Your SaaS Provider's Infrastructure: Like Your Own Systems ... On Steroids

Gary Levine - Talking with hundreds of companies over the past year about our stock plan and corporate governance applications, we've seen the "tectonic shift" that some analysts have referred to with regard to the acceptance of SaaS applications in the business application market. Even Bill Gates has referred to it as a "sea change" that has arrived and the Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie, has been pushing it as inevitable. Perhaps the change in attitude started with Salesforce.com and Google Apps, with a slight nudge from Youtube, Facebook, and Craig's List, but it has clearly arrived. Having watched the change in attitudes and acceptance from real buyers between the beginning of 2007 and today, I wondered what has accounted for the shift in the acceptance of online applications by somewhat conservative business, financial and legal executives who are generally not technology "early adopters."

The primary impetus is that most internal IT executives, the ones that need to make the decision on whether to sign off on a new SaaS application, now are proponents of hosted applications and agree that in most cases SaaS applications have as good or better systems infrastructure as they could provide for their own internally installed applications. But, what is the cause of their shift in attitudes between 2006 and 2007? Infrastructure improvements.

First, the bar has been raised for the standard offerings from the top hosting providers that now offer a level of reliability, redundancy, security, and data backup that is difficult for a single company to match. Second, the bar has been raised for software application providers so that every enterprise level business application must offer an infrastructure that is properly configured, tested and hosted at a leading hosting provider. There is no longer any excuse for downtime from a SaaS provider of mission critical business applications. Whether you are Salesforce.com, RIM Blackberry, or Two Step Software, customers expect the same standard for service level agreements and zero downtime. Not to say it can't happen despite the highest levels of technology diligence, as we have experienced from almost every one of Two Step's SaaS providers, but every step should be taken to reduce the risk.

There are five basic areas to think about when looking at a SaaS provider:

  1. Security: Physical on-premise security; personnel selection; user authentication; and preventing unauthorized access
  2. Redundancy: power supplies; internet access; hardware, and failover systems
  3. Monitoring: 24/7 application, server, network, and user access
  4. Back Up: Daily and intermittent on-site and off-site backups
  5. Getting Your Data: Retrieval of data when service ends

For instance, at Two Step Software, we use one of the nation's leading managed hosting providers that offers a zero downtime guarantee and provides a level of physical, operational, and system security that would be difficult for any business to match. (see: http://www.twostep.com/solutions/install_options.asp) It's like your own systems, on steroids with redundant internet access, back-up power supplies, physical and online access security, redundant hardware as well as back up inventory, 24/7 monitoring, and daily data backups.

We believe that once you find an application that satisfies your business requirements, you shouldn't have to worry about the application hosting infrastructure. Let your SaaS provider focus on the details of delivering a reliable and high performance infrastructure so you can focus on your business needs. Although you can't take a walk through your SaaS vendor's hosting location, look for a SaaS provider with an excellent reputation and one that offers a technical infrastructure that you feel is superior to your own. Then, rest easy.

Gary D. Levine, President and CEO
Two Step Software, Inc.
www.CapitalizationMatters.com

This blog

by Gary Levine - Gary Levine is the CEO and Founder of Two Step Software which provides market leading solutions for stock plan administration and corporate governance. His perspective is based on 20 years of experience.

 

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

42441

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

74644

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

47418

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

87063
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
19930

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

54529

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

79188

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

24525

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

62927

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

33907
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
100924
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
25187

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

51386
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
27008
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
31327

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

98299

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

32510

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

109184

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

59624

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

38555
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
65492

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

91317

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

52400