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What is SaaS, and how does it work?

SaaS or Software as a Service is a software delivery model which allows software programs to be offered in a centralized cloud. Clients can access the cloud-based software program over the internet. Besides, SaaS can be considered a service, and the end-user can access the software solution through their internet-powered devices. 

So, how does SaaS work?

Today, most software solutions were and are still offered in installation files. However, this is not the case with SaaS. Here, the admin or user is expected to lead the software into their PC or tablet. 

In this model, Software solutions are offered on a hosted platform. That means the user or admin doesn’t have any connection to the hardware, meaning they don’t have to worry about the maintenance of the software. It’s the responsibility of the SaaS app development company, rather than the user, to take care of software maintenance and updates. To get a better idea of how SaaS works, let’s look at the unique characteristics of SaaS.

Characteristics of SaaS

SaaS solutions come in different types. And while these applications differ from one other in different ways, they all have common characteristics. These characteristics are:

Automated provisioning 

As the SaaS service is offered in a software as a service environment, there are no server installs. This means that the end-user gets instant access to the software solution without installation. Since SaaS development companies take care of all the preliminary setup and configuration work usually required with on-premise solutions. 

On-demand self-service

One user account gives full access to all applications across an organization. The users can get instant access to the software program, even though they don’t have administrative or special permission rights. This is possible because of the single sign-on (SSO) feature. SSO requires some central identity management platform through communication between the identity provider and the service provider.

Rapid elasticity

Elasticity refers to the ability of a system or model to scale up or down as demand requires. In other words, it is the capability of a system to adapt well when there is a sudden increase or decrease in the number of resources. In cloud computing, this is also called on-demand self-service, where a user can provision resources such as VMs, networking, and storage space that can be used when needed.

If a company needs more resources during a specific time period because of a sudden inflow of new customers, it can add more resources to meet their increased requirements. This feature allows businesses to scale up quickly without any long-term contracts with infrastructure providers, which means lower overhead costs for an organization. In terms of both speed and cost-saving, elasticity is considered one of the best advantages of SaaS solutions, especially for organizations that have unpredictable workloads which vary from day to day.

Measured Service

The SaaS business model is based on a pay-per-use or per-usage model. As companies no longer need to buy servers and software licenses, they only have to pay for the number of users using the application at any given time. In addition, many providers offer tiered pricing, which means larger companies with more employees will be charged higher fees while smaller firms with less than 50 employees can get lower monthly rates.

This is part of the reason why more and more startups are choosing to go down this route instead of investing in expensive infrastructure and IT support teams that would otherwise drain valuable resources and finances from their small operations budget. And, since most providers charge by usage, companies who no longer require a given SaaS application can cancel their subscription and be relieved from monthly fees.

Data Security

Since Software-as-a-Service solutions are hosted on a central server, companies do not have to worry about data security because the service provider takes care of backups and ensures that information is protected from cyber-attacks which can shut down systems and disrupt workflow processes. In addition, most providers guarantee complete privacy by using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption. This helps protect the transfer of sensitive data such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials when users access cloud services over the internet.

Easy customization with minimal IT support

The SaaS solution you subscribe to may not be perfect for your business right out of the gate. However, since most providers allow customers to customize and configure their programs, they can easily create new modules, plug-ins, and extensions that suit a company’s specific needs. All this can be done without worrying about compatibility issues because everything is already installed and configured on the service provider’s server. Hence, no more computer crashes and fewer expensive downtime incidents due to system failures.

In addition, you don’t have to worry about purchasing licenses for every employee. In other words, the number of users who access a cloud service directly affects your monthly bills because there is only one subscription fee that multiple employees across the organization can use.

Productivity and Collaboration

The collaborative features in a SaaS solution allow teams from different departments to work together on shared projects without sending files back and forth using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Also, they don’t have to use separate tools for communication such as email or instant messaging apps that require several steps to get things done. With cloud services, everything you need is just a click away since calendars, online, and spreadsheets are all available in one convenient location. This means less time wasted trying to find key information during meetings which ultimately improves your overall productivity.

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