Bypass the Cost of Ownership With Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS)

August 13, 2019
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3 min read

We’ve seen it happen across industries and markets: Consumption patterns are shifting away from traditional ownership models and toward subscription “anything-as-a-service” models. The success of companies such as Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, Uber and Lyft indicates that consumers are increasingly viewing ownership as a burden.

Ride-sharing companies focus on an outcome (get where you’re going), not ownership (no car title required). Their customers may not want to own a car; maybe the price is prohibitive, they don’t want to deal with parking or maintenance, or they don’t drive very much and want a solution that scales.

As it turns out, those same considerations — cost, storage, maintenance, scalability — apply to choosing cybersecurity software as well. Do you want to own, or do you just want an outcome? This analogy is helpful for understanding the differences between security-as-a-service (SECaaS) and traditional, on-premises security software.

How a Security SaaS Solution Can Save You Money

If you’re buying a car, that typically means shelling out a large amount of money now. If you use a ride-share, you pay as you go. Similarly, purchasing a traditional software license often comes with a big, upfront price tag, whereas security software-as-a-service (SaaS) is usually paid over time as a subscription model.

With ownership, there are hidden expenses to uncover. For a car, think parking, maintenance, gas, insurance. For cybersecurity, think real estate for data centers, power for heating and cooling, security personnel. A security SaaS solution means the vendor is responsible for those costs, not you — you’re free to decommission your hardware infrastructure.

Furthermore, a SECaaS vendor can spread those costs over many customers. That means economies of scale, which is one reason a SECaaS solution could lower your total cost of ownership. Also, SaaS typically hits the books as an operating expense instead of a capital expense, which can offer a real advantage for companies that don’t have the budget to cover a big software purchase.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

If you buy a car, you’re committing to that vehicle’s technology until you buy a new car. And with the rate of change of technology, that likely means in a year or two, you no longer have the latest and greatest. Security software licenses may entitle you to updates and upgrades, but these are often released once or twice a year and require reinstalling or running an update.

With SaaS software, updates are pushed continuously and automatically. In the world of cybersecurity, when you’re up against constantly evolving threats, being up to date could mean the difference between a breach and no breach.

Pay Only for What You Use

If you and your friend each buy the same car — negotiation skills aside — you’ve both paid the same amount, regardless of how often you drive it. Conversely, if you use a ride-sharing app, you pay less if you don’t travel as far or as often, and vice versa.

SECaaS pricing models vary, but in general, you pay for what you use. For example, for an identity and access management (IAM) solution, you may pay per user.

Close the Talent Gap

Owning a car means you need to have (or hire) the skills to use and maintain the car. With ride-sharing, you don’t need to know how to fix a tire, change the oil or even how to drive.

Companies need security, but more than half don’t have all those skills in house. A SECaaS solution allows companies to save resources by offloading some operations and IT maintenance tasks and focusing their top talent on performing high-value security tasks.

Understand the Data Privacy Implications

On your ride-sharing app, you’re sharing information about yourself — where you’re going, your credit card information, what you look like. Similarly, if you use a security SaaS solution, you’re likely sharing data and information about your company.

Be sure you understand who has access to your data, especially if your company falls under regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

What’s the Best Security-as-a-Service Model?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. But for many organizations, cloud security information and event management (SIEM), IAM, incident response platforms, and other security-as-a-service solutions offer considerable benefits over their on-premises counterparts. SECaaS enables organizations to offload ownership but still achieve cybersecurity outcomes.

Learn More About Security SaaS
Andie Schroeder
Saas Strategist – IBM

Andie is an industrial engineer by background, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is black-belt certified in Lean Six Sigma and worked as a p...
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