A world of possibilities as-a-Service

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The concept of consuming software and other resources “as-a-service” has been around for decades.  Some folks think of the old mainframe and dumb terminal “time sharing” systems as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).  Others consider SaaS to have been born of Local Area Networks and server-based applications with centralized file storage.  Most computer users probably think of SaaS as a subscription to an online service, like Office 365 or Salesforce.

A world of possibilities

Whether these examples fit the definition of SaaS, they certainly fit the promise:  higher cost resources made more accessible through affordability and ease-of-use.  Thanks to the ‘as-a-service' model, mid-market has been able to leverage cloud computing, SD-WAN, and software packages that would normally be out of reach for anyone without an enterprise budget.  According to research from Gartner, Techaisle, and Google and Accel Partners, the global market for mid-market SaaS is expected to outgrow that of enterprise SaaS by the end of 2020.

MS Azure Blog It makes sense that mid-market companies would adopt SaaS more rapidly than enterprise over the next couple of years.  Enterprise companies can achieve a return on an in-house investment that is out of reach for most mid-market organizations, and they may have concerns that make their leadership teams more comfortable keeping things on-premises.  Meanwhile, the mid-market are finding more applications that are dedicated to solving unique problems in their respective industries.  They're also enjoying the licensing and tech-support savings provided by subscribing to always-up-date SaaS applications instead of installing these apps in their own back rooms.  In short, SaaS is helping the midmarket become more profitable and competitive.

We've also seen other subscription-based solutions grow along with Software-as-a-Service and cloud computing.  Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has allowed companies to deploy powerful computing resources without dedicating the time, space, dollars, and effort it would take to deploy them on-site.   IaaS refers to the virtualized computing resources in the cloud, such as networking, storage, and processing.  When you deploy something like a Barracuda CloudGen WAF or Firewall, you are deploying it into an IaaS environment.  According to Gartner, IaaS adoption will grow by 35.9% this year, and is the most rapidly growing segment of cloud-adoption.   We are seeing a similar trend in Platform as a Service, or PaaS, as application developers adopt cloud computing services specifically designed as development environments.  According to our own research, the US leads worldwide adoption of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), with 51% of those surveyed using the public cloud for desktop virtualization.

What about security?

This leads us to the inevitable questions about security.  If you've followed cloud computing topics, you're probably aware of the Shared Security Model.  This is the cloud security framework put forth by cloud providers and it makes the most sense for the consumers.  In short, the service provider is responsible for security OF the cloud, such as the underlying hardware in the datacenters.  The service consumer is responsible for the security of the workloads and data that is IN the cloud.  This is why Barracuda provides security solutions in the AWS Marketplace, Azure Marketplace, and the Google Cloud Platform.  These aren't “as-a-Service” deployments; they are public cloud solutions engineered to take full advantage of public cloud capabilities like autoscaling, deployment templates, and metered billing.

 

Of course, cloud-based security is not one-size-fits-all.  If a small or midmarket company is using an on-premises line-of-business application and Office 365, they probably aren't going to use a CloudGen Firewall on Azure.  These companies can use a solution like Barracuda Essentials for Office 365 to protect their entire cloud deployment.  The accessibility of these purpose-built SaaS technologies means that mid-market companies can leverage a powerful productivity solution that is protected by a powerful security solution, and it's all delivered as needed, as a service.

What does it all mean?

We know that SaaS and web applications are growing and there are some great security solutions out there to protect them.   We know that companies will migrate more workloads and data to IaaS environments and employees will learn new workflows that involve sharing and collaboration.  We know that application developers will move development to the agile PaaS environments that make them more productive.  And through all of this, we know that we'll be under constant attack from the creeps of the world.   Nevertheless, businesses will continue to embrace Software-as-a-Service and the public cloud, and we'll continue to build security solutions to protect them.

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