Software as a Service: Advantages and disadvantages

More businesses than ever are embracing Software as a Service, or SaaS. I know that there are a lot of businesses unsure about SaaS, what it is, and its advantages; I decided to write this blog post to help you decide whether or not Software as a Service is a good option for your business.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Software as a Service?

  • SaaS Advantages
    • Quick setup
    • Easy remote maintenance
    • Low upfront cost
    • Scalability
    • Accessibility
  • SaaS Disavantages
    • Lack of control
    • Connectivity needed

Before I explain these benefits in more detail, I’ll explain what Software as a Service is. I’ll also give some examples of SaaS platforms. Next, we’ll have a look at the advantages in greater detail.

What is Software as a Service?

Software as a Service is a cloud-based solution where you access an application via an internet browser. Instead of downloading software and accessing it locally, you access it through a browser and use it there instead.

With a SaaS solution, you don’t purchase a piece of software. Instead, you get a licence for a piece of software and pay a subscription for it. With a SaaS product, you never own the software. You have access to it for as long as you pay for the subscription. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, depending on your point of view.

SaaS software is centrally provided as a service through the internet. The applications do not run on your computer, but instead, you use them through a browser. The provider is completely responsible for ensuring the software is available to you at all times. They are also responsible for updating the software and keeping it secure. Updates are pushed directly to the cloud, so there’s no messing around downloading and installing new updates.

You should be able to access a piece of software through any internet-enabled device. For example, if you’re using Office 365, you can access the Word application on your smartphone, laptop, desktop computer, and tablet. You have your login data and that’s all that you need.

Here are some examples of SaaS applications that you’re possibly already using:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Project management applications
  • Billing software
  • Productivity software

It’s possible that you’re already using Software as a Service products without even realising. For example, millions of businesses worldwide are using Microsoft 365, Microsoft’s line of subscription services. If your business uses Office 365 or Microsoft 365, you’re already using Software as a Service products without realising.

Now we’ve covered all of that, let’s have a look at the advantages of Software as a Service.

Software as a Service advantages

It’s easy to see why there are millions of businesses using Software as a Service applications. Here are the advantages:

  • Quick setup
  • Easy remote maintenance
  • Low upfront cost
  • Scalability
  • Accessibility

I’m going to explain all of these advantages in more detail now.

Quick setup

Software as a Service applications can be set up very quickly in most cases. The providers of SaaS products usually design their products so that they can be set up rapidly. Usually, setting a user up on a SaaS product is as easy as logging into the management portal and creating login details for them.

SaaS products are already pre-configured in the cloud. You don’t have to install anything onto your computers. It really is as simple as accessing the software via a browser and then you’re ready to begin working. Traditional software deployment tends to make much longer.

Easy remote maintenance

With Software as a Service products, it’s easy to perform maintenance remotely. Providers keep their software operating optimally and IT support companies can remotely access their customers’ computers and offer support using the software should it be needed. When you have the software installed locally, maintenance can be more difficult and sometimes requires an onsite visit. This takes longer and costs more.

Furthermore, there’s no reliance on the user where software updates are concerned. Updates are completed in the cloud with no involvement from the user, reducing the reliance upon the client. This is very advantageous, as it means important security and feature updates can be pushed without the lag associated with users manually having to update their software. After all, we all know how much we’ll try and avoid a software update if it’s going to stop us from doing our work!

Low upfront cost

SaaS is typically subscription-based, which means you’ll pay for it monthly or yearly (usually). Consequently, there’s little or no upfront cost with a SaaS product.

The provider of the product manage the hardware and the software, meaning you don’t need to purchase anything up front. As long as you already have internet-enabled devices that are compatible with the product you’re using, there are no costs upfront at all.

Software can be very expensive if you have to purchase it rather than using a subscription-based solution. For example, let’s compare purchasing the Office applications versus using a 365 licence.

A Microsoft 365 Business Standard licence costs £9.40 per user excluding VAT monthly directly from Microsoft. This includes a the whole suite of premium office apps:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • Access

It also includes cloud services, such as:

  • Teams
  • Exchange
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint

To purchase the latest version of Office Business, it costs £249.99 per user. You have to pay for this upfront, so the outlay could be significant depending on the number of staff that you have. Furthermore, as new versions of Office are released in the future, you will have to purchase them again to stay up to date.


SaaS product providers normally offer a range of subscriptions. Some basic, some with more advanced features. As your business starts out, you might require a simple subscription without all the bells and whistles. However, as your business grows and your needs increase, SaaS providers allow you to change subscriptions as needed. Whether that means upgrading to better products or simply adding more users, scaling is easier with Software as a Service products.

When you’re actually purchasing software, scaling in the future isn’t as easy as adding a user or enabling a new feature. It entails purchasing another piece of software most of the time, thus holding your business back because of the costs involved with scaling.


Accessing and using a SaaS application is very simple. All you need is three things:

  • An internet-enabled device
  • An internet connection
  • A browser

That’s literally everything that you need to access a SaaS application and begin using it. There’s no messing around downloading software onto your computer or anything like that. SaaS products are simply much more accessible than traditional business software.

The ability to use these applications no matter where you are is excellent. As long as you have an internet connection, you can work as long as you have an internet-enabled device. This opens the door to a world of possibilities to work remotely should you ever need to.

Sofware as a Service disadvantages

Of course, nothing is perfect. There are advantages of Software as a Service too.

  • Lack of control
  • Connectivity needed

Lack of control

The advantage of in-house applications is that they give you ultimate control. With hosted solutions provided by third-parties, your control over the software you are using is limited.

For example, with a SaaS product provided by a third party, you have no control over whether you want to use the latest update or not. The update is pushed automatically and you don’t have the ability to defer it. This might not matter so much, but for bigger businesses it could be problematic.

Connectivity needed

The SaaS model is all about the cloud and web delivery, so what happens when you don’t have an internet connection? That’s still a problem with SaaS products, because you can’t use them if you don’t have an internet connection.

The main way to prevent this being an issue is to invest in a backup internet connection of some sorts, whether that’s a physical line or a backup mobile broadband connection.

You should invest in SaaS products

Software as a Service is the future and the advantages of using these applications is obvious.

Investing in SaaS now could save you a lot of money, so what are you waiting for?

Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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