The owners of both small and mid-sized businesses and large enterprises should by now be aware of the disadvantages of building on-premise servers.

For example, did you know that physical servers require continuous updates every 3 to 5 years? To keep them running like a charm, you will need to hire a team of skilled IT professionals, which can result in substantial costs.

The next problem you may face is scalability. To adapt your on-premises infrastructure to your growing business’ needs, you will need to constantly invest in new hardware and software items.

Finally, in case of data breaches, thefts, or physical disasters like floods or fire, physical infrastructures may be harmed. This means companies may lose sensitive data and would not be able to retrieve them, which may hinder the workflow and workplace productivity.

Precisely because of that, the number of businesses investing in the cloud is constantly growing. Surveys say that the public cloud computing market is expected to exceed $330 billion by the end of 2020, while 90% of companies have already been using cloud services.

These stats show that the cloud has become mainstream. Therefore, you should never ask yourself whether you should migrate to the cloud. The answer to this question is clear — yes. The question you should ask is “What kind of the cloud should I choose?”

According to the technology model you will use, there are the three most typical types of cloud infrastructures to invest in — IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

In this brief guide, you will learn more about them.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Software as a Service, or SaaS, models are a preferred option for both small businesses and large enterprises. SaaS services are delivered over the internet. They eliminate the need for having your IT teams download and install software on individual devices. Instead, SaaS is managed from a central location and hosted on a remote server. This way, every member of your team can access their data, irrespective of their location. This is particularly important to the companies investing in remote teams.

Using SaaS can boost your business performance on multiple levels. For example, it could work for you if you need certain tools when working on short-term projects or when using apps that are not needed that often. It is also perfect for the everyday apps your employees need to access both from their mobile and desktop devices.

The major benefit of SaaS is that companies investing in it do not need to care about software and hardware maintenance. The SaaS vendor manages everything, from applications, middleware, data, and O/S to virtualization, servers, storage, and networking. This way, SaaS will streamline your maintenance and support efforts and simplify many aspects of your IT teams’ jobs. Instead of wasting time installing apps on other employees’ computers, they can finally focus on more complex activities and issues within the organization.

The major disadvantage of investing in SaaS is greater security risks. When investing in a SaaS platform, you will not have any control of the infrastructure it runs on. For example, in case of cyber breaches, natural disasters, or network problems, your business’ performance may also be harmed. Another major issue you may face is the lack of customization, as you will need to use the platform’s predefined integrations and features.

The most common examples of SaaS are:

  • Salesforce
  • GoToMeeting
  • Google Apps
  • Cisco WebEx

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS lets you build your own, customized environment online. Standing for Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS lets you shift major IT aspects to the cloud vendor, including networking, servers, storage, and virtualization. You are basically rending the space and equipment needed to enable an uninterrupted workflow online.

This is an amazing option for companies developing the devops mindset and wanting to launch their software faster by bridging the gap between their development and operations teams. Task automation, the maximum utilization of resources, and continuous integration and deployment will help you build a more secure infrastructure, solve problems faster, and boost productivity and innovation.

With IaaS, you will also keep complete control of your applications, data, and infrastructure. Yet, you will pay only for the services you are using at the moment. Above all, you are given the flexibility to scale your cloud infrastructure up or down, without spending more money.

On the other hand, you will need to manage and upgrade software, including operating systems, data, runtime, applications, and middleware.

Given that your IT staff maintains software components, you will have greater control of your data in the cloud. Still, you will need to hire an experienced IT team, as well as in the tools they can use to get the most out of this process.

The most common example of IaaS service providers are:

  • DigitalOcean
  • Rackspace
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Web Services
  • Cisco Metapod

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS, or Platform as a Service, is primarily designed for developers and companies building their own software. This way, they can easier develop, run, and manage software without needing to worry about infrastructure management.

In other words, developers do not need to start from scratch when developing software. Instead of investing in expensive hardware and software, they can save both and money when writing on the code that already exists. Precisely because of that, PaaS is perfect for any company wanting to develop their own app and yet save up.

This way, developers can focus more on the creative aspects of the app development process, such as app testing or deployment. With PaaS, companies need to manage only applications and data. The PaaS provider handles the operating system, runtime, middleware, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking. As it is built on virtualization technologies, PaaS is also highly scalable and affordable.

Like with any other cloud service, when investing in PaaS, many companies worry about their data security. There are also many performance issues to consider. If the platform breaks, you will not be able to access your software.

The most common examples of PaaS service providers are:

  • AWS Elastic Bank
  • Google App Engine
  • Windows Azure
  • OpenShift
  • Apache Stratos

Over to You

Each cloud option has certain advantages and disadvantages. You need to consider the specific features and functionalities they offer. Still, no matter which type of cloud infrastructure you choose, it will benefit your business in multiple ways. Instead of building a pricey on-premises infrastructure that is difficult to adapt to your business’ growing needs, with the cloud, you will reduce costs, enhance data security, and enable greater scalability and flexibility.

I hope these tips will help you!

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