Cloud as a Service (CaaS) is the utilization of cloud computing services consumed and paid for on a subscription or pay-per-use basis. Although the term usually refers to public cloud computing services such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) it can also refer to modernizing an organization’s IT s capabilities to adopt those cloud-like service delivery methodologies on-premises.
By creating an abstraction layer between highly automated and standardized service consumption, and those in the organization responsible for managing the underlying infrastructure, Cloud-as-a-Service accelerates the implementation of new applications, onboarding of new employees, and scaling to meet increased demand.
Cloud-as-Service providers also offer security and storage as services, eliminating the need for organizations to maintain a security operations center or worry about exceeding the capacity of their storage devices. Many organizations have turned to CaaS to both offload IT maintenance and management chores to a cloud provider and to migrate from a capital expense to operational expense model with predictable monthly fees for various IT services provided by cloud vendors. This increases IT efficiency and enables resources to focus on business tasks instead of ‘firefighting’ server, storage, security, and networking issues.
Organizations adopt Cloud-as-a-Service to:
The primary benefit of CaaS is cost savings, as organizations can tailor monthly expenditures to meet exact needs and no longer need to over-purchase infrastructure to handle unforeseen spikes in volume other demands. Here is a list of many reasons why organizations utilize cloud services.
Organizations subscribe to cloud services (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS) and accounts are provisioned on the cloud provider’s infrastructure to accommodate the organization’s requested services. There are a few general steps that must be taken for each cloud service utilized:
Although PaaS and IaaS are both subsets of CaaS, there are major differences that help determine if PaaS is the right approach for a given project. PaaS offers a platform built upon hardware and software tools that can be used to develop applications, where IaaS broadly provides cloud-based services such as virtualization, storage, and networking over the internet.
PaaS provides a managed platform to build applications, which are then accessed by users via the internet. PaaS providers offer a wide array of OS, database, and development tools, and pricing models for PaaS providers will vary based on which subscription plan(s) are chosen by the organization. OS, database, and other tools are provided and maintained by the PaaS provider, which helps eliminate complexity inherent in traditional on-premises IT infrastructure deployments. PaaS platforms are ready for developers to dive in.
Data security. Although major could providers offer some of the most stringent physical security available, organizations must understand that CaaS is a shared responsibility model for cloud security. Organizations should assume that every connection is stateless and insecure, and every transaction should be validated to ensure maximum security throughout.
Persistence. CaaS services are only as good as their network connectivity. Cloud adoption heavily depends on solid broadband connections between users and cloud providers, and in some cases between cloud providers themselves. Users who experience poor connectivity may consider acquiring backup network connections in case primary internet connectivity is lost.
Performance Impacts. Although most CaaS services ‘reserve’ the resources they require, some cloud services on shared servers or that co-reside on servers suffering a DDoS attack may be severely impacted and application performance could plummet.
Outages. Even the largest cloud providers suffer outages that can impact an organization’s ability to conduct business. To alleviate this, many providers offer multiple availability zones so organizations can failover from one zone to another when and if a disaster or outage strikes.
Control. Organizations adopting CaaS trade the need to upgrade infrastructure and constantly refresh hardware with a lack of control over the underlying infrastructure. Although this is most often not a problem it may impact governance or regulatory demands that data and applications be hosted in a specific location.