- Software as a Service (SaaS) includes all the cloud services where the consumer is able to access software application over the internet. The applications are hosted on the cloud and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and organizations.
- This model enables to provide software application as a service to the end users. It refers to a software that is deployed on a hosted service and is accessible via the Internet.
- Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr are all examples of SaaS, with users able to access the services via any internet enabled device.
- Enterprise users are able to use applications for a range of needs, including accounting and invoicing, tracking sales, planning, performance monitoring and communications (including webmail and instant messaging).
- SaaS is often referred to as software-on-demand and utilizing it is akin to renting software rather than buying it
- With traditional software applications, you would purchase the software upfront as a package and then install it onto your computer. The software’s license may also limit the number of users and/or devices where the software can be deployed.
- Software as a Service user, however, subscribe to the software rather than purchase it, usually on a monthly basis. Applications are purchased and used online with files saved in the cloud rather than on individual computers.
Features and benefits of SaaS
Pay for what you use: if a piece of software is only needed for a limited period then it is only paid for over that period and subscriptions can usually be halted at any time.
Updates are automated: whenever there is an update it is available online to existing customers, often free of charge. No new software will be required as it often is with other types of applications and the updates will usually be deployed automatically by the cloud provider.
No additional hardware costs: the processing power required to run the applications is supplied by the cloud provider.
No initial setup costs: applications are ready to use once the user subscribes.
Usage is scalable: if a user decides they need more storage or additional services, for example, then they can access these on demand without needing to install new software or hardware.
Accessible from any location: rather than being restricted to installations on individual computers, an application can be accessed from anywhere with an internet enabled device.
Applications can be customized and white labeled: with some software, customization is available meaning it can be altered to suit the needs and branding of a particular customer.
Cross-device compatibility: SaaS applications can be accessed via any internet enabled device, which makes it ideal for those who use a number of different devices, such as internet enabled phones and tablets, and those who don’t always use the same computer.
Here are the characteristics of SaaS service model:
- SaaS makes the software available over the Internet.
- The Software is maintained by the vendor rather than where they are running.
- The license to the software may be subscription based or usage based. And it is billed on a recurring basis.
- SaaS applications are cost effective since they do not require any maintenance at the end user side.
- They are available on demand.
- They can be scaled up or down on demand.
- They are automatically upgraded and updated.
- SaaS offers shared data model. Therefore, multiple users can share a single instance of infrastructure. It is not required to hardcode the functionality for individual users.
- All users are running the same version of the software.
- Browser-based risks.
- Network dependence
- Lack of portability between SaaS clouds