Cloud computing is a term given to the availability of computer resources such as computing power and cloud storage whenever a user wants it. However, the user does not actively manage it. Cloud computing offers many people from all over the world, these computer resources, regardless of geographical location. Hayes (2008) states that people have begun the transition from locally installed programs to cloud computing. All this is possible due to advancements in technology. Individuals and organizations alike are cutting ties with server rooms and embracing the flexibility of cloud computing as it offers an array of benefits. Organizations now have the option of having personal clouds called enterprise clouds or sharing with other organizations to cut costs using public clouds. As per the National Institute of Standards and Technology, providers offer their services in three standard models. The models include SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS (Gorelik, 2013). Infrastructure as a Software is online resources offered to customers through virtualization technology. They assist customers in constructing and managing their operations. Microsoft Azure is an excellent example of IaaS. Platform as a Service is an online platform that enables developers to build custom apps. An example of this is the Google App Engine. The computing models have several benefits to organizations and individuals, but they also come with potential disadvantages that people should consider.
SaaS is an acronym that stands for the term Software as a Service. It is one of the service models that cloud computing providers offer. It is a new computing platform that will soon render many traditional applications obsolete (Cusumano, 2010). It is also the most common service that individuals can also enjoy and make use of, unlike the other two, which are only available to select people and organizations. The service is easy to use and manage, and it has an immense scalability potential since it is available on the internet and does not require downloading on individual devices. This fact highly benefits people working in virtual teams and are in different geographical locations. A person must have an internet connection and a device on which the person can access the service.
The application could be anything, from unified communications to software that the individuals use in the office. A different company fully manages the SaaS products, from the data on the application to the servers on which it runs. As long as an online application offers a particular service to its customers, it is a SaaS. Examples of SaaS include Dropbox, an online file sharing and storage tool. Another famous example is Netflix, an online entertainment application that runs on the Amazon Web Service.
Benefits of SaaS
The main benefit of SaaS is that they are straightforward to set up and start using from whatever device there is an internet connection. SaaS is easily accessible, and anyone can access them from anywhere in the world. It is accessible as the application can run via an internet browser; hence there is no need to download and install it. Another reason why it is accessible is that it does not matter which operating system the user has, as anyone can run the application. The user does not need to adjust anything. This accessibility guarantees the versatility of the SaaS application.
The application can run on virtually any device, a desktop, a laptop, and a smartphone or tablet. Another benefit is that the vendor of the application can centrally update the software without really affecting the operations of the users as the app is on the cloud. This revelation goes against the assumption that software has to be compatible with the update first and requires various testing stages to ensure that the application runs smoothly. Therefore, the software avoids the slowness of the development cycle process, usually attributed to the testing. The updates applied by the vendor ensures that the security protocols and features of the SaaS remain functional all through.
The main disadvantage of SaaS is that they usually require a connection to the internet for the person to use the application. The need for an internet connection significantly affects the usability of the software as a person cannot access it without an internet connection. Many people around the world do not have an internet connection as of yet, and this means that the SaaS vendors still have a broad customer base, which they have not yet reached. Another disadvantage is that the users do not have any real control over the infrastructure the SaaS runs on, which is cloud-based. If the software provider experiences any technical hitches, so will the people who use the application. The issues can be significant in that they affect the normal business process that requires the SaaS, causing the company to incur losses.
The SaaS does not have sufficient data security, which is one of the top issues for organizations (Alzahrani et al., 2014). The SaaS should implement security measures before an organization can fully decide to make use of the SaaS and give sensitive information to third-party service providers, especially when accessing a mobile device. Low performance is another potential disadvantage as many of the SaaS run via a web browser from a remote data center. It may affect the performance of the application when compared t an application running on a desktop.
Cloud-Based Management System and Onsite Database
A cloud-based management system is an online database that facilitates the sharing of web infrastructure for software, infrastructure, and resources over a network. It uses the cloud as a storage location, making the database accessible from anywhere. According to Shende and Chapke (2015), a cloud-based management system offers computing not as a product but as a service. It also provides automated back-up and restores, unlike an onsite database. A person or an organization can run a cloud-based database in two ways, either as a virtual machine or the database as a service.
On the other hand, an onsite database refers to a physical databank, located on the premises of an organization. The organization usually has to back up data onto storage devices periodically. It is something tangible, and it is generally located in a separate dedicated room with servers and other machines, storing the information from the organization. It offers a less expensive option for data storage, and it provides immediate access to data since authorized personnel can physically go and access the information. It also does not require an internet connection for people to access the information, unlike the cloud-based option. The cloud-based database requires an internet connection to download the stored information. An individual would have to download data anytime the person uses a new device and needs the data.
Resources Provided with SaaS
The resources are applications that are ready for use and do not require any special adjustments. The user has to sign in and commence. There is no need to download them to the devices as one can access them online using a web browser. Some resources provided with SaaS include Dropbox, Google Apps and Docs, HubSpot, and DocuSign, to name a few.
A cloud computing vendor maintains the applications by continually updating them. Some of the apps like Google Docs can enhance a workforce’s productivity as it allows real-time editing and sharing of information within an organization. The SaaS applications are easily accessible on any device as long as they can connect to the internet. Businesses that make use of these resources streamline their operations and facilitate productivity in the ranks of its’ employees.
Cloud computing is a new method of computing that many organizations and individuals are transitioning to because it has a lot of benefits. Cloud computing models include SaaS. It is the most commonly used service as it is available for everyone, individuals, and organizations. The SaaS does not require the user to download it to a device as they can readily access it on the internet via an internet browser. SaaS has numerous benefits, and they include the fact that they are easy to use. They are readily accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. However, they also have some potential disadvantages, which consist of the fact that they require an internet connection to access. Users of the applications do not have control of the infrastructure the SaaS operates on, meaning that if the providers encounter any problem, so will the users. Security is also a potential disadvantage, as many organizations will look to store sensitive information on the cloud.
Alzahrani, A., Alalwan, N., & Sarrab, M. (2014). Mobile cloud computing. Proceedings of the 7th Euro American Conference on Telematics and Information Systems – EATIS ’14.
Cusumano, M. (2010). Cloud computing and SaaS as new computing platforms. Communications of the ACM, 53(4), 27-29.
Gorelik, E. (2013). Cloud computing models (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology).
Hayes, B. (2008). Cloud computing.
Shende, S. B., & Chapke, P. P. (2015). Cloud database management system (CDBMS). Compusoft, 4(1), 1462.