Cloud Computing

Moving Toward the Cloud – What is SaaS?

Times are changing, and technology is permeating every facet of our professional and personal lives at a breakneck pace. In the past, traditional business solutions included intricate and complicated software that could vary greatly, depending on departmental needs. Cumbersome equipment required a multitude of personnel dedicated to ensuring it was running adequately. With all the expenses associated with heating and cooling devices, power and generator systems, and other necessary equipment, organizations often found themselves feeling limited with technological capabilities and bogged down by extravagant maintenance costs.

The demand for low-cost high availability applications provided IT professionals all the motivation they needed for advancement, and Software as a Service (SaaS) was created. This cloud-computing solution provides on-demand information sharing over a hosted server, eliminating the need for an extensive IT department.

Why SaaS?

Implementation is quick and requires no server installation. Once installed, vital information can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. Access does not require any more equipment or knowledge than what is needed to reach the desired website. Additionally, hosted services typically include non-stop monitoring and troubleshooting by personnel specifically trained on the application’s engineering. This alleviates time constraints associated with fixing problematic issues, many of which could potentially affect the organizations due to outages while the IT department works with the software provider.

A cloud-computing environment is essentially the backbone of reliability. This self-healing model has no single points of failure and is spread across geographic regions to ensure regional natural disasters cannot disrupt service. This unique software architecture features a highly redundant design, which provides seamless backups so the end user never experiences a software shutdown. Extensive information storage coupled with the elimination of server issues can make SaaS the perfect solution for businesses with limited manpower of any size.

How Much Does it Cost?

With service features including system maintenance, backups, updates, and security, users save an immense amount of time (and, as they say, “time is money”). Users have the option of choosing a pay-as-you-go or subscription-based plan. Since SaaS is a multi-tenant structure (referring to the even spread of costs and information across a wide user base), the whole of all tenants distributes costs more evenly. This structure supports increased efficiency and peak-load capacity.

SaaS also provides a lower-cost system for organizations to use the software as needed, as opposed to licensing every application on each individual device. And with subscription services, there are no hidden fees like equipment, software, payroll, and benefits. Organizations are acutely aware of the exact price, which means it can be included in the monthly budget.

Is SaaS Right for My Organization?

SaaS may not be the best solution for every organization. In instances where organizations need greater control of their data, it may not be feasible to have data hosted by another provider without deferring more risk than a SaaS provider is willing to take on. However, in all other instances, it has infinitely more pros than cons. For example, the lower the number of tenants utilizing services on one network, the lower the level of service and equipment required. IT departments typically won’t find it cost effective to build a local infrastructure with the same availability, performance, security, monitoring and capacity that the multi-tenant cloud application is able to provide in an instant.

As a result, there’s been a massive switch to SaaS – mainly because users can access resources at a lower cost than building and maintaining internally. Another great advantage is that burdens are shifted to the service providers instead of local users having to scramble for fixes.

The Bottom Line

For all you non-IT-fluent individuals, SaaS means speed, simplicity, and consistency. Thanks to software advances, regulatory compliance has never been easier to achieve. Electronic records, including policies and procedures, can be accessed instantaneously, whether you’re working from home at 2 a.m. or out of a coffee shop in Beijing. With all the user-friendly capabilities, it’s no wonder organizations are rapidly moving toward the cloud.