Pros and Cons of Software as a Service (SaaS) with a focus on the cons

There is a lot about Software as a Service (SaaS) that I love, but it is important to ensure that if you are looking at a SaaS solution to also consider what some of the cons are.

I recently posted these as a comment over on Ben's "Software Delivery Approaches – Debunking the Myths" post and thought it worthy to reiterate the key points.

The key Pros (from my perspective) Ben articulated with SaaS were as follows:
  1. Ability to provision almost instantly.
  2. Pushes infrastructure, service, and support costs to the vendor.
  3. Upgrades are automatically applied to all users – all customers work with the same application.

Cons of ASP and SaaS options (which will have differing levels of risk based on who the vendor is):
  1. If the vendor goes out of business, then you may have a significant problem with little or no warning.
  2. Depending on where the data is hosted you may be subject to different laws.
  3. From an information/data security perspective you are placing trust in another organisation. On the flip-side for many organisations, this may however be better than what they would have anyway.
  4. With SaaS you are moreso at the mercy of the vendor’s roadmap changing with little or no notice. Whilst this can be a positive in terms of functionality delivered, I’ve seen this one go the other way whereby a vendor “changed the rules” and as a result this raised a number of audit/risk challenges.
  5. Depending on your timezone, scheduled downtime (if required) may not be at an optimal time.
  6. Potential for increased latency depending on the location of the service. This may however end up being closer to your customers so may in fact be a positive.
  7. Integration may be confined to API limits that are not suitable.


  1. I'm not disagreeing with you Mr G....

  2. That's good to hear Ben. Somebody was asking me about SaaS pros and cons today hence I thought it worthy to reiterate it.

  3. Thanks so much. My company developed a platform based mostly on SaaS and I was looking for some material to print out and send to new employees. Mind if I use some of your post to send out? I could backlink to your blog if you wish.

  4. I'm happy for you to use contents of this post.


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