Moving Toward the Cloud—What is SaaS?

SaaS is a cloud-computing solution that provides on-demand information sharing over a hosted server, eliminating the need for an extensive IT department devoted solely to equipment maintenance. Implementation is quick and requires no server installation. Once installed, vital information can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making SaaS ideal for officers on the road and IT administrators alike.

Access does not require any more equipment or knowledge than what is needed to reach a desired website. In addition, hosted services typically include non-stop monitoring and troubleshooting by personnel specifically trained on the application’s engineering. This alleviates time constraints associated with fixing problematic issues, many of which could potentially affect the safety of others due to outages while the IT department works with the software provider.

The self-healing model has no single points of failure, and is spread across geographic regions to ensure regional natural disasters cannot disrupt service. This unique software architecture features a highly redundant design, which provides seamless backups so public safety personnel never experience a software shutdown. Extensive information storage coupled with the elimination of server issues can make SaaS the perfect solution for agencies with limited manpower of any size.

How Much Does it Cost?
SaaS provides a lower-cost system for agencies to use software as needed, as opposed to licensing every application on each individual device. And with subscription services, there are no hidden fees like equipment, software, payroll, and benefits. Agencies are acutely aware of the exact price, which means it can be included in the monthly budget.

Is SaaS Right for My Agency?
SaaS may not be the best solution for every agency. In instances where agencies need greater control of their data, it may not be feasible to have data hosted by another provider without deferring more risk than a SaaS provider is willing to take on. However, in all other instances it has infinitely more pros than cons.

As a result, there’s been a massive switch to SaaS, especially among the public safety sector – mainly because agencies can have instant access to resources at a lower cost than building and maintaining internally. Another great advantage is that burdens are shifted to the service providers instead of local users having to scramble for fixes. Plus, the decreased liability and higher level of security for confidential information cloud servers can provide is unparalleled.

The Bottom Line
For all you non-IT-fluent individuals, SaaS means speed, simplicity, and consistency. Thanks to software advances, regulatory compliance has never been easier to achieve. Electronic records, including policies and procedures, can be accessed instantaneously when officers need them most. With all the user-friendly capabilities, it’s no wonder so many agencies are rapidly moving toward the cloud.

About the Author
Joshua Brown is the founder and CEO of Innovative Data Solutions, Inc. (IDS). A former IT Administrator for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in Brooksville, Fla., Brown began working as a consultant as the demand began to present itself. He created custom software and completed database work for clients. From this first step, it became intuitive that if he merged his knowledge of law-enforcement policies, procedures, and training with his programming skills, he could develop a simple solution for law-enforcement supervisors to keep track of their personnel databases. After ten years, his nationally distributed solutions continue to meet the needs of public safety, as well as many private-sector organizations. For more information about IDS’ compliance management offerings including standards compliance, policy and procedure management, document signatures, employee training, knowledge assessments, or feedback reception, please visit us at  

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