SAAS, otherwise known as software as a service or software on demand, is a type of software that is delivered over the Internet that's executed behind a local area network's (LAN's) or personal computer's (PC's) firewall. SAAS is advantageous to lots of online-based or Internet-enabled companies because it's a service-on-demand that can be licensed by providers to customers on a subscription basis. More to the point, it's a type of application that's licensed to customers using a "pay-as-you-go" model reminiscent of many other subscription-based products in the market.
Increasingly, many SAAS products are being offered at no charge whenever there's a chance to create revenue streams other than directly from the user (for example, user list sales and advertisement revenue). This method to software delivery is typically categorized under cloud computing and considered as part of the utility computing model, wherein the Internet is considered the medium of delivery for the service and all the technology is taken within the "cloud" or virtual space (hence the term "cloud computing"). Accessing software through the so-called cloud has many benefits and advantages compared to getting software through obsolete mediums like buying a CD of it through the store.
To be more specific, cloud computing and SAAS is advantageous because there's reduced time to market the product, it's a lot more reliable in terms of delivery and instant use, many possible security improvements, the service often includes system maintenance (vulnerability patches, updates, and backup) with the product, rapid scalability, it's pay-per-use and subscription-based, there's no local server installation, and it's accessible in any place that has an Internet connection (just like your email, for example). The existence of SAAS doesn't just herald the dawn of the paperless office, it's also making way for the diskless office, or even an altogether virtual office wherein all your software, files, and information are located in the cloud, which increases cost-effectiveness in manifold ways.
Moreover, SAAS is characterized by its centralized feature updating, one-to-many model of application delivery, frequent integration to a bigger network of communication programs, network-based access to commercial software, and activity management from centralized locations. With that said, anyone who had ever run a server or are aware of the pitfalls and possibilities of information technology should know by now why cloud computing and the SAAS model of software delivery is inherently risky business. Theoretically, anything online can and will be stolen, destroyed, manipulated, or damaged on a whim by unethical hackers and master crackers on the worldwide web with little to no motivation except boredom.
SAAS by design is a security risk and any company that has high security requirements are more than a little justified in being leery about depending completely on this software delivery model. Nevertheless, even though it's a young technology at present, its pros outweighs its cons for most corporations who are interested in streamlining their operations, so it's also only natural for it to improve on its questionable security as time goes by and technology marches on.
Because SAAS is a relatively new technology with many inherent security risks, it's best that you avail of the Cloud Penetrator and its web vulnerability scanning capabilities.
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