If your company develops software, software as a service (SaaS) hosting could open a new realm of business opportunities.
SaaS is a software delivery model wherein the software is delivered to the user online in a subscription-based or pay-as-you-go model, allowing for continual updates, the ability to access the software nearly anywhere, and the option for the customer to stop or start using the software service at will.
SaaS Hosting is a type of web hosting service wherein your software application and files are stored on a hosting provider’s servers, allowing your customers to access your software solution or application through the Internet.
In SaaS hosting, your company’s software/app resides on dedicated or virtual servers that run the app. Customers access the software interface through the Internet - via either a local client specifically built for the software or through a browser. They never actually have a copy of the software on their own workstation or other Internet-capable device. With SaaS hosting, the software is maintained and updated at the server level, generally avoiding the need for the end user to update or patch the software.
SaaS hosting is also a smart investment for actual software developers. With third-party hosting, the software developers don’t have to manage the infrastructure requirements of hosting the software in-house. Moreover, when the software needs to be upgraded, it can be done in seconds in the cloud environment, rather than asking the end user to download the latest version (or a patch if a physical copy of the software was purchased).
While SaaS can in theory be supported with any type of hosting environment, typically they feature the following:
Research by SkyHigh Networks shows that SaaS is the fastest-growing use for cloud technology. This year, nearly one-third of all applications in the worldwide enterprise market will be based in SaaS, and SaaS revenue will increase to $50.8 billion from $22.6 billion in 2013, a surge of 125%.
From these figures, we can take away that SaaS hosting is an enormously competitive market where the largest software developers have the advantage of being pursued by hosting companies. When comparing companies to hire as your SaaS hosting solution, here are five essential features you should look for.
Availability: The most singular essential characteristic of SaaS hosting is availability, according to a LinkedIn study. Your end-users will want the right to log in and use your application no matter where they are or what time it is. If demand is widespread, your app will be used all over the world, which means use and collaboration across a dozen time zones. This means your SaaS hosting solution must be able to ensure uptime and reliability 100% of the time.
Ease of Use: The moment a user starts to struggle with your SaaS is the moment they move on to one of your competitors, never to return. The challenge then becomes making your app easy to use, but doing so in a way that doesn’t risk exposing your customers’ business data. Security is the key; the more robust the cybersecurity of the hosting company, the more faith end-users and enterprises will have in your product, according to a report by Blissfully.
Room for Documentation and User Support: Just because your app seems intuitive to you or your developers doesn’t mean it will be that way for a first-time user. Hosting your app is great, but you should consider that your hosting environment may need to support things like 24/7 customer support, a video or interactive tutorial for new users, a feedback system to report bugs, or a documentation guide that goes over the app from wire to wire.
Tools for Analytics: Your SaaS hosting provider should be able to assist with gathering metrics to support analysis of access, behavior and usage within the hosting environment. All of these metrics will help you improve your business. Standard metrics include how many people are using the app, where they are signing in from and what time of day (or night) they are online, how long they spend online, and what purposes they are using the SaaS for.
Single Sign-On: To help sell your SaaS to bigger clients like SMBs and full-scale enterprises, you should make accessing your product as convenient as possible. Having single sign-on in the provider environment streamlines your customers’ ability to get on and off your service quickly. It also cuts down on the number of passwords each employee has to remember, which will improve perception of your software.
While many larger companies prefer the security of housing all of their infrastructure components in a private server farm, the benefits of IaaS are difficult to look past. Here are a few ways that IaaS deployment has far outstripped its physical component first cousin.
Cost savings: Migration to IaaS can often mean substanial cost savings. It’s not just the price of maintaining and running server infrastructure, but the reduction of downtime that often results from moving to IaaS, along with a drop in the cost of replacing old equipment or savings from eliminating internal IT services from a business.
Scalability: Nearly every business works towards exponential growth in demand for their product or service. But when that moment comes, many are caught flat-footed because they don’t have the processing power or budget to scale their business up to match demand. A similar situation can occur when business is doing a special promotion or sale. Employing IaaS allows a business to add just as much infrastructure as is necessary to keep up with demand without having to invest in new local hardware.
Backup and Disaster Recovery: Whether a website crashes due to high demand or a hurricane knocks out electrical services for days, IaaS gives businesses the ability to overcome a worst-case scenario. With a company’s data, processes and disaster recovery protocol stored safely in the cloud, returning to normal operations can be a much simpler proposition.
Incorporating SaaS and PaaS: When a company thoroughly incorporates IaaS into its internal processes, its management typically becomes aware of the convenience and cost-saving ability of other ‘as a service’ offerings. SaaS (software as a service) is the great equalizer of small companies that no longer have to buy another copy of the same software every time a new employee comes aboard. Both IaaS and SaaS are good opening steps to moving an organization’s whole operation online with PaaS (platform as a service). With PaaS, Employees can login from anywhere in the world and use the exact same system that office workers are seeing. That sort of collaborative power increases efficiency and can mean long-term improvements in profitability.
