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An interview with Scott Coons, Co-Founder of Applogie

Scott Coons is no stranger to the pain and success of growing a company. After founding Kansas City-based Perceptive Software, he led the organization from its first dollar of revenue through 13 acquisitions and to $700 million in revenue by 2015. At that time, Coons declared himself “retired” – but like many in similar positions, his retirement includes significant involvement with the world of his former profession.

 

Officially, you claim to be retired. But you never truly stepped away from the technology field. What has been keeping you busy since 2015?

 

Well, I guess once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. I truly never wanted to be out of the game. Since the summer of 2015, I’ve been spending a lot of time with technology investing, performing start-up CEO mentoring, professional board work and charitable board work. Of those commitments, I most enjoy working with startups – sitting on their boards and mentoring their CEOs.

 

Along with my Perceptive software co-founders, I created a venture fund called perceptiveEQUITY that allows us to truly support these Kansas City-based businesses. I enjoy being able to invest in startups I believe in, both financially and from a leadership perspective.”

 

Applogie, of course, is one of those businesses. Where did the idea for Applogie come from, and how did it grow into reality?  

 

Over my last four or five years at Perceptive and Lexmark, while I was still running the software business, our constant strategic initiative was to get our technology into the cloud as a true subscription offering – 100% in the cloud. As a result of that strategy, we were willing to perform a lot of experiments in our own operations by testing a lot of cloud-based toolkits and pieces of software.

 

The result of that experimentation was, when managed correctly, we were able to get our product to the cloud faster, more efficiently and to create our point solutions faster. The challenge, though, was that we were never good at managing the expense. Brian Anderson (Applogie CEO and co-founder) and I would always discuss how we could do a better job at that part. It got to be that I would receive our financial statements and, to be honest, become very upset … our cost structure never ended up where we needed it or where we expected it.

 

What we found was toolkits and solutions would be started up in the cloud and not turned off, even after they’ve been deemed ineffective or irrelevant. Cloud experiments would be implemented and then the people responsible for or passionate about them would leave without shutting down the process. Or things would just get stale and forgotten. There was no good way to manage it with spreadsheets or through our SAP ERP. That’s where the idea was born.

Brian gave it a lot of thought and came to me and said, when the time is right, let’s do this. By 2018, the need for the product was undeniable. The time was right.

 

Why do you believe so strongly in Applogie?

 

I’ll put it this way – I believe the success of Perceptive came from our ability to drive efficiency for our customer. That efficiency, in turn, allowed customers to repurpose their people and their investments to the most strategic areas of their business. Applogie does the same thing. It’s a solution that allows customers to spend their dollars on the right things, in a controlled fashion.

 

Any dollar that can be saved and optimized in this ever-growing world of cloud and software subscriptions is a dollar that can be spent on more strategic investments. It’s about having control of that expense so you can spend toward what you really want to spend, versus trying to manage the factor of constantly having expenses larger than you believe they’re going to be – or never knowing about the expense until it is too late. Applogie relieves that unknown.

 

Applogie had a very successful 2018. What do you think that success can be attributed to?

 

I believe customers will always tell you what you should build. You just have to be paying attention. Over 20 years at Perceptive, our growth all came from designing for making the customer solution better. Never was it about solely making the business better or adding to the bottom line. Growth was organic from there. The same thing is happening with Applogie. We started with a product that people need and love to use, and we pay attention to what our customers are telling us.

 

Most recently, it seems, customers told you that cloud security was a strategic concern for them. How did Applogie respond?  

 

The most positive thing about software that runs in the cloud is that people can sign up quickly and people can start using it quickly. But on the flip side that’s also the most challenging thing. For any company – and enterprise companies in particular – you quickly end up with many systems you can’t control.

 

So when it comes to security, if you can’t control the system or don’t know about those systems, you’re at risk.

 

The thing is, there’s a lot that a person at any company needs to know to perform their job. Meaning, they have to be an active user in a lot of systems. They log into a lot of systems.  As a result, they tend to use the same passwords and user IDs across these systems. It’s human nature. This proliferation creates the biggest exposure risk. Brian had the idea to incorporate a way to manage this problem into the Applogie platform.

 

Applogie, through programmatic interfaces with a customers enterprise systems, can determine all of the email addresses and/or user IDs and automatically monitor those ID’s for security breaches. If there’s been a major internet breach, Applogie can identify where it happened, and compare compromised accounts with the accounts we manage. Odds are, the passwords for those other accounts are the same. So, we can in real-time, as soon as a major breach happens, tell you what kind of exposure you might have and advice you toward how to manage it. As far as we know, there’s no other product that can do it with the automation and ease like Applogie can.

 

What do you think 2019 and the years beyond have in store for the company?

