Software as a Service (SaaS) is a distribution licensing and delivering model for software. In this scenario, instead of downloading the software to run locally on your PC, you buy a subscription basis license. Using this model provides the opportunity to run the program which is hosted by a third-party provider. You can typically access the program over the internet, generally through a web browser interface.
SaaS is commonly related to the application service provider (ASP) and the vendor’s cloud computing infrastructure. The Internet-based application management model of SaaS is similar to ASP, where the provider hosts the customer’s software. The application’s source code is the same for all users; So when it needs an update, providers can easily roll new features out to all customers. Based on the service level agreement (SLA) that provider and customers accept, the customer’s secret information for each model might be stored locally, in the cloud or both locally and in the cloud. Also, a lot of organizations are able to use SaaS features by integrating their software tools via application programming interfaces (APIs) over a wide area network.
SaaS has become a popular delivery model for many fundamental business technologies in the world, including office software, messaging applications, virtualization and etc. It caused a natural evolution in software delivery management. In comparison with the old model which we need using physical DVDs and installation procedure on a thin client, SaaS allows costumers to use their required application via a standard WEB browser. It also has made it easier for providers to scale and manage their infrastructure.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of three pioneer groups of cloud computing, alongside infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
Advantages of SaaS
SaaS can make an enjoyable experience and reduce the expense of hardware significantly for people who tend to use its features. It has many inherent advantages. These include:
If the software runs on the server, the SaaS provider can automatically apply updates. This is exactly opposed to the old model where the software would need to be upgraded on each machine separately. In other words, in-house IT staff can manipulate SaaS applications easily and the software will always be running with the latest version. This advantage relies on a specific type of methodology named “Agile Software Development” which provide a set of tools to support software releases.
Instead of buying software DVDs to install, customers can subscribe to a SaaS offering. Typically with a subscription model, they pay for services they receive on a monthly basis using a pay-as-you-go model; So, the business can predict the amount of budget it needs and expand its resources as required.
Based on the features users require for their system, cloud services like SaaS offer them a vast variety of options to access either more or fewer resources.
Accessibility and persistence
In order to have access to SaaS applications, all you need are an internet connection and a WEB browser. Since cloud services are delivered over the Internet, users are able to log in from any Internet-enabled device and location. Additionally, the data which users stored in the cloud could be available too. This feature facilitates collaboration among users and makes information sharing possible.
In enterprise software, each user is likely to have its own set of configuration options based on its requirements and interests. Using SaaS, you will be able to customize configuration options and user policies. For example, users have got the capability of changing the interface by utilizing different colors and logos.
Disadvantages of SaaS
Despite all the interesting advantages we told about SaaS, this also has some small drawbacks. Amongst them we can mention these:
Although there are strict rules about data security that providers try to obey them, it is still dangerous to keep sensitive information outside the company’s server. Any data leak could threaten your product and you may lose a small part of the market section as a consequence.
It means you might not be able to find every software you want in the SaaS model. However, this is changing rapidly and the SaaS segment players are increasing day by day.
As we mentioned earlier, the internet connection is vital. But if a user wants to work with a SaaS application while traveling, some problems will happen in terms of reliability and speed of the internet connection. On the other hand, if the software is run locally, the quality of service always remains the same. Also, no service disruptions will happen in any circumstances.
For many businesses, the pros have overweighed the cons, and they are extremely keen on running more software via SaaS with cloud computing rather than local hosting. Considering how much the internet is now popular in every society, The SaaS market segment continues to expand; with a predicted growth to surpass $112.8 billion (£86.8 billion) by 2019.