Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the fastest growing software delivery models today. It is even reported that by the year 2020, over 73% of businesses and organizations will be running their businesses on SaaS. Unlike the traditional in-house or on-premise solutions, SaaS provides users with fast and efficient access to a product via the Internet. It provides a less complicated working platform for your applications and database management. Customers can easily buy products and services and receive them via the Internet. Saas provides developers with simplified deployment and low customer acquisition expenses.
However, due to its fast-growing popularity, the SaaS market has become quite competitive. You need to be well equipped with all the right equipment, expertise, and knowledge before you launch a successful and secure SaaS solution. Here are some of the key steps to launch a secure SaaS solution within 15 days.
Look for a Designer
The most important part of a SaaS solution is its design and the kind of user experience it provides. A perfect design will not only attract more customers but provide better engagement with your product too. Security is another critical component of the project. It is therefore important to start the journey by working with the best designer you can find.
Develop the Right Product Requirements
Product requirements, in this case, refer to all the documentations that tell the story of your product. For example, how does the product work and who is it meant for? At this stage, you can cover the product design overview, its features, and the value it provides. What kind of problems does it solve? Every product has its unique description based on what it is designed for, but you can generally focus on the following aspects:
- Design overview
- Key features
- Case studies of real-life use
- Pain points and the solutions your product provides
- How secure its overall infrastructure is
Build Your Product
Building an application from scratch is often a major challenge given the number of things you need to include in the software product. You can start by setting up the project architecture, create databases, set up webhooks with the right API calls, create login credentials and authentication, and much more depending on the type of software you are building. Allocate enough time for the software product creation phase. Most developers give a rough estimate of a week or more.
Address Potential SaaS Security Challenges Before Launch
You should ensure that your software product is securely guarded before you launch it to the public. Protect all data and other business processes such as transactions, pricing data, and records with secure access controls. The business or product should comply with relevant security policies and standards such as PCI/DSS. Remember the entire enterprise and its records or data are stored in the SaaS provider’s servers along with other SaaS applications, which makes security a primary concern not just for your product but for its users too. Securing your SaaS applications should involve the following:
- Secure product engineering. Start by making sure your product is engineered with security in mind. You’d be surprised by the high number of software products that are released to the market half-baked in a rush to meet launch deadlines. Think of the consequences of a security breach, data loss, and loss of product credibility before you launch the product. Treat security as an important part of your product’s engineering lifecycle.
- Secure deployment. Every SaaS solution is normally deployed from a public cloud or one hosted by the SaaS vendor. Make sure there enough safeguards to prevent cyber-security risks such as DoS attacks and network penetration in the deployment process. The security settings of the server should conform to the best practices as recommended by information security bodies such as PCI/DSS and GDPR.
- Get compliance certifications from PCI/DSS and GDPR. You can always rely on the able assistance provided by professional IT security companies such as Venkon to achieve the required certifications. Certification not only helps you to avoid non-compliance penalties but helps to build customer trust and loyalty.
- Data encryption. To provide the best level of security for your SaaS solution, make sure that all interactions with servers are done via secure SSL encrypted connections. The SSL can only be terminated within the cloud service provider’s network. You need to determine specific fields that should be encrypted such as SSN and credit card numbers.
- Test for security flaws and vulnerabilities. A penetration test that imitates a real-life attack will not only identify and address potential risks before hackers strike but will also ensure your SaaS solution complies with the required standards set by PCI/DSS and other regulating bodies. Vulnerability tests should be an on-going process with the right incident response tools and processes in place.
Marketing Your SaaS Solution Product
Once you have built a working software product and addressed all security issues, it is time to develop a marketing strategy before you release the product. There are numerous ways you can market your product online but at the very least build a website or landing pages to spread the word about your product.
To get traction on your marketing activities, use blog posts, press releases, and offline events to make the public aware of your launch a few days before the product is released. Content marketing, social media, Pay per Click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) are some of the most effective ways to market your SaaS solution online. You can also spread the word about your upcoming launch on relevant websites as guest posts and on forums too. A page dedicated to the product on one or more social media sites will also be of significant help in your marketing strategy.
A SaaS solution startup may encounter challenges in the early stage such as inadequate resources and funds. You should, therefore, start with a single channel that you believe has a high chance of succeeding rather than starting multiple projects at once and probably spread yourself too thin. Carry out small tests to see what works and what doesn’t. Educate yourself on important metrics such as the product’s LifeTime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition (CAC). Get a clear picture of the problems your SaaS solution is designed to solve. This will help you to find the right channels to reach new customers.
More importantly, remember that your SaaS solution is as good as it is secure. Don’t release your software product to the public before you have ascertained that it complies with the industry security requirements. Make sure that all data and processes that deal with financial transactions, software access, and customer records are properly secured before you launch the product.