You’ve heard of software as a service and its benefits, but is it going to work for your organization, and do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?
The term “software as a service” has been thrown around the IT world for the last 10 years, and over the last few years has gained consumer momentum. But now more than just software is being offered as a service, including hardware/infrastructure (IaaS), storage (SaaS), and pretty much anything you can think of (XaaS). The as-a-service market refers to software and infrastructure that is owned and managed by a third party who provides access to services via subscription models.
Most companies we work with are using at least one form of as-a-service. Microsoft’s Office 365 is an example of one, but many companies offer it. So what are the pros and cons of moving from historically in-house applications to subscription-based models?
The pros for software as a service seem fairly obvious. Companies moving to this model tend to do so for very specific reasons, with cost-effectiveness being No. 1. With SaaS you no longer need to invest in in IT infrastructure, and more importantly for the small business, you are no longer having to maintain or upgrade software, troubleshoot issues or refresh aging equipment. For a startup, a firm on a budget or someone needing the application quickly, SaaS tends to be easy and quick to get set up.
The younger generation is now occupying the work force and building their own businesses, and their demand for telecommunication options are getting louder. With SaaS you have the freedom to interact with your key services from anywhere with an internet connection. Scalability is also a huge selling point with the ease of adding users and features usually just a click away.
Cons of SaaS should be considered as well. The onus is on business owners for ensuring vendors meet the regulations that are in place for them. While uptime should be considered a win, when moving to SaaS it should be noted that 100-percent uptime is not guaranteed. Take Microsoft’s Office 365, for example. Microsoft has state-of-the-art facilities, and while highly reliable, it has occasional moments when its service is down.
Data security is another hot-button topic, and the reality is that you are relying on another company to have the proper security processes in place to protect client’s data — but this isn’t always the case. Furthermore, if you are one of the companies with multiple hosted services and you terminate an employee, it is imperative that you cancel those user’s accounts with each service immediately, which is something that can occasionally be missed by the employer with multiple cloud services.
When deciding on making the move to a cloud service whether Iaas, SaaS or any other aaS, make sure you are vetting the solution carefully and ensuring that it meets not only the business’ need, but also your client’s.
Brandon Cerocke is the director of sales and marketing for IQ Systems Inc.