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"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful illustration of three gears next to a laptop with an illustrated Cloud on a background of the world map in grayscale

“The cloud” is a phrase thrown around casually as though it has one specific meaning, but in reality, the cloud is a broad concept used to reference many different services and deployment models.

If you’re speaking of “the cloud” generally, then it can refer to how and where data is stored—and where it isn’t. The cloud has become important for its improvements to modern business operations. Instead of being able to run only locally on one device, the cloud enables software and services to run and be accessible over the internet.

Interested in switching your business to the cloud? Then you’ll want to think of “the cloud” more specifically, with three primary cloud service options to consider: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Knowing the difference between each of these cloud services will help you discover which solution, or solutions, could most benefit your business or organization.

"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written with a diagram to explain briefly what each cloud service option does

SaaS

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software hosted online by a provider that is delivered via the internet and available for use on a subscription basis.

Beneficial for startups, e-commerce companies, and short-term projects that require collaboration, SaaS is the most common type of cloud computing service used by businesses.

Advantages of SaaS include:

  • It’s managed in one central location and hosted on a remote server accessible over the internet.
  • Users are not responsible for hardware or software updates because they are handled by the provider.
  • It doesn’t need to be downloaded and installed on individual devices in order to be deployed to an entire team or company.
  • It is ideal if you use applications that aren’t in demand very often or applications that need both web and mobile access.

PaaS

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, refers to cloud-based platform services that provide a framework for developers to build custom applications. Note that PaaS does not deliver software over the internet. Rather, it provides an online platform accessible to different developers so they can create software over the internet.

This allows developers to build custom applications online without having to deal with maintaining or managing infrastructure, software, and more.

There are several advantages to PaaS including:

  • It makes the development of apps simple, cost-effective, and scalable.
  • It gives developers the ability to create customized apps without maintaining any software.
  • It reduces the amount of coding needed.
  • If multiple developers are working on the same project, or if other vendors must be included, PaaS grants speed and flexibility to the entire process.

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is the delivery of cloud-based infrastructure resources to organizations through virtualization technology, helping businesses organize and manage their servers, network, operating systems, and data storage.

With IaaS, customers have control over their own data without having to physically manage it on-site. IaaS is also known as a “virtual data center.”

The benefits of an IaaS include:

  • It is the most flexible cloud computing model, ideal for startups and reducing time to market.
  • It allows for automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power, all handled by your provider.
  • It allows resources to be rented in a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.
  • It gives you the ability to easily scale your infrastructure as needed.
  • It gives you increased security and 24/7 monitoring with the right provider.
"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful sticky notes and posted on a chalkboard illustration of a cloud that reads "CLOUD" for cloud services

Is SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS Right for You?

To put it simply, IaaS provides pay-as-you-go use of cloud computing infrastructure that can easily and flexibly scale with your business, PaaS provides developers with a maintenance-free platform to build custom apps, and SaaS is cloud-based software that makes it easy and less time-consuming for companies to use applications.

Although these services have similar acronyms, they all serve very different functions. However, at the end of the day, all three work together to help businesses improve operations through cloud computing.

When it comes to your business, are you ready to experience the power of the cloud? Choosing the right provider will make all the difference. Contact Lightbound today to learn which of our Indianapolis cloud services is the best fit for your business.

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What should you ask a potential cloud services provider before signing the dotted line? While a provider can seem like they have their ducks in a row, don’t forget to vet them for how they will treat you as a client. Asking the right questions can help you reveal whether or not a provider will meet, and hopefully exceed, your expectations as you experience the transition to cloud computing.

Ask potential cloud services providers these five questions to ensure they will give you the best client experience for a successful transition:

1. Do I need a cloud storage or cloud computing solution?

This is more of a question to ask yourself, but it’s first on the list because you’ll need to clarify whether your business needs a cloud storage solution like DropBox or an enterprise-level IaaS cloud computing service with network, server, and storage resources for your application.  

Cloud storage solutions are used for basic data storage and backup while cloud computing allows you to run applications in the cloud—a huge leap beyond cloud storage. IaaS Cloud computing allows you to access and run applications or programs through the Internet rather than through a physical computer or server. If you only need to store some files, you can stick to a cloud storage solution, but if you’re ready to put your business applications in the Cloud, then you’re ready to look for a cloud computing provider.

Cloud computing offers benefits like scalability, flexibility, cost savings on capital expenditures, the ability to remotely access and transform your data, plus so much more. A cloud computing provider may also offer increased protection for your data, both physically and virtually, thanks to data security and disaster recovery capabilities.

2. Are you a reseller or do you provide cloud services directly?

Some providers resell cloud services while others provide cloud services directly. The problem with resellers is that they not only have a lack of contact with the services they’re selling, but if you have a downtime issue it can be costly not knowing whether to call the software/hardware OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), the hosting provider, or the VAR (value-added reseller) for support. Finding where the problem started can prove to be an expensive headache.

When you work with a provider like LightBound, we’re not resellers of these products—we actually provide these services directly to you. This means we are able to provide a better customer experience for you because we customize the solution for your business, handle all the project management, installation, and implementation. We also support your business with a dedicated Technical Account Manager, a 24×7 NOC, and a team of Tier 3 and Tier 4 Engineers if things go bump in the night. All of these compliment our resource pools and ensure a smooth and trouble-free customer experience.

 

3. What are your service hours?

Technology doesn’t wait for “office hours” to malfunction, and things tend to go wrong in the middle of the night when you’re least expecting it. Will your provider be there for you when you need them most?

Some providers limit the hours when you can actually reach them for assistance, which can mean increased downtime for your business, frustrated employees, unhappy customers, and halted business operations.

Choose a provider like LightBound that offers always-on, always-available service designed to solve your problems with lightning speed. We are there for you day or night and will work hard to get your services back up and running if there’s ever an issue. Your bottom line will thank you!

4. Who answers the phone when I call?

When you call for help, will you be speaking to an answering machine, robot, third-party assistant, or a personable and ready-to-help expert? Will they know what they’re talking about and be able to help you, or end up wasting your time?

When something goes wrong, having an experienced professional on the other end of the line makes all the difference in getting your problems solved. When you call LightBound for help, one of our expert employees will be ready to assist you 24/7/365, and you’ll be able to put names to faces with our team.

 

5. Who’s responsible for what?

Who’s responsible for the services you receive and who owns the datacenter? Will they be accountable for monitoring and ensuring uptime? Know what your provider promises and what their responsibilities are, only choosing a provider you know you can count on to have your back, make you a priority, and solve issues directly.

If your services will be handled by separate parties, it will be more difficult and time-consuming to resolve issues. This is because, in addition to not knowing where your problems are rooted, you may not be able to get any party to take responsibility for solving them or even care that you’re experiencing downtime.

This is yet another reason it’s important to choose a provider that offers you services directly rather than a reseller that can’t ensure the success of your cloud services all the way through. At LightBound, we are your single-source solution for cloud services, so you have only one phone number to call and we are accountable for your uptime.

Need help choosing the right cloud services provider for your business? Contact us today for direction!