What was once an in-house only process, enterprise applications can now be hosted in the cloud and offer several advantages. First, hosting it on a CDN with the massive computing power of the cloud makes it faster, more reliable, and more secure. Second, you don’t need the extended hardware infrastructure to host the application. And third, you can program and deploy to staging and production directly from your programming environment.
Before we get into what you should do, you should know the benefits and challenges with SaaS programming. We mentioned a few benefits, but you should also know that there are a few challenges.
- No need to maintain a large server rack and infrastructure. The host does it for you.
- Coupled with a CDN, your application is fast for all users even employees who travel or located halfway across the globe.
- Better security using the cloud host’s security systems.
- Your application is open to the world, so you must be able to monitor it 24/7 versus only business hours.
- Your code must be free from risk with common attacks such as XSS, brute force cracks, and SQL injection.
- Your code is usually more distributed to different teams, so it can become more disjointed. This can be remedied by using a collaborative platform such as GitHub.
Determining Which Way to Go
With these benefits and challenges in mind, you have to come up with a solution that’s right for you. Let’s say you have an in-house application that only employees use. You deploy it to a cloud host, and now you need to secure it. You can secure certain aspects using the right code, but you can also integrate permissions from within your LAN if you have a hybrid system. LDAP or Active Directory can be integrated with some cloud services.
Cost is a big issue with smaller organizations. The cost for cloud computing is efficient for large enterprises, but for a small business it can be too much. If you need an application for a few users, then it’s probably more cost efficient to keep it local. However, if you’re supporting dozens of users, the cost to run a SaaS application is much less. You no longer need several servers, routers, and the right real estate to support the systems. This is outsourced in the cloud, and the application is cheaper to host.
SaaS is also good for startups. You have your MVP, but you don’t know if your product will sell. With cloud computing, you can determine your resources and keep it cost efficient while you gather data from the MVP. The cloud reduces your upfront IT costs, and doesn’t require any local administrators. Need to scale? Not a problem — log into your account and scale up, or down if you need it.
With cloud computing, you aren’t limited to operating system, platform hardware, or a specific amount of money each month. It’s a great way to deploy your application as long as you keep the application fast and secure. Combine cloud hosting with a CDN, and you’re application is always available, fast, and easy for your developers to use.