Software as a Service (SaaS)

Instead of installing and maintaining a software application in your own computer, SaaS provides the possibility of accessing the software via the Internet. It is also known as “web-based software,” “on-demand software,” or “hosted software” because the service provider is in charge of managing the application including access and security measures. Instead of buying and downloading the computer software, users can rent it on a “pay-per-use” basis. While the concept is not new, changes in technology have improved the way of delivering software services, making this model a less expensive and more practical solution for business entrepreneurs.

In the same way one can rent a car or taxi in a day to day situation, SaaS can be used as “pay-as-you-go.” Very good examples of this model are Google Apps,, Microsoft Online Services and WebEx. In this respect, the myth between buying versus renting must be clarified. It is often mentioned to highlight the benefits of “buying” and downloading the software onto your device in comparison to renting a software on-demand and running it in the cloud. This is, however, a misleading comparison because there is no actual “purchase” of the software but a license to use (rent) the application.

SaaS is a growing and extensive market, and services range from simple web-based email applications to more complex customer tailor-made management systems. A typical “SaaS-contract” would concentrate on the functional service descriptions, service level remedies, and interoperability issues. SaaS spans a wide variety of services. For example, Framework as a Service (FaaS) is an extension of SaaS that enhances the capabilities of the SaaS offering. It works as an adjunct for tailor-made applications that allow organizations to have specialized and customized features.

Text: Big Data, Databases and “Ownership” Rights in the Cloud, Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci, Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL), University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark