An Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud based service that helps companies build and manage their data as they grow, paying for the storage and server space that they need to build hardware or software without having to actually host and manage on-site servers themselves.
Popular IaaS solutions are DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
IaaS cloud solutions offer administrators a high level of control over software and hardware. They’re also responsible for technical security, availability, and operations freeing your company from some of these demands (although you should always keep tabs on the security configuration of your IaaS environments where possible).
Additional Reading: IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS: Here’s what you need to know about each
What does this mean for an SMB?
Benefits of IaaS
- Reduced hardware, software, and networking maintenance costs;
- Improved availability from redundant infrastructure;
- Improved security from fully patched systems, secured facilities, and capabilities such as two-factor authentication;
- Improved performance and scalability as solutions expand and contract based upon your needs;
- Importantly, IaaS solutions allow employees to work more easily remotely without the hassle of VPN software.
Potential Disadvantages of IaaS
IaaS solutions provide the above benefits but take some of the SMB control away which can in some cases lead to disadvantages including:
- A lack of control over the infrastructure’s cybersecurity.
- Lack of visibility into backup performance. Test your backups and make your own offsite data backups.
- When problems do occur, you have little influence over the situation and services restoration.
- Your SMB is partially dependent on a 3rd party for data protection and portability.
- Regulatory compliance can be impossible in some environments or solutions. Choose wisely.