SAAS Definition - Software as a Service and Data Security

saas definition

Over the past few years, SAAS applications like Salesforce and Office 365 have become popular with many companies. However, many companies still don’t understand the importance of protecting their SaaS data today. Many companies IT department along with executives and users don’t understand the proper procedure to back up and recover their SaaS data. Many people don't even know the SAAS Definition is so let's overview the basic definition of SAAS:

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription based buying model and is hosted centrally (usually in the cloud). Having a software distribution model where applications are hosted in the cloud and available to customers to access from anywhere remotely. SaaS has three main categories of cloud computing, and can include infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). SaaS is typically accessed by users using a client via a web browser.

According to Jeff Erramouspe, vice president and general manager of EMC’s Spanning Unit; there are a lot of SaaS misconceptions concerning SaaS data protections.

Jeff explained that SaaS vendors will protect and replicate customers' data, but they only do this to protect their SaaS applications on their own infrastructure. SaaS vendors will only protect their own infrastructure in case of a server failure or a network drive failure.

SaaS companies such as Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft offer no data recovery for accidentally deleted data or data loss caused by users' mistakes. However, Salesforce does offer its clients data recovery. The service is expensive and Salesforce doesn’t guarantee a full recovery. Furthermore, once data is deleted from SaaS most vendors can’t restore the data in full.

No SaaS vendor can fully protect its customers. The SaaS vendor has a responsibility to its clients to follow their instructions. Therefore, if you delete your data or you request the vendor to delete your data they are obligated to follow your instructions. Furthermore, SaaS vendors have no knowledge if a request is legitimate or not.

3 Reasons a Company Should be Concerned for their SaaS Data

  1. When an employee leaves the company your IT administrator will delete their user profile for the new employee. However, the IT administrator has failed to back up all the data in the person’s user account. Therefore, all the data and emails are gone forever.
  2. One of your employees has decided to clean up their account. In the process, they have deleted necessary information for their work. This is a common occurrence that goes unnoticed by your IT department. The employee refuses to report their error and proceeds to try to recreate the deleted information. Therefore, they spend days or weeks to recreate the deleted data.
  3. An employee that was terminated from your company goes into their SaaS account and deletes all the data. Therefore, your company has lost valuable information, time and money. Furthermore, this person can also delete data from other employees accounts that they share information with. In the end, your company suffers a great loss and has lost valuable time and money.

Unfortunately, these occurrences affect companies every day and a business can lose millions of dollars trying to restore or retrieve their lost data. However, if your IT department has a safe, secure backup plan it place, it’s easy to restore your lost or deleted files. Furthermore, your IT department can’t rely on your SaaS vendor to provide data backup and restore. This is your company’s responsibility to keep a current backup of all your SaaS data.

Unfortunately, companies are not prepared to handle a SaaS data loss, according to the EMC’s report entitled “Global Data Protection Index”. The report details the astronomical cost and consequences a company faces when they lose their SaaS data. Furthermore, this has happened to 64% of companies who store data on their SaaS account in the past 12 months. The report details that most companies have lost 400 percent more data in the past two years than they ever lost storing data on their servers.


It’s necessary that your company has a safe, secure backup plan in place for all your SaaS data. Most companies have a misconception concerning a SaaS vendor’s responsibility for protecting your data. Unfortunately, no SaaS vendor can offer your company data loss protection. It’s your company’s responsibility to protect your own SaaS data. Even more the reason why SAAS is a great investment for businesses!

Image: flickr.com

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