10 Ways to Detect Real SaaS from Fake SaaS

The need for Software as a Service (SaaS) — a modern business model for application software — continues to pick up speed as more and more businesses realize its value. Business Wire states that the SaaS market is projected to grow more than 21 percent annually between now and 2023. However, the quickly rising fame of the SaaS has led to fake SaaS solutions that rarely provide any benefits to its end users.

In a recent study, information technology research and analyst firm Forrester cautioned companies against buying solutions that are not true SaaS. These fake platforms fall short of having the features of true SaaS like agility, security, and efficiency. Today, vendors see this as an opportunity to lure customers into making money by selling fake SaaS — on-premise or cloud. So, when opting for any SaaS solution, ensure that the solution provider is a true SaaS vendor, is fully committed to the SaaS delivery model, and has invested in a true multi-tenant platform.


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Learn to Differentiate: 10 Indicators of True SaaS

Here are 10 indicators of true SaaS that will help you understand the features so you can make the right choices for your business:

  1. Scalable: One of the main features of a SaaS solution is its “elasticity.” SaaS solutions are scalable as they usually reside in cloud environments. Unlike the traditional model, you don’t have to buy separate software and hardware to increase capacity; the SaaS vendor will do that. You can quickly scale up and down based on your needs. For example, if you are a startup, you can start using SaaS with a small initial amount and expand as you grow. However, with fake SaaS, scalability comes with additional costs.
  2. Agile: The key benefit of SaaS is that its vendor releases new features periodically so that customers can benefit from the best of technology features. Most vendors provide continuous updates with a choice to allow new features on a requirement basis. All this helps to reduce the effect on functioning business operations. However, fake SaaS vendors can’t give the solution reliably and at a reasonable price because they can’t counteract modifications or get away from complications.
  3. Multi-tenant: Remember, a true SaaS vendor is dedicated to multi-tenant SaaS. With multi-tenancy SaaS, scaling up involves very few infrastructure implications as opposed to a single-tenancy solution. Therefore, all customers enjoy guaranteed smoother development and quicker release cycles. And if you may require specific features, then those special requests will be addressed through configuration. However, fake SaaS vendors are maintaining separate independent models, also known as single-tenant. The most significant disadvantage of a single-tenant model is that the cost-sharing advantages of true SaaS fade away as each client has to be administered independently.

10 Ways to Detect Real SaaS from Fake SaaS-01

  1. Customization: One of the main reasons many organizations choose between on-premise or cloud-based solutions is their need to customize current software to support upcoming unique processes and requirements. In a modern, true SaaS platform, you can customize across the value chain and fit the software to meet your specific needs without burdening yourself. True SaaS solutions also provide the advantage of faster and simpler innovation than “fake SaaS” solutions.
  2. Updates: In SaaS, you receive regular patches and updates to the software by the vendor at no additional cost. Configurations and integrations are not affected by updates since they are adequately tested before rolling out. Also, in true SaaS, new versions are released multiple times in a year. Each release is robustly tested and delivered with no glitches and zero interruption to your business, configurations, and integrations. However, after updating the fake SaaS, customizations and integrations have to be re-done.
  3. Additional Fees: In true SaaS, there are no additional fees for getting access to new features. Your services are maintained and available once you have paid. This means, with a monthly or yearly subscription fee, customers can effortlessly manage their services. However, fake SaaS vendors pretend to offer you “free upgrades” or charge you an additional fee through customizations and integration.
  4. Maintenance: True SaaS not only delivers savings through cost-sharing, but your customers will also not be required to spend time and effort on the non-strategic tasks projects for maintenance. As your SaaS vendor will take care of your maintenance and operations, you can utilize that free time to focus on strategic work and innovations and locate ways to improve and grow your business. A true SaaS solution also guarantees availability and publishes uptime stats on their site. However, fake SaaS vendors do not have SLAs around availability and will send uptime stats on request.
  5. Free Trial: In true SaaS, you will get free trials to see how the system works. You will be able to use user documentation to get familiar with the features. You can also ask a SaaS vendor to conduct a training session for you. However, a fake SaaS vendor will not offer a free option as there is a high chance that you will not like their services and will not buy their solution.
  6. Security: True SaaS vendors should have operations and policies that involve physical, application, network, and data-level security, as well as backup and disaster rescue. SaaS solution vendors should conform with top enterprise security certifications like SSAE-18, ISO 27001, FedRAMP, GDPR, and more with strong security policies and auditing programs. Fake SaaS platforms will say that they’ll take care of your security, but they won’t be certified or audited by anyone for their policies.
  7. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): The total expenditure for ownership of any solution includes the cost of hardware, software, network, backup, workforce, security, and maintenance. True SaaS subscriptions allow companies to manage any financial risk in the best possible way. You can often opt for a pay-as-you-go model to keep the costs predictable without any hidden charges. However, a fake SaaS vendor will provide you per-user/per-month model, but the cost may vary with the kind of upgrades and customizations your organization may need.

Don’t Be Tricked By Fake SaaS

There is simply no comparison between true and fake SaaS when it comes to implementation, upgrades, performance, fee, customization, and service. Fake SaaS vendors are trying their best to distort the lines between authentic SaaS and the knockoff versions. A fake SaaS program may be good for your vendor, but it is not good for your business as you will be left behind with legacy operations and a paucity of innovation. In contrast, true SaaS vendors offer best-in-class software at a reasonable subscription with no hidden costs.

Lower costs, easy upgrades, new features, and better scalability are the top reasons many believe SaaS is the future for nearly all computing. Therefore, when chosen correctly, true SaaS will help businesses achieve revenues and meet any requirements needed for their growth.

To get a detailed understanding of how to make a difference and grow your business, download our guide.


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Vivek Gopalpuria


Vivek Gopalpuria

Vivek is the VP of Product Marketing at Replicon. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time


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