 

Nothing but continued growth. We’re seeing some competition, but that competition only validates that the market needs what we offer. I’m confident our product is better than the competition’s, and that we can execute on our customer relationships better than they can. It’s fun to be in the start-up business again and exhilarating to be listening so closely to what our customers are telling us we need to build. That’s what drove the success of Perceptive, and it’s what will drive the success of Applogie as well.

 

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New feature: Protect your corporation with data breach discovery

When I first started telling people about Applogie in 2017, I focused mostly on how our SaaS management platform could save their companies thousands of dollars month-to-month and year-to-year. That’s still true. The ability to understand expenses and usage, plan budgets backed by data and negotiate vendor contracts with confidence can mean a huge difference in a corporation’s bottom line.

But recently, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how SaaS management can act as a sentinel, cutting down on a corporation’s risk of a major security breach (which, incidentally, could save millions of dollars – not to mention trust and reputation).

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce we’ve added another new feature to the Applogie platform: data breach discovery on an individual level.

Now, your Applogie admin can input the individual email addresses of all your corporation’s employees and check to see which of the email addresses have been compromised, where and when, in near real-time.

Research shows 60% of all cybersecurity attacks against corporations are committed by insiders including current employees, and 25% of those attacks are probably accidental. So if an employee uses a corporate email address and password to sign up for an account on another website, and that website is then compromised, your systems are in danger too.

When you know that an account has been a victim of a data breach somewhere else online, you can prompt that employee to change his or her corporate password immediately, greatly reducing the chance that your own corporate systems are at risk of a breach as well. You can also use this information to ensure employees are complying with corporate email usage standards, to design cybersecurity training programs, and to keep your employees’ identities safe.

Combined with our SaaS discovery, management and optimization capabilities, this new data breach feature makes Applogie an integral piece of your enterprise security stronghold.

Curious to see where your employees stand?

Begin a free trial of our data breach discovery feature now.

SaaS Management

Comparing Applogie and Zylo

We’re proud of what we do at Applogie. We trust in the company we’re building, and our customers trust us, too. Our technology speaks for itself, so there’s no need for us to disparage our competition – that’s not what this blog post is about. In fact, we believe so strongly in the power of SaaS platform management that we’re thrilled more vendors are starting to offer the service.

But Applogie is still one of the newer kids on the block – we don’t have the name recognition or funding that companies like Zylo do (yet). So we do want to shed light on the ways in which our companies and platforms differ – and the ways in which they’re similar.

From a platform standpoint, you might think you would derive comparable benefit from Applogie, Zylo, and a few others in the SaaS platform management space (but not all – many so-called competitors really only manage IaaS and PaaS, not SaaS, as we discussed here). After all,

  • Both companies are built to discover your SaaS apps, manage your renewals, measure your utilization and track the security of every app in one system of record.
  • Both companies monitor critical SaaS information through integrations with your key business systems and SaaS partners.
  • Both companies can have you tracking your software subscriptions – and getting real value from the resulting information – quickly, easily, and without burden on your IT department.

So where does Applogie pull away from the herd? These are the reasons you should listen to what we have to say:

  1. We offer user risk detection. Zylo does not. Did you know that 60% of ex-employees at large companies still have access to at least some systems? At Applogie, we understand the risk of not removing users when they leave your organization, so we track who’s working with you when, making the off-boarding process simple and secure.
  2. We understand the global enterprise. Just because Applogie seemingly came out of nowhere doesn’t mean our leadership team is green. Our co-founders were executives at global, enterprise tech corporations before this, and have experienced all the growing pains you are. We might even be able to uncover challenges you haven’t noticed yet. You can read more about why we’re passionate about Applogie here.
  3. We know where SaaS costs like to hide. Because we have grown and run a large technology company, we know better than anyone the critical role that credit cards and purchasing cards play in your SaaS costs. So we track those, too.
  4. We know what it takes to scale a business. We didn’t arrive at those aforementioned leadership positions through nepotism, good connections, or sheer luck. We’ve founded companies before this one, and – not to toot our own horns, but – they’ve been wildly successful. We’re confident Applogie will as well, after a short ramp-up period. But for now …
  5. We have contract and pricing flexibility. Applogie is still small enough that our overhead is really low – we’ve built the platform, our people are working for pride and peanuts, and we truly care about the satisfaction of each and every customer – no matter how small. So if you just want to dip a toe into the SaaS management waters, we can allow you to do that.
SaaS Management

Believe the hype (cycle) about SaaS management platforms

In July of this year, Gartner released its Hype Cycle for Software as a Service. If you’re unfamiliar with the organization’s hype cycles, here’s a quick breakdown: Gartner takes an area of technology (SaaS, in this instance) and places aspects of that technology along a curving graph – ‘time’ along the x axis and ‘expectations’ along the y axis. It then splits that x axis into five cleverly-named stages that it claims (with pretty astonishing accuracy) all technologies go through:

  • Innovation trigger (“Hey, I think we’re onto something here …”)
  • Peak of inflated expectations (“This new tech is going to solve all our challenges … and make billions!”)
  • Trough of disillusionment (“Ugh, maybe that idea wasn’t all it was cracked up to be … we just can’t get it off the ground.”
  • Slope of enlightenment (“Wait a minute … maybe all our campaigning got through to someone … or a lot of someones!”)
  • Plateau of productivity (“Oh, yeah, that tech? Everyone’s using it, the market is kind of saturated … but we couldn’t run our business without it.”)

