SaaS, IaaS, PaaS – what is the difference anyway?

The common point between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS is the service. All these online services were made to function in the cloud and work on a pay-for-use basis. It is the true advantage since you pay for the service you want, need and use, and nothing more. The maintenance and support are also offered by the provider, making the “as service” the go-to choice for any company that wants to cut costs, improve communication and increases productivity.

SaaS, IaaS and PaaS – Definition


SaaS is Software as a Service, and many people and companies use it. As an example, we can cite Skype. Skype keeps your information online and provides many services, such as texting or making a videoconference. We only pay for what we use, and by the time, we use it. Therefore, we can pay for this service this month and in the next do not anymore. All our data is safely and completely backed up, and the maintenance and support are done online, constantly.

See also: SaaS software – 4 frequent questions

Check out this SaaS tool for process modeling and create your free account: HEFLO BPMN Modeling Tool.


IaaS is Infrastructure as a Service and works with the same principle of offering infrastructure services on a pay-for-use basis and entirely online. This service provides a host in the cloud to allocate the data bank. A company needs a provider to save the client’s information, the passwords, and the contents. Let us take Facebook for example. When we enter our email and password, the website shows us all the content, the photos, the information. That has to be saved somewhere, and this place is the cloud. Before this was done through hardware,  computers in a physical way. Now, with IaaS, some companies offer cloud computing, giving the companies a cheaper and safer manner to pay for the infrastructure that every organization needs. When we pay for this space, the provider – for example Amazon, or UOL – is responsible for checking if space is enough, for maintaining and offering support and for keeping the website online. You pay for what you use and does not need to have the physical infrastructure to keep all the data, which it cheaper and a lot easier.


PaaS is similar to IaaS. It means Platform as a Service and the difference is that it is possible to create new features in it. We can develop our applications from the primary platform offered. It is flexible and reliable since you can manipulate it to meet exactly what your company needs. If you need a software but can not find one due to some SaaS or IaaS limitation, PaaS is the solution. It is practical because it gives you the personalization you would have in your company, but with the “as service” advantage, setting you free from the hardware acquisitions, endless IT meetings, and maintenance costs.

The process automation gets a lot simpler when we use SaaS, IaaS or PaaS. All the data is safely stored, arrives at all the departments and employees at the same time, can be monitored from anywhere and actualized at the moment. It results in an exceptional standardization since all the processes are in the same place and can easily be mapped and optimized. Since the payments as per use and done on a monthly or yearly basis and the results are immediate, the costs drop and the productivity increases, giving the company a significant advantage against the ones still using a traditional hardware-based software.

Also, see Workflow automation to complete the growth of your company.

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