8 SaaS Uptime Challenges & How to Solve Them

8 SaaS Uptime Challenges & How to Solve Them

SaaS businesses are popular and on the rise now more than ever. So how do you get an edge over your competition and stand out from the crowd? 

You ensure your customers are getting better services 24/7. The customers depend on you. 

In this article, we highlight eight common SaaS uptime challenges and ways to solve them. Keep reading until the end to find out how our Environment as a Service solution can help you achieve 100% uptime

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Common SaaS Uptime Challenges & How to Solve Them

Promising 100% Uptime 

In theory, 100% uptime is possible (and ideal), but practically, many issues can come up. Remember from our High Availability Architecture article that no system is entirely failsafe, and it may take some time to move to the backup components, whether that is milliseconds, minutes, or hours. If you promise 100% uptime and you can’t reach that, you’re going to have to explain to your client(s) why they can’t access their information. You must be prepared for any of the following issues that can occur at any moment: 

  • a technical failure or a cyberattack (network issues) 
  • outages or a complete server crash (because of fires, flooding, or theft, for example) 
  • unscheduled downtime during peak hours (as opposed to scheduled downtime during off-peak hours).

By being more aware of the issues that can happen, you’re able to promise something to your customers that is both practical and doable. Or, if you do decide to promise 100% uptime, ensure your system is covered from other points with proper monitoring and protection ahead of time (security, eliminating single points of failure, scheduling maintenance accordingly, etc.) — more on these below.

Security Issues

Problems with security, often the main concern for most SaaS companies, can be the result of multiple points:

1. Understaffed IT departments - you may not have a fully staffed IT department, so the right people won’t be able to fix security problems that arise or take the steps necessary to improve IT security. 

2. Server bugs - servers need to be maintained constantly to not allow bugs to affect uptime. For servers to remain operational, you need the right people to maintain them.

3. Software failures - cyberattacks, such as ransomware, can cause software failures, so security needs to be robust to prevent these problems from occurring. Ensure you don’t experience a lack of maintenance, which can result in updates not being promptly performed.

4. Hardware failures - if you experience hardware failures, this can take your network offline for a long time before you can fix the issue. You must either reboot, service it, or bring someone in to repair the hardware, costing you time and money. One of the best things to do is ensure automatic failover, where you remove single points of failure by making your N+1 models active/active, so they continue working flawlessly if a component or even a link between them fails. Additionally, by automating this, you won’t have to worry about failures during peak hours.

You can avoid all of the above points by adopting a cloud-based solution, like Environment as a Service (EaaS). Together with cloud security, a cloud solution brings a level of automation to your business, allowing you to focus on customer satisfaction instead of uptime issues.   

Support is Lacking 

Adam Hempenstall, CEO and founder of Better Proposals, says that “one of the biggest challenges is noticing that we have an issue with uptime when no one is around to make any fixes. For example, if your servers go down at 2 AM in your time zone, you’ll have a hard time noticing it until the morning. And by then, it’s too late because customers from the other end of the globe will be churning like crazy and leaving bad reviews all over the internet. That’s why we hired a customer support rep to cover those critical time zones. If something goes wrong, we know it immediately, and the entire team is on alert.”

Always take care of your customers, and do it well. If you’re outsourcing your IT, you’re probably hesitant that you’ll lose all control, and that support will be time-consuming and painful to execute. To not feel this way, if you’re working with a cloud provider, ensure they’re extremely responsive to customers and highly accessible 24/7. You may even consider a service level agreement (SLA) to stipulate what happens if the provider doesn’t follow through with their uptime promise. 

Thankfully, Bunnyshell has 24/7 ticketing and an SLA to ease the minds of even those most hesitant, so you don’t have to worry about outsourcing.  