Not all stages are created equal, time-wise. For example, you can expect a technology to spend the shortest amount of time in the Peak of Inflated Expectations, and the longest time in the Plateau of Productivity.

So what does all this have to do with Applogie (which, we admit, hasn’t been publicly recognized by Gartner just yet)? Only this: Applogie identifies strongly as one of the technologies called out in the Innovation Trigger stage, as well as a combination of three more of the 31 technologies featured on this hype cycle.

Primarily, we are a SaaS management platform. That’s a technology Gartner placed early on in its hype cycle, and identified as penetrating just 1% of the market so far, with an estimated 5-10 years to go before reaching the Plateau of Productivity.

For you, this means it makes sense to understand what Applogie is all about now, not 5-10 years from now when your competitors are just starting to understand the necessity of our platform. We know, you might not feel like your organization needs a SaaS management platform, but – sorry to break it to you – you’re wrong. And if you aren’t wrong today, you will be tomorrow.

Still not convinced? Take a look at three other technologies Gartner has placed along its Software as a Service hype cycle:

  1. Software Usage Analytics
  2. Cloud Application Discovery
  3. Cloud Access Security Brokers

As part of our platform, Applogie delivers each of these technologies to you in a single pane of glass view. With little to no effort from you or your IT department, Applogie discovers the cloud subscriptions hidden in your accounting systems and beyond (#2), delivers software usage analytics in near real-time (#1), and gives you control over your cloud access, ultimately improving the security of your systems and information (#3).

Put it this way: 5-10 years from now, you’ll wish you had scheduled a time to chat with us today. Want to see what subscriptions Applogie discovers in your systems? Reach out – we’re excited to talk to you!

SaaS Management

When SaaS access puts your organization at risk of a security breach

When IBM conducted research for its 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, it found that 60% of all cybersecurity attacks against corporations were committed by insiders – current and former employees, partners and vendors with exclusive knowledge of and access to a corporation’s systems and data. Of these attacks, about 75% were believed or known to be malicious, and the other 25% were believed to be accidental or inadvertent.

In addition to the legal and reputational hazards of these breaches, research conducted in the same year by the Ponemon Institute found that a breach of more than 50,000 files costs a company an average of $7 million.

If you’re serious about protecting your organization from the possibly insurmountable expense, hassle and status loss of a major data breach, you need to start with the most likely threat – the people you purposely gave access to your data.

For enterprise organizations – those most likely to experience a breach of 50,000+ files – the amount of people allowed to access your files and systems likely also numbers in the thousands. When you factor in the multiple cloud-based systems employees need access to, the potential cracks in the system just continue to multiply.

Because SaaS-based systems are so easy to implement, people tend to think having and sharing access to them is “no big deal” – but that’s not true. The more people you have in your organization, and the less you monitor their usage of various systems, the more you fall into risk patterns of unauthorized access.

Consider how many people have left your organization or moved into a different role since you started using multiple SaaS systems across multiple departments. I can guarantee more passwords have been compromised than you could even imagine – and much of the compromise was done with benevolent intent. But that doesn’t matter. With users able to access so many systems, you’re at increased risk of someone doing something they shouldn’t – whether it’s on purpose or not.

One of the best ways to mitigate the threat of internal security breach is giving as few people as possible access to your cloud-based systems. When people change roles or leave your organization, their access to all systems and data needs to be revoked. A SaaS management platform is the most effective way to ensure you’re able to revoke that access across the board – otherwise, it’s near impossible to even know which users have access to which systems.

When you implement Applogie, you have access to usage monitoring on a user level, which gives you the ability to immediately revoke access to all SaaS, IaaS and PaaS software as soon as it’s no longer needed. Applogie’s security monitoring solutions work by monitoring your core systems – like GSuite and Office 365 – then spiraling out from there. If a user leaves GSuite, we know. Then we make sure they don’t retain access to anything else – all your content management and file sharing systems are safe.

You can even flag the user categories that hold the greatest potential for security risks – IT admins, key vendors, C-suite execs and at-risk employees

Because insider threats come from within your trusted systems, from login information that looks safe, the threats can and will fly under your radar without active, humans-included, SaaS management.