Building a Scalable And Customizable SaaS Platform for Managing Professional Communities

Building a scalable and customizable SaaS platform for managing professional communities

The software as a service (SaaS) model is one in which a cloud provider hosts programs and causes them accessible to end-users over the online community management platforms. In this case, an individual software vendor (ISV) may contract with a third-party cloud provider to serve the application. Alternatively, in the case of larger companies such as Microsoft, the cloud provider may provide platforms for online communities. 

SaaS is one of the three main types of cloud computing, together with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and community engagement platform as a service (PaaS) (PaaS). A broad variety of IT experts, commercial users, and consumers use SaaS programs. Netflix and other forms of personal entertainment, as well as powerful IT tools, are all offered. Unlike IaaS and PaaS, SaaS products are frequently supplied to both B2B and B2C consumers.

Technology industry analysts predict the software as a service sector to expand even faster in the future years, based on a recent McKinsey & Company report, with the demand for SaaS products forecast to hit around $200 billion by 2024.

What really is SaaS and how will it work?

The cloud delivery model is used for SaaS. An ISV can hire a cloud provider to host the program and associated data in their data center or a software provider can host the application and associated data in their data using its own servers, databases, networking, and computing resources. The application will function on any gadget with a network connection. SaaS programs are typically accessed through online community management platforms.

As a result, companies that use a community engagement platform, like SaaS applications are not accountable for the implementation and maintenance of the program. Users only have to spend a monthly fee to gain accessibility to the program, which is a complete solution.

The application service provider (ASP) and on-demand computing software delivery models are closely connected to SaaS, in which the provider hosts the customer’s software and distributes it to permitted end-users through the internet.

In the software-on-demand SaaS model, consumers have online community platform accessibility to a single version of an application that the supplier created specifically for SaaS distribution. All users have accessibility to platforms for online communities and the same program’s source code, and additional innovations or functionalities are rolled out to all consumers as they become accessible. Based on the service contract, the user’s information for each type may be securely stored, in the cloud, or both locally and in the cloud (SLA).

Organizations can use application programming interfaces to integrate community SaaS platform apps with other software (APIs). For example, a company can create its software tools and link them with the SaaS offering using the APIs provided by the SaaS provider.

SaaS architecture

Multi-tenant SaaS applications and services are commonly used as an online community platform, which means that a single instance of the SaaS application will run on the host servers and will serve each subscribing client or cloud tenant. The application will be utilized by all clients, or tenants, in the same version and configuration. Even though multiple subscribing clients will be operating on a similar cloud instance with the same infrastructure and community engagement platform, client data will be kept distinct.

The cloud service provider can handle maintenance, updates, and issue solutions more rapidly, conveniently, and efficiently because SaaS applications are often multi-tenant. Instead of needing to implement modifications in multiple instances, engineers may make critical changes for all customers by keeping a one, shared example.

Additionally, platforms for online communities allow a bigger pool of resources to be made available to a larger group of customers without affecting important cloud functions such as security, efficiency, and privacy.

Benefits of community SaaS platform

Organizations no longer need to install and run apps on their PCs or in their own data centers thanks to the community SaaS platform. Hardware procurement, provisioning, and maintenance, as well as software licensing, installation, and support, are all eliminated. The following are some additional benefits of the SaaS model:

Payments are flexible. Instead of purchasing software or extra infrastructure that supports it, consumers subscribe to an online community platform such as a SaaS service. Many organizations may improve and predict their budgeting by converting costs to recurrent operating expenses. SaaS subscriptions can also be canceled at any time to prevent paying recurring costs.

Scalable usage. Vertical scalability is a feature of cloud services like SaaS, which allows users to access more or fewer services or features on-demand.

Updates are made automatically. Instead of acquiring new software, consumers can depend on a SaaS provider to do automatic updates and patch online community management platforms. This further reduces the burden on in-house IT workers.

Persistence and accessibility. Users can access SaaS apps from any internet-enabled device and location because SaaS companies deliver software via the internet.

Personalization. When using software from the same vendor, SaaS solutions are typically customizable and can be integrated with other company applications.

Risks and challenges associated with SaaS

SaaS provides various possible risks and concerns since enterprises must rely on outside suppliers to provide software, keep that software up and running, handle and verify correct billing, and create a secure place for the business’s information.

Issues that are beyond the customer’s control. When providers have service disruptions, make unwelcome modifications to service offerings, or suffer a security breach, problems might occur, all of which can have a significant impact on customers’ ability to use the SaaS offering. Consumers must be informed of and comply with their SaaS provider’s service level agreement (SLA).

Versioning is no longer under the control of the customer. If the provider accepts a new version of a program, it will make it available to all of its customers, whether they want it or not. This may necessitate the allocation of extra training time and money by the organization.

Switching vendors is difficult. It’s difficult to switch vendors, as it is with any cloud service provider. Consumers must relocate enormous volumes of data when switching providers. Moreover, some suppliers employ proprietary technologies and data types, making data migration between cloud providers much more challenging. Due to these factors, a consumer is impossible to simply transfer service providers, resulting in vendor lock-in.

Security. Cloud security is frequently mentioned as a major concern for SaaS services.

Security and privacy in SaaS

The cybersecurity dangers that come with software as a service are not the same as those that come with traditional software. In traditional software, the program vendor is responsible for fixing code problems, while the user is accountable for making sure the product is running on a secured infrastructure and network. As a result, the independent software manufacturer and third-party cloud provider are more responsible for security.

Despite the rising popularity of cloud-based models for fully serviced software products, enterprises continue to have security and privacy concerns about SaaS solutions. These are some of the concerns:

  • Encryption and key management 
  • Access and identity management (IAM).
  • Constant security surveillance.
  • Reaction to an incident
  • Inadequate integration with larger, company-specific security infrastructures.
  • Data residency standards are met; data privacy is maintained.
  • The cost of investing in third-party technologies to mitigate the security risk associated with SaaS.
  • During the sales process, there was a lack of communication with technical and security experts.

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