IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

Cloud Computing has gained popularity among small businesses all the way to global organisations. Whether your business is large or small, the aim is to cut expense and improve security. Many companies are making the switch from physical infrastructure to virtual environments. However, before switching your business to the cloud, it is useful to understand the different types of cloud services.

The Three Pillars of Cloud Computing – IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS

When businesses switch to the cloud, they can access system resources virtually through an on-demand service. The cloud can be built specifically for one organisation – enterprise cloud – or it can be built for multiple individuals and organisations – public cloud. IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the three pillars of cloud computing. They drastically reduce infrastructure costs and provide access to a convenient virtual environment.

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS aren’t mutually exclusive options. Many small businesses use more than one of the services, while large organisations take advantage of all three services. “As-a-Service” typically refers to the consumption of IT assets – software, hardware, applications, etc.

Traditionally, organisations purchase IT assets and maintain them in an on-site server room. However, cloud service providers own and maintain the IT assets themselves, allowing the clients to consume them virtually. Moreover, since payment methods are based on demand – you pay only for what you use.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) 

IaaS gives you on-demand access to cloud-hosted alternatives over on-site infrastructure. So, you can access the necessary computing resources virtually without the added costs or hassle of expensive on-site infrastructure. IaaS users obtain access over the internet with a pay-as-you-go or subscription payment method.

Businesses can access, configure, and operate virtual servers and computing resources through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or a graphical dashboard. IaaS solutions are all about flexibility, security, and scalability. All major cloud service providers – Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services – started by offering IaaS.


  • Responsive – Businesses can easily access resources and test applications on demand.
  • Secure – High-level security via encryption & firewalls.
  • Availability ­ – IaaS offers virtual solutions so you can create servers from multiple locations.
  • Flexibility & Scalability – IaaS offers highly scalable solutions with easy deployment of computing resources when you need them.
  • You have complete control over the infrastructure.

When Should You Use IaaS? 

  • Disaster Recovery – IaaS keeps your data secure and helps you prepare for any unexpected situation. You can easily recover your lost data with cost-effective disaster recovery solutions rather than setting up multiple physical servers.
  • E-Commerce – IaaS is the perfect option for online retailers who deal with heavy traffic and need to scale up due to high demand in the 24/7 retail industry.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) – You can easily scale up computing resources and data storage. Hence, applications can work efficiently with large volumes of data.
  • Small Businesses – Many startups choose IaaS to cut down infrastructure costs.
  • Large Organisations – Bigger businesses benefit from the flexibility, agility and scalability of cloud.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) 

PaaS vendors provide software and hardware resources via the internet to develop applications. Developers access the cloud-based platform via a GUI (Graphical User Interface). It allows teams to collaborate on the application – coding, quality testing, delivery, deployment, and response. The PaaS vendors will host and maintain the software and hardware – servers, OS, storage, networking, frameworks, development tools – software upgrades, and security.


  • Cost-effective and convenient – Clients can easily build, test, deploy, run, update, and scale applications with cost-effective PaaS solutions, eliminating the need for on-site infrastructure.
  • Streamlined service development – Developers can fast-track development, testing, and deployment in a matter of minutes – rather than weeks or months.
  • ‘No risk’ testing – PaaS provides access to the latest resources so developers can easily test their applications with new operating systems, languages, and other resources without significant financial investments or infrastructure.
  • Collaborative platforms – Clients can access a shared software development environment and provide all necessary resources via an internet connection to other team members.
  • Easy scalability – Clients can easily scale up their resources and capacity whenever they need to.
  • Minimal Responsibility – The cloud service provider is responsible for all infrastructure maintenance and software upgrades.

When Should You Use PaaS? 

With built-in frameworks, access to a range of programming languages (Python, Java), PaaS is popular for the Internet of Things (IoT), API development, Agile development, and Cloud-native development (public and private cloud)

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) 

SaaS is a cloud-based platform that provides clients with access to ready-to-use software over the internet. Users pay monthly or annual subscription fees to access complete applications through mobile or desktop browsers.

The SaaS vendor manages and delivers the upgrades and infrastructure, from servers and networking to application software and data storage. The SaaS vendor is also responsible for the availability limit, security, and performance. Moreover, clients can also scale up data storage and add more users for an added cost.

Anyone with a mobile phone is bound to interact with at least one form of SaaS – e-mail, cloud file storage and social media. On the other hand, businesses are more familiar with enterprise SaaS solutions – marketing software, customer relationship management software, messaging software, graphics software, and more.


  • Minimal responsibility – The prime advantage of SaaS is that it takes away the burden of application and infrastructure management from the client. Users can pay the fee, create an account, and access the application immediately. The SaaS vendor takes care of everything else – hardware & software maintenance, data security, upgrades, and user access.
  • Reduced risks – A majority of SaaS services include a trial period – free or with discounted fees – to allow customers to access and test the software – eliminating any financial risks.
  • Convenient access – Users can easily access SaaS apps via an internet connection anywhere – no desktop installation necessary.
  • Easy scalability – Clients can easily add users and purchase added data storage with a few clicks.

When Should You Use SaaS? 

SaaS includes various productivity applications for personal and organisational uses. Users receive cost-effective, simpler, easily scalable, and secure SaaS solutions for their personal (Gmail, Dropbox, Google Docs) or corporate needs.

Choosing The Right Cloud Service For Your Business – IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS?

In comparison with on-site hardware and software, cloud computing offers scalable and cost-effective solutions with immediate availability and maximum security. While scaling on-site solutions is difficult and expensive, cloud computing takes just a few clicks. Cloud-based services – IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS – allow access to all the computing resources you need with easy scalability to meet your organization’s growth and workforce demands.

Moreover, since you don’t need to purchase or maintain additional hardware, cloud computing solutions significantly decrease your expenses because you only pay for what you use. And data security? In cloud computing, your confidential data is supported with a range of up to date, sophisticated security policies, processes and tools.

While each cloud-based solution offers resources with increased security, flexibility, scalability, and reduced costs. What you use always comes down to the business problem you are looking to solve.

AUCloud is Australia’s sovereign cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider delivering scalable and secure IaaS services to Australian Governments, Critical National Industries and security conscious enterprises. We have the expertise and experience of a skilled Australia-based team to guide our clients and offer secure and cost-effective solutions. We  also support SaaS and PaaS providers who need to operate their services in the cloud in a sovereign secure cloud that ensures all data remains in Australia. Talk to an AUCloud representative today to discuss how we can help your business! Give us a call on 1800 282 568 or shoot us an email at sales@aucloud.com.au.