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SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS are popular cloud computing software that we use to create, build, and store information in the cloud. This software helps us to create, host and manage all business activities on the Internet. There is hardly a single day when we do not interact with at least one of these three forms of software – hence the need to have a basic knowledge of what this cloud computing software does and how we can leverage them even more for our business activities. Below, I’ll break down exactly how SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS work and give you some tips for choosing 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 existing cloud-based software created by a company (SaaS) and made available to the general public via the Internet. SaaS products are available through a subscription or a one-time payment. It can also be free.
As an entrepreneur, you often use SaaS products to manage your company’s documentation and files (Google Drive), organize video conferences with your employees (Zoom), collect contact details from prospects and connect with them (HubSpot CRM ) and send professional emails to our business partners (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, etc.).
If you follow the examples above, you will notice that your company does not have to develop its video calling software but rather has to pay subscription fees to Zoom (a SaaS company). You also don’t have to worry about creating internal storage to keep your business documentation like videos, images, spreadsheets, etc. Instead, you pay a one-time payment to purchase space on Google Office Suite (a SaaS product).
Your company also didn’t create the content management software you used to collect leads and send marketing messages to your prospects. Instead, you paid a Hubspot subscription fee and started enjoying this service. And finally, there is something special here: none of this software is installed directly on your computers. Instead, you access it directly through a website or web application. Here are five examples of popular SaaS products below:
Soft: used for team collaboration and communication
hubpot: used for sales, marketing and customer relationship management
Fresh books: used for business invoicing and accounting
Zoom: used for video conferencing and meeting
Calendar: used for scheduling meetings and appointments
Related: The Rise of SaaS: New Program for Digital Gig Entrepreneurs
PaaS: platform as a service
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud-based platform that gives developers all the resources they will need to build web applications or custom software without dealing with management and storage Datas. Basically, what PaaS companies offer SaaS companies is a platform to build their software for you.
In other words, while you pay Zoom for the use of its 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 is: while you might have had to go through the stress of hiring in-house engineers to build the software you use to run your business, SaaS companies do it for you by leveraging online PaaS platforms to create, build and host their software.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t build your own software. For example, many companies create some of their web applications and software themselves and host them directly on a PaaS, but the likelihood of you not integrating one or two SaaS products is slim to impossible. Here are five examples of popular PaaS companies:
Google App 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 the center of all activities. Simply put, it is the home of all cloud computing software.
After PaaS companies served as the hub for building web-based applications and software, IaaS is the primary powerhouse for hosting and managing software data. IaaS uses physical servers to host and manage data in the cloud and connect it to PaaS companies through an API (application programming interface).
PaaS companies will therefore pay IaaS companies based on the amount of space they use to help SaaS companies 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 need to ask yourself which of these cloud computing software you should use for your business. Should you settle for one SaaS product or hire a team of developers to build all the software you should be using for your business? Should you host your company’s software with a PaaS company or should you buy space directly from IaaS? And finally, do you think your business is big enough to build its cloud storage like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Walmart?
The simplest answer is that it depends on size, purpose, available resources, and business model. For example, if you are a small or medium-sized business, it will be better to take advantage of the existing quarter of a million SaaS products for your business activities. With this, you can focus on your business offerings and not constantly waste time and money updating software. Giant companies like Linkedin, YouTube, and hundreds of others still leverage other SaaS companies for their offerings (like using Streamyard to stream a webinar on LinkedIn Live, for example).
However, let’s say you believe that the available SaaS products are not efficient enough for your business workload or are perhaps less secure. In this case, you can hire a team of engineers to build the software on a company PaaS and connect IaaS like AWS or Google cloud for cloud storage. For convenience, I often recommend using an IaaS company that offers PaaS services like Google Cloud Platform (Google App Engine) and Amazon Web Service (AWS Elastic Beanstalk).
Now that we’ve explained how SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS work, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on the best path forward for your business. Consider all the possibilities and remember to also consider size, goals, available resources and your business model before making this decision.