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SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS are popular cloud computing software that we use to create, build, and store data on the cloud. This software helps us build, host and manage all business activities on the Internet. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t come across at least one of these three types of software – so it’s important to have a basic understanding of what these cloud computing software do and how we can make the most of it for our business. Below, I’ll explain how SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS actually work and give you some tips on how to choose the best cloud computing software for your business.
Related: Choosing the Right Cloud Platform for Your Startup
SaaS: Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) is cloud-based software created by a (SaaS) company and made available to the public over the Internet. SaaS products are available on a subscription or one-time basis. It can also be free.
As an entrepreneur, you often use SaaS products to manage your business documents and files (Google Drive), video conference with your employees (Zoom), collect contact information and communicate with them (HubSpot CRM), and send business emails to our business. Partners (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, etc.).
If you’ve been following the examples above, you’ll notice that your company doesn’t have to develop the video calling software, but rather pay a subscription fee to Zoom (a SaaS company). You also don’t have to bother yourself with building an in-house storage to store business documents like videos, pictures, spreadsheets, etc. Instead, you pay a one-time fee to purchase space on Google Office Suite (a SaaS product).
Your company doesn’t build content management software that you use to collect leads and send marketing messages to your prospects. So instead you pay for Hubspot subscription and start enjoying this service. And finally, here’s something special: none of this software is installed directly on your computers. Instead, you’ll find them directly through a website or web app. Below are five examples of popular SaaS products.
Delayed It is used for group cooperation and communication
Contact point: It is used for sales, marketing and customer relationship management
Hot Books: It is used for business invoices and accounting
Zoom in. It is used for video conferencing and meetings
Calendar: It is used for meeting and appointment scheduling
Related: The Rise of SaaS: A New Syllabus for Digital Gig Entrepreneurs
PaaS: Platform as a Service
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud-based platform that provides developers with all the resources needed to build custom web applications or software without having to deal with data management and storage. Basically, what PaaS companies offer SaaS companies is a platform where they can build their software for you.
In other words, while you’re paying to use Zoom’s video conferencing software, Zoom and its developers build and host their software on Google App Engine, Windows Azure, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
The simple logic here: While you need to go through the stress of hiring in-house engineers to create the software you use to manage your business, SaaS companies do it for you to create, build and host PaaS online platforms for their software.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t build software yourself. For example, many businesses build some of their web applications and software themselves and host them directly on PaaS – but eventually integrating one or two SaaS products is highly unlikely, if not impossible. Here are five examples of popular PaaS companies.
Google Application Engine
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Related: You Don’t Want to Miss These Benefits of Cloud Computing
IaaS: Innovation as a Service
Innovation as a Service (IaaS), as the name suggests, is where all functions are centered. Simply put, it is the headquarters of all cloud computing software.
After PaaS companies served as a hub for creating web applications and software, IaaS is a major force for hosting and managing software data. IaaS uses physical servers to host and manage data in the cloud and connect to PaaS companies through an API (application programming interface).
PaaS companies pay IaaS companies based on the amount of space the SaaS companies use to host their software. Here are five examples of IaaS companies:
Amazon Web Services
Google Cloud Platform
Choosing the right cloud computing software for your small business
At some point, you may have to ask yourself which of these cloud computing software you should use for your business. Should you opt for a SaaS product or hire a team of developers to build all the software you need to use for your company? Should you host your company’s software with a PaaS company or outright purchase space from IaaS? And finally, do you think your company is big enough to build a cloud store like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Walmart?
The simplest answer is that it depends on the size, goal, available resources and business model. For example, if you’re a small or medium-sized business, you might be better off using a quarter of a million existing SaaS products for your business. With this, you can focus on your business offerings and not spend time and money constantly updating software. Giant companies like LinkedIn, YouTube, and hundreds of others still use other SaaS companies for their offerings (such as using Streamyard to broadcast webinars on LinkedIn Live).
However, let’s say you feel that existing SaaS products are not efficient enough for your organization’s workloads, or perhaps less secure. In that case, you can hire a team of engineers to build the software on a PaaS company and connect to an IaaS like AWS or Google cloud for cloud storage. For convenience, I often recommend using an IaaS company that offers PaaS services, such as Google Cloud Platform (Google App Engine) and Amazon Web Service (AWS Elastic Beanstalk).
Now that we’ve broken down how SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS work, you can make a more informed decision about which path is best for your business. Consider all options and remember to consider size, goals, available resources and your business model before making that decision.