“SaaS” is a term used to describe the concept of “software as a service.” Simply put, some or even all of the code required to run a particular piece of software is stored in the cloud rather than locally on a user’s own hard drive. It’s a concept also known as “software on-demand” and has been an increasingly popular way for companies to do business. For every benefit that SaaS seems to offer, a number of different downsides go right along with it, though. A variety of different SaaS ownership concerns have arisen in the last few years that are more than worth exploring.
One of the primary concerns about SaaS is the question of ownership . In most SaaS agreements, the user doesn’t actually own the software in question. Because components required to operate the software are stored on the cloud, the user is really purchasing a license to use a particular program rather than the program itself.
Flexibility at the Expense of Versatility
Because of the way software as a service is designed to operate, the biggest downside is that users are losing out on the versatility that was once present in favor of a more flexible experience. The main benefit associated with SaaS is that, because integral parts of the software are stored in the cloud , you can then access that information from any computer with an Internet connection. However, to obtain that benefit, you’re losing the ability to access that software without an Internet connection present. In the past, installing a program onto a computer typically required a CD or DVD. While certain aspects of the software may have required an Internet connection, the core program could still be used whether that connection was present or not. If your Internet connection were to go out, you would lose access to SaaS programs, even if your computer is still functioning normally.
A Lack of Control
Another downside is an obvious lack of control that software as a service represents. Enterprise software for your business will suddenly have a finite lifespan. The software will only operate for as long as the SaaS cloud servers do, which is dependent almost entirely upon the overall success of the company behind them. Switching to another service is also a lot more complicated than it once was. Because you’re simply renting a particular piece of software rather than owning it, the information in use by that software is a lot more difficult to move from place to place.
How to Avoid These Dangers
There are a number of different steps that you can take to help make sure that your business is safe from the potential pitfalls inherent in software as a service. For starters, installing and maintaining your own in-house servers will allow you to keep the associated information completely under your control. Instead of being totally dependent on the strengths and weaknesses of a single vendor, you can, at the very least, take responsibility for the management of those servers and maintain them in a way in which you feel comfortable.
The fact of the matter is, software as a service isn’t nearly as perfect as certain people would have you believe. While it does undoubtedly make it easier to access information, it also places certain aspects of your business almost entirely in the hands of others. Only by identifying these concerns now can you truly take steps to avoid them later on.