Cloud computing is gaining rapid momentum, with many business and productivity tools now available as services. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) model represents great opportunities for businesses to optimise software investments and gain flexibility.
And there has never been a better time than now to adopt cloud.
- Cloud enables responsiveness
Cloud computing is not new technology, but merely a different model of consuming traditional IT services.
Applications such as anti-virus and the office productivity suite have always been purchased as boxed licenses, through distributors or resellers. With the advent of SaaS, however, these applications are distributed digitally, and priced as monthly subscriptions instead of one-time purchases.
For a business, this means having complete control over software spending. SaaS grants the flexibility to match expenditure to headcount – whether cancelling the subscriptions of departing employees, or immediately provisioning additional licenses for newcomers. Organisations can now scale their software spending up or down on the fly to respond to changing needs.
- Need for Quick Solution
At times, due to regulatory requirements such as the upcoming amendment to the Employment Act where there is an urgency to find an affordable solution to resolve a regulatory need, businesses can turn to SaaS solutions to resolve their immediate needed, without the need to over-invest in turnkey solutions using traditional IT vendors. Business agility is key in today’s environment and SaaS can often by an answer to such business needs.
- SaaS is becoming more secure
But cloud, of course, does not come without concerns.
Since its inception, one key concern surrounding cloud has been data security. In a SaaS service, data rests with the provider, and cases of such services being hacked have been growing in frequency in the past couple of years.
To counter cyber-attacks, SaaS vendors have become more sophisticated, introducing security features like AES 256-bit encryption and 2-factor authentication (2FA) to strengthen their defences.
- The NGNBN is here
Another cloud concern is Internet connectivity – cloud software is unusable with slow connections, or when networks are down.
Thankfully, high-speed fibre broadband is now within the reach of all businesses. With the rollout of the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN), large files can be accessed and shared online within minutes, enabling businesses to fully utilise the potential of cloud applications.
- SaaS is bridging the customisability gap
In most cases, businesses require some form of customisation or integration for their applications to work with each other – and in the past, application vendors have not always been able to cater to these requirements. That has changed.
Many SaaS vendors now provide application programming interfaces (API) for users to integrate services with their existing systems, instead of paying huge sums for customisation. APIs can also be used by mobile apps to empower mobile workforces.
While SaaS has come a long way, there are still inherent limitations to look out for. Users should be familiar with the services they purchase, as SaaS vendors seldom provide training or on-site/phone-based support. In addition, credit cards or digital payment services like PayPal are commonly accepted SaaS payment modes, and these may not be compliant with your business’s procurement best practices. If these are not potential roadblocks, your business is well poised to adopt SaaS.