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SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS: What Do They Mean and How Do They Work Together?

Within the business world there’s nothing more steadfast than the fact that acronyms and shorthand will pretty much always be used. Think of how many times you’ve had someone tell you that they’ll “ping” you, or that they’ll be “out of pocket” for the rest of the week. Some phrases become so commonplace at work that they slip into our everyday vernacular. However, as the technology landscape continues to evolve at a sometimes eye-watering pace, the slew of new phrases and acronyms to keep up with can feel like a full-time job in and of itself… and then, of course, you’ve got to actually know what the phrases mean and how they apply to your organization.

Software as a service

In the era of the cloud, it currently seems like all of the latest and greatest developments are “_aaS” where the blank is almost any letter and the “aaS” stands for “as a Service.” But what does it all mean, how are they different, and how do they all tie together? Read on for details.

SaaS - Software as a Service

One of the most popular - and earliest - “as a Service” acronyms to pop up on the scene was Software as a Service. SaaS is essentially what comes to mind when people think of cloud services - an application that they can use by logging in online, rather than having the program live on their computer or local network. This is, for all intents and purposes, the most accessible part of “the cloud” in that most everyone is already using some sort of SaaS application, whether they realize it or not. Gmail, SalesForce, and yes, even Netflix, are examples of popular cloud-based SaaS applications.

IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service

Here’s where the “as a Service” world begins to get a bit more involved. Infrastructure as a Service is essentially paying a vendor to host the infrastructure pieces that are traditionally housed on site, such as servers, storage, and network hardware. Along with the physical hardware being housed in another location, providers may also offer certain maintenance and backup services to complement their offering. However, your organization will still need an experienced IT teammate to correctly configure the hardware and deploy various applications and settings.

When organizations deploy SaaS and IaaS solutions they’re able to manage their IT and scale as their business grows. Without on-premises hardware or hundreds of programs to manually install and manage means that the business can focus on growing, rather than trying to manage the costs and processes associated with expanding their IT to support that growth.

PaaS - Platform as a Service
Finally, PaaS brings SaaS and IaaS together by essentially being the system required to allow organizations to develop their SaaS applications without having to manage the infrastructure behind it. This particular platform provides not only the infrastructure piece, but also provides developers with the tools necessary to build their applications. A little bit of a SaaS building SaaS, if you will.

Depending on the type of work your organization does, some or all of these great options may allow your business to focus on doing what it does best while having a technology solution that’s flexible and scalable.

Looking to start your cloud journey on the right foot? You need to first make sure that your company is well protected and able to function during a potential threat. Take this quiz to find out how strong your business continuity plan is.

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