A new buzz word heard more and more in IT communities is SaaS – which stands for “Software as a Service”. What is SaaS? The best known application which fits a SaaS model is Salesforce.com, which provides extensive contract and account tracking for sales professionals using a web based approach, with all the data stored by Salesforce.com. Each company using this application pays a subscription fee per user, and can access the data from anywhere and at any time, as long as an Internet connection is present.
Software-as-a-service takes the onus for upgrades, data and server maintenance, installation etc off of the end customer and makes it part of the value the company receives from the software vendor.
The data generated by the end users is said to live “in the cloud”, which refers to a data center or hosting facility managed by the SaaS vendor. This means it is consolidated and all accessible from one place, instead of being resident in partial form in multiple PC hard drives across the network.
Given the success of Salesforce.com, many other SaaS model companies are popping up with great value propositions and solid offerings. Some of these are security-as-a service offerings which provide added protection for enterprises that don’t want to maintain these applications on site. Still others, such as startup HealthHiway which focuses on hospital patient data and billing are adding value by managing business critical, data intensive functions that used to be managed via on premise server banks and resident applications.
What does this mean for your network? First of all, a fast WAN connection so that data can be retrieved quickly is going to become essential in the coming years. This means your “pipe” leading into each enterprise building must be capable of handling lots of data (cat 5e or better is recommended), and your relationship with your service provider will be mission critical. Be sure to choose a package and provider who can handle ever growing traffic needs.
Last but not least, this means that your need for new servers and personnel to maintain those servers will be reduced by the extent you choose to embrace the new SaaS models for your business. This will allow you to focus on the business, and less on maintenance intensive activities.
If your infrastructure is not up to the SaaS challenge, now is the time to call professional structured cabling installers to make sure you can take advantage of this exciting, new trend.
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