Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based service where instead of downloading software to your desktop PC or business network to run and update, you instead access an application via an internet browser. The software application could be anything from office software to unified communications software. Some of the most popular business apps available include Salesforce, Google GSuite, Slack, Hubspot, Microsoft O365, and Dropbox.
SaaS is rapidly gaining market share as the cloud is nearly always available, from anywhere and it does not require investment in infrastructure, patching, monitoring, management, and very little administration. Cloud solutions also benefit work from home employees too who don’t require a specialized VPN to do their day-to-day job.
Additionally, SaaS models benefit from lower upfront costs compared to traditional software download and installation, making them available to a wider range of businesses.
One major disadvantage of SaaS applications is that they ordinarily require an internet connection to function. However, the increasing availability of broadband and the arrival this year of high-speed 5G phone networks makes this less of an issue.
Additional Reading: Cloud and SaaS Providers Prepare For Increased Demand As Millions Telecommute
What does this mean for an SMB?
The Many Benefits of SaaS
Potential Disadvantages of SaaS Solutions
On the downside, SaaS solutions can present a regulatory hurdle that is difficult to overcome. If you have HIPAA, PCI, ITAR, you may need to steer clear of SaaS solutions or be prepared to use boutique vendors with much more costly solutions than you’d find in the typical SaaS provider.
Additionally, if you need to leave one SaaS provider, retrieving your data can sometimes be a concern. Another issue may be the performance; it might not be as good as an on-site solution although that may vary from application-to-application and provider-to-provider.