Understanding the Cloud: IaaS, PaaS & SaaS Explained


For people without a background in IT, the cloud can be confusing. The language of IT has always been overly complicated and jam-packed with acronyms and jargon. The cloud has added a whole host of new terms to this ever-growing list of vocabulary. When it comes to the cloud, IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are just a few of the most important. The key to understanding the cloud is breaking down these three main areas.

Understanding the cloud: the benefits

As the cloud is the running of IT services over the internet, it means that you no longer have to own, manage, or maintain the computing power that drives your business. This revolutionizes how work is done, what can be accomplished, and the costs of running a business. The benefits are huge. The cloud empowers businesses and sets them up for long-term growth in the future. It does this by:

  • Reducing IT costs
  • Increasing productivity
  • Strengthening cybersecurity
  • Enabling flexible/remote working
  • Speeds up processes
  • Improves the customer experience

Many businesses believe that their current IT set up works well for them. Why change things that have worked well for ten or twenty years? However, as more and more businesses move to the cloud and take advantage of the benefits listed above, those that don’t risk falling behind their competitors.

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS explained

Any decent understanding of the cloud must involve knowing the difference between the three main types of cloud computing and what each can offer your business.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows businesses to put all their IT infrastructure in the cloud. The term ‘infrastructure’ includes everything that powers your IT and makes it run, including storage, hosting, network, and more. Before the cloud, all of this would have been run on a physical server in the office and have required IT staff to look after it. Your IT staff no longer must run, maintain and manage this, meaning they can work on tasks on much higher value. This can work out at large cost savings. IaaS is also more secure and reliable, as you have seasoned experts taking control of your infrastructure.

For many organizations moving to the cloud, IaaS is the first step in their journey to the cloud. This is because migrating to IaaS is quick, easy and causes little to no disruption to your business.

PaaS: Platform as a Service (PaaS) gives businesses the tools, infrastructure, and support to build and run apps in the cloud. In 2018, there are 3.8 million apps available on Google Play and 2 million apps in Apple’s App store. Mobile apps play such a huge role in how customers and companies interact. Many customers expect companies to have mobile apps – and it can be a key competitive differentiator.

Building an app is, of course, not relevant for every business, but it is increasingly becoming a key way to reach out to customers. From building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating your app, PaaS has your covered.

SaaS: Software as a Service (SaaS) is software accessed online. In the past, businesses would buy software on disks and install them onto their employees’ computers, with SaaS software is hosted in the cloud and accessed online. Office 365 and Salesforce are good examples of SaaS. If you want to access your email or your Salesforce account, you log in online and can access this anywhere, anytime, on any device.

With SaaS cloud applications, the programme that runs the app is hosted on servers owned by the vendors not on your own machine. The key advantage of SaaS is that it can be accessed anytime, anywhere. This is great for businesses looking for tools that fulfil modern workplace trends like remote working and flexible working. This is how employees want to work in the 21st century – investing in SaaS can help you attract the best talent.

Get your head in the cloud with Worksighted

The first step on your cloud journey is figuring out what cloud service is best for you. We’ve developed our Cloud Readiness Assessment to help you work out whether the cloud is for you and whether you would benefit from IaaS, PaaS, SaaS or a combination of them all. What’s important is that, at Worksighted, we will work closely with you to make sure that your business has the right cloud solution that meets all your unique requirements.

Whether it’s IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, what’s clear though is that for most organizations moving to the cloud is a way to reduce costs, increase productivity, attract top talent, and remain competitive. So, although the cloud isn’t always the best solution for every organization, it is for most. What is key is getting the conversation started today and finding out what your best steps are going forward.

To learn more about the cloud or to sign up to one of our Cloud Readiness Assessment’s go to the Cloud Services page on our website or get in contact with us at Worksighted today.