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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How Can SaaS Benefit a Small to Medium Sized Business?

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There are a lot of digital “ink” about specific SaaS products/services on the web. This post takes a step back to look generally at the data center of a typical SMB to see where SaaS can fit.

Big Dreams and Small Budgets

That’s the IT challenge of smaller businesses. The management team has to put the money where it will do the greatest good. The IT budget often goes months (years?) without being significantly increased. Yet, technology can be a great maximizer.

Services Needed

As state in our main website: All organizations have a need for a common set of services: Authentication, File & Print, Secure Email, Security, and Auditing. The smaller the business, the less likely there is for a dedicated IT person. Yet, their IT needs still need to be met.

Blend of Systems

Traditionally, smaller organizations have just a few servers performing all the data processing services needed. As the data increased and the throughput suffered, additional servers are added to balance the load. To further complicate matters, the organization often adds new services. Here’s the problem: usually the IT staff does not grow. They either add the service with minimal training or they bring in an outside consultant to install and configure the service. Either way, they have a “black box” in the rack. Oh, they still have to support all those new desktops and keeping them all patched and secure.

The Great Equalizer

In the 19th century the Colt repeating pistol leveled the field. The smaller could no longer be intimidated by the larger. Today, services no longer have to be running on expensive hardware sitting in a local computer room. As long as the business gets reliable access to them, who cares where they are housed?

Options:

Redundant Server for Business Continuity – You have critical data on a server in your data center but, are concerned about 24/7 availability. A full-blown redundant data center is costly to install, maintain and connect to your data center. You can now have a fully-functional redundant server at a MSP. Your existing Microsoft server’s data is duplicated to the redundant server. If access to your server is interrupted, all access is seamlessly redirected to the redundant server. We will be offering such a service over the next months. If you are interested before then, contact us.

Hosted Servers

Hardware, power, cooling, administrative time are all expensive. You can now specify size, IP addresses and other unique characteristics you need in a Microsoft server and have it available for use at a MSP in 15 minutes. We will be offering such a service over the next months. If you are interested before then, contact us.

Services Only

Many services are easily managed without the need for additional hardware. Email security, encryption, business continuity and archiving are among the earlist services that SMBs often delegate with financial benefit. Web security is also now available as a SaaS without any hardware requirements.

SaaS does not only benefit the smaller organizations. In fact, large organizations are often the first adopters of SaaS. Smaller organizations are so busy bailing the boat, they often don’t have time to fix the leak!

Next Steps

  • What servers are coming up for end of life? Can the services be delegated? Aren’t sure, contact us.
  • Look to add a service? Can it reliably be obtained as a SaaS? Try it out.
  • Concerned about business continuity or backups? That can definitely be done at a significant savings.

Should you throw everything out and go completely SaaS? Of course not. A Blend of Systems is the smart way to go. However, smart money is on the gradual migration from the proprietary data center to services or virtual servers in MSPs.


Posted on : Sep 09 2008
Tags: , ,
Posted under Email, Email security, Managed Services, On-line backup, SaaS |


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