What is SaaS and How is it Beneficial?

– Software as a Service (SaaS) - Guide to understanding cloud computing

SaaS – Software as a Service, is a rapidly growing way for software solutions to be implemented into companies. However, though SaaS is the talk of tech town and a billion-dollar business, not all users know how to actually characterise it.

What is SaaS and How is it Beneficial?

As the shift to “the cloud” continues, plenty of questions are left unasked and unanswered. In 2017, the global revenue from the SaaS industry was almost $106 billion according to the statistics portal Statista. Yet, reports keep showing figures of how worried leaders and executives can be about their data getting lost in the cloud. So, in this billion-dollar business there is probably a need for the people affected (i.e. everyone who uses even the simplest form of email software…) to know what it actually entails, having the data stored on a cloud service.

What is SaaS?

Simply put, SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection. For this type of software, vendors store and maintain servers, code and databases. The meaning of everything is stored “on the cloud”, is that physical servers are located somewhere off-premise, but the documents, software, data, etc. can be reached from anywhere.

The opposite to SaaS is on-premise servers. This basically means that a company installs their own servers to store the software and data on, which also means being responsible for it all (maintaining, updating, keeping it safe, etc.) once the installation is done.

Is there a difference between Cloud services and SaaS?

Yes, there is, but it is not enormous. SaaS is a cloud service, but while all cloud programs are run by underlying software, SaaS refers specifically to business software applications that are delivered via the cloud. However, mentioning cloud computing/cloud services when discussing SaaS is relevant and works as a better understood term.

Why do companies prefer SaaS?

Seeing how many businesses change their software access to SaaS, it is sure the advantages of using a software solution on the cloud are plenty. Not only do companies get rid of the investment put in to extensive hardware that is needed to host the software at their own locations. It also allows corporations to outsource most of the IT responsibility, as SaaS vendors normally takes care of everything related to the software.

There is also the ever so important question of cost. When using cloud computing services there is typically a great saving opportunity rather than when having on-premise solutions. Also, normally there is a “pay as you go”-practise when going with SaaS, offering monthly subscriptions for the software wanted. This leaves companies with the ability to try out an option for a limited time if there are any uncertainties.

Is SaaS safe?

It is one of the greatest IT myths, well alive, that cloud computing wouldn’t be as safe as on-premise servers. According to a study done by BT (British Telecommunications plc), even though 70% of global businesses say they have adopted SaaS for their business software, 76% of them are concerned about data-loss and security within the cloud.

IT security isn’t an afterthought, but a critical factor for success. And as on-premises models have been around longer than SaaS it is easily viewed by many as the less risky option. So, is SaaS safe?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: As with anything, unfortunately there is no 100% guarantee in safety regarding cloud services. Though frankly, data security is peripheral of whether the servers are placed right next to a CTO or in a different location, far away. A SaaS vendor will most likely even be able to invest more in security, backups and maintenance than a medium-sized business could. Therefore, a cloud system typically has better security measures in place than an on-premise system. 

The big question: who owns the SaaS data?

Just because a SaaS vendor often takes care of all the management and maintenance, it doesn’t mean that they are the owners of the data being stored. It is even quite unusual for a SaaS vendor to insist that they will have ownership of the data. Though all vendors are different, this will most often be negotiated when a service legal agreement (SLA) is drawn up.

Having the software on a cloud doesn’t mean the data isn’t accessible either. Most SaaS vendors are open to letting companies export data and back it up locally any time they need or want.

SaaS go hand in hand with dilitrust

At DiliTrust, all our applications are offered by default in SaaS. We are the leaders in Corporate Governance software and will walk you through all your questions regarding both cloud computing, and other concerns you and your company may have.

Contact us to schedule a demo or speak to one of our experts if your business would like to take a step into the world of SaaS.

Take the time to read some more! Our article “Sharing is caring – How data transfer conforms to company security” will give you more insight.