You’ll recall that back in late April we announced our new Cloud App Discovery module. It’s been our headline demo at conferences and shows since then and a lot of people have tried it out as a result. We’ve also received a bunch of enthusiastic feedback and suggestions from these early adopters.
While that has been happening the team has been hard at work making improvements to the service backend and the user experience based on this input. And as of this morning we released another set of improvements:
- An auto-updating monitoring client
- Visibility into which discovered apps you are already using with Azure AD
- View which users are accessing which apps
- Select which categories of applications you want to collect data on.
I’ve asked Girish Chander the Principal Lead PM for Cloud App Discovery to walk you through the new features in Cloud App Discovery. You’ll find his blog post below.
As always, we’d love to receive any feedback or suggestions you have.
Alex Simons (Twitter: @Alex_A_Simons)
Director of PM
Active Directory Team
It’s Girish Chander, and I’m excited to get the opportunity to tell you about some of the new enhancements we’ve been working on in Cloud App Discovery. Since we first released the Cloud App Discovery feature, we’ve been thrilled with the interest and feedback we’ve been getting. As some of you can attest to, we have an enthusiastic team here that is ready to jump on any requests we get through the portal and help you out. We’ve also had the opportunity to make improvements to the feature in response to your feedback. <So please continue to provide feedback, we love hearing from you>
Below is a walk-through of some of the improvements to Cloud App Discovery that you’ll see on the portal at http://appdiscovery.azure.com .
Auto-update of the Endpoint Client Agent:
No one wants to go through the hassle of updating the endpoint agent every time we release a new version. And many of you have given us this feedback. . So we worked on a feature that will allow the agents to automatically update themselves. You can control this option in the portal.
Just click on the ‘Manage Agent’ option under the Settings gear
On the ‘Manage Agent’ settings page, in addition to being able to download the agent, you can now configure automatic updates.
*Please note, if you are running an agent that is older than version 0.9.6, you will first need to update to that version, before the auto-update feature will work.
For new customers, the default setting is ON. If, however, you want to control the rollout of the agent updates manually, you can turn off the auto-upgrade behavior.
For those of you who are existing customers, we’ve kept the default as ‘off’, in order to ensure you aren’t surprised by automatic rollouts. You can just enable the ‘auto-update’ feature on the page above.
New version of the agent:
Today we also released a new version of the agent (0.9.7) with a number of improvements including the ability to control which applications we collect information from (we’ll cover this in more detail below), the ability to get the user name from the machine, as well as some other bug fixes. You can see the list of changes we’ve made to the agent by clicking ‘View changelog’ on the page above.
Applications that are connected with AAD vs not:
A number of you have pointed out that you’d like to be able to easily distinguish which of the discovered applications in your organization, are already connected with your AAD tenant vs not. This would allow you to quickly focus your attention on only those applications that haven’t yet been connected with your organization’s AAD.
To facilitate this, we’ve redesigned the dashboard to show you both the number of applications available for you to connect with AAD and the number of applications you’ve already connected with Azure AD
Clicking on the orange tile shows you a list of applications in each set—those that are already connected to your AAD and those that are available to connect
Each section is collapsible. In the above picture the list of ‘connect-ready’ apps is collapsed. The ‘connected’ applications have a green check box on their icon, to show they are already integrated with AAD.
As always, you can still pivot on any category to see the applications in that category within each set. The picture below shows the applications under the ‘collaboration’ category that are already connected with my AAD tenant vs not.
Quick view of the data associated with an application:
We’re always looking to make your life easier – even if it’s just to save you a few secondsJ. On the redesigned ‘Applications’ page, by simply hovering over an application’s tile, you can now more easily compare usage data across different applications. This includes comparing the number of users, web requests and volume of traffic to a given application. You also have a quick link to connect the application with AAD.
Users are accessing an application:
Many of you have provided us feedback that you’d like to see which users are using a given application, so you could contact them to understand how they are using these applications and to remind them of corporate policy. We listened. And now you can easily discover the users of an application through the portal.
To view the users who have used a particular application, click that application’s tile from the ‘Applications’ page. This takes you an application specific page. (Dropbox, in this case),
Click on the ‘users discovered’ tile on the top left, to view the complete list of users below. You can also see the top users by requests or volume.
You can also choose to download the users list into a csv file for offline analysis, by clicking the download button above.
Dictating which applications we collect data from:
Many of you have requested an option that would allow you to tweak the set of applications that we collect information from and report on. You want to do this so that you can respect user’s privacy by not collecting information about certain applications.
Respecting users’ privacy and arming you with the right set of tools to ensure you can set the right privacy options for your organization, is very important to us.
With the updates released today, you can now control which categories of applications the agent will capture information for. Please note that this feature requires latest version of the agent (0.9.7), released today, to be deployed.
On the portal, click on ‘Data Collection’ under the settings gear
On the ‘Data Collection’ page below, you will notice that by default we now only collect data from applications that are in our database and categorized. If you want the agent to collect information for all traffic to all sites, then you will need to enable that option explicitly.
In order to select which categories of applications the agents report on, click ‘select categories’, and make the selection in the pop up that shows up. Bear in mind, that any new applications added to the categories in the future will be selected as well.
To see which applications belong to which category, click the ‘View category and app listing’ link in the pop-up above.
The feature above is the first of many features we have planned to ensure that administrators have the right controls to draw the balance between user privacy and insights they need to secure corporate data. Please continue providing us feedback in this regard. And watch this space for more updates J
Tell us what you think!
Go on, give these new features a try. Go to Cloud App Discovery and sign up….it’s free!
Over the next few weeks we’ll continue to make improvements to this service and light up more value. Give us your feedback- we’d love to hear from you. Your inputs help us ensure that we deliver a solution that works for you. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please use this forum.