SaaS vs IaaS vs PaaS Simple Definition & Best Features

Cloud computing has been a heated topic in today’s technology industry. Actually, cloud computing is not a new concept. It was invented in the early 1960s and it came into use in the modern context about 15 years ago when Google first introduced the term to the industry.

However, there has been a rapid shift towards cloud computing in business operations in recent years. Although in the past, only large companies could deploy cloud computing solutions due to high investment cost, the current expansion of cloud service models including SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) has allowed businesses of any size to access the clouds. Shifting to the cloud is a big decision and a deep understanding of the different features of these three cloud services is always highly recommended. 

What kinds of computing services can these models offer to your business? Interestingly, the answers lie in their names. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) provides access to third-party software on the Internet. In terms of PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), cloud providers handle the platforms where you build your business data and applications. IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) brings you computing and storage infrastructure, assisting you to create your platform. Nevertheless, there are many more important things you need to know about these models than just their names.

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS

What is SaaS?

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service): Out of the three models, SaaS applications can be the most familiar to you. To understand more about this model, now let’s take a look at Gmail. Are you aware that it is a software service that can store all your data and allow you to get access to it anytime you want and from any devices that you are using (web browsers, cell phones, etc.) as long as there is an Internet connection?. Generally speaking, SaaS delivers a software application that can be used and purchased on-demand via the Internet. As the software runs on the cloud, it does not require any specific installation on your devices. Now let’s think a bit more. If many people can use the service on the same cloud, how can the data of different user experience be segregated? Actually, for each subscribing cloud user, there is also a corresponding instance of the SaaS application running on the cloud. Therefore, SaaS can perform what is known as application customization, letting customers alter the configuration and store their data. 

Example: The embracement of SaaS products can range from personal use to business deployment. Some popular SaaS products that can be listed are Netflix, Facebook, Google Workspace apps, Microsoft 365, Shoeboxed, Zoom, Adobe Creative Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Slack, etc. 

What is PaaS?

PaaS (Platform-as-a-service): Instead of providing you specific and finalized on-the-cloud apps that you can directly consume as SaaS, PaaS offers a cloud deployment platform so that you can freely write and develop your own applications, regardless of whether they are completed or still in progress. A PaaS is a great tool for your company’s in-house developers to create more customized applications for your customers. These PaaS platforms present you with a high level of abstraction. In addition to creating software by using the tools and libraries from the cloud providers, you can set up the configuration and get control over the software deployment. Your developers do not have to be concerned with the needed quantity of memory or processors your application will consume as the cloud vendors will handle all data center resources assisting the tools. All your company needs to manage is the data and applications. This can save your company a lot of time and money because you do not need to purchase and manage the underlying hardware and software. There are many different types of PaaS platforms, but they all provide you with app hosting, deployment environment, and other related services. 

Example: Window Azure, Rollbase, Google App Engine, Long Jump, etc. 

What is IaaS?

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service): In the IaaS model, you are provided with a virtual server for a while and charged based on the amount of resources you have used. You are allowed with the accessibility of infrastructure via the Internet that includes server, storage, other peripherals devices as well as managed services assistant operations and applications instead of buying infrastructure outright. If you need storage or virtual machines to develop your own platform, you can count on the IaaS model. Moreover, as you can use a Web-based interface regarded as a console to manage your IT operations, you are able to self-provision this infrastructure. In simpler words, you can scale the infrastructure up or down depending on your need after installing the needed operating systems and applications. 

Example: One famous example is Amazon EC2, providing its customers even with virtual resources that can be listed as CPU, memory, OS, and storage. Others are Flex Metal Cloud, Cloud Infrastructure by Google, Cloud Services by IBM, Digital Ocean, Linode, Cloud Services by Alibaba, Hitachi Enterprise Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Open Cloud by Rackspace. 

The Differences Between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

1. Different users

SaaS model: Business sectors or individuals who are seeking to complete a business task without owning any IT equipment. For example, startups and small businesses tend to use SaaS apps because of the lack of time, capital, or expertise, or large companies seek short-term software. 

