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Software as a Service: Experiences of SMBs


Software as a Service, or SaaS, is one of three delivery models of “cloud computing.” Cloud computing has been defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Cloud Security Alliance as: “A model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Software as a Service has been defined by Saugatuck Technology as: “The delivery and use of application or infrastructure software functionality via a network. SaaS is used on a demand basis, and can be sold, delivered and paid for via a subscription model, on a “pay as you go” basis, or, more frequently, in a combination of models that enable utility-style usage.” ISACA has identified some key business benefits offered by SaaS, including: • Cost containment – The cloud offers enterprises the option of scalability without the financial commitments required for infrastructure purchase and maintenance. • Immediacy – Many early adopters of cloud computing have cited the ability to provision and utilize a service in a single day. • Availability – Cloud providers have the infrastructure and bandwidth to accommodate business requirements for high speed access, storage and applications. • Scalability – With unconstrained capacity, cloud services offer increased flexibility and scalability for evolving Information Technology (IT) needs. • Efficiency – Reallocating information management operational activities to the cloud offers businesses a unique opportunity to focus efforts on innovation and research and development. This allows for business and product growth and may be even more beneficial than the financial advantages offered by the cloud. • Resiliency – Cloud providers have mirrored solutions that can be utilized in a disaster scenario as well as for load-balancing traffic.

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