SAAS (Software as a Service)

Short for Software as a Service, SaaS is a software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service. Software as a Service allows organizations to access business functionality at a cost typically less than paying for licensed applications since SaaS pricing is based on a monthly fee. Also, because the software is hosted remotely, users don't need to invest in additional hardware. Software as a Service removes the need for organizations to handle the installation, set-up and often daily upkeep and maintenance. Software as a Service may also be referred to as simply hosted applications. See related term ASP.

Short for Storage as a Service, SaaS is a term used to describe a storage model where a business or organization (the client) rents or leases storage space from a third-party provider. Data is transferred from the client to the service provider via the Internet and the client would then access their stored data using software provided by the storage provider. The software is used to perform common tasks related to storage, such as data backups and data transfers. Storage as a Service is popular with SMBs because there are usually no start-up costs (e.g., servers, hard disks, IT staff and so on) involved. Businesses pay for the service based only on the amount of storage space used. Storage as a Service may also be called hosted storage. See related term Storage Service Provider.

SaaS, or Software as a Service, describes any cloud service where consumers are able to access software applications over the internet. The applications are hosted in the cloud and can be used for a wide range of tasks for both individuals and organisations. Google, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all examples of SaaS, with users able to access the services via any internet enabled device. Enterprise users are able to use applications for a range of needs, including accounting and invoicing, tracking sales, planning, performance monitoring and communications (including webmail and instant messaging).



SaaS is often referred to as software-on-demand and utilising it is akin to renting software rather than buying it. With traditional software applications you would purchase the software upfront as a package and then install it onto your computer. The software's licence may also limit the number of users and/or devices where the software can be deployed. Software as a Service users, however, subscribe to the software rather than purchase it, usually on a monthly basis. Applications are purchased and used online with files saved in the cloud rather than on individual computers.

There are a number of reasons why SaaS is beneficial to organisations and personal users alike

No additional hardware costs: the processing power required to run the applications is supplied by the cloud provider.
No initial setup costs: applications are ready to use once the user subscribes.
Pay for what you use: if a piece of software is only needed for a limited period then it is only paid for over that period and subscriptions can usually be halted at any time.
Usage is scalable: if a user decides they need more storage or additional services, for example, then they can access these on demand without needing to install new software or hardware.
Updates are automated: whenever there is an update it is available online to existing customers, often free of charge. No new software will be required as it often is with other types of applications and the updates will usually be deployed automatically by the cloud provider.
Cross device compatibility: SaaS applications can be accessed via any internet enabled device, which makes it ideal for those who use a number of different devices, such as internet enabled phones and tablets, and those who don't always use the same computer.
Accessible from any location: rather than being restricted to installations on individual computers, an application can be accessed from anywhere with an internet enabled device.
Applications can be customised and whitelabelled: with some software, customisation is available meaning it can be altered to suit the needs and branding of a particular customer.