PaaS model: Companies that have efficient developers and deployers. They usually want to create customized applications and services to meet the needs of their customers. 

IaaS model: Most IaaS model users are system managers who want to create a platform for their service test, development, integration, and deployment.

2. Different cloud services

The cloud vendors will handle all of the tasks in the SaaS models, fewer in the PaaS models, but the least in IaaS models. To understand more about the relationships of the services offered by SaaS, PaaS, IaaS are offering to you, you can take a quick look at the diagram below: 

SaaS

Just imagine this. You want a new house. There are usually three options for you. The first option is the least time-consuming. You just buy a completely built house. You do not have to do anything. Everything you need to do is to pay, move into the house and start your life there. However, as the house was built by others, sometimes you may not be satisfied with some features of the house. It is just like the way you use SaaS applications. Some of the currently available SaaS services are Email, Office, Automation, CSR, website testing, Wiki, Blog, Virtual Desktop, etc. You do not need to manage anything when using these services. The cloud vendors will take care of the system management from A to Z. You just purchase the applications and get your tasks done. However, you may find some of the applications’ features not yet match what you desire due to the different needs of your business.

PaaS

The second option for you is that you have to design the house by yourselves, but someone else will gather all the needed materials, build the foundation of the house and build the rest for you. This time, you get a little more control over how your dream house will look like. However, you do not need to worry about how many bricks you are going to need. This is like when you use the PaaS model which can offer you greater flexibility and facilitation in operations. You are assisted with Service and application test, development, integration, and deployment, platforms on which you can build your own apps. You need to manage the data and the apps only.

IaaS

The third option is the toughest one for you. You have to start from scratch. Luckily, some people can get you all the bricks, cement, all other materials you need, and they are kind enough to help you finish the foundation of the house. But then, you have to take care of the rest. You have to design the house, build walls, build the whole house by yourself. The building materials, as well as the foundation here, represent what IaaS offers to you: Virtual machine, operating system, Message queue, Network, Storage, CPU, memory, and backup services. IaaS can give you the infrastructure of cloud-based technology, direct control over the IT operations so that you can start building your own platforms and everything else.

Advantages and Disadvantages of SaaS vs IaaS vs PaaS

Advantages of the SaaS: 

  1. Time-saving: As mentioned before, you just need a device and Internet connection to get access to the SaaS. Moreover, as the cloud vendors take charge of the management and maintenance process, SaaS services can save you from many working hours.
  2. Cost-efficient: A lot of costs including hardware, software license, and maintenance can be cut down due to multi-tenant cloud environments.
  3. Scalability: the pay-as-you-go model can facilitate the user experience and offer you flexibility. As the third party hosts the software, switching usage plans is hassle-free. 
  4. Customer-friendly: Saas applications are easy to use and equipped with the best practices. Moreover, you can test the software before purchasing. 

Disadvantages of SaaS:

  1. Data insecurity: Embracing the SaaS model also means that you let the third party keep your data, exposing your business to security risks. 
  2. Difficulty in Regulation Compromise: As your data resides in the vendor’s data center, it may be difficult for you to agree with the vendor in terms of protection terms and conditions as both parties have different interests. 
  3. Low Speed: As the software runs on the cloud, a distant data center, you may have to endure lower performance. 
  4. Lack of customization: SaaS apps have been completed in advance of the purchase, which makes cloud vendors hesitate to make adjustments as you request. 

Advantages of PaaS: 

  1. Cost and Time savings: cloud-based services save up costs and times from hardware/ software or maintenance. 
  2. More control over schedules: As your developers will create new apps for your business, you can adjust the speed of the app development process. 
  3. Customization: It is easier for you to make changes to apps to meet the demands of your customers. 
  4. Continuous updates: you can get automated updates and security patches from your vendors, minimizing incompatibility. 

Disadvantages of PaaS: 

  1. Data insecurity: Even though you can run your own apps, the data is stored in the third party’s cloud servers. There is still a level of data risks. 
  2. Requirement of coding expertise: your developers must be competent at coding to make the best out of PaaS. 
  3. Limitation in the operations: Some customization processes may not perform best on PaaS platforms, causing inconvenience to end-users.

