Saas vs PaaS vs IaaS – Which is Right for You? (Part 1)

If you don’t live and breathe tech industry language, you might be a little confused about all the acronyms that end with “as-a-service” out there today. These include software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). All these are forms of cloud computing, but before you dive into one or the other, here’s a quick guide to help you understand each a little better.

 

The Expansion of the Cloud

It wasn’t long ago that most companies housed their data in on-premise servers, but as data volumes grow exponentially year after year, it’s expensive and difficult to have enough servers plus the facilities and staff to manage them on site. On-site data storage puts your data at risk of loss from theft, fire, natural disaster, flood, or something similar.

For that reason, most companies are moving their data to the cloud. All three of these services are growing significantly as companies look for ways to reduce costs and improve data security but there are a few key differences between them.

 

Comparing SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

The easiest way to compare these three types of cloud computing is by looking at what you manage vs what a third-party manages when it comes to hardware and software applications. These three options are like a series of “steps” where the third party manages progressively more as you move through each step.

For on-premise data storage you manage everything:

  • Applications
  • Data
  • Runtime
  • Middleware
  • Operating system (OS)
  • Virtualization
  • Servers
  • Storage
  • Networking

As you move to IaaS, PaaS, then SaaS, more of these things are delivered via the internet (you can check out a visual of this on Hosting Advice).

  • IaaS: you manage applications, data, runtime, middleware, and OS
  • PaaS: you manage only applications and data
  • SaaS: a third party manages everything

You can use a combination of two or more of these services, but that often depends on the size and complexity of your needs. Unless you have a robust IT infrastructure already, or you are a company that develops your own software, SaaS products often make the most sense because they give you access to the tools you need without any significant investment in infrastructure and hardware. All the tools are delivered via the internet, and the third-party vendor manages data security, maintenance, and compliance for you.

In part two of this blog we’ll go over the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you determine which one might work best for your client onboarding needs.

GuideCX offers a SaaS client onboarding program that gives you the ability to customize your onboarding needs. Schedule a demo to find out more today.