the Zluri dashboard.

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How does Zluri process the information from desktop agents?

When an application is open on the desktop, Zluri tracks basic metadata of the application, like application name, the server URL from where the data is fetched, etc., and identifies the SaaS application from it.

Each time the application is opened, it is counted as an activity. Once Zluri has the activities attributed to users, it aggregates that at least at a daily level of the organization and calculates how frequently the user is using the app. This gives a percentile score for a particular user for an app within the organization.

SaaS operations manager (or IT or software asset manager, whoever is in charge of managing the business applications) can see how many employees have installed it directly from the Zluri dashboard.

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The desktop agent is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

Browser Extension

Through browser agents, Zluri collects data about websites visited by users. 

The browser agent is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge extensions. Zluri also collects data on the websites visited by users: the URL, title, and timestamp of opening or closing the tab.

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Browser extensions are optional, and Zluri does not read the cookies saved in the browser, browser history, or any content from the websites visited.

The browser extensions run locally on the client-side to read the activities on the browser and report them to the Zluri server for analysis. That's how Zluri identifies and analysis the SaaS application-related activities and displays them on the Zluri dashboard.

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How does Zluri process that information?

  • Each visit to a website whose domain appears in Zluri's master list of domains is identified as a SaaS app.

  • Zluri notes the website visit timestamp and duration of a visit of the user. Each visit is counted as an activity.

  • Once Zluri has the activities attributed to users, this software application aggregates that at least at a daily level for the organization and calculates how frequently the users are using apps subscribed by the organization. This gives Zluri a percentile score for a specific user for an application within the company.

  • As Zluri collects activity data from multiple sources, it takes the weighted average values of the usage scores obtained from all the sources. The final usage score reported in Zluri's application is after the normalization of the weighted average score. 

You can prompt users to install the chrome extension directly from Zluri.

To do this, first, navigate to Sources > Agents > Users

Then, filter the criteria you want to send the prompt to.

You can filter by the following criterias:

  • All users (if doing it for the first time)

  • No agent installed 

  • Users with no browser agent installed

  • Users with no desktop agent installed

  • Users with at least one agent installed

  • Users with at least one browser agent installed

  • Users with at least one desktop agent installed

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Once you select the filter (in the example below, we have selected no agents installed. Then, you can send them a prompt all at once or even by selecting a few.

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Further, you can also check how many users have installed it.

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Use Zluri to Discover, Manage, Optimize, and Secure Your SaaS Stack

Zluri monitors, measures, and controls application spend while demystifying shadow IT and gives deep insights to rationalize or optimize application costs.

Zluri even possesses a simplified usage monitoring feature to assess an organization's application efficiency, which helps to better understand how to optimize licensing costs.

With 100% discoverability Zluri provides real-time insights or reports and offers a single dashboard to manage all the applications' renewals, access details reports, and more.

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