Software as a Service (SaaS) shows no signs of slowing down in popularity. BetterCloud estimates that 38% of all companies are currently running “almost entirely” on SaaS, and 73% of companies say they’ll rely on SaaS for nearly all their applications by 2020.
SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows users to access software programs and applications that are based in the cloud, rather than installed on a computer. Instead, third-party vendors host SaaS applications on their own servers and provide access over the Internet. As SaaS becomes the go-to software model for businesses of all kinds, you should consider its benefits for your own organization.
Here are a few pros and cons of SaaS to help you determine whether it’s right for your company:
Pro: It’s affordable.
Your organization can minimize expenses by using SaaS. You can take advantage of cost savings as early as during the implementation process. Unlike traditional software, SaaS does not require you to purchase or install your own infrastructure to support it. Since the vendor takes care of all the hardware and hosts the application, you’ll only be responsible for paying the costs to access it online. Vendors typically offer SaaS on a tiered subscription basis, which means that you can avoid unnecessary features and pay only for what you need.
Con: You still have to pay attention to security.
Like countless other users before you, you may have concerns about the security of SaaS. Moving away from an in-house solution means providing access to your most sensitive information to an outside entity. Moreover, you must be sure not to push through the adoption of SaaS too quickly, as this can make it more difficult to fully secure your new system.
Thankfully, you can take steps to enhance the security of SaaS. For instance, you can leverage access management tools like multi factor authentication to prevent unauthorized individuals from viewing information they shouldn’t be seeing. In addition, you must carefully choose a SaaS vendor that you know will utilize the most current security protocols to safeguard your data.
Pro: You can scale up your level of service at any time.
Since SaaS is deployed via the cloud, you can adjust your level of service at any time. This highly flexible model not only contributes to the affordability of SaaS, but it also ensures you’ll have what you need as your organization grows. Adding more users and features is much easier with SaaS, as opposed to on-premises software; with the latter you might have to pay more for additional licenses, go through the expensive and time-consuming process of installing new software, or invest up front in the server capacity you don’t need now, but anticipate using in a few years. With SaaS, you can quickly scale up or down as your needs demand, paying for what you need when you need it.
Con: Your performance depends (in part) on your Internet connection.
When you utilize a SaaS solution, your provider is responsible for centrally hosting the software on their own servers. You’ll probably sign an agreement that contains up time guarantees,which promise that your applications will be available, say, 99.5% of the time.This benefits you, of course, but you’re still responsible for your Internet connection.
Since SaaS is only accessible online, your SaaS performance is therefore tied to the strength and speed of your company’s Internet connection. This is vastly different from an on-premises setup, wherein you have a direct, seamless connection to your software. If you have issues with Internet speeds, then it may be best to rely on SaaS for only a few functions until you can fully resolve the issue.
Pro: It eliminates the need for maintenance.
Working with a third-party vendor alleviates the burden of maintaining software on your own. Your provider will manage both the software you use and the infrastructure that supports it. Moreover, they will automatically provide you with software upgrades, patches, and security fixes as they roll out. This lifts an enormous weight off the shoulders of your IT team, while allowing your entire organization quick, easy access to applications.
Shifting the responsibilities of SaaS maintenance to your vendor also mitigates much of the risk surrounding the adoption of new software. Applications become much easier to deploy and access when you don’t have to invest in new infrastructure to maintain them.
Con: You’ll have less control over your system.
As beneficial as it is to entrust maintenance to your SaaS vendor, by nature this setup leaves you with less control over the software and applications your business relies on. Your organization is a client of your SaaS vendor, which maintains ownership of the physical hardware that supports an application and the base software code, though customizations are possible. As such, your team isn’t permitted to manage much more than the information you input into the application.
Pro: Accessing your software is easy.
Since it’s deployed via the Internet, SaaS is easy to access for team members in the office and on the road. Your employees are no longer tied to their desktop computers for the applications they need to get their jobs done. With as little as an Internet connection and a mobile device, they can access applications and share information with ease.