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.
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.
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.
Cloud Computing enables a user to customise and manage an application on a server that is hosted by a third party. All you need is an internet connection and the ability to log on to the system via a web browser such as Microsoft Edge. The application isn’t running on any one server, but rather is ‘shuttled around’ or even load balanced over multiple servers in real time as demand requires it. Cloud Computing is a varied landscape, there are several types of Cloud including Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud.
Before Cloud Computing, companies would need their own on-site servers at their office in order to use software as well as having to use physical media to install software on a computer. Then, this software or data would only be available on a single computer.
Financial flexibility is also another core difference between SaaS and Cloud Computing, SaaS solutions come in at a fixed monthly rate whereas Cloud Computing enables the business to increase or decrease its spending each month. This makes it easy to choose which option is most suitable for your business’s needs.
Cloud Computing automatically backs up data and provides businesses with more control over their software programs which enables them to easily increase or decrease capacity.
Enhanced security is another benefit of Cloud Computing, as data is stored in the Cloud it can be accessed from anywhere and it is also possible to remotely wipe data from a device making sure that sensitive data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Implementing Cloud Computing based software into your businesses Digital Transformation or IT Infrastructure such as Microsoft Azure comprises of infrastructure and application services with integrated data services, advanced analytics and security. Implementing a reputable Cloud environment such as Microsoft Azure can help pave the way to GDPR Compliancy. Cloud Computing is best suited to SMEs.
Infinity Group are Microsoft Gold Partners and Cloud Computing Consultants. If you are interested in implementing Microsoft Azure, Office 365 or SharePoint or upgrading your existing solution, please get in touch.