Why SaaS is the Right Choice for Your Business?
What is SaaS, and how can it help you increase the efficiency of your business? What are the different types of SaaS applications you can use?
- April 02, 2019
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the core components of cloud computing, along with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (Paas). SaaS specifically refers to business software applications that are delivered via the cloud, such as office productivity software, cloud security and collaboration solutions, mobility management applications and more.
SaaS is simple to understand. Instead of installing software directly on your computer, it is stored and delivered through the cloud. This allows you to access the software, usually on a web browser, from any device that is connected to the internet.
Advantages of SaaS Solutions
SaaS applications take several hardware needs out of the business equation. In a web-based model, the third-party software providers host and maintain the servers, databases, code and more that constitute an application. Since companies do not have to install and run apps on their own computers or in their own data centers, the need for expensive hardware acquisition, and subsequent installation and support, is eliminated.
Cloud computing allows for easy scalability to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses. As your business grows and offerings change, it is easy to add more licenses or features to your software. This is not as easy when you must host the software yourself. The quick addition of more software users could put a strain on your servers and other hardware, forcing platform expansions and upgrades for which you were not prepared.
With web-based software, it is easy to perform updates and patch management when problems are discovered or new features are released. You won't have to purchase new software every year to ensure your employees are using the most up-to-date systems when it is delivered as a service.
There are two main ways in which SaaS is more flexible than traditionally-hosted software. The first flexibility is in budgeting. Instead of having to purchase licenses for an upfront cost, SaaS subscriptions are usually offered on a pay-as-you-go model with a recurring monthly or annual fee. This allows businesses to better manage costs and predict future budgeting needs.
Another way that SaaS is more flexible than traditional software installations is that it allows multiple users to access it anytime, anywhere since it is delivered over the internet. With accessibility from any internet-enabled device and location, a user's workplace is not limited to one desktop computer in a cubicle.
SaaS is beneficial to all organizations, but there are several scenarios where it really shines, such as with startups or small companies that need to launch an e-commerce site quickly and doesn't have the infrastructure to support software or server issues. SaaS solutions are useful for applications that you don't use very often, such as tax software that is only used a few weeks or months of the year. SaaS software vendors sometimes even offer free trials of SaaS services for further savings.
SaaS frees up your company's time and money that is currently spent on tasks such as installing, managing and upgrading software. With the SaaS company handling these issues, technical staff can spend time on more pressing matters within your infrastructure.
SaaS Delivery Model and Product Examples
Because SaaS applications are delivered via the internet, SaaS eliminates the need to install and run on-premises software on individual computers. This allows businesses to streamline maintenance and support since SaaS vendors manage: applications, data, runtime, middleware, operating system, virtualization, servers, storage, networking and more.
There are huge breadth and depth to the types of applications that are available via the cloud. Popular among businesses are Concur, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce.com and Dropbox. Here are some common software types that can benefit your business processes and users:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software - Manage customer data, track customer interactions, compile business information and automate sales.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software - Integrate various functions into one complete system to improve efficiency and empower information sharing.
- Accounting Software - Keep your finances organized and properly tracked to ensure your business is growing as it should.
- Project Management Software - Plan projects, manage schedules, allocate resources and communicate deadlines to complete projects on budget and on time.
- Email Marketing Software - Optimize message delivery while automating marketing emails.
Other types of SaaS applications include billing and invoice software, collaboration software, web hosting software and Human Resources software. With all the SaaS options available, you can pick and choose which cloud products make the most sense for your business.
Which is Better: Hard or Soft Tokens?
In short, it depends on your business needs. To answer this question, you have several considerations to keep in mind: price, ease of use, and confidentiality. For little to no cost, a simple SMS authentication or RSA soft token is the way to go, especially if there's not much need for securing private data. However, if the need for security of confidential information is high, contactless hard tokens are easily the best bet, as they do not store any of the user's data and are not subject to hacking. If you're considering the use of biometric information in your security tokens, keep in mind that it's still quite costly to implement, though worth it if your business handles highly sensitive information. In many cases, two-factor authentication is a reliable solution for accessing software as needed. However, in case one or both authentication factors are compromised, a hard token backup is very secure and reliable.