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SaaS vs. Open Source

What business owners need to know.

Open Source (e.g. WordPress)

Just because it's open source, doesn't mean it's free. Open source means it's "collaborative"... the source code of the software is freely shared with anyone so they can help move the product forward. Unfortunately open source software can be more easily exploited by hackers.

Software as a Service (e.g. Adobe Business Catalyst)

SaaS is usually a privately-held software program that offers users control of its core functionality to maintain security and quality. Adobe's Business Catalyst is an all-inclusive example of Software as a Service. 

We prefer the Business Catalyst (B.C.) platform because of the simple use of five main systems within one admin console, designed to run your online business. B.C.'s SaaS software combination includes a content management system, a customer relationship management system, eCommerce, e-Mail marketing, analytics and hosting all in one easy-to-use dashboard. No need to remember multiple log-ins or pay additional fees for third-party service.

Example of Open Source Software


WordPress is a blogging engine built with themes and widgets (plug-ins) which may require periodic updating.

Smashing Magazine, 2012

"For whatever reason, there is this perception among WordPress users that the hardest part of the job was paying someone to build the website and that once it's built, that's it, it's done, no further action required. Maybe that was the case seven years ago, but not today. WordPress' ease of use is awesome, but I think it provides a false sense of assurance to end users and developers alike. I think, though, this perception is starting to change." 
– Siobhan McKeown.

Example of Software as a Service

Business Catalyst

Adobe's Business Catalyst (BC) is a combination of CMS, CRM, eMarketing, Reporting and Analytics software.

Example Lifecycle

365 Days with Software as a Service – a Comparison of the Two Platforms

SaaS WordPress Lifecycle Comparison

The longer you own SaaS products, the better. One year after your site goes live on B.C., you'll receive added value, including:
1. Upgrades to hosting and data centers.
2. Technology updates and upgrades.
3. New features added.
4. Security fixes and updates.
5. New version releases (e.g. BC v3).
6. Current features re-released and improved. 

And there's no additional cost; it's included in your web hosting plan.

The Cost Factors

Maintaining an open source platform

WordPress (Open Source) sites often incur fees for updates, security and adding new features. With the Business Catalyst (SaaS) sites, updates, security and adding new features are included in your web hosting plan.

Cost Comparison

Business Catalyst vs. WordPress

Business Catalyst
CMS $20+/mo Included
eMarketing $25+/mo Included
CRM $25+/mo Included
Updates $150-$450 each Included
Upgrades $500-$2,000/each Included

Business Catalyst Hosting Benefits

Example of BC Value

Hosting BC websites are hosted with Adobe and include eMail hosting along with security upgrades on an ongoing basis. (Note: you don't have to host your email with your website.)
Features BC sites are feature-rich and reliable. BC includes basic modules for things like photo galleries, news, blogs, events and bookings.
Updates Adobe handles all of the technical updates. When new versions are released, they are added to your BC site at no additional cost and no effort on your part to implement.
Marketing Grow your business with eMail newsletters, auto-responders, birthday-anniversary eMails, etc. You can build segmented eMail lists.
E-Commerce Sell products or collect payments online. BC includes SSL certificates plus integration to a variety of payment gateways.
Support Unlike open-source where support is handled by the users and fairly non-existent, BC is supported by Adobe.

As you can see from the information above, a WordPress website remains static until features are added and security is updated. These updates aren't free, whether done by the site owner or a web developer. WordPress and other open source sites are very vulnerable to brute force attacks which again requires labor to find and correct the areas of security breach.

A method to gain access to a site: an attacker repeatedly tries user names and passwords until he gains access. Attackers can be very successful when people use passwords similar to '123456' and user names like 'admin.' If the attacker gains access to a site, he can block the owner from accessing the administrative area of the site, redirect the site to less desirable sites (spam hacks - e.g. Viagra or porn), add a bold statement across the page of a site or the site will fail to display.

WordPress websites become a depreciating asset where as Business Catalyst websites increase in value overtime.

Business Catalyst features and upgrades are included in a reasonably priced hosting plan enabling us to provide a quality product on a more secure software system and server while saving our clients money.