Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Cynthia Dunlop, Elizabeth White, Trevor Parsons, Bob Gourley, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Open Source, Cloud Expo, Security

Open Source: Blog Feed Post

The Top Five SaaS Risks and How to Mitigate Them

Business and technology leaders alike need to understand and balance both the benefits and the risks of SaaS

By Lonne Jaffe - You may have heard that cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models can turn software technology into a pay-as-you-go utility that businesses can “plug in to” and use like electricity?

Perhaps — however, software technology is far more varied, nuanced and diverse than electricity. You don’t win customers by having better electricity than your competition. Software, by contrast, absolutely is a competitive differentiator for any business today. Companies in industries as varied as retail and finance use software at the very core of their value proposition to customers. It lets them deliver a variety of services to their customers, improve operational efficiencies, create new offerings and a lot more.

That’s not to downplay the business flexibility that SaaS can bring. Being able to “switch on” software and infrastructure delivered as a service for a metered fee can be an attractive alternative to having to build and manage your own IT environments.

However, as with all shiny new things in technology, buyer beware. Business and technology leaders alike need to understand and balance both the benefits and the risks of SaaS. With this in mind, here are five potential risks technology executives should consider about SaaS and some thoughts on how to manage them.

  1. SaaS Can Have Hidden Costs. The SaaS model typically involves pay-as-you-go, or term-based licensing, in which your organization pays monthly or annual fees based on some metrics (number of seats, number of queries, amount of data, etc.). There are certainly many situations in which this is more attractive than investing in servers, software licenses and IT manpower up front. The ability to keep cash on the balance sheet and to pay for software as it’s consumed (“by the drink,” as it were) can be helpful. For a growing business, the SaaS model lets you start small and scale up as the business becomes more successful over time. That said, don’t mistake this for “cheaper.” SaaS is not always cheaper, especially when factoring in the cost of learning and managing a new environment, and the often considerable effort of moving existing technology workloads onto a new SaaS platform. Make sure you consider all of these costs when you’re evaluating the total cost of ownership of a SaaS initiative.

  2. SaaS Can Introduce Bandwidth Issues. Moving to a cloud-based app can have a tremendous impact on your network infrastructure. There are circumstances where the data is so massive that it has a sort of “gravity” to it. The amount of data that can be transmitted over the Internet and the reliability of the network connections have improved dramatically, but it’s still difficult to move these large pools of data over the public Internet . Because of this, companies might find they need to have their compute power located physically close to the data to get the scalability and performance essential for high-profile, enterprise-grade systems.

  3. SaaS Can Accelerate the Rogue Cloud. SaaS can empower more tech-savvy business users, but it also encourages rogue software purchases. All it takes is a corporate credit card, and the business user is off and running with a new SaaS application, sometimes without consulting the technology leadership in the business. Of course, as my colleague Andi Mann has written about, this is not necessarily a bad thing and can be used to encourage skunk works innovation. But at the end of the day, the CIO remains responsible for the security, management and performance of the overall technology infrastructure. The breakdown in coordination caused by the rogue cloud adds complexity and risk to the job. I recommend investing in third-party software that helps CIOs: manage the performance of the SaaS applications; select ideal vendors based on price, performance, capability and quality of service; and secure the applications and data now seeping outside of the enterprise’s four walls.

  4. SaaS Requires a New Take on Security. The old perimeter model of walling off the data center to keep the bad guys out simply doesn’t work in a world where IT infrastructure and applications increasingly reside on public, private and hybrid clouds. When your data and compute power are scattered across the Internet, you can’t put a walled perimeter around it to keep it safe because there’s nothing concrete to put a wall around. A better paradigm: use “identity” as the new perimeter. Wherever data and applications reside, they can be locked down and secured using sophisticated identity and access management solutions that continuously evaluate and manage who is accessing systems and data. And advanced data-level encryption can be used to ensure that data— whether at rest or in motion— can’t be read by the bad guys.

  5. SaaS Has a Blindside. SaaS service providers do offer insight into the performance of their applications and platforms, but in many cases, their management capabilities are not good enough. As your organization increases its dependence on outside software resources, visibility into your technology environment’s performance could suffer. Look for management software that can help you monitor and proactively manage these critical SaaS applications across both cloud and non-cloud environments.

Businesses are reaping tremendous benefits from the use of SaaS services for a wide variety of applications, and the use of SaaS will only grow with time. Yes, it can be cheaper, faster, and more flexible than in-house implementations. But like everything else in life, SaaS is not without risks and needs a well-informed approach coupled with next-generation management and security software to ensure the benefits and mitigate the risks.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Denise Dubie

Denise Dubie (@DDubie) is New Media Principal in CA Technologies Thought Leadership Group. She is charged with creating content relevant to today’s most pressing technology and business trends for industry leaders and IT professionals.

Prior to joining the company in 2010, Dubie spent 12 years of her career at Network World, an IDG company, covering the IT management industry and all of its players (including CA Technologies and its competitors) as well as high-tech careers, technology trends and vendors such as Cisco, HP, IBM and Microsoft. As Senior Editor at Network World, Dubie also authored the publication's twice-weekly Network and Systems Management Alert newsletter and contributed to the Web site's Microsoft Subnet blog. Before IDG, she served as Assistant Managing Editor at Application Development Trends, managing writers and the monthly publication's production process.

Dubie started her professional journalism career as a Staff Writer/Reporter at The Transcript, a small daily paper in Western Massachusetts.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Parasoft will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 27 years, Parasoft has researched and developed software solutions that help organizations deliver defect-free software efficiently. By integrating Development Testing, API/cloud/SOA/composite app testing, and service virtualization, we reduce the time, effort, and cost of delivering secur...
Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Founded in 2001 at WPI, Dyn’s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers.
European data center operator DEAC is the largest in the Baltics. The activities are orientated to provide data center services and IT outsourcing on Eurasia and America scale in order to create the primary or backup or additional data center for customer in the EU, to protect its business and, most importantly, reduce costs up to 40% within 3-5 years. DEAC is an IT outsourcing services and solutions company whose highly experienced and qualified employees offer various groups of services and...
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based appl...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
When an enterprise builds a hybrid IaaS cloud connecting its data center to one or more public clouds, security is often a major topic along with the other challenges involved. Security is closely intertwined with the networking choices made for the hybrid cloud. Traditional networking approaches for building a hybrid cloud try to kludge together the enterprise infrastructure with the public cloud. Consequently this approach requires risky, deep "surgery" including changes to firewalls, subnets...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratogent will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Stratogent is a custom managed services organization based in San Mateo, California. We design, implement, and support mission critical infrastructure 24x7 on premises, in datacenters and in the Cloud. Since 2005, we have acted as an extension of internal IT teams, achieving a customer reten...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will con...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing a...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing c...