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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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Critical Questions to Ask your Potential SaaS Provider

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So, you’re considering signing up with a SaaS provider. You may have even gotten some quotes on the service you are considering. How do you choose among the prospective vendors? Here are 10 questions you should ask your prospective (or current) SaaS provider:

1. Existing customers and deployment size — This is a good test for their longevity and their support organization.

  • How many customers do they have? Are they just starting or have they been around for years? Will you get lost in the crowd or are you the beta site?
  • Customers of what size? Are you going to be the biggest they have? The smallest? Your business is critical to you. Is it to them?

2. Service renewal rates — What is it going to cost you for the service?

  • What are the subscription costs year after year?
  • Can you expect the rates to be the same as the “deal” they made you initially?
  • Can you get a break on the prices if you sign for a multi-year contract?

3. Financial strength — How strong is the company that provides the service?

  • Is this their only revenue stream?
  • How long have they been in business?

4. Availability of integration capabilities — What is it going to take to integrate this SaaS with the rest of your environment?

  • Will this work with your existing system?
  • How much work will it take to get it to work?

5. Ability to customize the SaaS application — Is the application customizable to fit your needs?

  • Are you going to have to fit in to some other organizations view of the world or can you tweak it to fit your needs?
  • At what cost?

6. Global datacenter footprint — Can they cover all your locations?

  • Where are their data centers?
  • Your company has gone global. Can you get the SaaS where you are?

7. Availability of training — Training is critical on any new application.

  • What is it going to take to get your IT staff up to speed on the service?
  • At what cost?

8. Quality and presence of customer support — Who ya gonna call?

  • Where is their support staff located?
  • Are they available when you need them?
  • Do they understand the product?
  • Can you understand them?

9. Frequency of major and minor updates — Are you stuck with a static application?

  • How often do they modify the application?
  • What happens when you have a suggestion?

10. Service level commitments and actual performance — Do they back up their SLA?

  • You have seen the bragging and logo slides. How far will “your mileage vary” from the claims?
  • What is actually promised?
  • What kind of penalties are there if they don’t perform?

Consider the answers to these questions well. Your precious data will be in their hands.


Posted on : Nov 04 2008
Tags: ,
Posted under SaaS, Security |


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