Introduction

Cloud computing in the past decade has catapulted to previously unimaginable levels of significance and importance in the world of technology. Just a few decades ago, it was almost unimaginable that a computer could be able to access data that is not physically stored on the computer itself or an adjoining local server. Let us look into, SaaS in Cloud Computing.

However, today, from the simplest word editing software to the most complex coding applications, individuals can easily access, use, and process data stored on remote servers on the internet. Such is the power and ease with which cloud computing has changed the way we work and use the internet. There are three primary cloud computing models in use across the world and these are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Read the rest of this article for a better understanding of what is SaaS in cloud computing.

In this article let us look at:

  1. What is SaaS in Cloud Computing
  2. SaaS Advantages and Disadvantages
  3. Software as a Service Examples

1. What is SaaS in Cloud Computing

There are several forms of cloud computing in existence and one of them is the SaaS model (Software-as-a-Service). In simple words, SaaS in cloud computing is a delivery model where software providers make applications available to customers for use over the internet with the help of SaaS cloud servers.

SaaS in cloud computing functions on the primary basis of subscription where users subscribe to SaaS software provided online that eliminates the need for them to purchase and install the applications on their device or computer system. These users can easily use their login credentials to access these SaaS applications via the internet instead. The SaaS cloud providers make the SaaS platform and the applications hosted on it available only to those who have acquired a valid subscription from them.

2. SaaS Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

The characteristics of SaaS in cloud computing are such that there are plenty of SaaS advantages and disadvantages. Some of the main advantages of opting for SaaS cloud services as a customer or employing SaaS technology as a software provider are as follows.

  • Ease of Access: The first and foremost benefit of a SaaS service is that it gives a subscriber access to a software or application from anywhere and on practically any compatible device. Since there are no restrictions on location or device thanks to the lack of installation on the local device, SaaS architecture in cloud computing offers unparalleled flexibility and ease of access.
  • Flexibility in Payments: Since there is no need to purchase a copy of a particular software and acquire hardware systems that support it, companies and businesses will be able to manage finances better. More importantly, since users subscribe to the services usually on a monthly basis, they can cancel at any point of time and save money that would otherwise be wasted on a bulk expenditure on software.
  • Cost-Effective: Since the software infrastructure and servers are maintained by the providers themselves, there is a significant reduction in IT services overheads incurred by businesses that opt for SaaS services.
  • Automatic Maintenance and Updates: The service providers automatically update the application with the necessary patches and new features that further reduce the workload that needs to be handled by the IT staff.
  • Scalable: SaaS software services allow for high scalability since the software provider is able to scale up the application to provide for improved performance. Moreover, more choice is given to the customers as they are required to pay only for the services that they desire to use.

Disadvantages

SaaS software, despite all its benefits, also comes with a fair share of drawbacks to users and businesses that opt for such services. 

  • Interruptions or Downtime:  Even the biggest and most efficient software applications in the world falter at times that may lead to interruptions in service or software downtime. For big businesses, these kinds of outages may create confusion and loss of productivity and the lack of accessibility may cause financial and administrative losses.
  • Higher Access Control: Since anyone with valid credentials can access SaaS applications over the internet, it becomes very important for businesses and users to ensure that adequate levels of identity verification are present. This is crucial as the organizational data is no longer stored on local networks but on remote SaaS servers on the internet.
  • Lack of Vendor Flexibility: One of the other challenges faced by companies using SaaS services is that they may not be able to easily shift to another service provider since moving the existing company databases and details from the existing software to the new one could prove to be an arduous and time-consuming task.
  • Low Control: If the application providers decide to patch or update the existing software for better performance, this might involve the introduction of new features. The business usually does not get a choice as to whether such an update is feasible or not despite the fact that they will have to incur additional costs in training employees to get accustomed to the changes. 
  • Security Issues: SaaS cloud security is handled completely by the service providers and this might prove to be a problem for certain companies that would rather their data be protected and handled by their own security protocols. 

3. Software as a Service Examples

SaaS is a very popular cloud computing model today and there are several popular Software-as-a-Service examples. A simple electronic mail service provided to users such as Gmail is a classic example of SaaS.

Other SaaS application examples include the Office 365 suite provided by the tech giant, Microsoft, popular video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, cloud storage and transfer services such as Dropbox and OneDrive, and website building software such as Wix or WordPress. 

These are just a few examples of the large number of SaaS applications and software programs that can currently be accessed by people around the world. A true test for whether a service is in fact part of the SaaS model would be to ascertain whether it is based on a subscription payment model, the flexibility and ease of access, and whether or not remote cloud servers are used to make the software available to users over the internet. 

Conclusion

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud computing models are changing the world of technology and greatly reducing the dependence of software applications on local hardware systems. The flexibility, cost-efficiency, and ease of usage of these services are unparalleled and have thereby made them extremely popular around the world. For all their advantages, this model also has several potential problems that might cause inconveniences to users such as the lack of control over updates and data storage and lack of vendor flexibility. 

We hope that this article has helped you get a better understanding of what SaaS cloud computing is and make an informed choice as to the suitability of SaaS applications to your business or enterprise.

If you are looking for an extensive course in Cloud Computing, then the 5.5-month online Postgraduate Certificate Program In Cloud Computing offered by Jigsaw Academy can be of help. This program helps interested learners become complete Cloud professionals.

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