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Types of Cloud: An Introduction to SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

The cloud. Where does it start and where does it end? In simple terms somewhere at the other end of your connection to the digital world, is a location where all your data is stored. You may not be directly involved to it, but somewhere along the line, a service you use has your data stored on an off-site location.

With a cloud app, you just open a browser, log in, and start working, but how does it all work and where does it all go?

Defining SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

Types of Cloud

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

When software and applications are available over the internet or via the vendor APIs.

Offers programmers the ability to access a cloud-based environment to build and deliver unique applications.

Provides client a pay-as-you-go service to a variety of resources in the cloud such as storage, networking, and servers.


Software as a Service (SaaS) is a delivery model allowing users to access software on the internet via a subscription, rather than installing them on standalone devices.

This approach to cloud computing, allows users to avoid the hassle of managing applications and investing in hardware to run said applications. Rather, the provider manages and hosts the infrastructure for the software, with automatic updates, making SaaS the most common type of cloud service being deployed with 89% of companies using SaaS-based applications.

Is SaaS the best option?

  • Costs

Repetitive purchases of software’s to install and update is waived off. With SaaS, users pay a subscription for the required software, making the up-front costs lower and only paying for the required software’s.


  • Accessibility and Speed

A web browser and a sturdy internet connection is all you need to “log-in” to the cloud, allowing employees and clients to connect from anywhere at any time. Furthermore, since SaaS model are minimal on hardware, they can be deployed instantly, improving workforce productivity and customer satisfaction.


  • Integration

If you use mission-critical applications, spanning across numerous vendors, having hardware in place for the complex data and application integration will only slow it down further. By incorporating a cloud service like SaaS, the integration process is eliminated, providing swift access to data.


Platform as a Service (PaaS) is targeted mainly at programmers and developers, offering a cloud environment to develop, test, manage and deliver unique applications. On top of the usual cloud capabilities, users of PaaS are treated to a range of prebuilt tools, contributing to a faster product development process.

Key features

  • Developers and programmers can pause and take a break as their work is saved in real-time, automatically and kept secure 24/7.
  • Whether the teams are within a country or spread across the globe, the product life cycle can go on, as PaaS offers a collaborative framework for teams to work together.
  • Companies can focus on alternative methods of business expansion since the underlying structure is managed by the vendor.


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides businesses the freedom to use their own applications, with functions such as storage, server access and networking via “the cloud”. This may be the case for enterprises that use custom built applications or use sensitive data to produce results.

In addition to the fundamental benefits of cloud computing such as security and accessibility, what sets IaaS apart is the ability for businesses to “pay-as-you-go”, allowing businesses to manage their funds effectively.  


Benefits of IaaS

  1. Enhanced SecurityWith IaaS, vendors provide a higher standard of security when using their services when compared to the security levels of the same services in-house.


  1. Rapid InnovationSetting up the infrastructure for a new product / service will take weeks or even months if done in-house, with IaaS a suitable cloud environment can be set up in a much shorter period of time, given the size of the project.


  1. Cost Effective Adopting a cloud migration strategy such as IaaS, allows businesses to avoid the investment of large mainframes, security measures, and regular updates when keeping their data in-house.
The topic of “cloud” is vast. Stay tuned for more posts about cloud computing on this blog. If you need a better understanding on the application, design, and development of services, email us at and we will connect you with one of our cloud experts.
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