Advantages of IaaS: 

  1. Operational Flexibility: IaaS is the most flexible cloud service model, allowing your employees to get access to hardware, computing power, and software applications used on a daily basis. 
  2. More Control: you can retain complete control of your infrastructure 
  3. Scalability: Speaking of industries suffering from seasonal fluctuations, IaaS is an ideal choice to adjust the data storage, virtual machine, or software app needs. 
  4. Cost savings: IaaS offers lower infrastructure costs, making IaaS appropriate for startups.

Disadvantages of IaaS: 

  1. Higher requirement of internal resources and HR training: As your company needs to be responsible for multiple tasks, the workforce must acquire skills to manage the infrastructure. Inhouse resources are also needed to maintain stable control over the infrastructure. 
  2. Data Security: Threats can still be imposed by the host or other virtual machines (VMs), or even the data communication exposure between the host and VMs. 
  3. Complicated legacy systems: incompatible infrastructure may fail to secure legacy apps.

Conclusion

If you are considering scaling up your business, moving your business to the cloud is of paramount importance to ensure facilitation in operations as well as improvement in data security. Especially when your company has unpredictable demands, bounded resources, or a small size team, cloud computing provides solutions to all your addressed concerns. The real question you need to ask yourself is not whether to perform cloud migration, but which types of cloud service models among SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS you should embrace into your business. 

Top 10 Amazingly Innovative Tips On Bookkeeping For Truckers

With so many duties in their hands, bookkeepers, accountants, or those truckers who are in charge of their own bookkeeping may need the help of the following tips to get on top of their business.

1. Update Your Books Daily

When should you organize your accounting books and how often is appropriate? Monthly? Weekly? Or just whenever you have time to spare? The advice is that it’s best to do bookkeeping every day. There are days when you think nothing much is going on so it’s alright to leave the boring task of sorting out receipts and bills for tomorrow. But chances are that you may be busy the next day, and by the time you get to do it, you will have forgotten some details of the transactions. Make it a habit to finish bookkeeping before you call it a day so that you don’t need to worry about such a problem!

2. Choose The Right Software

The abundant availability of bookkeeping and accounting software nowadays might make you spoiled for choice. For trucking businesses, a cash-based accounting system is a popular option because it allows you to record transactions when money is received or paid, offering a clear picture of your current income and expenses.

It’s also important to consider the unique features of truckers’ bookkeeping practices when trying out and deciding on the one software that matches your needs. For example, some trucking management software has tools that assist with dispatching and calculating IFTA taxes, those functions that will be definitely welcomed by many truckers.

3. Go Paperless

However organized you are, keeping physical documents can take up lots of space and make bookkeeping a burden. The solution is not difficult to find in this digital era. Scan your receipts and invoices with mobile applications such as Shoeboxed or mail them using our Magic Envelopes, and leave the rest to us. You will be surprised at how fast retrieving and categorizing data can be, regardless of whenever and wherever you are. Discover many more useful functions for trucking bookkeeping at shoeboxed.com.

4. Have A Different Credit Card For Business

Trucking owner-operators or small businesses tend to make the mistake of not separating their business account from a personal account. If you want to keep your business records in order, do yourself a favor and get a business-exclusive credit card. The last thing you want is to lose track of important paperwork, complicating the management of business records and finances in general.

5. Bank Checks? Check Them Twice

Like any other financial documents, bank checks must be kept in your books and preferably on the cloud too. But before that, it’s advisable that all contents of the checks are reviewed with care to prevent misinformation or fraud. Your signature should be clear and legible enough to be recognized, but it will be a problem if it’s too easy to forge.

6. Use A Banking Account With A Month-end Cutoff. 

Closing your banking records at the end of each month can benefit the business in several ways. Since all the transactions that occur within that month have been fully recorded and reconciled, we can ensure that the accounting data is complete and accurate. Properly organized data not only helps to simplify other accounting procedures including tax filing and audits but also informs the decision-making process.

