Use Cost-Effective SaaS Cloud Services for Business - dummies

Use Cost-Effective SaaS Cloud Services for Business

By Marsha Collier

Everything, including social media, seems to be in the cloud. What does that really mean to you as a business owner? Now you, too, have the opportunity to manage tasks on web servers, such as those from Microsoft, Amazon, or Google.

You’re probably using the cloud if you use Gmail, Hotmail, or another web-based e-mail service. Also, if you’ve downloaded music from Amazon, your music can be accessed by their cloud player via Wi-Fi, versus downloading all your music to every device you own.

SaaS, or software as a service, can help you market and sell online. When a company has software or a platform that you want to use but have no need to buy, you can pay a monthly fee for using it from the vendor’s site. When they upgrade their offering, you benefit from updates without changing a thing on your computer.

The application is hosted by the service provider and made available to you through a special login or an installable widget on your site. You don’t install the app on your site.

Now, spending big money on expensive custom software applications for your business may no longer be needed. A SaaS platform that can perform the tasks you want may already be available. The barriers to entry have fallen and an entrepreneur (like you, only techier) can develop a solid product, thereby reducing the expenditure for small business.

Consider the following before using a SaaS application:

  • Does the service have an introductory level? Can you dip your toe in the water with a starter account? Can you do business with them on a month-to-month basis?

  • Can you track success from an online dashboard? You want to know when and how people are accessing your application.

  • Check the provider’s online references. Don’t just rely on a sales pitch.

  • Be aware of your costs from the start. Factor in any ups and extras.

  • Know where your data will be stored and the reliability of the servers.

  • Be sure that you own all data generated from your site. Have all your questions regarding their privacy policies been answered? Are you okay with disclosure of your data to third parties?

  • Ask about downtimes. Run your own web search regarding previous security breaches.

Cloud software is a boon to small businesses. Perhaps others apps are available on the web that are better suited to your business? Think about it.