Software as a service (SaaS) ("The software as service") is model of sale of the software at which the supplier develops the web application and independently manages it, providing to customers access on the Internet. Main advantage of the SaaS model for the consumer consists in lack of need of installation, updating and software maintenance.
SaaS — it the type of cloud computing is connected with other categories of cloud computing: infrastructure as service (Infrastructure as a Service) of IaaS and platform as service (Platform as a Service) of PaaS.
Within the SaaS model customers pay not for ownership of the software as such, and for its lease (i.e., its use via the web interface). Thus, unlike the classical scheme of licensing of software, the customer incurs rather small recurring costs, and he does not need to invest essential means for acquisition of software and its support. The scheme of periodical payment assumes that if need for the software temporarily is absent – the customer can suspend his use and freeze payments to the developer.
From the point of view of the developer, the SaaS model allows to fight effectively against not license use of the software (piracy) as the software does not get to final customers. Besides, the concept of SaaS often allows to reduce costs for deployment and implementation of information systems, though does not exclude them completely.
Advantages of SaaS
- Updates. The software placed on the server can be updated on a centralized basis, unlike traditional model in which the software will need to be updated by each machine. In other words, SaaS can be supported easily using the latest version of the software at any time.
- Hardware. Using the software started on the server, separate PCs do not need to be updated according to requirements to the equipment and there are no problems with non-compliance with the minimum requirements.
- Costs. When using model of a subscription, (advance) purchase costs decrease for the enterprises. Besides, users can be added as required monthly that business could extend as required.
- Fast deployment. As the software does not need to be set and configured on separate computers, with SaaS it can be unrolled much quicker.
- Availability. Gaining access to the SaaS application requires only the browser and connection to the Internet that allows users to log in from any place. Besides, data of the user are stored in a cloud and are not tied to the PC of the certain user that facilitates cooperation with other users.
- Data security. For confidential data, for example, in sectors of health care or law, confidential information gets out of limits of the server of the company that raises questions of access control, confidentiality and security.
- Limitation of the choice. Generally speaking, in traditional model the choice of the software is more, than in the SaaS model. Though over time the situation changes, in the SaaS segment still there are few players.
- Problems with versions. Though for SaaS plus providing that all users used the latest version of the software usually is, there are cases when for user training, integration with another to equipment rooms and the software or the certain crucial functions specific only to one specific version, the company would prefer to remain on older software version, however it is impossible with SaaS which is constantly updated for all users to the latest version.
- Need of the Internet. For use of the SaaS application the user should be connected to the Internet. Nevertheless, to those cases when users are disconnected, for example, during the travel by the airplane (though today offer Wi-Fi in flight more and more) or if the Internet is disconnected in service premises, to SaaS it will also be unavailable.
- Slow work. Depending on the speed of your Internet connection and other necessary resources, SaaS offer can work more slowly than if the software worked locally.
- Lack of integration. With SaaS there are less opportunities for software integration with other programs in comparison with the traditional software.