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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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