What is PaaS vs SaaS?

Finding out the difference between PaaS vs SaaS is one of the first answers people usually seek when they start learning what cloud solutions are available in preparation for a potential migration. Although there are many benefits to moving to the cloud, there are also lots of options to select from, and the right choice for each organization will vary based on its needs.

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PaaS vs SaaS: Cloud Computing Definitions

Cloud Computing: Any time data or applications are stored off-site by a virtual host, it’s generally referred to as a form of cloud computing. Most people already use some form of cloud computing in their daily lives, whether it’s an email program, calendar, document backup, or photo storage service. Businesses do the same thing, but usually on a larger scale.

IaaS: Even though this page is covering what is PaaS vs SaaS, it’s important to understand how those fit in with other cloud options as well. A third and common option is IaaS, or infrastructure-as-a-service. This simply refers to making use of a specialized company’s infrastructure to host data. It only includes the raw resources and hardware. It can be customized entirely by an IT team to suit the needs of the organization.

PaaS: Short for platform-as-a-service, PaaS offers the building blocks of applications. It’s commonly stacked on top infrastructure-as-a-service, but not always. Developers often prefer cloud platforms because they have some code or elements already written and the environments are collaborative.

SaaS: When the entire service or application is complete, available, hosted, and usable by the client without making changes, it’s called software-as-a-service. This is seen frequently when organizations want an out-of-the-box solution to an everyday issue, be it time tracking, ticket management, or another universal need.

The Difference Between PaaS vs SaaS Cloud Privacy Types

There are also differences in how each one’s cloud environment may operate.


Public Cloud: Most people think of public clouds, like Google services, when trying to come up with examples. In these cases, a company manages the entire cloud, including the security, protocols, and accessibility.

Private Cloud: Sometimes, organizations have to have greater control over the security of their data, they must comply with industry-specific regulatory requirements, or they simply don’t want an entity like Google managing everything. In this case, a private cloud can be used to provide the IT team with more control.

Hybrid Cloud: If an organization only needs a private cloud for some things, applications can be set up to make use of multiple cloud environments. This way, the most sensitive data can be managed on a private cloud, while less sensitive things can be held on a public one.

The Bottom Line: What is PaaS vs SaaS Best For?

Platforms-as-a-service are used to make application development easier. They reduce the amount of time needed, simplify the process, and can reduce the cost of application development from the initial creation stage through testing and deployment.

Software-as-a-service provides web-based applications in their entirety for organizations to use. The IT team doesn’t have to worry about supplying the infrastructure or maintaining the software at all. It’s managed by the vendor.

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