by Srikanth Natarajan
I was asked an interesting question the other day “What are the guiding principles of your SaaS strategy for ITOM?” Great question and something we haven’t covered anywhere as far as I know.
Here are the guiding principles we are using. There will inevitably be exceptions, and it will take some time to get where we want to be, but these are tenets we strive for.
Security first is not specific to SaaS but perhaps more important with SaaS as these products are publicly accessible. First, we benefit from the solutions and experience of security products (CyberRes) in the greater Micro Focus portfolio. For example, we use Fortify, an 8-time Gartner MQ leader, for security scans on our code. We also benefit from our cloud provider’s security team. And we adhere to ISO/IEC 27001. We understand how important security is, and we follow industry best practices.
Integrate with existing authentication providers
Security is necessary but remembering passwords, finding bicycles or traffic lights in pictures, etc., is so frustrating (at least for me). Using existing authentication providers, you already have a very familiar experience and incorporate whatever policies you have already established. For example, some organizations require two-factor authentication periodically.
Any SaaS product is available from anywhere in the world with internet access; that’s not what I mean. Sometimes geographic distance is a factor. Also, various countries have specific data privacy requirements. Our goal is to offer SaaS hosted in multiple locations to satisfy those requirements. For example, we currently host in the United States, Germany. And we recently added Australia.
A solution isn’t helpful if it is not highly available. We use support for multiple availability zones, multiple replicas, resiliency at the services level, and other techniques to keep our solutions up and running and achieve high availability. We regularly look for improvement areas as well and keep the solutions updated.
Tenant isolation is important to most customers, so we create isolation of data and application across tenants. This strategy provides security, and privacy, for our customers.
Our product development strategy is to keep parity between SaaS and on-premises offerings as much as possible. However, as we move forward in our product development, we will strive to develop key new capabilities on SaaS first. After they are successfully operating in SaaS, and if there is sufficient demand for them from our on-premises customers, we will consider providing them with the on-premises software. This strategy will allow us to understand the usage and behavior of these new capabilities and react to feedback more effectively.
Providing insight to users
We think it is essential for users to know the status of a SaaS offering even though we are controlling the infrastructure and applications. We will provide increasingly better service health portals for each offering. We aim to eventually provide visibility into the health of all subscribed ITOM services via one portal.
Many of our products have a lot of integrations with third-party tools and technologies. We will continue this practice. Again, we will move toward SaaS first. If third-party software offers both on-premises and SaaS deployments, we will first integrate with their SaaS offering. Why? Many customers we speak to are adopting a SaaS first policy. They tell us they will choose the SaaS offering and only use the on-premises offering if SaaS is unavailable or the SaaS offering lacks the features they need.
Srikanth Natarajan is ITOM CTO and Fellow at Micro Focus, one of the world’s largest enterprise software providers.
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