Understanding IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and Tips to Find the Right Cloud Stack for SMBs

Anand Kannan

The Cloud has become a hot topic for small and medium businesses (SMBs) as it offers tons of benefits and most are considering switching their businesses to the Cloud.

Forrester claims that the public Cloud services market will grow rapidly to $236 billion in 2020.

But, when considering the migration options, SMBs are bombarded with different kinds of 'as a service' offerings. Without understanding the basics of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS, planning a migration can be detrimental.

Understanding SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

The three models of Cloud services that need to be compared: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each has its own benefits as well as differences and it is critical to find the right one to best suite your migration needs.


Software as a Service (SaaS) is a subscription-based model where the software is hosted in the Cloud and is accessible through the internet. One of the strong points of SaaS is the Cloud service provides data processing and storage at a reduced cost. This makes SaaS a runaway hit among most small businesses.

SaaS Features

  • Centralized data management
  • Remote server hosting
  • Internet accessibility
  • User-independent hardware, software updates

Advantages of SaaS

SaaS provides a plethora of advantages to employees and businesses by reducing the time and cost on complex tasks such as installing, managing, and upgrading software. This frees up a lot of time for technical staff to spend on more pressing matters and issues within the organization.


Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a Cloud service model for organizations that invest a lot on hardware and software infrastructures for their in-house apps. A huge benefit is developers can build, test and deploy apps on a common framework painlessly.

PaaS Features

  • Scalable resources
  • Development, testing and app deployment assistance
  • Multiuser accessibility to the same application
  • Integrated web services and databases

Advantages of PaaS

PaaS Cloud service for businesses makes the app development and deployment processes simple, cost-effective. This model also offers businesses high scalability, ability to develop custom apps with minimal efforts, reduced coding, automated business policy, and seamless migration.

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Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a Cloud computing service model, where the entire infrastructure is provided and maintained by the provider: servers, storage, networking, etc. This Cloud service model best suits organizations that don't have a significant amount of resources or hardware.

IaaS Features

  • Resources available as a service
  • Consumption-based cost
  • Scalable services
  • Complete control over infrastructure

Advantages of IaaS

Businesses prefer IaaS Cloud service models for its flexibility, automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, processing power, consumption-based hardware purchase, control over infrastructure, requirement-based resources purchase, and scalability.

Tips to choose the right Cloud service stack for SMBs

The different Cloud service models offer a wide range of benefits to businesses of different sizes. However, it depends on the business heads to pick the right one best suiting their needs.


If your business doesn't have adequate resources for building an app, technical support, UX, marketing, automation etc. this model is the right choice as it is a monthly or annual subscription based.


If your business has the resources to build the application but lacks technical skills on managing servers, databases, and networks, then PaaS is the right choice for your business.


If your business data needs extra security, IaaS is the best choice as it covers the full spectrum, from the Public to Private Cloud.

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