What Is Software as a Service?

October 10, 2023


How do you get new software onto your systems?

There are two ways you might get new applications delivered to your system: On-premise and software as a service.

On-premise software is installed and maintained on the customer’s own servers, whereas SaaS software is hosted and managed by a third-party vendor.

The SAAS distribution model hosts applications via a cloud provider, and it is made available to customers over the internet. SaaS applications are typically accessed through a web browser or mobile app, and users pay a subscription fee to access the software.

Pros of Software as a Service

One of the immediate benefits to SaaS is that their providers typically have more resources to invest in security than individual organizations. This means that they can deploy the latest security technologies and best practices to protect their customers’ data. It also means that they are updated more frequently than on-premise software tends to be, hence security vulnerabilities are patched more quickly, reducing the risk of exploitation.

Think about how this would bring benefits to the modern workplace. In an age where companies have some employees in the office, others at home and some across the world, we need our software up to date and secure regardless of our proximity to the main server.

Since SaaS applications can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, employees can work remotely without having to worry about the security of their devices or the network they are connecting to.

Some other benefits of SaaS include:

  • Since SaaS software is typically priced on a subscription basis, it can be more affordable than the upfront costs of purchasing and installing on-premise software.
  • It does not require anyone to come in to install or tinker with it, simplifying set up, updates and repairs.
  • You can easily add or remove users as needed, making SaaS software a great choice for scalability.
  • Providers typically have more resources to invest in security than individual organizations, so SaaS software is often more secure than on-premise software.

Cons of Software as a Service

With any technology, though, there are going to be downsides. For SaaS, the primary concern is that the application is targeted by cyber-attacks—since it’s not restricted to a physical locale, threat actors could find a way to exploit it.

You also have to remember that you’re trusting a third-party service. SaaS providers have access to customer data; it is important to choose a SaaS provider with a strong track record of security and data privacy.

Other disadvantages with SaaS software include:

  • Once you choose a SaaS provider, you may be locked into their platform, which can make it difficult to switch providers if you are not happy with the service.
  • Since SaaS providers have access to your data, you entrust your security and overall data privacy to a third party.
  • If you are subject to industry regulations, you may need to ensure that the SaaS provider is compliant with those regulations. Compliance is no joke!


Overall, SaaS can be a valuable tool for improving cybersecurity, but it is important to be aware of the associated challenges and take steps to mitigate them. Look for providers that have been audited by a third-party security organization and that have a clear privacy policy in place, so you know they take your data’s privacy seriously. Implement strong authentication and access controls for your SaaS applications so that unauthorized users can’t break in.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to use SaaS or on-premise software is up to you (or your organization) and depends on what’s best for each individual network.

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