SaaS – Is it Right for Me?

Years ago, in a galaxy not so far away, Systems Administrators had one thing on their minds: keeping their infrastructure up and running.  As we fast forward through time, it’s become clear that there is no one thing that keeps IT folks up at night.  Today’s technology has grown exponentially over the past 20 years, and so has expectations for IT staff to keep up with demand.  Gone are the days of slow and clunky software releases, some of which fail entirely.  Today’s business wants it fast, they want it now, and they it without any down time.

There are many tools in the IT toolbox to help give businesses what they want.  Deciding which one to use, and when, is the key.  Software as a Service (SaaS) is one such tool that has been a hot topic over the past 10 years. Depending on who you ask, SaaS is the way of the future.  A way to easily deploy applications, using less resources.  While others are cautious, trying to understand all facets of 3rd party solutions and the challenges they can present.  Recognizing the pros and cons of running your application on-prem or in the cloud is a great place to start.

Benefits of SaaS:

  1. Availability/Accessibility
    Clients can access applications from most anywhere while leveraging fewer moving parts.  Gone is the need to connect to the corporate VPN using your company provided device.
  2. Scalability and Integration
    SaaS solutions reside in cloud environments that are scalable and can integrate with other SaaS offerings. Comparing with the traditional on-premise model, users do not have to purchase more hardware or software.
  3. Updates/Upgrades
    SaaS providers upgrade applications without client downtime.  Avoiding planning and potential upgrade issues compared to on premise upgrades.
  4. Cost
    Providing internal hardware or staffing can be costly.  Depending on the size of the deployment, SaaS can net considerable savings.

Disadvantages of SaaS:

  1. Data – Security
    Data sent outside of the Datacenter has a higher probability of unauthorized access/disclosure or Loss of Data.
    With security breaches on the rise, do you trust that your data will be secure?
  2. Performance
    You are at the will of your current internet connection.  Slow or poor connectivity can frustrate most anyone and reduce productivity.
  3. Cost
    While cost can be a benefit, it can also be a hindrance.  While deployments can be cheaper, increases from your SaaS provider can occur. These increases over time can negating the initial cost of savings.

Technology is always evolving, and today’s businesses want to do more with less.  While profitability is on everyone’s mind, the seemingly smaller budgets and reduced staff can make decisions more daunting than ever.  Moving to the cloud is no small task and should not be taken lightly.  The best plan is to fully understand all aspects of SaaS and how it can affect your business.  As needs evolve, there will always be a place for SaaS.  The key to success is deciding where that fits into your organization.

Mathew Darnell | System Engineer