Since the pandemic, 55% of businesses have been increasingly dependent on Cloud tools such as Zoom and Slack. It’s clear that Cloud-based services are here to stay, so it helps to understand your three main options: SaaS, PaaS or IaaS.

Choosing between them can be overwhelming — but thankfully, we’ve got you covered! In this blog, we explain these three options to help you make an informed decision about which of them would suit your business.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

The SaaS model is the most popular Cloud-based option. It delivers third-party applications online, without the need for users to download or install software. Some well-known SaaS applications include G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, and Canva.

The key characteristics of SaaS are:

  • browser-based apps which can be accessed anywhere without manual installation
  • its providers manage updates or changes to SaaS apps
  • heavy reliance on third-party providers (however users don’t need to carry out internal maintenance of related hardware or software)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS offers a framework for users to develop and customise applications. By using a platform from a third-party provider, users can access a range of digital tools that give them a high degree of freedom over their apps’ design and function. Users of PaaS also don’t need to worry about operating systems, infrastructure, software updates or storage as the provider is responsible for these. Google App Engine, SAP Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are popular examples of PaaS.

The key characteristics of PaaS include:

  • user-friendly interface
  • easy installation and options for long-distance collaboration
  • flexible control over applications’ code, but not infrastructure
  • applications are quicker and easier to build than with IaaS
  • low maintenance for customers, but high reliance on providers

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Of all the options, IaaS gives businesses the greatest control over data storage. It allows users to develop and change the fundamental infrastructure of their own Cloud-based platform. Some of the most popular examples of IaaS are Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud.

Key characteristics of IaaS include:

  • independence from IaaS providers who manage the necessary infrastructure including servers, storage and networking
  • total control to upscale or downscale Cloud-based infrastructure
  • saves users money in buying and maintaining hardware
  • greater complexity than other models, requiring extensive IT expertise
  • users have sole responsibility over their business data and functioning of apps and platforms

Comparing the three: what suits your needs?

To decide whether SaaS, PaaS or IaaS is the best choice for your business, consider your business’ internal IT expertise and how much support you want from providers.

If you want to use Cloud-based apps with minimal setup and maintenance, SaaS is ideal. Its providers manage the apps which can save valuable time for your staff, but it also means your operations depend on your provider’s responsiveness!

PaaS focuses on customising apps using a provided platform, reducing the need for extra coding and maintenance. This makes it accessible to IT staff with varying levels of skills. However, your data security relies on an external provider, as does the range of digital tools you can use.

Lastly, IaaS offers the most independence to manage operating systems freely. However, as it means creating a platform from scratch, it demands more user input as well as IT expertise. The trade-off is the least dependence on providers from the three options — but businesses should consider the risks and rewards of greater responsibility carefully before choosing IaaS.

We hope this article has helped you decide which Cloud-based model might work best for your business’ needs. If your business is interested in expanding its use of Cloud-based systems, we recommend our Cloud telephony service to seamlessly move your company phone system into the Cloud. This service allows users to take advantage of a host of VoIP features from any location, includes free internal calls, and reduces your costs for telephony hardware and equipment. Learn more about this by contacting our knowledgeable team!