7. Manage Your Cash Flow

Keeping your books properly will be a lot easier once you understand the ins and outs of cash flow. Even though your business is making profits, if you don’t manage cash flow well there are chances that you will be in the red because the available money at one point is insufficient to cover urgent expenses. Bookkeepers in trucking businesses should always keep an eye on cash flow, acknowledging its impacts on smooth operational activities that bookkeeping is part of.

8. Get Your Records Ready For Audits 

Audits accept both paper and digital documents, so fear nothing if you have everything at hand to substantiate all the transactions of your trucking business. You can carefully save and classify each receipt and invoice by yourself or entrust them to professional services like Shoeboxed, which turns your physical records into verified data that are ready for tax season.

9. Learn About Tax Deductibles

It’s a good idea to look into what can be deducted when you do bookkeeping. For example, if you are self-employed, expenses that are related to your business are generally tax-deductible. They include vehicle expenses (tolls, parking, maintenance, fuel, registration fees, tires, and insurance), specialized work gear, electronic devices used for work, work-related fees for drug testing, dispatch fees, leasing costs, etc. 

10. Seek Professional Advice

Despite being equipped with the right tools to support your bookkeeping and accounting practices, unless you are confident in your knowledge of finances it is necessary to have your questions or problems solved by a professional. Even when your business is doing well, advice from a pro who knows the trucking industry will give you valuable insight to improve the overall performance. Try to have your business financial health checked by experts in the field and you will see the difference that it can make.

Learning the ins and outs of bookkeeping from scratch may be a real challenge, but you can start with these simple steps that we have compiled just for you. Remember, good bookkeeping – happy driving! 

SaaS, Fintech And The World Technology

Looking back at our lives 10 years ago, we will be surprised at how much our world has developed. We thrive from doing things manually to having things done automatically. We thrive from waiting hours at a place to finishing the transaction just within 1 click. The world has been changing at a flashing pace. Following the world trend in technology, a lot of SaaS and Fintech enterprises have been born and even increased astoundingly during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of SaaS and Fintech companies is also expected to rise even after the pandemic. 

Since both types of business are leading trends in the market, in this writing, we would like to introduce to you the relationship between SaaS (Software as a Service) and Fintech. 

1. SaaS services

Together with the development of technology, SaaS (Software as a Service) becomes a trend and gradually replaces the existence of traditional SaaP (Software as a Product) due to its convenience, flexibility, fast implementation, and cost-saving benefit. 

SaaS allows businesses to access a particular service remotely through a web browser, using the internet connection. With SaaS, after implementing the application, companies just need to pay a certain amount to “hire” the service from the provider. They do not have to invest in setting up a server and other maintenance tasks afterward. Each amount of fees paid indicates a certain number of functions that can be performed. By this form of service, business owners can adjust which service plans are best suited for them, hence they can cut unnecessary maintenance costs. 

With its certain benefits, SaaS is favored among big companies, as well as start-ups and entrepreneurs. By applying SaaS, companies can spend more time on how to increase their revenue, or how to improve their operating efficiency, instead of focusing on handling, upgrading, and maintaining the system.

Moreover, nowadays, SaaS services are specialized and can be applied to different departments in a company such as HR, Operations, Finance & Accounting, Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, and so on. 

Let’s take the following as an example. Shoeboxed is a SaaS company that specializes in managing receipts for not only individuals but also businesses (both small-size and big-size). All of the data on the receipts are scanned and stored in the system in both picture and data format. Users then can keep track of the payment history by exporting the file later. The receipt managing task can contribute a big help for the Accounting department in tax preparation, as well as the reimbursement procedure. Besides, since all the receipts data are well organized, it is easier for the Operations Team to consider which tasks need cutting off, or it is useful for the Sales and Marketing Team to sit back and examine which marketing strategies are worth investing in.

2. Fintech and its growing trend 

We believe that many of us have heard about the word ‘Fintech’ a lot of times. It even becomes a famous term and topic especially among people in the IT sector. However, according to Statista, 67% of the US population said that they had not heard about Fintech, while 21% have heard the word somewhere, and only 16% have heard and understood clearly the meaning of it. Despite those low numbers, the industry is still growing fast. So what is Fintech and why do people talk about it?

