|By Denise Dubie||
|May 17, 2013 10:00 AM EDT||
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, 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 it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
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“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, 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.
Dec. 18, 2014 02:30 PM EST Reads: 816
The cloud is becoming the de-facto way for enterprises to leverage common infrastructure while innovating and one of the biggest obstacles facing public cloud computing is security. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jeff Aliber, a global marketing executive at Verizon, discussed how the best place for web security is in the cloud. Benefits include: Functions as the first layer of defense Easy operation –CNAME change Implement an integrated solution Best architecture for addressing network-l...
Dec. 18, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 865
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Dec. 18, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,011
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Dec. 18, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 884
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
Dec. 18, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,110
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 (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 2,238
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 1,792
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 1,838
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:15 AM EST Reads: 2,067
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Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,828
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,766
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Dec. 18, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,881
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...
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 AM EST Reads: 1,718
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard 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. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
Dec. 18, 2014 09:30 AM EST Reads: 1,875
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
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Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,171
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,263