Friday, December 7, 2012

Tips to Select a SaaS Vendor

SaaS or software-as-a-service offers plenty of benefits to mid sized and small organizations. SaaS opens the door to everyone so that all the powerful technologies can be employed in small organizations with a minimum financial commitment. This has opened up new doors for small organizations that were far behind in using latest technologies. Though SaaS can boast of its many wonders, it does have some perils. More companies are used to handling outdated software and so, they have no experience in handling the all new SaaS solutions.
SaaS works in a new way and does not follow the traditional methods. Each business problem has a new SaaS solution and it is vital to learn the nook and corner of every criteria and feature related to SaaS. While choosing a SaaS vendor, you need to pay some extra attention to several factors like: 

Free Trial
Check to see if they allow you to handle a free trial. The all new product in your hands does require some trial period so that you get to learn more about it. The trial has to be with a minimum commitment because all you have to do is plug the wires and play SaaS via the internet connection. A good SaaS vendor will definitely give you a free trial for a couple of months. Two important reasons for offering a free trial are:
     ·         They are not paying attention to a quick sale
     ·         They have no idea of retaining you for a short period of time
SaaS vendors are benefited only when you stay with them for a long time which is only possible when they please a customer.

Security
With SaaS, you need to have that extra eye on security. Why do you think your data will be safe in another party’s data center? Can you be sure that your data travels safe while going through the internet lines? These kinds of queries are sure to rise and so, you need to clear these with your vendor. Check with the company if they are having details about security protocols and infrastructure documented. If yes, check if they are willing to share it with you. As a buyer you need to pay attention to the following security alerts:
     ·         If it meets the industry standard of .128 bit encryption
     ·         Security records
     ·         Arrangements for disaster management
     ·         Physical measures like surveillance, facilities, guards and others


Password Protection
Your SaaS form has to be shared within the company premises, outside the company, with partners, multiple employees or even customers. Hence, it is important to check if the right details are accessed by the right people at the appropriate time. Permission and Password protection system is a wonderful solution to fix this issue. Take a look at some steps involved in password protection:
     ·         The password and permission must be easy to remember and administer
     ·         Administrative responsibility of delegating  has to be allowed by the system
    ·        You should have data of all who logged in, the login time and the information they               accessed along with the changes they made
     ·         Assigning jobs must be permitted. For example: write/read/delete

Backup
Mirror servers or backups - make sure that they have backup of all the data. In case the original one crashes or faces some other kind of technical difficulty the mirror server can be used. It is your duty to check with the vendor if they have a mirror server to which data gets automatically loaded. This will make sure that you and your business is not disturbed by any of the technical difficulties.

Service
Relationship with your SaaS vendor is an ongoing process which is related to something more than technology and its improvements. You will have to settle down with a vendor who maintains healthy relationships and helps you in solving problems related to SaaS. Check if your vendor does the following:
     ·         A vendor must offer training for free or for a minimal rate. Double check on the cost of training and confirm with other vendors as well
    ·    Similarly, they should extend their hand in documenting. Verify if they have a computerized engine which can provide resolutions to certain queries.  SaaS is expected to have frequent updates, and so it is vital that the vendor is in par with the latest advancements
      ·         Last but not the least; they should have a proper customer support center. Make a note of their timings, locations if any, chat support and others

Conclusion
When you are in the vendor selection process, clarify all your doubts, make comparisons and finally settle down for the best with confidence. SaaS is a groundbreaking solution which grows along with your business and makes you achieve new heights.

Author's Bio: Robin Mckenzie of  www.buycenturylink.com, a site that offers savings and current information on consumers' broadband internet and cable.

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