What is the difference between SaaS and The Cloud?
Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing have been transforming the way businesses manage their software programs for a number of years now and while both solutions are similar in concept, with SaaS and Cloud Computing both eliminating the need for installing software and are both entirely managed in the Cloud. However, there are some key differences.
Cloud Computing is a broader term and refers to any type of resource that is not tied to any specific locations where as SaaS deals with software only.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the simplest form of Cloud Computing and is an application delivery model based on Cloud architecture. SaaS, however, is not the Cloud. It is an alternative to a traditional on-premise solution and works as an on-demand software which is typically accessed by users via a web browser. Instead of buying a license to use an application and paying to maintain and upgrade the software, SaaS software applications such as Microsoft SharePoint is ‘rented’ over a period of time which is usually monthly or annually.
When running a SaaS application, the user logs on via the vendor and the software is ready to use.
What are the benefits of SaaS solutions?
The main benefits of SaaS are that it can provide notable savings for a business for many reasons, the main one being that SaaS software eliminates the need for an upfront cost of purchase and installation as well as ongoing costs such as maintenance and upgrades. With SaaS solutions, one database shares multiple end user customers which are partitioned from each other based on security models in the application.
This model of service also provides a great degree of flexibility, customisation and options as the software is hosted externally, making it easy to change your plan with the additional benefit of allowing access to the software from any location or device that has access to the internet. It also means that SaaS applications are highly scalable.
Microsoft SharePoint is a great example of SaaS. It is a highly-customisable, collaborative Cloud solution from Microsoft that also integrates with Microsoft Office 365 and several other applications such as OneDrive, Skype for Business and InTune. SharePoint is designed to centrally house entire projects and documents enabling multiple users to collaborate across a multitude of devices whilst documents remain fully managed and secure.