‘Fintech’ is a short form of Financial Technology. Fintech is a recently-created term that describes the new trend in the Financial and Banking area that “employs new technologies to improve or innovate financial service”, according to the World Bank. The word can be applied to all companies that use the internet, cell phones, cloud computing technology, and other open-source software to advance the efficiency of the Banking and Investment business.

Companies of Fintech can be divided into 2 groups:

  • The first group is companies that focus on the end-users. Their main businesses are to provide digital tools that help improve the customer experience in borrowing, money managing, and start-up funding.
  • The second group is companies that play the “back office” roles in supporting other financial institutions.

So, is the e-wallet function on the mobile application of a banking institution called fintech? Unfortunately, the answer is no. It is just called an application of IT in the banking area.

However, for example, if Shoeboxed develops and applies a new data security technology to the e-wallet application of a banking institution, to provide convenience and safety to the customers, yes it is fintech.

Fintech is now providing services in different areas such as banking technology, payment, financial management, cryptocurrency, … with diverse services including

  • Digital wallet (or e-wallet) – “a software-based system that securely stores users’ payment information and passwords for numerous payment methods and websites” (Example: PayPal).
  • Distributed ledger technology on a blockchain platform. A distributed ledger is a database that is distributed to more than one computer or node. Each node maintains a ledger and the ledger will be updated if there are any changes in data. A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger where every node has its copies of the ledger. When data changes happen, all the copies of the ledger will be updated. (Example: Bitcoin).
  • B2C e-commerce – online transactions between businesses and customers. 
  • mPOS – known as mPOS, a portable point of sale of a smartphone or tablet that acts as a register. The service is widely used for businesses such as food trucks, convenience stores, supermarkets, etc. that allows the customers to complete payment transactions just within a touch. 

Besides some examples of Fintech products listed above, there are still a lot of services that might be a bit less popular such as:

  • Peer-to-peer lending (abbreviated as P2P lending) – a website that allows users to borrow and lend money directly. The P2P lending website helps to connect the borrowers directly to investors. In exchange for that, they control the transaction by setting the fee, interest rate, and other terms of conditions. 
  • Crowdfunding – a platform that allows start-ups to sell some of their future products to potential investors. If start-ups can fund enough money, they can start their project right away and vice versa, if the amount of money funded is not enough, start-ups will return them to investors. 
  • Personal finance – a different branch of P2P lending that collaborates with banks to give end-users insights and advice about their bankings. 
  • Data management
  • Insurtech and so on

It is undeniable that Fintech has been encouraging a trend of entrepreneurship in the Financial and Banking, the industries that are famous for their requirement of huge capital when joining the game. Thanks to this trend, there is a wide range of services available in the market, yet going along with the difficulties in management. 

However, if wisely used, Fintech can bring several benefits such as:

  • Improving customer satisfaction since the customers save time when completing a transaction
  • Analyzing customer behavior easier than before with reliable recorded data
  • Saving operating costs for business owners
  • Setting limits on manual inaccuracies

Following the Industrial Evolution 4.0, and now is 5.0, a lot of traditional financial institutions are changing their ways of approaching more customers by collaborating with Fintech companies. According to PwC, 82% of traditional financial institutions plan to increase collaboration with Fintech in 3 – 5 years to avoid losing revenue.

3. Conclusion

With the explanation of SaaS and Fintech mentioned above, can we say Fintech is a type of SaaS? Or should Fintech be positioned as SaaS? Well, IT DEPENDS. We say “it depends” because both have a lot of similarities in the purposes, the ecosystems, the applications, and so on. Therefore, it depends on the ultimate goals of the companies and how they operate their business.

As you can see that Fintech companies provide a wide range of services but mainly in the Finance area, while SaaS services are broadly provided in different areas. Though, since there are so many services available nowadays, and surely will increase in the future, that may confuse the users of what to choose, SaaS, Fintech, and other traditional business platforms can consider collaborating to introduce better and compact services. Despite their similarities yet differences, they are offering great values not only to the world economy but also to the development of technology.