Welcome to SaaS thoughts

Whether you call it Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Service Provider (MSP) or On-Demand Services, your organization uses the service running “in the cloud”. This blog will discuss these services, their benefits, drawbacks and operations. Are we biased? Yes. We believe that some services make sense for most organizations. Email security is one of those. However as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, even this one.” Each Tuesday we will post information and questions about Software as a Service. Occasionally, we will have a "Guest Post" from either a consultant or vendor posting her/his thoughts on Managed Services generally as well as some degree of specificity based on her/his unique perspective. We encourage your insights, comments and feedback. Welcome.

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Concern about SaaS – Retrieve-ability


Our “Future of SaaS” Survey had been open for a short time and the trend of the responses to the question: Are There Any Concerns or Reluctance to Using Cloud-based Services? became clear. Even though the remaining options are getting votes, the top four answers are as we expected.

  • Security – Does anyone have unauthorized access to my data in the “cloud”? (64% of respondents)
  • Uptime – Can I get to my data when I need to? (61%)
  • Data Ownership – Who owns our data? (55%)
  • Retrieve-ability – Can we retrieve our data if we want to take it back on-premise? (42%)

Respondents are permitted to select more than one concern.

We saw some shifting in the relative ranking of these top four but, these four always stayed on top. We will discuss Retrieve-ability in this last in the series of blog posts.

Click the link to download the results in our Whitepaper- The Future of SaaS – Survey Results.

Can we get our data back?

For most organizations, once they move to a SaaS provider for their hosted service, there is little need to move again. We have a renewal/retention rate of over 95% with our clients across our various vendor partners. The remaining 5% usually go out of business or get purchased.

The is important question of retrieve-ability is one that people ask while they are exploring potential SaaS providers to be sure they are not on a one-way road with a hosting provider. There are two primary reasons for ensuring that you can get your data back:

  1. You wish to take the application back on-premise
  2. For whatever reason, you wish to change hosting vendors

In either case, you need to get your data back in a useful format. We have encountered one email archive vendor that only allows data extraction in PDF format which is worthless in a host migration.

Technically, you should be able to import/export your data from a hosted system just as you would an on-premise system. The only difference should be the physical location of the server.

Important considerations

Whatever the reason, be sure you understand the time-frame involved in the export. Some hosting services have a policy that once you stop their service, there is no guarantee that your data will be available for export. Be sure your service time includes enough time for your transition time before you stop the service.

Specific questions to ask:

  1. What does it take to export our data?
  2. What export formats are available?
  3. Can we export ourselves or must we depend on a vendor’s back-end engineers to do the export?
  4. What is the cost of the export?
  5. How rapidly can the export be done?

Final Thoughts

Just as in the previous post on Data Ownership, it is your data regardless whether held in your data center or on a virtual server in the cloud. To make a long blog shorter, the legal dictum, Vox emissa volat, litera scripta manet. (While words spoken may fly away, what is written remains.) is still wise. In other words, “Get it in writing!”

So, how do you become comfortable with a potential SaaS vendor? Ask questions and read the SLA. Contrast their solution among vendors and your on-premise solution. For a list of good questions to ask, read our, Critical Questions to Ask a Potential SaaS Provider.

To discuss cloud-based services for your organization, email us or call us at 770-603-0300. Click the link to download the results in our Whitepaper- The Future of SaaS – Survey Results.


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