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What are the benefits and key characteristics of SaaS (Software as a Service)

What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) aids businesses all over the world. Organizations and individuals using SaaS don’t need to maintain or install software; instead, they can simply access it via the internet, allowing themselves the management of complex hardware and software cutter free.

The term “software as a service” refers to applications that are hosted, on-demand, or web-based. A SaaS provider’s servers host SaaS applications. The provider manages access to the application, including its performance, availability, and security.

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The following are the features and key characteristics of SaaS/SaaS Characteristics:

SaaS Characteristics

Data Security:
In today’s world, it is critical to ensure that data/business information is protected from corruption and unauthorized access. Because Software as Service applications are intended to be shared by multiple tenants, it is critical to understand how well the data is secured. Most data must be encrypted stored for a specific tenant and should not be accessible to another tenant. As a result, having a good Key Management Framework or the ability to integrate/interface with external Key Management Frameworks has become an essential component of SaaS applications. Integration with the CASB (Cloud Access Security Brokers) system will also boost data security confidence.

Application Security:
Vulnerability protection should be included in SaaS applications. They should typically be protected against OWASP/SAN identified vulnerabilities. Additionally, for SaaS applications, strong identity and access management controls should be enabled. Other factors that contribute to the security of the Software as a Service application include:

  • Detecting unauthorized sessions, preventing multi-session attacks, and so on.
  • Session management that is strong, with protection against session hijacking.
  • Increased authentication, such as password lockout, etc.
  • Use cookies that do not store sensitive data, such as follow Cookie, etc.
  • Strict adherence to the principle of separation of duties.
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Protection against DoS/DDoS attacks.
  • Protection against buffer overflow attacks.
  • Also, having integration points open with CASB will aid in gaining customer trust.

In general, SaaS applications provide audit logs of business transactions, allowing customers to devise a business strategy by utilizing business intelligence plans. These services should also be capable of adhering to government regulations and internal policies.

Multi-tenancy Model:
Multi-tenancy is a type of software architecture in which a single software application deployment serves multiple customers. Most tenants can customize some parts of the application; nowadays, applications are designed in such a way that per tenant, the storage area is segregated by having different databases altogether, or by incorporating different schemes into a single database, or by incorporating discriminators into the same database.

Subscription-based billing:
The pricing of SaaS applications does not include the complexities of license costs and upgrade costs, for example. In general, Software as Service applications is subscription-based, allowing customers to purchase SaaS applications as needed and discontinue them when the enterprise determines that they are no longer required. SaaS applications are typically charged on a seat-by-seat basis, with the amount paid determined by the number of seats purchased. It can have different pricing models and billing cycles, such as monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/annually fixed, and so on. Many modern SaaS applications offer the ability to charge based on usage. Another important feature is that SaaS applications must be able to be invoiced.

Single Sign-On:
An enterprise organization would like to have a single identity system in place to authenticate the various systems that users will consume. It is also critical for enterprises to have a single page where users can enter their login credentials and access all Software as a Service application that have been provisioned to them. As a result, Software as a Service application should be simple to integrate with various identity management systems. It is also a significant maintenance burden for businesses to maintain and store multiple credentials per system that are used by enterprise users. Also, because SaaS applications are multi-tenant, each tenant will want to authenticate against their own identity and access management system.

High Availability:
SaaS applications availability is expected to be extremely high throughout. As a result, Software as Service applications should provide their customers with a high level of SLA. Applications should be available around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, SaaS applications should expose management and monitoring APIs in order to continuously check the health/availability factor.

Elastic Infrastructure:
The use of SaaS applications is generally unpredictable. The infrastructure on which the applications are deployed should be able to expand/contract the resources used behind the scenes. SaaS applications are now designed in such a way that they can identify the behavior of the infrastructure. Most monitoring agents located within deployment resources notify the respective management servers of the resources’ accessibility. Policies and procedures are typically built as part of the core architecture to expand/shrink infrastructure resources. Classic examples include microarchitecture-based SaaS applications. Docker and Kubernetes are tools used to manage the elasticity of SaaS applications.

Automated Provisioning:
SaaS applications are mostly utilized by B2B/B2C customers and companies/users solely through the use of web services and the provision of access credentials. The CREST API from Microsoft is a great example of a SaaS application that provides this critical feature. Cloud Services Broker (CSB) platforms can automate this procedure to provide on-demand access to SaaS applications. Another important feature is the ability to de-provision – remove access from users/organizations when the customer decides not to use the Software as a Service application.

Rate Limiting:
Rate limiting is a useful feature to have these days in order to provide better service to all types of customers. To ensure smooth business transactions, the number of hits/transactions can be technically limited. Furthermore, SaaS applications can be configured with rate limiting/QoS, which aids organizations in managing their user base.

SaaS Benefits:
The above features of SaaS in cloud computing allow businesses all over the world to benefit from a variety of benefits. Here are some of the most important benefits of SaaS provides to businesses:

Portability: It is a significant benefit of cloud technology, which SaaS offers far more than traditional software options. Many applications can be accessed over the internet and used on any compatible device in any location.

Time Saving: Businesses don’t have to configure, install, or manage software when they use SaaS. They also don’t have to worry about software updates and more. When you use a cloud provider, software updates are more incremental and frequent, which means you can achieve better software maintenance.

Scalability: Another significant advantage of SaaS is its ability to scale quickly and easily. Instead of purchasing additional licenses and upgrading your server’s capacity, simply adjust your subscription if the number of software users needs to be increased or decreased.

Affordability: The pricing model for SaaS(software as a service) differs significantly from that of owning software because it is leased rather than purchased. SaaS applications are also easier to manage because payments are made in monthly installments, which keeps IT budgets from becoming too complicated.

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