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SilkRoad Software & Hosting Review

 

SilkRoad’s Technology, Security, Pricing, and Hosting Capabilities

Prospective talent management software buyers considering deploying the SilkRoad Life Suite (or any of its singular respective solutions such as OpenHire, RedCarpet, WingSpan, GreenLight, Eprise, or HeartBeat) are well served to first understand the company’s approach to security, integration, customization, hosting, service level agreements, and pricing. The following analysis takes a high-level overview of what these specific capabilities are in order to provide a stepping off point with which to further evaluate SilkRoad for short-list consideration.

SilkRoad’s Life Suite Security Capabilities

Consistent with other HR solutions that operate in the niche of talent management, SilkRoad’s Life Suite is based on a flexible data exchange model (thereby allowing data to be imported and exported with relative ease) and designed with interoperability in mind for a wide range of HR systems. This normally takes place through the use of XML web services; integration services that, while fairly standard in the HR software arena, often require IT and/or HRIS administrator help. That said, from an information security perspective at least, this oversight does provide a certain level of control that many organizations will find positive. Other aspects of the security model that SilkRoad subscribes to include security based off of the C.I.A. Principles of Information Security (i.e. Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability); SSAE 16 audit and attestation; and a host of compliance controls including Safe Harbor. Further, after Grant Thornton performed specific audit procedures, SilkRoad was able to add to their already impressive list of security measures the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Service Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) Report for software design, infrastructure, implementation, datacenter security, customer data protection and human resources management.

As for additional information security controls that prospective buyers should understand, SilkRoad utilizes separate data centers for application hosting. However, in our research we were not able to understand the level of redundancy and cut-over capabilities. Some reports indicate that the company only has 2 data centers that are housed in the United States. Others report that the company has hosting facilities in the U.S., Canada, and Germany. Regardless of the number of data centers however, SilkRoad touts that they are “top-tier”, but provides little else in terms of what that qualifier means. As such, it is imperative for would-be cloud customers to investigate this aspect further once talks with SilkRoad begin. That being said, SilkRoad representatives were able to provide further depth into security aspects of the application itself. For instance, basic measures such as industry-standard encryption, SSL technology, password complexity rules, and session timeouts are all included. Likewise, as it pertains to infrastructure, SilkRoad advises it provides IPS (Intrusion Prevention Software) and load balancing via F5 for handling the distribution of incoming requests. However, even though the company purports to design application security measures based on ISO 27001 policies, the fact of the matter is that this internationally-recognized IT security attestation has not yet been granted to the company.

SilkRoad Life Suite Hosting

As is to be expected for a multi-tenant SaaS solution, customer data is centrally stored in a Storage Area Network (SAN); with clients granted access to their individual instances which are logically isolated from other customer data. Overlapping technologies and shared services are then used to monitor applications, servers, and network usage to ensure smooth operations. In addition to those aspects though, SilkRoad has also positioned redundancies at each level within the network in order to eliminate any single point of failure. As such, according to company representatives, “hot” backups are utilized at every point, and are “ready for immediate fail-over if there are any problems with the router, firewalls, switches, intrusion prevention devices, load balancers, or servers”.

SilkRoad Life Suite Service Level Agreement

Though subject to obvious exceptions (e.g. scheduled maintenance windows, internet backbone failure, etc.) SilkRoad’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) states that their service will be available 99% of the time during each calendar month from the time that the services go-live in a customer’s production environment. The company calculates this uptime availability by taking the total minutes per month (TMM) and the total minutes per month that the service is not available (TMU) and running it through the calculation: [(TMM-TMU) X 100]/TMM. In the event of a service disruption that affects availability, SilkRoad offers a “Service Credit” remedy that is equal to the pro-rata subscription fee for one day.

SilkRoad’s Life Suite Software Pricing

Unfortunately, SilkRoad shows a serious lack of transparency regarding their pricing models—preferring instead to have this side of the process handled via negotiation through their professional sales staff. As a rough guide however, prices are based on a subscription model that is constructed around the number of FTEs a company has. And of course, being a SaaS product, support, maintenance, and updates are included within that subscription price.

SilkRoad Life Suite Customization Functionality

Aside from the inherent branding and personalized configuration options that each of the separate Life Suite modules allow, the bulk of available Silkroad software customization capabilities revolve around the company’s Eprise offering—a package that enables content customization for languages and culture-specific needs. In a nutshell what this means is that specific versions of content can be delivered to particular audiences based on the parameters and permissions that the client company establishes. As such, users have the capability to dynamically manage multiple types of content (with separate security permissions, metadata, field validations, and workflows) to give a customized experience wherever the solution is deployed.

However, it should be noted that a discernible Platform-as-a-Service toolkit (PaaS) toolkit is not available, and application customization work via the Eprise Content Management System (CMS) will invariably rely on code developers and IT staff in order to integrate with external applications and web services and/or to build or modify application logic. While employees with those specific skill-sets are likely to find these tasks relatively straight forward within the Eprise application, the fact of the matter is that IT department intervention will likely be necessary—a situation that could create system bottlenecks for those organizations that require a customized HR application.

SilkRoad does indicate though that, at least within its HRMS product HeartBeat, HR administrators have the capability to configure as well as change workflows in the case of common process modifications—often via a one-click interface. This functionality features options for setting up multiple approvers and fulfillment steps, as well as the ability to input customized approvals into the system for designated HR processes.

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