There are several types of “as a service” cloud models in the market, so it can be confusing which one will best serve your business. “As a service” models are basically IT components that third-party IT providers offer as a full service. These components aren’t single items or equipment, rather complete sets of tools that you can plug into your IT system.
For example, a cybersecurity-as-a-service offering may comprise antivirus software, firewalls, antimalware tools, email scanners, and more. It may also include intrusion detection and prevention systems. These provisions are called “services” because your IT provider is also tasked with integration, support, and even training, aside from access to the software itself.
What are the different “as a service” cloud models?
The three core “as a service” cloud models are the following:
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the most basic of the three “as a service” cloud models. In a SaaS model, you essentially subscribe to use a software, and your SaaS provider hosts the software on their infrastructure for your use. Data storage is also typically left to your SaaS provider.
In this arrangement, you are not responsible for applying updates to the software and making sure there’s sufficient storage for your data. Those tasks are assigned to your SaaS provider, and your only role aside from using the service is to ensure that user privileges are granted only to authorised employees.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a heftier service compared to SaaS, as it typically involves a virtual machine and storage both scaled to your specific needs. In an IaaS arrangement, the user is in charge of providing cybersecurity, application support, and the operating system. On the other hand, your IT partner will be in charge of hardware support, hardware utility costs, and facilities for physical equipment.
Basically, an IaaS setup lets you run operations without making any heavy computer investments. Your entire operational system is stored at your IT provider’s facilities, and you can access it through a virtual machine. It’s like running a set of computers within your computer, but the actual processing is done by the more powerful computers at your IT provider’s server farm.
Things are taken up a notch further with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which can be seen as a beefed up version of IaaS. In a PaaS arrangement, your IT provider will set up the virtual machine, storage, and frameworks your business will need to deploy and test applications. These frameworks can be used by your internal developers to write, test, and deploy code quickly.
The three core “as a service” models aside, there’s Everything-as-a-Service. Composing everything as-a-service are Database-as-a-Service, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, Security-as-a-Service, and other IT components that a managed services provider may offer “as a service”. These are seen more as piecemeal managed IT services, although many IT providers are willing to package them into their SaaS, IaaS, and/or PaaS offerings.
How do I know which “as a service” model is best for my business?
The easiest way to determine which “as a service” model is best for you is by identifying your IT infrastructure’s current tasks and components. Knowing what already makes your operations work will tell you whether you simply need SaaS, or if you should consider the capabilities of IaaS and PaaS.
Most businesses are likely to benefit from SaaS, no matter their size. SaaS is great for integrating applications that aren’t part of your core business functions, as this allows you to benefit from one or two applications without having to spend significantly on licenses.
Another consideration is your existing hardware and software in relation to your projected hardware and software needs in the next 6-18 months. For example, IaaS is a great solution for small businesses on the path of growth, because it allows them to widen the scope of their operations without having to invest heavily on hardware. IaaS is also great for companies whose current computing infrastructure is no longer adequate for current demands but are in no position to make company-wide hardware upgrades.
Lastly, PaaS is best suited for companies that do a good amount of development work but don’t have the equipment to test and deploy them. If your business is involved with program and/or app development, PaaS might be beneficial for you. PaaS enables you to run your app or program on virtual machines that can mimic a wide variety of devices. This way, you can get insight on potential issues your program or app may have with real world devices.
Consult with trusted IT professionals to properly determine which form of “as a service” arrangement is best for your organization. Contact our experts at Austin Technology to learn more.