Monitoring Changes

The smallest changes can cause errors and outages. If these changes aren’t properly communicated, you’ll have a hard time finding the source of the outage. To optimize your app, get into the practice of communicating all changes, starting with the end-user. By getting input from the end-user, you’ll know what’s slowing your platform down to drastically improve performance with relatively minor changes. 

Communicating Internally

A lack of communication between departments can lead to downtime and even bigger issues. To ensure that doesn’t happen, keep all departments (sales, customer support, dev, QA) in the loop. Each team will have a different way of communicating, so it may take a few times to see which method works best for you and your team. After finding a method that works for you, consistently optimize it to keep all departments productive and involved.

A great way to get team members to interact with each other is through EaaS training environments. These environments are helpful for many things, including training new hires and returning team members or onboarding and training stakeholders and business partners. They can be accessed from anywhere, so there’s no need for a physical location. Members can even try out new product features or give feedback where necessary.  

Conducting Software Testing 

If you’re not doing early software testing, you’re missing out. By testing early and often, you’re able to uncover any issues before an app or product goes to market. Have your dev team focus on testing (including UI and UX) to eliminate bugs early in the process, improve performance, and reduce development costs (the team will have limited rework). Testing also helps to remove risks and problems with security earlier in the process for a reliable and secure virtual infrastructure, improving the quality of your final product and instilling trust with customers. 

By using an EaaS solution for your test environments, you’ll cover all of the above points, encourage improvement and innovation, and effectively track a new product or update through development, testing, and deployment to ensure the end-user has the best experience possible. Additionally, stakeholders can view these changes and offer feedback to easily implement them before going to production. 

Being Proactive

Kristaps Brencans, chief marketing officer at On The Map, Inc, believes that SaaS uptime is too important of a factor to stop there, and you must focus on further monitoring the threats to its effectiveness. Kristaps continues by saying that “overcoming SaaS uptime issues lies entirely in being proactive. Application performance management (APM) software is a must-have. APM provides metrics data that can help IT anticipate threats to SaaS uptime, big and small. Successful marketing at its core is about ensuring customer contentment and satisfaction. So plan for inevitable downtime - talk to your team about how you might continue to engage customers during downtime and ensure a continued satisfactory experience.”

It’s safe to say that SaaS revenue growth depends on customer satisfaction. Customers who are happy with your product or service become brand ambassadors and refer you further. While an APM tool can help avoid hardware failures with an automatic failover feature, for example, even with APM solutions, you may still experience downtime. As your IT team scrambles to address the issue, your customers and marketing team suffer as a result. 

Be proactive and ensure every interaction with your customers is a positive one instead of waiting for a problem to occur. Customers won’t remember all the times your website or app worked; they’ll remember the one time that it didn’t. So in instances of app downtime, either unscheduled or planned maintenance, ensure your marketing team implements more user-friendly downtime communication. You may consider supplementing your APM by using a hosted status page to let customers know when there are issues with app performance or availability.    

Not Having High Expectations from Your Cloud Provider

Customers expect continuous availability in the cloud. Just as they have high expectations from you in terms of products or services, you should have high expectations from your cloud provider. A cloud-based solution, among the many benefits previously mentioned, delivers seamless upgrades. This ensures that customers always have access to the latest version of your app with the newest features and that any security vulnerabilities are quickly and efficiently addressed as soon as they’re found. You must constantly improve and update as needed, and make sure to ask for six nines (99.9999%) with EaaS.   

Forget about Downtime-related Churn - Use Bunnyshell

You now have a list of SaaS uptime challenges and ways to solve them. Whether you’re a large business, an early-stage start-up, or a development agency, Bunnyshell offers different plans and features to fit your needs. You’ll have round-the-clock monitoring for safety, proper monitoring and prevention in place, and much more. 

The future of EaaS and SaaS is a bright one, helping businesses achieve increased revenues uptime while meeting requirements as they grow without worrying about IT investments or the technical stuff. Read the 7 eCommerce Website Challenges and How to Solve Them article to see how an EaaS can help there too.  

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