SaaS – a money-spinner

01 Feb 10

Selling security as a service is easier for the reseller and more convenient for the customer.
Malware, spam and other internet-borne threats thrive on the uncertainty of difficult economic times. With their attention focused on other priorities, businesses can all too easily fall prey to the increasingly sophisticated threats devised by organised gangs of cyber-criminals.
More and more businesses are choosing to put email and web security ‘in the Cloud’ by implementing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, in order to avert the risks of evolving email and web-borne threats such as lost revenue, reduced productivity, email data loss, reduced security of corporate assets and damaged relationships with customers and suppliers.
The concept of SaaS sometimes leaves IT specialists cold. Some vendors use it to bypass the channel and  go straight to your customers.
However, done well, SaaS provides a win/win situation for both partners and vendors with the best solutions leaving the partner in control of the client relationship.
Reselling SaaS is simple: instead of selling hardware and software, you sell a vendor’s service. Your customers still need you to advise them, to configure the system and to provide ongoing expertise.
The big difference is that the solution is better, the margins fatter and the overheads lower.
Customers are starting to see the value in SaaS as they realise how reliant they are on IT. Businesses don’t want to have to worry about spam – they want an out-of-the-box filtering solution they can set up and not need to configure or monitor.  
What’s more, software-as-a-service requires zero upfront investment, which is very attractive for resellers and customers alike.
For the reseller, it makes it a much easier sell when the customer does not have pay any upfront costs. And in the best SaaS reseller programs, the reseller will receive an upfront percentage of the pay-per-user fee that the customer pays for the service.
For the customer, it means they only pay for the services they need, as they need them. They can also redirect software purchases to an ongoing operational expense rather than a one-off capital expense – much more attractive from a budgeting perspective.
Beyond the buzz from the industry around SaaS, independent research has quantified the opportunity. IDC, a market research firm, anticipates annual growth in the managed messaging security services sector of more than 30% between 2006-2011.
Internet and email security solutions lend themselves well to the SaaS model. For our purposes here, let’s call it ‘security-as-a-service’. 

While protecting corporate data is a company-wide responsibility, the onus falls on the IT department to ensure its company has the best security tools, policies and procedures in place to help keep it safe.
By buying security as a service, companies can rest assured that they are getting the best, most up-to-date security solutions that are scaled to meet their exact needs. This equates to considerable savings in the amount of management required of email, web and spam filtering services, which are typically very time-intensive to control, and frees up IT staff to concentrate on more strategic business activities.

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