What exactly is SaaS?

Explaining SaaS, including ‘is Netflix a SaaS?’

First, let’s cover off the question in this title: yes, Netflix is indeed a SaaS company that sells software to watch licensed videos on demand. It follows a subscription-based model whereby the customer chooses a subscription plan and pays a fixed sum of money to Netflix monthly or annually.

Laptop on right SaaS diagram on left - SaaS Explained - Technology Talk

SaaS isn’t a new concept.

It’s actually been a business model which stems from the 1960s. Back then, computers were enormous and expensive, so for many it was unrealistic to purchase one, never mind several – unless of course you were a large enterprise. But that’s pretty much how SaaS started – as a time-sharing system that enabled businesses to access modern computer systems.

So, what is Saas?

It may seem like just a trendy buzz word – but it’s far from it. SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service, is a software licensing and delivery service that you can access via your internet browser, mostly without the need to download anything onto your computer, laptop, or smartphone.
SaaS is usually subscription based, and the customer will pay a fixed amount monthly or annually for using the software. All the customer’s data is then kept in the SaaS provider’s data centre.

Also called cloud technology, SaaS is actually one of three main categories of cloud technology. The other two are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Email services that you commonly use like Gmail and Yahoo are other great examples of SaaS companies, alongside CRM and content creation companies such as Salesforce and Adobe.

Embracing the SaaS-based benefits

Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without cloud technology as social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp and even Netflix play their part in our everyday lives. When it comes to conducting business, cloud technology has enabled us to use our most productive tools over the internet, allowing you to work on documents, presentations or spreadsheets from anywhere, at any time.
However, many businesses in many industries have not yet fully embraced the potential of cloud, perhaps only utilising one or two services. When it comes to digital transformation, cloud offers a multitude of benefits and opportunities:

Most cloud computing services are based on a self-service, on demand model, so even a huge amount of computing resources can be gained in minutes, usually within a few clicks. This gives every business a lot of flexibility and takes the pressure off planning capacity.

Cloud technology offers the ability to scale when needed. In cloud terms, this means delivering the right amount of IT resources at the right time and in the right place.

Cloud technology makes vital tasks much easier, including backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery. This is because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the network of the cloud provider.

Many cloud providers offer a set of policies, technologies, and controls that improve your overall security, protecting your data and proving compliance with industry regulations.

Better collaboration
Cloud enables businesses to communicate and collaborate in a single unified environment. The ability to access data anywhere, at any time, means your business can work in real time from a central digital location, saving on duplicate data and ensuring everyone has the right access to the information they need.

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