SaaS + Appliances = Possible Peace of Mind

Ann All

One of the nagging worries that has many companies on the fence about software-as-a-service is security. Many of those who are interested in the cost savings and business flexibility of SaaS still struggle with the idea of entrusting sensitive data to an outsider, even a well-established SaaS provider with a good reputation.


Appliances offer a possible solution, as IT Business Edge blogger Art Cole wrote last week, since they allow companies to enjoy SaaS advantages while maintaining local control of their data.


He cites a Forbes article in which author Dan Woods suggests that it would make a lot of sense for Google to roll out an e-mail appliance similar to its search appliance. Industry pundits are also speculating that Microsoft will develop a SQL Server-based appliance using technology acquired from DATAllegro.


Anyway, Art's post resonated with me because I'd recently had a discussion with Jeff Kaplan, managing director of IT consultancy THINKStrategies, in which he shared a similar take on what he believes will become a common SaaS model. Rather than the blend of traditional on-premise and multi-tenant SaaS that I wrote about in September, Kaplan sees SaaS appliances as one of the most interesting developments in the near future. He told me:

Today when we talk about a hybrid approach, we talk about traditional single-instance on-premise applications in combination with a multi-tenant service. But I think the definition of hybrid will change. The new definition will be a multi-tenant service offering that I might select to acquire in an appliance form factor. So I have a packaged app that can be hosted on my site, behind my firewall, but connected to the cloud so a vendor can continuously maintain and update it on my behalf.

It's an interesting thought, albeit one that didn't make it into the article for which I interviewed Kaplan. It's about three companies that run all or most of their businesses on SaaS, and I think (shameless self-promotion!) it's a pretty interesting read.


My favorite insight of Kaplan's that did make it into the article: Don't become so focused on functionality that you ignore the underlying business processes and SaaS' ability to change them for the better.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 19, 2009 1:20 AM Mike Young Mike Young  says:
This doesn't necessarily solve any security problems, in fact it could actually create more exploits on the network. When you're dealing with SaaS currently, you are basically dealing with services/apps, that are running across various ports and using various levels of authentication and possibly even encrypted tunnels. All of this should work across ones existing infrastructure which should employ security updates.When you opt to use someone else's appliance as a type of gateway, you potentially increase your exposure to security vulnerabilities/exploits. This doesn't have to be the case. Just like the non-appliance SaaS model, things can be locked down to prevent this. The real advantage to the hybrid approach to SaaS is the ability to have a local instance of ones data. This advantage presumes ones LAN speed is significantly faster than ones WAN speed. Reply
Jan 19, 2009 3:42 AM Sunita Sunita  says:
Hey,That solves the problem rather caetively.Sunita Reply

Post a comment





(Maximum characters: 1200). You have 1200 characters left.



Subscribe to our Newsletters

Sign up now and get the best business technology insights direct to your inbox.