Software as a Service is based entirely on the Internet, and it is an approach to software distribution by which software providers host a combination of servers, databases, and code to create applications that can be accessed by users from connected devices. Software as a Service (SaaS) brings the power of a firm’s workflow to any user anywhere in the world at anytime.
SaaS replaces the traditional notion of buying physical copies of software and installing them on local hardware located inside a brick-and-mortar office. Using SaaS also shifts the burden of responsibility for licensing, support and installation to the cloud provider.
Some of the most popular applications available, particularly those used for marketing, networking, customer service and collaboration, are actually SaaS, including:
There are two key distinctions between SaaS and traditional software.
In traditional software, users purchase the software up front and install it on their own computers. With SaaS, users subscribe to the software without paying any money up front. The provider charges a monthly subscription rate, and the user can cancel their subscription when they stop needing it.
Traditional software is licensed individually and usually limited to a single device, and when updates come out, they must be downloaded or purchased and installed. In the SaaS model, bulk licensing is easier, applications can be used across multiple devices with a single login, the application can be updated online instantaneously, and the cost of onboarding additional users is small, since all files are contained within the cloud provider’s environment.
While cost is a central reason for using SaaS in your business environment, there are plenty of other advantages to moving your software to a cloud provider. They include:
Scalability: When your developers need to expand your business to meet a growth in demand, you don’t want to be caught flat-footed or unable to rise to the occasion. Your SaaS provider can provide more space, more power, and more instances of any particular app with the click of a button. If the increased demand is due to a special event or a busy time of year, your provider can also scale your SaaS back down to normal constraints after the event has ended.
Availability:If you’re in your office, you’re doing work using SaaS. If you’re taking a personal day, you’re on your laptop using SaaS. If you have a business trip, you’re on the airplane using SaaS. No matter where you are or what device you’re using, you can be in the same workspace all the time. SaaS provides flexibility and business efficiency and ensures your employees are never out of the loop.
No Hardware Costs for Cloud-Based SaaS: All of the processing power for SaaS is available from the cloud provider. This means there is also no extra cost for using extra processing power at your office, which can reduce the bottom line and make your work environment greener.
SaaS is a good starter project for IaaS and PaaS. SaaS is the most basic of the three layered models that are at the heart of the cloud provider model for organizations. The other two layers are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). While SaaS can be as small as one app, IaaS and PaaS represent seismic shifts in the way your firm does business. IaaS includes services and processes such as website hosting, big data analysis, backup, disaster recovery, provision of room for testing by developers and more. PaaS means hosting your entire platform online, allowing complete platform access with a single login.
When firms do vital work in online environment, particularly a new one, the untested solution can give management cause for concern. A few of those commonly-heard questions (with answers) are listed below.
Data: We’ve all seen the news where giant corporations see their data hacked out of cloud data centers or through third-party apps and sold to the highest bidder or released to the general public. SaaS vendors are generally able to provide more specific security measures for their customers because they have expectations of what sort of data is passing in and out of the SaaS environment and know how to lock down suspicious items. Another pervasive fear is that the SaaS provider will end up ‘owning’ any uploaded data. This is something for each firm to hammer out when agreeing to a service level agreement (SLA) with the SaaS vendor. Putting the definition of data ownership on paper will take away any worries.
Vendor Reliability: Firms go out of business every day. What happens when your SaaS provider breathes its last? Most SaaS companies will pay in advance to keep their data centers active in such an event, which will allow customers to export data, something that is nearly always written into SLAs, and migrate that data to a new vendor.
If your SaaS applications require a dedicated hosting solution, Atlantic.Net has what you need. We offer flexible options for setting up dedicated SaaS hosting environments that are customized to provide optimal service for your software.
Your success matters to us. That’s why we take the time to work with you to identify your specific dedicated hosting requirements. Then we develop a personalized hosting plan designed to meet those requirements within your budget. Whether that means hosting on our servers, colocating your servers in one of our datacenters, or using a combination of dedicated and cloud servers, we find the best arrangement to provide the service and confidence you need for your SaaS applications.
Statistics show that by 2020, packaged software will fall to just 10% of sales for new enterprises. As of 2017, 56% of companies were already using at least one provider of SaaS. With unlimited usage options and space to grow, SaaS is an integral part of the current and future business model.
Atlantic.Net offers affordable SaaS Hosting solutions built on highly available infrastructure with top-tier technical support. Find out how to take advantage of our Dedicated Server Hosting Plans.
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