What is SaaS?

what is saas

What is SaaS? A Complete Guide to Software as a Service

Software as a service, also known as SaaS, becomes increasingly popular every day. It is among the fastest-growing modern-day technologies. From massive corporations to small home-based businesses, SaaS is the default deployment method in 2021 for nearly every type of business technology in the world.

What is SaaS And How It Can Improve Your Business?

SaaS is a business model based on the concept of delivering software over the internet as a service. Instead of purchasing, installing, and maintaining software on your own computer, you simply pay to access it over the internet and rid yourself of the complexities of software management. 

SaaS offers numerous benefits that attract entrepreneurs from every level, such as:

  • Improved accessibility, compatibility, and operational management
  • Minimized overhead and maintenance costs
  • Simple and inexpensive integration with other platforms 

To take your business to the next level, you will need to learn as much as you can about this new way of doing business and using tech. In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about SaaS:

What is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection and a web browser. Either the SaaS company itself or the cloud provider hosts and maintains applications, making sure they are available to end-users over the internet.

SaaS is a complete software solution that you purchase on a subscription basis. It eliminates the need for organizations to install and maintain applications on their computers or databases. Instead, they can access it directly through the internet, saving companies time and money on unnecessary resources, including:

  • Hardware acquisition
  • Maintenance costs
  • Software Licensing
  • Installation
  • Support 

Across the globe and all industries, the demand for SaaS grows every day. These applications are used by such a broad audience that designers and engineers must cater to an equally wide range of users in order to be successful. 

  • Improved accessibility, compatibility, and operational management
  • Minimized overhead and maintenance costs
  • Simple and inexpensive integration with other platforms 

To take your business to the next level, you will need to learn as much as you can about this new way of doing business and using tech. In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about SaaS:

What is SaaS Architecture?

SaaS applications and services are designed using a multitenant approach, in which all users and applications share one common infrastructure and code base that is centrally maintained. Even though users are sharing the same cloud platform, their individual data remains separate and secure.

This approach also allows the vendors to make the necessary changes, updates, and fixes all at one time instead of requiring multiple patches. 

Who Owns the SaaS Data?

In a cloud-based system, most users own their data. Most SaaS companies use service level agreements (SLAs) to legally confirm that you own the data stored in their servers and that you have the right to retrieve that data.

These contracts also guarantee your ownership of your data and provide access to it in case the vendor goes out of business. You can even ask your SaaS provider to let you export your data so you can back it up locally.

Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the SLA very carefully. If you notice any clause that mentions the vendor owning your data, don’t sign.

How is Saas Different from the Traditional On-Premise Software Delivery Model?

Software as a Service differs from the traditional on-premise software delivery model in four key ways:

1. Implementation:

SaaS is accessed via the internet. It does not require extensive hardware or in-house IT professionals to install and maintain it through company hard drives. On-premise implementation, on the other hand, is a longer process. You need in-house installation, and it can only be hosted and accessed on company grounds and computers.

2. Cost

SaaS systems are usually run on a subscription model, meaning you pay an ongoing subscription fee (monthly or yearly) to use the product. If you stop using the service, you can stop paying the fee.

The on-premise software delivery model includes a one-time perpetual license fee paid upfront. Depending on the software, the on-premise users can also pay up to 20% of maintenance and support fees every year.

3. Support and Maintenance

Handling and maintaining on-premise software is the responsibility of the software owner, specifically, the IT department. The IT team should handle any updates, fixes, or security issues related to the software.

With SaaS, the provider handles most of the tech and security issues related to the software.

4. Immediate Access or Not

SaaS applications can be accessed with a browser and wifi, making them ideal for organizations whose employees usually work from home. 

On-premise can only be accessed on company grounds and is great for work settings that require employees to be in the office. 

The Key Components of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS

SaaS is just one part of the cloud computing structure. To break it down for you, there are three main categories of cloud computing:

  • SaaS: Software as a service products are complete and fully managed applications delivered over the internet. This component of cloud computing accounts for approximately 24% of all enterprise workloads.
  • IaaS: Infrastructure as a service is largely outsourcing virtual data center resources. This component accounts for roughly 12% of all enterprise workloads. 
  • PaaS: Platform as a service providers deliver hardware and software tools over the internet, and individuals use these tools to develop applications. This component currently accounts for about 32% of all enterprise workloads and is expected to grow


SaaS applications are managed by third-party vendors. Updates, support, security, everything is handled by these vendors. Users don’t need to download any software or buy any additional resources. SaaS applications run directly through your web browser, which means you only need an internet connection and authorized credentials.


