What is it?

Instead of buying software for each computer and installing it, a business can pay to subscribe to the software online. To use software as a service, users have to log-in through the software company’s portal in a web browser that is providing the service. From there, users can access the software and data needed such as Office 365 and QuickBooks.  When a business uses software as a service, payments are usually made monthly to “rent” the software package.

What are the Advantages?

One advantage with this service is that users have global accessibility from any computer to the business’s data and software. Another advantage is that employees always have access to the latest versions of the software- without having to update hardware. Any updates, licensing, or maintenance are done by the software service company. Because the software is not installed on the computer, computers using the service do not have to be as powerful, and most any computer is compatible with the service. All the latest versions of the software are hosted on the software company’s server, eliminating the need for a business to own a server.

What are the Disadvantages?

One disadvantage of this type of service is if the business loses Internet, software and corresponding data are inaccessible- leaving the business with downtime. Even though the business can use less powerful computers, it will need a faster, and more expensive, Internet package. Software as a service is a monthly commitment, and missing a payment will result in not being able to access it. There may be an increased security risk with those using the service-based software. Because employees are able to access data on devices outside of the workplace, this leaves more room for security breaches. The company that provides the service will also carry all the usernames, passwords, and payment info for your business. Consequently, if that company has a security breach, yours may be compromised as well.

The Bottom Line

Choosing whether to buy and install software on your business’s computers or “rent” it from a company is something that is specific to your business’s needs and industry regulations. Computer Experts can provide IT consultation for what would best suit your business’s needs. There are advantages and disadvantages to software as a service, but ultimately only you as a business owner can make that decision to “rent” or to own.

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