What is SaaS?

PDF2Go is a so-called SaaS model. But what does that mean? What is Saas? And what does this mean for you as a user?

These and more questions will be answered in this article. It will explain what SaaS companies and projects are and how you benefit from them. 

The SaaS Definition

SaaS stands for software as a service. It is a licencing as well as a delivery model of software.

Traditionally, software has to be bought, either via disk or as a download, and then installed on your device. SaaS, however, is accessible on demand and does, usually, not require any installation. It is accessed via a client, in most cases a web browser.

Many different kind of software is distributed using the software as a service method, such as CAD, accounting, (customer) management or even messaging software.

Just because SaaS does not require any download doesn’t mean that it’s free to use. In many cases, advanced functions, bigger storage space or access to certain information lie protected behind a pay wall. Usually, software as a service provides free functions or at least a cost-free demo version.


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There are many advantages that lead to the current increase of SaaS. Especially businesses profit from using software as a service solutions, but even private users will be able to see and appreciate the following advantages SaaS has over traditional software.

  1. Accessibility: SaaS solutions are accessible from many different devices at any time. All you need is a working internet connection and, depending on the software, an account to use it on the go and from desktop computers or mobile.
  2. Integration & Customization: Many SaaS providers offer a seamless integration of their product into an already existing workflow, with some even providing the possibility of automated processing that does not require manual workforce. Furthermore, many software as a service products can be customized to a high degree to meet individual requirements.
  3. Low Costs: Instead of buying a software license to use a certain service, SaaS provides subscriptions in pay models that can easily be managed and cancelled. It also saves costs for compatible hardware, installations and other infrastructure.
  4. Easy Maintenance: Since the provider of the SaaS service is taking care of upgrades and the overall maintenance of the service, this is one less thing for you to think about. No manual updates or re-installation is needed.
  5. Facilitation of Teamwork: Having an Saas program that is accessible from anywhere makes it easier to work on the same project with people at different locations. This is valuable for group projects when you can’t sit together 24/7, or for businesses that employ external workforce and want to integrate them into the local team.


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Of course everything comes as a price. There are some concerns or disadvantages the software as a service approach has compared to traditional software.

  1. Connectivity: Since SaaS solutions are available online from anywhere, they require a steady and constant connection to the net. Offline usage is rare and heavily limited within the software as a service model.
  2. Security & Safety: One of the main concerns when it comes to SaaS is the accessibility and overall safety of stored data. Sensitive information is uploaded and, to an extend, stored somewhere external. This always arises a sense of concern about security of said data.
  3. Control: Much of the control you have over an installed or self-hosted program is given away when using an SaaS solution. Now, the third party software provider is the one in more control of the software you use.
  4. Novelty: Despite flourishing over the past years, the SaaS model has still not been adapted by many applications. Certain needs and requirements may not be able to be met with an software as a service solution. In these cases, a traditionally installed and hosted program has to be used instead.

Similar Models

Software as a service is not the only web-based model. It is one of three cloud computing services, the other two being PaaS and IaaS.

PaaS stands for platform as a service and provides users with a platform to manage, run and even develop applications. IaaS stands for infrastructure as a service and provides the infrastructure and resources needed for development.