The spread of Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented uptake of cloud based technology. Businesses and the government are relying on remote working and other cloud based technologies including Zoom for video conferencing, Skype, Google Cloud etc.
The government itself has announced the launch of a responder app for its volunteer campaign whilst other countries have used drones, smart helmets and the like to aid in the fight against Covid-19. This surge in users has had very little impact on the systems running cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS).
Has the future already arrived?
SaaS and the cloud are not seen as new concepts, but the uptake in these technologies could now be seen as the norm. IT teams aren’t stretched beyond breaking point and SaaS appears to be running seamlessly in the background, standing the test of time.
Key terms to look out for in SaaS agreements
When a customer buys SaaS, it will either be ubiquitous or more of a ‘specialist enterprise’ application. An example of the former is Skype or Zoom; these are not likely to be business critical and agreements will be extremely difficult to amend/ negotiate. The opposite can be said when purchasing enterprise software such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and you should consider the following key terms:
- Integration with other systems.
Technical due diligence is required where a new SaaS system needs to integrate with existing software. Duties must be evidenced clearly in your agreement.
- Data protection.
Check that the supplier has adequate safeguards for data protection purposes as the potential risk of a data breach is high.
- Consider the duration.
Some SaaS agreements will be created on a rolling basis with the service ceasing when you stop paying. Others will run for a fixed term. You should consider whether the software you use is business-critical. If so, you are likely to prefer an agreement with a long term and a long notice period.
- Obtain clarity on the services being provided.
This is important so you have an understanding of the key deliverables.
- Ensure you have sufficient support and maintenance.
Ask suppliers whether support and maintenance is covered in the price being paid. It is imperative you have the right support to fix any bugs or errors.