If you’re on the market for a new software solution, you’re fully aware of the numerous kinds of software available. The one you’re probably seeing more and more frequently these days is cloud and SaaS software – and for good reason! Though cloud software and cloud solutions have been around for almost 20 years now, public sector is now latching onto the concept.
“For many, cloud adoption is no longer an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’ The benefits of the public cloud are becoming too great to ignore,” said David Smith, CEO of Teradici, in a Forbes article titled ‘Government In The Cloud: Adoption Has Become Safer And Smarter.’
So, if you want to stay ahead of the technology curve and stop operating on software created to function in 1996, let’s dive into what true-cloud software is, how it can benefit you and your jurisdiction and how to procure for it.
What is cloud software?
In the simplest of terms, it means delivering services through the internet rather than through on-premise software loaded onto your server. That means no hardware has to be installed on your personal computer to access the software. All you need is an internet connection! (Really, that’s all you need.)
Okay, I understand cloud software. What’s a SaaS software solution?
So, SaaS stands for ‘Software as a Service’, and this is a kind of cloud computing. By definition, SaaS is “a software distribution model in which a service provider hosts applications for customers and makes them available to these customers via the internet.” You probably use a SaaS application every day. Some common examples of this model are Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, Google Drive, Eventbrite and Netflix. See? This sort of software isn’t as foreign as you might have believed! Here are the main four points you need to know about SaaS:
So, is this the same as a hosted software solution?
No. Hosted basically means you purchase and own a software version that is ‘hosted’ at a remote data center. The hosted software then has to be installed on your servers much like legacy on-premise systems. By subscribing to this sort of application that is simply hosted at another company, you experience many of the same problems and costs as if it were on-premise—only worse that access is typically slower than if you had the software installed on your own servers. And now you have even more dependence on third party IT to fix problems.
There are actually several questions you can ask yourself when trying to discern whether a software solution is true-cloud or “fake-cloud” AKA a hosted solution.
If the vendor’s answer is NO to any of these questions, scrap the launch and look for a true cloud solution.
Is it really secure?
Absolutely, yes. In fact, it’s actually significantly more secure than on-premise legacy software. With the rise in cyberattacks on local governments, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity is a top priority for governments. Actually, according to a study by Government Technology, it’s been the No. 1 concern for states, cities and counties for five consecutive years. True-cloud software providers often have extra protection for government data like continuous security monitoring of physical networks, 24-hour surveillance of data centers with managed physical access, no direct access to the database and two-factor authentication. Also, very few governments have the ability to dedicate the time, money and resources to security and maintenance as a cloud provider, so more often than not, a SaaS platform is a security upgrade.
Now that you have some background on what a true-cloud solution is and isn’t, let’s talk about the benefits for you and your jurisdiction.
How do I procure for the cloud? Ask the right questions!
A shift to the cloud is a departure from traditional purchasing processes. It is imperative that processes and policies are put into place to specifically evaluate and vet cloud software solutions.
If you’re interested in seeing firsthand how true-cloud software can benefit your jurisdiction, click below.