SaaS (Software as a Service) is a term that has become more popular with the rise of the cloud, even though SaaS predates the cloud by decades. SaaS has had a long history in the computing world but is now most commonly used for cloud storage and business inter-connectivity. Let us go over what SaaS really is, the history, and some common examples of what they are used for today.
SaaS is software that is used like any other everyday service, akin to the Wi-Fi coverage we have become accustomed to. These are centrally hosted with software usually distributed through subscriptions. SaaS comes in two main varieties, vertical and horizontal. A vertical SaaS is a specific software tailored to one business or industry. Horizontal SaaS is broader, as software that can be used in most businesses. Today, a business could feasibly run entirely off of SaaS. Cloud-based programs have created a way to leave the worries of on-site management in the dust.
The history of SaaS, known as Utility Computing back then, started in the 1960’s with IBM. It was a humble start managing database storage and offing extra computing power to data centers around the world. They stayed that way until the 1990’s when ASPs (Application Service Providers), the precursor to SaaS, distributed software to businesses worldwide. When Software as a Service diverged from ASPs a couple major changes happened. SaaS featured in-house software that was built and managed by the company distributing it. While ASP programs had to be installed on a machine, SaaS programs could be access on the web.
As I have said before, businesses can get everything through SaaS. Arguably the most well know SaaS is Microsoft Office 365 which offers the necessities for any fledgling business or a complete package for businesses that need it. Contained within is just about anything a business could ever need including email, storage, and the programs within Office like Excel and Word. Amazon Web Services and Google Apps are other great examples, offering 100+ services in total. Of course, there are many others, but these three are some of the largest and most encompassing. We recommend Microsoft Office 365, as it is generally seen as most secure and we believe it to be the most user friendly.
SaaS has come a long way and will continue to progress forward as time goes on. Soon we may start seeing large multi-billion-dollar businesses held up by only a single SaaS. As for now though if your business needs any sort of program there is probably a SaaS for that.
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