The popularity of Software as a service (SaaS) has increased in recent times. This model, which entails accessing software from the cloud on an on-need basis, is on its way to displace the traditional model of installing software in on-premises servers or hard drives.
SaaS heralds a shift away from the top-down to a modular approach, where users can access the required module. Users get access to the required service or data regardless of their physical location. It is also possible to access the same service from multiple devices, ranging from desktops to tablets and smart phones. Collaboration becomes fast and real-time, without the hassles of multiple versions of the same documents, or duplication of efforts.
However, for all the cost, redundancy and anytime-access advantages that SaaS brings about, success depends on overcoming certain key challenges.
1. The Use of Apps
A primary challenge related to SaaS is how to access the software and the data residing in the cloud. Logging into each service separately every time is inconvenient and a productivity drainer. To overcome this issue, software vendors and cloud providers roll out intuitive apps that make the task of accessing the required services easy and seamless. The users can access specific components of the software or data available, depending on their rights and permissions, with one-time login.
Unlike conventional desktop access, apps allow users to access software and data in customized and innovative ways. Apps allow customizing the technology to define user roles, when the opposite is true of conventional computing. Apps offer different functionality to different users, depending on their access privilege and requirements. It makes the task of retrieving the required service easy, with “one touch access,” intuitive layouts, attractive designs, annotations that explain what a specific option does, and more.
2. A New Approach to Security
Hitherto, Chief Information Officers had the task of securing the perimeter of their network from preying eyes. With the adoption of the SaaS model, where the company data resides outside its network, this approach to cyber security has become irrelevant. Data encryption is now the key to ensure safety. However, encryption, by itself would not be enough, and Chief Technology Officers would need to undertake a systematic evaluation of the relevant threats, and keep abreast of the security deployments in place in the SaaS provider’s end.
3. Policy and Control
The successful implementation of SaaS requires a strong data use policy that sets rights and privileges, and ensures that the flow of data remains under control. Vendors rarely provide this component, and it is up to the organization to implement and enforce the required policies.
SaaS, until now, was considered as an adjunct to mainstream server based computing. Now SaaS is here to stay, in many cases, elbowing out in-house servers and hard-drives. Chief Technology Officers now need pay prime attention to their SaaS portfolio.