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Finding the safest place for your software—on-site or SaaS

JimGardner ‎08-30-2013 10:50 AM - edited ‎08-30-2013 10:53 AM

In a few months, my son will arrive at an important rite of passage when he gains his driver’s license. My awareness (and concern) about him driving, combined with the recent crash of Asiana flight 214 in San Francisco,  reminds me of the contrasts we tend to feel regarding the relative safety and security of these different modes of transportation. I think most of us are aware statistically that we are far safer flying than driving. But in our minds driving is safer because we feel competent behind the wheel (it’s always the ‘other idiot’, right?) and we are in control of the vehicle. 




We are simply safer because we are the masters of our own destiny.  Right? (Insert chirping crickets here).  In many ways, this same attitude reflects the response of some CIO’s to implementing Software as a Service. There are several myths about SaaS, these are perceived disadvantages that in many ways are not so much an issue of empirical fact (actual safety of commercial flight) but of perception and control (confidence when driving). Here are some examples:



The availability and performance of SaaS solutions is of critical importance to enterprises. Yet incurring the cost of heating, cooling, maintaining, and upgrading software really lends no additional guarantee of uptime when compared to a qualified and well-vetted Software as a Service provider offering the same or similar solution.


It only feels like you have more control when in fact the solution is just as much at risk, or more so, than when delivered as a Service. HP SaaS for instance, offers SLA of up to 99.9 percent on most solutions, while reducing costs and assuring seamless software upgrades. When you leave the driving to SaaS, it’s less effort and perhaps even more reliable.


Data Security

Data security is one of the most talked about issues surrounding Software as a Service and cloud computing. Reputations can be destroyed in an instant with a breach, and liability can be debilitating. As a result, many CIOs use security as an impenetrable barrier to the consideration of SaaS. They use a   ‘devil they see to the devil you can’t’ justification for their position. Of course, a SaaS vendor like HP with a fully-staffed security team and audits for virtual and physical security can offer more resources devoted to security than most enterprises can.


While I am mixing my metaphors here, managing data security the old way is like keeping your money in your mattress where you can see it, instead of in a vault, where it is safer, but less visible. No customer wants their data in a proverbial mattress.


Disaster recovery

And what happens when something goes wrong? Hurricanes, tornadoes, acts of God and acts of war are all around us. There is a pervasive sense of discomfort and unease in the world today and the risks—real and imaged—are around us every day. We respond by holding what is important to us close at hand. In the case of a disaster, this is the worst possible scenario.


The costs and resources necessary to maintain duplicate capabilities is sometime necessary with core capabilities.  But for most functions within IT, Disaster Recovery is better managed by a SaaS vendor with multiple sites. Like security above, a professional SaaS organization is often the better choice when compared to a “brave go it alone” approach when you are riding out a storm—literally or figuratively.



Like choosing driving over flying, holding onto a false sense of control is often the root of the strongest objections to SaaS and cloud than are the stated reasons of performance and security. A proven and trusted SaaS vendor, in addition to being easier, cheaper, faster and more scalable; is often the less risky choice as well.  And if you choose to fly SaaS on HP’s cloud, I can guarantee you that you’ll go first class.

About the Author


Jim is a technology marketer with over two decades experience in product launch, branding, and product marketing

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