Over recent years a number of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have emerged and progressively more businesses are using SaaS for a large variety of applications ranging from financial and account management through to HR. However, the point of entry into SaaS for the vast majority of organizations is email.
There are a number of motivations for using SaaS for email, and not the least important are the reduction of costs in terms of both running and maintenance costs; improved security through encrypted email; and the reduced need for capital expenditure.
Although SaaS as a business model is growing rapidly, it is not new. In fact in the early days of computing in the 1960s SaaS was the most common way for the delivery of computer services with mainframe computers hosted by the SaaS organizations and connected to clients via dumb or semi-dumb terminals.
Once the age of the personal computer dawned, SaaS became much less important and most organizations became self-sufficient in terms of computing with everything handled by the internal IT department. However, once the internet began to gain importance during the 1990s SaaS began to regain a foothold. Today SaaS is more or less ubiquitous; however the fundamental model is not really very different from what it was. Essentially it involves client organizations offloading IT management and services to specialist organizations which provide them with up to date accessible IT services.
Companies such as Mimecast do far more than just giving their clients access to commercial software. They develop their own highly advanced software which is continually updated and improved. They also do far more than that; they work directly with the clients to develop bespoke solutions
The current status of SaaS is indicated by a number of salient facts. Around fifty percent of organizations of all sizes make use of SaaS, and this figure is up from around thirty four percent just two years ago. Of the organizations that are not currently using SaaS over a third of them intend to use it in the future. Furthermore, of organizations that use SaaS they are increasing the use that they make of it.
Email is the largest SaaS application, and the most important email services are spam filtering (83% of users), ant-virus screening (77% of users) and email archiving (59% of users). These are followed by data protection (59% of users); email encryption (40% of users); and e-discovery (21% of users).