SaaS has changed the way that companies of all sizes manage IT. But like anything new, there are a few important aspects of SaaS that should be evaluated before jumping in. Based on research conducted in early 2010, a white paper published by Saugatuck Technology indentifies several key considerations of over 250 small and mid-sized businesses. Here’s a look at a few of the top considerations.
Data Security and Privacy Concerns
Based on the survey, SaaS solutions are considered to be as vulnerable as any other form of software/IT. Therefore, SaaS must be managed as closely as any other business-critical IT. Just because the software and IT infrastructure are "out of sight" doesn’t mean they should be "out of mind."
What’s more, leveraging SaaS certainly doesn’t alleviate your responsibility to ensure proper regulatory control of data. You should closely evaluate a potential SaaS provider’s data security and privacy policies. In particular, it's recommended that you ask about Sarbanes-Oxley and SAS 70 Type II audit certification, as well as HIPPA compliance if you’re in the healthcare industry.
It's also a good idea to make sure your SaaS provider has an established protocol for data ownership and retrieving your data in full should you decide to switch to another solution (for instance, move it in-house or to another SaaS provider).
Customization and Control
Another top concern, cited by 25% of survey respondents, is the ability to customize the SaaS solution to meet specific business requirements/processes. Determine how much (if any) control and flexibility you have to customize the SaaS solution as well as integrate it with other business management tools, desktop applications, and web services that may be a critical part of your business or competitive advantage.
Other key considerations mentioned in the report include Data Integrity, Technical Support, Viability of SaaS Vendor, Backup & Disaster Recovery Capabilities, and availability of Business Process Management & Workflow tools.
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