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How Smallpdf’s lean IT team used Torii to save time and reduce risk

Customer Profile

Smallpdf is an international software company that provides easy-to-use tools to make document management and contract signing simple. Founded in Switzerland in 2013, they provide a simple, secure, and reliable answer to the world's PDF challenges. With their tools available in 24 languages, Smallpdf has on average 60+ million monthly users.


Smallpdf is focused on helping people work better and faster, in part by making the company’s solutions easily accessible to all. Enabling that same level of exploration and accessibility for their own employees is just as important to their IT strategy. They wanted to ensure their employees were free to use their preferred technology to perform their jobs more efficiently and contribute to the company’s success. But they didn’t want strict IT Governance slowing them down. 

“We believe in the innovation of every team member and want them to have the ability to explore. We don't want to limit employee freedom. But, at the same time, we need to have visibility into what cloud applications they’re using as well as some control to ensure security and help us meet requirements for GDPR and ISO audits,” said Max Erb, Smallpdf’s IT Operations Specialist. 

With that in mind, their lean IT team used a Google sheet to track applications, users, and subscription data. Unfortunately, this method lacked scalability and took several hours a week to maintain. It required IT to ask finance which tools had been recently expensed. They also had to track down every application owner, often via Slack, to gather information. Preparing for compliance audits was also time-consuming because of missing or incorrect information that needed to be rectified.  

“The spreadsheet worked until the company was about 50 people. As our number of tools and employees increased, it became cumbersome, error-prone, and virtually impossible to keep up with. We suspected that many applications were missing or not properly documented, and we had very little information about actual application usage,” said Erb. 

With employee count reaching over 100 and expected employee growth of 1.5-2x year over year, continuing with manual methods wasn't realistic. Further, onboarding and offboarding employees from apps were taking too long and had gaps. 

Smallpdf needed a better way. They wanted a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) that would help IT reclaim their time, improve the company’s application data accuracy, simplify auditing, and ensure permissive IT policies didn’t lead to risk. 

Why Smallpdf Chose Torii

Smallpdf conducted an extensive Proof of Concept (POC) with four SMP vendors and found that only Torii met (and exceeded) expectations. 

Erb mentioned how Torii was ahead of the pack in what they let Smallpdf accomplish. IT can now do more, better, and at scale. “During the evaluation process, we were happy to learn  how Torii could help us save on license costs, simplify so much with automation, easily discover Shadow IT, and more.”

Smallpdf leveraged Torii’s real-time discovery to find unsanctioned applications that were impossible to find before. “We thought we had around 150 applications. After turning on Torii, we found the number was closer to 450. It was eye-opening,” Erb said.

Many of those applications were hidden in the shadows, without IT and finance being made aware. Smallpdf was blind to them before Torii. Now they can identify them on user endpoints in real-time. According to Erb, “Torii’s approach to discovery, particularly with their browser extension, was the most compelling. It is seamless and comprehensive. It’s also non-invasive and doesn’t gather information on employees’ private browsing. This was key for our employees' privacy.”

How Torii Helps Smallpdf

Greater Clarity for Compliance, Reduced Risk

Smallpdf easily uncovers all applications, including Shadow IT. Now they have a centralized source of visibility and truth, with all SaaS application information in one easy-to-access place. 

This helped Smallpdf galvanize and streamline their compliance efforts. Not only are they confident in their data, but they can also efficiently see and report on the information needed to meet GDPR requirements and accomplish ISO audits. 

Today, if a customer asks Smallpdf to delete their data, IT can confirm it's gone. Customer data is no longer stranded on applications outside of IT’s purview.  

Smallpdf has also enhanced its risk management. “Torii even showed us a case of an employee accidentally sharing their whole inbox with an app. The person didn’t realize people could potentially read all their emails. Thanks to Torii, we were able to catch it before it became a problem,” said Erb.

Enterprise Features, Without Enterprise Size

The IT team at Smallpdf is small but mighty. By choosing Torii as their SaaS Management Platform, they can accomplish even more with less effort. 

“Torii is quite impressive. It gives you enterprise features without having to have an enterprise-sized team," said Erb. “We were surprised with all the capabilities at our disposal and the level of automation we could deploy, all without having to write a line of code.” 

Smallpdf's tool owners are happy with the Torii App Catalog’s access provisioning experience. Anyone in the company can request a license from a centralized, curated list of approved applications. Application owners are instantly notified and can take quick action, so people get the applications they need right away without anything falling through the cracks. This saves cross-functional teammates time and frustration.

The company has no plans of slowing down. They plan to leverage more workflow automation to further streamline onboarding and offboarding. 

Cost Savings Without Looking For Them 

While cutting SaaS spend wasn’t an initial goal, Erb found that Torii still helped Smallpdf reduce waste. It streamlined collaboration with finance and found cost savings hiding in plain sight. He mentioned how this "paid for the cost of Torii." 

Before, Erb’s team had minimal knowledge of application usage. Now, they leverage Torii to compare application usage and optimize licenses. This also led to stakeholders becoming more observant of investments in licenses and tier levels. 

“Before Torii, we were spending significant amounts on unused apps we didn’t even know we had. Other apps were being underutilized. Those wasted licenses cost us tens of thousands of dollars. We were able to quickly identify wasted costs and begin offboarding them in favor of applications within our App Catalog.” 

Max Erb
IT Operations Specialist, Smallpdf
“Before Torii, we were spending significant amounts on unused apps we didn’t even know we had. Other apps were being underutilized. Those wasted licenses cost us tens of thousands of dollars. We were able to quickly identify wasted costs and begin offboarding them in favor of applications within our App Catalog.”

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