If you’re considering the cloud as part of your app, keep these challenges and potential pitfalls in mind — as well as how to make sure you don’t get bitten.
Are Google apps, Oracle, and Amazon Web Services familiar to you? These names have become household names in this digital age. We can now download or subscribe to Google apps with a simple tap or click of our mouse instead of going out to buy CDs to get copies of it. Also, compared to the one-time licensing used before, SaaS sold applications by subscription. These are some examples of SaaS.
SaaS, together with Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and Platform as a service (PaaS), are the main categories for cloud computing. SaaS is a big market, and its revenue had reached $14.5 billion as of 2012 and continues to grow. SaaS is accessible and enables many companies to eliminate the use of hardware acquisition, maintenance, and the need to install and run applications using their data centers. The software vendors not only host but also maintain their servers and database among others. Gaining access to data using SaaS is pretty easy. All you have to do is have any device with a web browser and internet connection.
We continue to adapt this model and soon we may completely use this service. SaaS is very convenient but to understand it fully, we have to know the pros and cons of adapting this. Here are some of the drawbacks that we should know about using this service.
- Data Safety and Access
This is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to SaaS. If there is a third-party service provider involved, issues in access management, company data, and business process will arise and would need attention. Compared to in-house software applications, SaaS rely on hosted solutions or a third party provider. Conducting extensive research on the methods of the vendors for data security, backup and restore are essential for businesses. Aside from this, data can be at risk when employees access it on outside connections that are not secured. For consumers, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) is available and should present the ownership of the data. It is their duty to be aware of this agreement and pay attention to what it states.
- Vendors Going Out of Business
In the software industry, vendors may come and go due to business failure or industry consolidation. This can be a concern for vendors as well as consumers. However, some vendors allow access to users even if this happens. Consumers have to make sure that the agreement between them and the vendors allows them to export data from their provider.
- Internet and Operating System Limitations
Since SaaS can be accessed using a device that has a browser and internet connection, applications strongly rely on these. Consumers need to ensure their device is capable of handling applications based on their requirements and that they have a stable internet connection.
SaaS relies mainly on a stable internet connection and having downtime can interrupt your usage. Compare Microsoft Word to Google Docs; MS Word is packed with more features compared to other platforms and can be used offline. Looking at this example, it can be difficult especially for businesses since this can result in time and resource being wasted. Another issue is the compatibility of the devices. There are application software packages that are only compatible with Windows or Linux and can pose an issue with Mac users. Apart from this, functions and features vary and would need evaluation on the user’s part. However, as Mac users are growing, some SaaS companies support other web browsers now and enable all OS access to applications.
- Data Storage Regulations
When it comes to data storage, industries and countries have different regulations with data protection and this can be an issue. Businesses should implement SaaS models that align with the requirements.
- Hidden Costs
SaaS do have cheaper upfront costs, but there are times when they make up for it through add-on. Businesses that avail this model can end up paying more than they should be. Hidden costs can be charged by SaaS service providers but will only be obvious later on. Various costs can be charged by the SaaS service provider. An example of this is configuring and setting up software services. Some may also charge extra depending on the type of device that the client will use. Other charges include an excess of storage limit if your go over the agreement and also technical support.
SaaS do have cheaper upfront costs but there are times when they make up for it through add –on. Businesses that avail this model can end up paying more than they should be. Hidden costs can be charged by SaaS service providers but will only be obvious later on. Various costs can be charged by the SaaS service provider. An example of this is configuring and setting up software services. Some may also charge extra depending on the type of device that the client will use. Other charges include an excess of storage limit if your go over the agreement and also technical support.
SaaS presents very promising gains for businesses. It is accessible, versatile and customizable to users. However, SaaS do have its pitfalls and these should be considered, especially, on the company’s needs. Using this service is not for everyone and an individual looking for SaaS solution is advisable to re-evaluate options before proceeding to this kind of services.