Great article in Arstechnica. What is the limit of Saas provision?
I have written a number of Saas / Cloud strategy documents for clients, the common theme is Cloud will do everything and do it for less.
Not the case. There is a benefit going with a Saas strategy, but benefits are not necessary the ones the client first thought of. The article points out many real outcomes that can be achieved.
The Cloud is not anything special, it’s just someone else’s data centre. However, the benefits come from putting the burden of management on to someone elses plate.
From the article Ortwein claims that using “top-of-class cloud software in any category” can cut that inefficiency in operating costs by 30 percent, Here’s how:
- Increase user productivity by moving shadow IT and legacy software to a best-in-class cloud service portfolio
- Apply balance between “Safe but useless” and “Useful but risky” with relevant standards and policies for semi-managed devices and services
- Reduce complexity using 100% cloud services enabled to run a lean network and leverage security built into the cloud
- Allow global work with customers by integrating global Data Protection and IT Security Laws as part of any solution
- Enable a cloud-based User Identity Lifecycle for employees, contractors and customers
- Deploy an IT Service Management Process centred around a central Service Catalogue with meaningful SLAs and harmonised processes
- Reduce risk exposure by establishing an active security program with a solid compliance plan
Besides a differential in how much is spent, SaaS helps companies tip the balance in budgets from capital expenses and discretionary spending to operating expenses.
While SaaS can help eliminate some of the security issues associated with shadow IT and unintended software, it brings its own security concerns along with it. When they want to protect sensitive data, different enterprises have different views about the security of SaaS vs. on-site solutions. While many companies are more than happy enough to move their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), payroll, and benefits systems to SaaS solutions, they will keep their core financial systems and more sensitive HR data inside their firewall.
An important security prerequisite for SasS is the use of an identity management platform for the cloud—software that links users’ authentication privileges to a single sign-on throughout the enterprise, such as Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory, Ping Identity’s PingOne, Okta’s Identity and Mobility Management, and OneLogIn Inc.’s eponymous package. These services give IT organisations a way to manage the life-cycle of user accounts, from hiring to departure, and make it simpler to securely add a new service to the network and for users have all applications on one portal.
The best way to move to SaaS is to systematically set company priorities where the benefit is the greatest first. First, focus on standard applications like productivity software, email, and telephony—applications that have a history of success as SaaS and also have an immediate benefit in terms of ensuring security and reduction of management costs.
Next, focus on more bespoke enterprise software that connects departments to each other and to customers and vendors.
Lastly, make a decision about how best to deploy sensitive data as a service. And in all cases, development and staging environments should remain within corporate firewalls.