Your business relies on effective IT management to support your day-to-day operations. Keeping your IT management in-house may not be the best way to do this.
On-premises management means that you are responsible for everything from your network and storage to your operating system and applications.
Setting up and maintaining your own software and hardware are labour- and cash-intensive. Aside from that, handling it all on-site means that when there’s a problem it’s up to you to solve it. That problem could be anything from recovering lost data to fixing faulty IT infrastructure.
If that sounds like it’s a lot to take on . . . it is. Luckily for you, our three trusty acronyms can help lighten the load.
What are they?
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are cloud computing services that your business can use to outsource your IT management responsibilities.
Let’s have a look at what each one does.
What is IaaS?
With this service, you retain control over most of your IT management, but you outsource the physical infrastructure that it runs on.
You buy the resources that you need without the costly (and complicated) process of setting up and maintaining any hardware. Instead of storing data on hard drives in your offices’ basement, you keep them on the cloud, ready to be retrieved at a moment’s notice.
Your servers, network, and data are managed by a service provider like Cardonet, and you can access them through a dashboard or an API (Application Programming Interface).
Examples of IaaS
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- IBM Cloud
What’s great about IaaS
- It’s cost-effective. There are two big costs associated with IT infrastructure: a big up-front payment for hardware, and wages paid for the skilled labour needed to install, maintain, and fix the equipment. IaaS eliminates both.
- It’s scalable. If you need to scale up your operations in a short space of time, you don’t want to worry about whether your infrastructure can handle it. With IaaS, you don’t have to. You pay for what you use, so you don’t have to worry about making data storage commitments today that will limit your growth tomorrow.
- It’s secure. Any IaaS worth its salt will ensure that whatever infrastructure it uses for your network and servers is protected. Using on-site infrastructure will mean that you must keep abreast of the latest advancements in encryption and cyber security. If you use an IaaS, you know that that is taken care of.
What is PaaS?
This service gives you access to a cloud-based platform which you can use to build and host your own applications.
You manage the application that you’ve built, while the service provider takes care of the rest. In addition to covering the responsibilities of an IaaS, like the network and servers, a PaaS will also manage the operating system, middleware, and databases that the application runs on.
Your team can work together to develop an application through your PaaS interface, from the initial coding and testing to its eventual roll-out.
Examples of PaaS
- Google App Engine
- Microsoft Windows Azure
What’s great about PaaS
- It streamlines app development. If you’re building an application, it’s nice to only worry about building it. Using a PaaS means that you can focus your and your team’s energy on the application, rather than maintaining the software it uses.
- It’s collaborative. The lifecycle of building, testing, and deploying an application involves the coordination of a sometimes-large team. With PaaS, each person in the team can remotely contribute to the project, as long as they have a steady internet connection.
- It lets you experiment. To make great leaps, you need to be able to try new things. In terms of making applications, it’s a lot easier to try new things and tinker with features if you aren’t also worried about the upkeep of the infrastructure and middleware.
What is SaaS?
If the thought of IT management sends you into panic, you’ll like the sound of SaaS.
SaaS is a cloud-based software that you access through the internet, usually for a subscription fee. You’ll either use the software through a web browser or a downloadable application.
All you need to do is pay the subscription fee and have access to the internet. The service provider does the rest, from updating it to fixing bugs as they arise.
You’ll find that your business uses SaaS products over and over again. Whether that means using Google Docs to draft a contract or Salesforce to manage your customer relationships.
What’s great about SaaS
- It’s low maintenance. It won’t surprise you that SaaS will be the easiest of the three to use. You won’t need to be a tech wizard – user experience will be a key point in the development of any SaaS. This means you can focus your time on using the software, which is why you got it in the first place. What you lose in customization you gain in simplicity.
- It’s cost-effective. Like IaaS and PaaS, it also helps your bottom line. Your only IT-related expense with a SaaS is the subscription fee you pay. They often have free trials so you can make sure it’s the right purchase for your business.
What’s right for you?
It’s likely your business will use some combination of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Let’s imagine Jane, who runs a small design business. Her staff use Slack (SaaS) to communicate with one another, Heroku (PaaS) to build a bespoke application that manages paid advertising, and they outsource their IT infrastructure needs to Cardonet (IaaS) so that they don’t have to worry about maintaining their own hardware.
If you want to know what service you should be looking for there are a couple of things to think about. The first is, of course, what you want it to do. Are you trying to optimize a process in your business, such as monitoring your customer feedback? Do you want it to be fully customizable and specific to your business, or would you rather it be ready-made and less hassle?
The second consideration is what skills your IT staff possess. Do you have a competent and effective IT department? Or are you trying to get a service that can replace the responsibilities of an IT department?
If you would like to find out more about cloud computing and the services that we provide, please call us on +44 203 034 2244 or +1 323 984 8908. Alternatively, you can contact us online. We have engineering bases in the United Kingdom, Europe and Southern California and our group of highly experienced engineers are available 24/7.