The cloud — online, on-demand access to computing resources — has been around for a while now. But as the technology matures, business leaders are continuing to find fresh uses for it.
Many of these cloud applications are badged “as a service.” Almost everyone is familiar with software as a service (SaaS), but there are all sorts of other “aaS” acronyms your company should be aware of. Each of them can make your company more efficient, especially if some or all of your team works remotely.
Where to start? With something every company has to contend with: customer service.
Most people are familiar with call centers. A cloud service called contact center as a service can ensure disruptions like the pandemic don’t affect customers’ call center experience.
In the first weeks of the pandemic, call centers were overwhelmed with customers needing help with things like travel and finances. At the same time, non-essential businesses with brick-and-mortar contact centers were forced to close.
CCaaS allows companies to maintain their contact center operations from anywhere. Customers can reach them not only by phone, but also via email, social media, and SMS.
Platform-as-a-service applications offer a suite of tools for developing, running and managing software. PaaS tools make it easier and less expensive for companies to build and maintain their own cloud applications.
PaaS is one of the most popular types of cloud technology. Among enterprise businesses, almost two-thirds (61%) of them use PaaS. Reasons cited include reducing development costs and bugs.
IaaS replaces physical hardware and resources needed for computer operations. It provides network and storage on-demand.
How does IaaS differ from PaaS? PaaS tools provide a platform for development; IaaS solutions only offer computing resources, such as processing power and storage space. Amazon Web Services is a popular IaaS example.
Although IaaS is flexible and scalable, it requires providers to bring a lot to the table. IaaS providers don’t offer data security or services, generally speaking.
Companies that develop their own software use containers to check their work in a controlled environment. Think of containers as a service as pre-built cloud testing grounds.
Several microservices or apps may reside in a single container. If a program within a container fails, the wider network is protected from corruption.
CaaS lets developers create, manage, deploy, and scale containers. That way, they can focus on building their own software, rather than code for testing it.
Desktops as a service are virtual applications that replicate your desktop in the cloud. DaaS makes it possible to access your work materials from anywhere, just like you would from your primary device. While Covid-19 has expanded the reach of this service, many traveling executives have used DaaS solutions for years.
DaaS is often confused with internally managed virtual desktops. DaaS are managed by third-party cloud providers rather than in-house staff. DaaS is an ideal technology if you have sensitive intellectual property on devices that leave the office but don’t have a robust internal IT staff.
Database as a service (DBaaS) is commonly referred to as outsourced database management. With DBaaS, systems administration and maintenance are handled by a third-party cloud provider.
DBaaS is a great choice for startups. Not only are database administrators expensive to hire, but the best time to set up a database correctly is before it’s launched.
Business process as a service is a type of business process outsourcing. Some BPaaS solutions are automated, such as printing or payment processing. Others, like accounting, require human involvement.
BPaaS is the broadest of the cloud services in this list. Any business service that can be outsourced and delivered digitally may be considered BPaaS.
Functions as a service may be the newest cloud model on this list. FaaS makes it possible for companies to build and offer “serverless” solutions, particularly on the edge of a network.
FaaS is similar to PaaS. Unlike PaaS, however, FaaS users are only charged when an action occurs. They also don’t need to worry about backend work like server management.
Many on-demand services fall into the FaaS bucket. Most data processing solutions, such as ETL, are FaaS. So are some consumer-side cloud services, such as Amazon Alexa.
Disaster recovery as a service is the last cloud service we’ll cover here. DRaaS vendors won’t rebuild an office swept away by a hurricane, but they will ensure data continuity by switching to mirrored services.
DRaaS encompasses a few cloud services. In addition to data backup, DRaaS providers offer processing and recovery services. Some offer penetration and testing services, just in case the disaster in question is a data breach.
These nine are nowhere near all the cloud services available, but they are some of the most popular. If your use case isn’t covered, search “aaS” along with your keyword. Chances are you’ll not only find a cloud service provider, but save money and time compared to doing it yourself.
Image credit: Maksim Goncharenok; Pexels