The IT industry is promoting Software as a Service and online applications as the new normal for computing, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you have heard how it is supposed to make our computing lives ever so much better. Hiding under that rock might also have spared you from reading about the various failures and outages which impact users, forcing them to make do without the online applications and data they have become so reliant upon. It’s surprising, but not unimaginable, that businesses rely so heavily on applications and services that didn’t even exist a few short years ago.
The potential benefits of a SaaS model are many, but the risks are equally significant and should not be minimized. This assessment should center on a review of the application software in use, considering whether or not it is meeting the needs of the business. Where and how the software runs is much less of an issue than the functionality and process support it provides – most “legacy” applications can be run in a cloud server environment, making remote access and managed service part of the service model.
There is risk in changing business applications – risk of data loss, changed or broken data relationships, lost productivity, and more. Many businesses would benefit by running their applications in a cloud model while continuing to utilize the software solutions their operation relies on.
Application hosting models where desktop applications are delivered on cloud servers is often overlooked when businesses go looking for cloud software because they are shopping for software and not the platform.
With Software as a Service (SaaS), the software and the platform are combined and together represent the solution. With application hosting on a cloud server, the software is the same software a business would traditionally run on PCs and servers, but the they are installed and managed on the cloud server rather than the local computers.
The big benefit is the agility of the platform and the user mobility it allows. The unspoken benefit is that you can still “take your ball and go home” if the service doesn’t work out.
Removing the barriers for adopting an online working model allows the business to experience the benefits attached to cloud computing without introducing unnecessary risk through unneeded changes in software and applications.