Software as a Service or on-demand software is a method through which software applications can be delivered to the end-user using the internet. Software as a Service (SAAS) may sound excellent, but where there are advantages, there are also drawbacks that you should be aware of.
SAAS is currently taking the business community by storm, and companies are leaning more and more towards hosted solutions with a monthly subscription fee and system maintenance. There are a great many advantages of using SAAS applications as they can be of great advantage to com panies because of their cost and flexibility.
However, there are also some disadvantages that you must consider before you deep dive into the world of SAAS applications. These disadvantages aren’t significant, but you need to be aware of them in order to control them and not let them get out of hand.
What Is Software as a Service (SAAS)?
Software as a Service or SAAS is a massive shift in the way software applications are used by small businesses. Therefore, it is anything but a passing trend. SAAS applications deliver software over the internet. Furthermore, they allow users to connect and use cloud-based applications over the internet.
The common procedure is to upload the software application to the cloud infrastructure. From there, it is made available to the clients, who can access it over the internet. Therefore, such applications can help enhance profits and even improve efficiency.
SAAS applications deliver their services of software licensing through a subscription. This subscription can be monthly or annually. Furthermore, the software is usually centrally hosted in the cloud, which allows you to access it if you have the license. SAAS software are also extremely easy to access as all you need is an internet connection and a browser, through which you can use the software.
The SAAS method provides an alternate method to traditional software installation that requires on-site assistance. It has now become a common method to install applications such as payroll and accounting programs, mobile applications, HR management software, office and communication software, etc.
Why is Software as a Service (SAAS) Popular?
Software as a Service (SAAS) has gained extreme popularity among small-scale business owners due to the many benefits it offers. For those businesses that operate in the cloud, SAAS applications are extremely convenient, and they prefer to use SAAS applications.
SAAS is hugely popular among business owners because it is pre-installed. Therefore, there is virtually no delay in software development. You can use it almost instantly, which makes installing and setting up the software easier and less time-consuming. Therefore, SAAS provides a level of efficiency that attracts businesses.
SAAS applications are also popular due to their cost-effective nature. There are no up costs to the programs you install. Instead, you can avail a temporary license to use applications as it is a subscription-based service. Thus, you do not have to pay for purchasing, installation, and maintenance.
The pay-as-you-go strategy of the SAAS application makes it extremely convenient to test out applications until you find one that fits you best.
Drawbacks of Saas Applications
When entering into the world of SAAS application, the advantages might seem blinding, and everything may seem too good to be true. However, the reality is that SAAS applications have a few drawbacks that you have to be aware of. There are certain challenges that, although not deal-breakers, could be a cause of concern in the long run.
When comparing an application that runs on a local machine, SAAS applications are somewhat slower. The reason for slow speeds is the increase in latency when using SAAS applications. As SAAS applications are uploaded onto cloud infrastructures, if you have purchased a subscription, you will have to access it from there. Therefore, you have to have fast internet to use the application to its fullest.
Due to performance issues, businesses who opt for SAAs applications often have to also invest in high-speed internet if they don’t already have one. There are also tools available that allow you to monitor the performance level of individual applications in SAAS.
This issue is not a huge problem for companies that are cloud-based as they usually already have high internet speeds.
Security is perhaps your biggest concern when you use SAAS applications. Usually, with software that are installed on-premise, the data can be stored in-house. However, if you use SAAS, the data will be stored off-site and will be done by the service provider.
It is the job of the service provider to ensure that the data is secure and backed up. Even though the data is backed up and can be accessed in case of emergency, it creates another location for data storage, and therefore, another place where security can be breached.
When your sensitive data is stored in one location, you only have to work to make that space secure. With multiple locations, it makes the data more vulnerable to security breaches. Your data may be accessed by cybercriminals and used for illegal purposes.
According to various surveys, many SAAS vendors do not meet all the security requirements. Therefore, your data is a lot more vulnerable than you would like. Furthermore, the data you store can also become vulnerable if your staff access the software from insecure connections outside of work.
Loss of Control
When you are not using softwares that are installed on-site, you receive those from third-party vendors. Therefore, the services are not completely in your hand, and you are at the mercy of those third-party providers to give you access.
Due to this, there is a lack of control. If some error occurs in the cloud server, it is the cloud provider who will have to fix it, and you, as the user, can do nothing. It becomes worse if the cloud provider shuts down or goes out of business. You will have to pull your data and search for an alternative.
Since cloud servers are shared infrastructure, if there is heavy usage, there may be performance degradation, which can be detrimental to your business.
Another issue is Vendor lock. In this situation, the vendors manipulate the system and make it so that it is difficult or expensive to transfer your data to another cloud. Therefore, you may get stuck with the vendor even though you may not be satisfied with their services.
Difficult to Integrate Software
Another disadvantage of choosing SAAS applications over on-site installed applications is that it is often difficult to integrate some softwares with certain clouds. These integration problems can be network latency issues, architectural problems, etc.
Furthermore, if your company uses both SAAS applications and on-site softwares, then it can be difficult to organize both. For you to successfully use both, there needs to be a balance, and finding that balance can be a challenge.
Furthermore, difficulty in integrating softwares may cost you, as you would have to pay for unnecessary and redundant services when you already have them available in-house. Therefore, you would essentially be wasting money on SAAS tools you already have.
Data transferring is a huge hassle when it comes to SAAS Applications. It is possible that the service provider you opt for is not reliable, and there are certain software failures. In such a situation, you will have to change your service provider. However, before doing so, you will have to transfer your data, which is not a simple task.
Furthermore, some service providers also make it so that transferring data is extremely difficult, and you are left with no other choice than to stay with the service provider. To avoid such an issue from arising, you should back up as much data as you possibly can.
An internet connection is a must if you want to use SAAS applications. Since they are web-hosted, you cannot use these applications unless you have a stable internet connection. If there is an issue with the internet or your travel to someplace where the internet is unstable or unavailable, you will be unable to use your applications.
SAAS is slowly but surely gaining popularity, and companies are still warming up to the idea of having their software being uploaded to a cloud server and given access through a subscription. Therefore, many software applications do not have a hosted platform.
Therefore, if your desired application is not available as a SAAS application, you will have no choice but to have it installed onsite.
Furthermore, it is possible that the hosted applications do not have all the features. It is not uncommon for hosts to hold back a few features of their applications when they upload them onto a server. Therefore, you should be very careful and evaluate each and every application before you subscribe to it.
SAAS applications are extremely convenient and can be greatly beneficial for small businesses who need applications but are unable to either afford the cost upfront or cannot have it installed on site. If you have such a business then SAAS applications are perfect for you as they work on a pay-as-you-go method.
However, there are some drawbacks of using SAAS applications that you need to be aware of. The loss of control and limited applications, among other disadvantages, must be accounted for before you opt for SAAS applications.