4 Tips for Choosing a SaaS Provider

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Software as a Service, or SaaS, has revolutionized the way businesses are able to function.  Removing the need to own and maintain on-site servers has represented a considerable cost saving, not to mention increased redundancy and availability.

SaaS has been a game changer for sure, but not all SaaS providers are created equal.  Let’s look at four of the most important things to focus on when shopping for a SaaS provider.

Determine the Provider’s Uptime Reliability

If you’re going to pay someone to host your services online, you want to make sure that they’ll be available when you need them.  Uptime, or the percentage of time a SaaS provider’s services are accessible, is one of the most important considerations because losing access to business-critical applications costs time and money.

There’s a couple of critical factors involved here: the first is understanding how they maintain the uptime they guarantee in the contract.  Do they have mirrored servers distributed in different geographic regions so that your access won’t be interrupted by some disaster affecting your primary data center?  Does their uptime guarantee just cover system issues, or also internet-related issues like routing problems or ISP downtime? Do their scheduled maintenance periods get factored into the uptime guarantee?

Closely Read Their Service Level Agreement

Uptime is just one of the things the SaaS provider’s SLA (Service Level Agreement) should cover.  This statement should also include a description of the full list or services they will provide you, support options, the amount of bandwidth and system resources allocated to your hosted services, and more.

Make sure you look over the SLA, so you know what you’re paying for, and determine if you are getting everything you need, and what their options are for higher-level packages.  It also goes without saying that you should shop around and compare prices, and make sure you keep your eyes open for hidden costs.

Check Up on The Saas Provider’s Reputation

As we said earlier, all SaaS providers are not created equal, and many people have found out the hard way that just because a provider promises a certain level of service or security doesn’t mean they’re able to live up to that agreement.  Make sure you find a provider who has a strong industry reputation, look into whether they’ve had any significant problems like widespread, prolonged outages or data breaches, and seek out the opinions of people who have done business with them in the past.

Be Aware of The Security Considerations

There’s been a massive increase in news stories about massive data breaches in recent years, and make no mistake: hackers see SaaS providers as desirable targets.  For this reason, many companies are still unwilling to give up their in-house data centers because they don’t feel comfortable storing their data on servers they don’t own and probably won’t ever have physical access to.

Security is one area you absolutely can’t skimp on, and you have to ask all the right questions.  What security measures do they have in place to prevent hacking attacks?  What do they do to control physical access to the servers storing your data?  Are their employees able to access your data, and if so, which ones? Have they had any security breaches in the past?  Have they ever had issues losing a customer’s data?

Conclusion

Whether you’re in the market for an email provider, print shop software, retail transaction processing, or anything else, SaaS is a terrific, low-cost option that makes enterprise services available to businesses on any budget.  By following the tips above, you can be assured you find the most robust, reliable SaaS provider for your needs.

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