SaaS Application Development for Non-Technical Founders (Part I)
This article is intended to demystify some of the essential architectural decisions non-technical founders and their teams will need to make.
There are many reasons why more and more companies are adopting cloud computing. Speed of development and the ability to programmatically deploy infrastructure are maybe two of the most popular ones. However, while most technologists may believe that cloud adoption has eclipsed that of traditional on-premise hardware, the data shows otherwise; less than 15% of enterprise workloads run on infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as of 2020.
While many enterprises are eager to modernize their technology stacks, uncertainty around cloud technologies in the context of security, speed, cost, and other topics have halted many efforts. Leading many organizations to have extremely outdated technologies powering their business that are increasingly difficult to find talent to maintain.
Even the advice “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” has an expiration date! So that said, let’s address some of the most common misconceptions about the Cloud.
The Cloud allows for the programmatic provisioning and configuring of technology infrastructure. Such allows companies to avoid spending tons of money on physical hardware that will likely quickly depreciate in both value and relevance. Additionally, capacity planning becomes significantly more agile, since as easily as the Cloud allows you to deploy new infrastructure resources does it allow you to remove them. Both of these qualities allow a company to optimize its spending for technology infrastructure and, more often than not, entirely avoid significant upfront spending.
Additionally, modern cloud technologies allow companies to utilize computing resources as if they were general utilities. For example, instead of paying for a dedicated server resource, one might simply pay for metered computing power provided by a major cloud provider. This can be an extremely cost-effective strategy for businesses, as they are never paying for wasted computing power (i.e. running more servers than required), as well as never losing business due to unanticipated capacity at peak traffic times.
While in most cases a cloud-based technology stack benefits businesses with significant cost savings, it is often the upfront investment of transitioning an existing technology stack to the cloud that gives executives pause. This value judgment is highly dependent on any business itself. That said, when taking into consideration the peripheral costs associated with maintaining on-premise infrastructure (specialized staff, hardware costs, space, electrical, cooling systems, etc.), cloud computing becomes a clear cost saver.
Cloud Storage Providers (CSPs) have business models that truly depend on offering and maintaining state-of-the-art security protocols to their customers. That’s billions of dollars invested in cloud security and the world's top cyber experts–in every discipline–hired. Such intense scrutiny and focus on CSPs have forced them to innovate on security practices past the point of what could ever be expected of a single company or IT team – that’s not operating in the security space as its primary business.
Additionally, it has been proven that the majority of cloud-based security breaches are not the fault of the CSP. It is more and more often the insecure configuration used by customers of the CSPs. According to Gartner, 99 percent of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault by 2025 – not the security provider’s.
Therefore, it requires a ton of developer and IT staff training and governance policies to take on cybersecurity as purely an in-house responsibility. This isn’t feasible for most businesses. Thus, IT organizations benefit from automating and outsourcing security services, benefiting from the best-practices employed by CSP providers that can dedicate greater time and resources to ongoing security protections, training, and innovation.
Whether it’s a new or long-standing business, having one's technology infrastructure in the Cloud is not an all or nothing decision. While there are many examples of entirely cloud-based organizations, others choose to – or require – a hybrid approach of having both Cloud-based and on-premise technology resources.
This often gets executed on an application-by-application basis, where businesses take a stepped approach to move parts of their IT organization to the cloud. Effectively allowing them to lower the risk and burden of modernizing their technology stack at any given time. Being that many applications designed to run on-premise may need significant re-factoring to run properly in a cloud-environment, this is a very popular approach. It allows a company to spread the cost of digital transformation out over a longer timeline, as well as mitigate associated development risks.
As opposed to approaching the transition on an application-by-application basis, another method of how an organization might migrate to the cloud is on a discipline by discipline basis. For example, a single application may have specific areas of focus, like user-onboarding and profile management. By sectioning out each domain and transitioning it as a stand-alone service running on the Cloud, companies often experience a faster time to market with shipping products, more agility in development, and less interdependency in product architecture.
At 8base, we’ve built a fully scalable and enterprise-grade backend that runs on AWS (the world’s leading CSP). Every day, we’re helping founders and executives both build and modernize their technology stacks. With a team that has decades of experience building venture-backed SaaS products and enterprise software, we're intimately familiar with the many potholes along the road.
By having a ready-to-use backend (Database, secure API, application services, integrations, and more), we help entrepreneurs and business people innovate on software at lightning speeds, without having to worry about backend vulnerabilities themselves or employing teams of CSP architects and administrators. While thousands of developers worldwide are building applications using 8base, our 8base Labs team works directly with businesses to get involved in building software products in record time.
If you’re interested in building a new software product or modernizing your existing stack, we’re excited to talk with you about how 8base can help!
To learn more, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.