IaaS service providers deliver cloud computing infrastructure to their clients, including:

  • Servers
  • Networks
  • Operating systems
  • Storage

This infrastructure is delivered over the internet through a dashboard, or an API, giving users complete control. What’s more, IaaS means you can run any operating system or application on the rented servers without needing to worry about server maintenance.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is made of highly scalable and automated computing resources. IaaS providers host infrastructure components for companies that want to outsource their data center and computer resources.


PaaS provides a platform that allows businesses and developers to design and create customized applications. PaaS vendors manage the platform’s tools, software updates, and security.

The Benefits of Using SaaS

Key advantages of SaaS models include accessibility, scalability, and ease of use. Additionally, it eliminates the upfront cost of software purchase and installation and ongoing costs like maintenance and upgrades. Other benefits of this model include:

Saves Time

By paying a monthly or annual subscription, you get an application that is already configured and ready to use. This not only saves time on installation, configuration, and maintenance but also reduces the time wasted on potential software deployment issues.

Scalable and Easy Integration

SaaS systems typically reside in cloud ecosystems that are easily scalable and simple to integrate with other similar systems. As a user, all you need to do is enable the new SaaS program/offering. Let your provider take care of the server capacity.

Hassle-Free Automatic Updates

With software as a service, you don’t have to worry about updates. SaaS providers are constantly upgrading their systems, and users benefit from that. One great thing about these automatic updates is that your business operations won’t be affected. 

Easy Customization

Cloud-based software offers the ability to easily customize applications to fit your business processes without affecting the common infrastructure. The user interface (UI) can be customized to:

  • Change the look and feel of the program
  • Tweak and alter what data appear
  • Offer insights tailored to your goals

Flexible Payment

The pay-as-you-go pricing model is a hallmark of SaaS. It enables companies to pay only for what they use and cut down heavy licensing fees and hardware costs associated with traditional software purchasing. Besides the lower upfront costs, SaaS also leads to lower maintenance.


One huge advantage of any SaaS application is its ability to run through an internet browser. No matter where you are or which operating system you use, you can easily access the application if you have an internet connection.

Saving and Storage

SaaS is a cloud-based software. Therefore all your data is routinely backed up in the cloud. You don’t need any additional storage or a recovery backup plan. In fact, you don’t even need to click ‘save.’  Cloud-based software updates in real-time, so employees can actually log into their account on multiple devices and switch between those devices without losing work or data.

Enhanced Data Security

SaaS systems are typically more secure than traditional systems. This is because the provider backs up all the information hosted on the cloud. Even if the company’s server or an employee’s computer gets hit with a cyberattack, data hosted by the SaaS provider remains secure.

The SaaS provider is responsible for securing the platform, network, applications, operating system, and physical infrastructure, but securing customer information and unauthorized user access is your responsibility. 

The Challenges of Using SaaS

Although SaaS is a viable option for most businesses, some potential risks and challenges must be considered.

No Control Over New Versions

With SaaS, users do not have much control over updates. The provider will roll out the new version of an application to all of its customers, whether the customer wants the newer version or not.

If the updated version has new features, then the organization will need to spend time and money training its employees.

Difficulty Changing Providers

Changing your service provider will never be easy. You will need to transfer large amounts of critical data from one vendor to another. If the vendor is using proprietary technologies and data types, then transferring data becomes even more complicated.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

There are many risks associated with unscrutinized SaaS solutions, including:

  • Data ownership
  • Regulatory compliance issues
  • Information security risks 

Depending on the nature of your business, you will need to go deeper and learn which rules apply to your company. Different countries have varying approaches, which may or may not abide by laws and regulations in your own country. 

It’s your responsibility to make sure your provider is meeting your country’s requirements. Talk with your service provider and address any insecurities that you may have.

SaaS Product Examples 

The SaaS market appeals to a large pool of varied users. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are embracing the SaaS philosophy as an alternative to on-premises hardware and software deployment. Examples of popular SaaS products include:

Grow Your Company and Learn More About SaaS With Augurian

Cloud services, specifically SaaS, have a lot to offer. Lower costs, easy upgrades, and better scalability are the top reasons many believe SaaS is the future of computing. Furthermore, it can help you eliminate redundant processes, unnecessary expenses and redirect your personnel to focus on more strategic and productive aspects of the business. 

At Augurian, helping SaaS companies grow is what we do. If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to bolster your growth strategy and meet your business goals, contact our SaaS marketing experts for a free consultation.

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