To subscribe or not to subscribe, that is the question. Many companies including Microsoft, Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud, have moved to a software as a service model. That means that you as a business owner don’t spend thousands of dollars up front to buy software Instead you pay a small monthly fee for the use of the software. It’s the difference between buying a new car and leasing one.
This approach has pros and cons for business owners who need software to run their business. It can be more convenient and less costly in the short term, but it can also present ongoing challenges and potential security concerns over time. Here are the pros and cons of using a software as a service provider.
Pros of Software as a Service
Pro: Smaller upfront cost
The obvious benefit is that you don’t need to pay a huge bill upfront. Software that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars might cost less than $20 monthly. That makes some software much more affordable and lowers the barrier to entry for many small to medium business owners.
Pro: The software is always being updated
You’ll never have to deal with out of date software because the company should consistently release updates and bug fixes. These will be installed either automatically, or at the click of a button. Keeping software updated can help protect against security breaches.
Pro: Pay only for what you use
In many software as a service models, you pay for the number of users you actually have. So if five computers in your office need the software you’ll pay for five users. If only one needs it, you’ll only pay for one. If the software is no longer useful, you can stop paying and give up access to the software.
Cons of Software As a Service
Con: Monthly fees forever
You’ll need to keep paying the monthly fee for as long as you use the software. That means you’ll never pay it off or own it. As soon as you stop paying you lose access. In some cases, you’ll also access to important files and information.
Con: The software is always changing
Because companies are always releasing updates, the software is always changing. In most cases, these changes are small, but sometimes you’ll have to deal with an unexpected or inconvenient large change with little or no notice.
Con: Nothing works without the internet
In most cases software as a service works only when you’re connected to the internet. If your service is unreliable, as it is for many business owners who operate outside of Maine’s major cities, you may find that the software is slow or unreliable as well.
Con: Possible security concerns
Most software as a service companies store your data remotely on their servers. This opens you up to security vulnerabilities if the company doesn’t adequately protect their systems. Since a major company storing the information of many businesses is a more attractive target than a small business storing only its own information, your data may be at risk. Only partner with companies you know and trust.
So, should you subscribe to software as a service?
Software as a service is a model that’s unlikely to go away anytime soon because it’s profitable for companies and convenient for business owners. Before entering into a software as a service agreement, do your homework. Make sure that the company you’re buying from has a strong track record of protecting client data.
If you need help deciding which software as a service is right for your business, contact your on-call IT department at Technology Solutions, Inc. Our expert technician will walk you through the pros and cons for your business, and even help you install and setup your new software.