Along with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service is one of the most popular types of cloud computing. This distribution model implies that a software vendor places the client’s application on the cloud and makes it available via the Internet. Thanks to easy access, SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business apps and a part of vendors’ strategies to deliver software for customers. SaaS allows using a lot of business apps like mail, CRM, HR systems, sales management, finance and databases, CMS, etc.
How Software Can Be Provided as a Service?
To use SaaS, companies usually pay a flat fee. This delivery model differs from the traditional ones when companies pay constantly for software and licenses. Typically, SaaS providers charge for applications according to a certain number of parameters. For instance, they can withdraw money depending on the number of users, or on the number of transactions. Traditionally, SaaS applications are accessed through a web browser. Most of these apps are based on a multi-client architecture that means that different clients use one and the same version of the program. However, if you would like to get a fully customized SaaS solution that will match with your business domain, you can cooperate with custom developers which usually offer affordable software development rates.
Benefits: How Can SaaS Save Your Money?
Among the most frequent reasons why companies use SaaS is that they don’t need to install and run complex systems in their IT infrastructure and use special hardware. This capability reduces costs on buying hardware and maintaining it. As a rule, the initial cost of developing and/or installing a SaaS application is lower than purchasing an app under license. SaaS model provides flexibility – users can subscribe and install an app whenever and wherever they need it instead of using a great number of computers.
SaaS apps are usually available from any device and any location with access to the Internet. Unlike traditional software that is typically accessible only on computers, SaaS apps can be used on mobile phones and are supported by most browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and others. Another advantage is that SaaS is easily scalable. With cloud services, companies can increase or decrease the number of application functions.
SaaS providers also usually update software automatically weekly or monthly. Therefore, companies don’t need to worry and buy new versions or install patches or security updates. This is especially attractive for companies that lack in-house IT staff to complete these tasks.
To sum it up, the main advantage of the SaaS model is the absence of costs associated with installing, updating and maintaining the hardware and software. Among other meaningful benefits, there are the following:
- SaaS is adapted for remote use. Software installation on users’ site is not needed – software is accessed through a standard web browser from any place.
- One application is used by multiple clients.
- Payment can be charged either in the form of a monthly subscription fee or on the basis of the scope of the operation.
- Technical support is included in the payment.
- Software is upgraded and updated automatically.
- SaaS has a clear interface – most users are already accustomed to using web services.
Disadvantages: What Are the Main Risks of Using SaaS?
To get most of the SaaS benefits, companies should be aware of the risks related to using the software as a service.
As with all cloud services, SaaS users rely on providers to run applications all the time. They also depend on the providers for security updates and functionality. Although SaaS providers are taking measures to maintain constant uptime, even the largest market players can sometimes experience downtime.
Security and privacy can also be a problem – if the provider’s data is hacked, it could put the company at risk. Other potential risks are the quality of services and user experience. Since SaaS applications can be located far from the location of users, data can be transmitted more slowly and affect the response time of applications.
A lot of clients are afraid to use SaaS due to security concerns and possible information leaks from the service provider. Thus, security issues limit the use of SaaS models in critical systems that handle sensitive information.
Since the main saving of provider’s resources is achieved due to the scale, SaaS models are ineffective for systems requiring deep personalization. If the sample application does not suit you, then most likely you will have to deploy the wider version of the software.
Modern SaaS solutions are used by many businesses operating in various industries. Cloud solutions allow team members working with each other regardless of their location, device, or timezone. It’s well-known that productivity depends directly on work conditions. SaaS gives users increased capabilities to feel as comfortable as possible.