Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Victoria Livschitz

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
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
Some developers believe that monitoring is a function of the operations team. Some operations teams firmly believe that monitoring the systems they maintain is sufficient to run the business successfully. Most of them are wrong. The complexity of today's applications have gone far and beyond the capabilities of "traditional" system-level monitoring tools and approaches and requires much broader knowledge of business and applications as a whole. The goal of DevOps is to connect all aspects of app...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
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, discussed 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 HANA...
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...
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
DevOps is all about agility. However, you don't want to be on a high-speed bus to nowhere. The right DevOps approach controls velocity with a tight feedback loop that not only consists of operational data but also incorporates business context. With a business context in the decision making, the right business priorities are incorporated, which results in a higher value creation. In his session at DevOps Summit, Todd Rader, Solutions Architect at AppDynamics, discussed key monitoring techniques...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
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 @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed 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!
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device exp...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...