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SaaS Requirement Checklist

Luis Praxmarer

Luis PraxmarerCIO’s should view the SaaS provider opportunity as a business decision. In other words, there are some basic requirements that a SaaS provider must meet in order to be considered. The following list includes many, but not all of the key characteristics of a potential SaaS partner. While a positive response is expected in most cases, the actual response will vary based on the client and the service/product being offered. Depending on the country and the regulatory requirements special questions may need to be added.

Environmental Stability and High Availability

  • Is the provider’s service hosted on their own equipment, in their own data center?
  • Is the facility scalable? To what extent?
  • Is there redundant power, UPS or generators installed in the Data Center?
  • Is there backup AC installed in the Data Center?
  • Is there emergency lighting in the Data Center?
  • Does the SaaS provider use more than one network provider?

Physical Security

  • Is the Data Center secured using badge access and/or biometric access?
  • Is the list of personnel admitted to the Data Center reviewed at least monthly?
  • Are cameras used within the Data Center to monitor all activities?
  • Are logs kept of all personnel that are admitted to the Data Center?
  • Are intrusion detection or intrusion prevention systems used?
  • Are vulnerability assessments performed every six months by a third party?

System Security

  • Are the hosting facilities SAS 70 Type II Certified?
  • Is the SaaS provider PCI compliant?
  • Is the SaaS provider HIPPA compliant?
  • Are there any other certifications that apply?

Data Segregation

  • Does the SaaS provider offer sufficient data security/segregation controls? What are they?
  • Are data access audit logs maintained for all activity within the environment?
  • Is access to client data limited to senior, vetted SaaS administrators?

Data Management

  • Is data encryption used when data is at rest?
  • Is data archiving available?
  • Is there a plan in place to investigate in case of breach?

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

  • Are there provisions for business continuity?
  • Are there provisions for disaster recovery?
  • Is the data replicated to another location?
  • Are these services part of the basic package?
  • Can the data and service be restored within the enterprise’s parameters?

Identity Management

  • Does the SaaS provider offer single sign-on (SSO)?
  • Can the SaaS provider be integrated with Active Directory?

Service Desk Support

  • Does the SaaS provider offer multiple modes of contact, like phone email, online?
  • Is the support desk available when the enterprise needs it? (24 x 5, 24 x 7?)
  • Do the response times meet the enterprise’s requirements?
  • List response times for critical, important and non-critical requests?
  • Is there active monitoring of the processing environment?

Resource Assistance

  • Is there a dedicated account management representative?
  • Is there consulting assistance available for integration, modification, etc.?

Service Interruption Notification and Formal Processes

  • Is there advance notification of upgrades, patches, and maintenance?
  • How is the client notified?
  • Does the SaaS provider have a formal change management process?

Standards, Policies, Guidelines, Procedures

  • Does the SaaS provider follow any architecture frameworks?
  • Does the SaaS provider manage projects using a standard methodology?
  • Are the SaaS provider’s standards, policies, guidelines and procedures documented and communicated throughout their client?
  • Are there formalized change, problem, incident management processes?

Integration

  • Are there standard, easy to use APIs?
  • Can the client access the data directly?

Service Level Agreements

  • Does the SaaS provider offer SLAs based on end-to-end performance?
  • Are credits paid if the provider does not meet SLA provisions?
  • Are periodic meetings with the service provider part of the SLA process?
  • Is there an escalation/notification process in place?

SaaS Provider Stability

  • Does the SaaS provider offer dedicated environments?
  • Does the SaaS provider offer shared environments?
  • How many years has the SaaS provider been in business?
  • Are they making a profit?
  • Are they privately held?
  • Are all of their personnel employees of the company?
  • Does the SaaS provider have a formalized product/service development roadmap?
  • Does the SaaS provider solicit customer input for their roadmap?
  • Do they allow potential customers to trial their service/software?

TCO

  • Does the base price include implementation, integration, set-up, etc.?
  • Is the pricing structure based on the number of users?
  • Is the minimum contract period one year?
  • Are volume purchase agreements available?

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