We continue to assist our readers in making the SaaS vendor evaluation process far less confusing and uncertain, by highlighting the most important questions to ask, and what responses to look for. In prior posts, we talked about security, and data retention and ownership. This week, we’ll discuss performance and availability.
Inquiring About Performance and Availability
Continuity is critical for any software application. But, it may be even more important in SaaS environments, since you – as the client – are relinquishing a certain amount of control over the application and how it is managed, and leaving it in the hands of your trusted service provider. So, you need to make sure uptime and availability are a top priority for the vendor you select.
Ask the following questions to each vendor you are considering:
- What are your uptime/availability statistics?
- How is your service protected from disasters?
- What are the ramifications if you don’t meet your service level agreement (SLA)?
What to Look For
While there are no guarantees that the SaaS solution you choose will never go down and disrupt your business operations, choosing a vendor with advanced performance management processes in place will help you significantly eliminate the risk of problems.
The best SaaS solution providers will:
- Publish their uptime statistics publicly, and be able to demonstrate minimum availability of at least 99.5%.
- Have redundant operations in off-site locations. This will ensure system availability in case of a catastrophic event, such as a fire, flood, or earthquake.
- Employ numerous back-up servers, so there are no service slowdowns or disruptions if a piece of hardware fails.
- Offer around-the-clock performance monitoring, so issues can be immediately detected and addressed – before end users are affected.
Next week, we’ll continue our discussion by highlighting the proper questions to ask a SaaS vendor regarding service and support.