Operating as a Service: Different Choices from SaaS to LaaS

The cloud has become an integral part of our daily lives. For business cases, we typically refer to the connection and all of our data interactions as taking place in the cloud. This has led to a rise of many new terms starting with the ever-present Software as a Service (SaaS).

SaaS has been followed by many other acronyms, most of which aren’t easy to intuit. Allow us to explain some of the more recent additions to the “aaS” lineup and also make a case for why we think the newcomer LaaS is going to make waves in the tech and business space.

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Some of the recent launches and names to be aware of are:

  • CaaS: This is “Communication as a Service.” It allows a company to access enterprise-quality VoIP, VPN and PBX phone systems through an entirely cloud-based interface. This means you won’t need to install office infrastructure for your phone systems, you just need a fast enough Internet connection to manage a phone platform as well as your other surfing. Many companies have found that CaaS can also reduce employee and training costs because all of the hardware and its troubleshooting is offsite.
  • NaaS: A “Network as a Service’ offering essentially provides a business with a private virtual network through its existing Internet connection. The concept has been in use for some time and operates both on a usage and subscription model, but calling it NaaS is relatively new. The biggest benefit for adopting NaaS is that a company doesn’t need the infrastructure or IT staff to maintain the business network; you simply pay for the network like any other commodity.
  • PaaS: The “Platform as a Service” offering is a type of cloud computing that lets you develop your software or applications by using Web-based tools and libraries from the PaaS provider. Most deployments incorporate renting hardware, operating systems, storage and even capacity via the cloud. You’re essentially renting virtualized, scalable servers so you can develop and test new software.
  • MaaS: “Monitoring as a Service” is one of the latest cloud offerings to arrive, but it will play a significant role in the future of enterprise. MaaS allows companies to monitor applications across their entire deployment without needing to be in the same area as the deployment. Initial MaaS services have focused on monitoring power consumption and utilities; but newer models are managing applications or services to ensure you’re fully operational as you move computing power to the cloud. MaaS is helping companies adopt many other “aaS” solutions.

Our favorite new term, however, is LaaS: Licensing-as-a-Service. A LaaS platform will replace your traditional license management by removing the need to store and install applications with specific license keys. Instead, you’ll use a dashboard – typically Web browser based – to validate your products and licenses as the software is used.

LaaS services can be used by software vendors to continually validate the deployments of their customers by monitoring usage locations and platforms. This can ensure that a company is paying for all of the licenses it needs by providing an easy-to-use management platform. Adopting a LaaS platform frees up software vendors from having to develop their own content and license management, so they can focus on further development of the core software that customers are purchasing.

We think LaaS is a smart solution that will play a large role in IT service providers because it is one of the few “aaS” systems initially designed to make a vendor’s job easier, and in turn improving products available to the end consumer.