What Are the Differences Between SaaS and Cloud Computing?

Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud computing are terms that are often used interchangeably. While SaaS is a component of cloud computing, it isn’t actually cloud computing. Unlike SaaS, the cloud goes above and beyond software to deliver a variety of IT services.

Here are the key differences between SaaS and cloud computing.

Subscription Basis

When it comes to cloud computing and Software as a Service, both can be leveraged on a subscription basis. Think of it this way:

With SaaS, you’re basically renting business applications. And with cloud computing, you’re renting virtual servers.

While a clear difference exists in the “what,” the premise is very similar.

“SaaS is any software application that you run that is not located on your premises.” — IT World


Both SaaS and cloud computing deliver services via the internet. As a result, you can access applications and data from any location — as long as an internet connection is present.

“If you’re using cloud-based software, you can use the internet to access that system whenever and wherever you are. You just need an internet connection and the ability to log into the system via a web browser.” — N Channel

Regular Maintenance

SaaS and cloud computing are both provided by a third-party source. Because of this, maintenance and updates are taken care of.

On top of this, it’s less time-consuming and less of a challenge to scale and implement new technologies. Since both services are delivered over the internet by a third-party source, processes like these are simpler to manage and much quicker to carry out.

“Software as a Service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed to a user. The software, or application is accessed via the internet and a web browser. You do not need to install and maintain the software.” — N Channel

Services Offered

SaaS is limited to the application it offers; however, cloud computing is not. Cloud computing can make up the company’s entire infrastructure, which can include software. So in many instances, SaaS might be a component of a cloud computing solution.

“Cloud Computing provides computing resources that aren’t bound to any specific location. It consists of infrastructure and services that you can rent such as virtual computers/servers, data storage capacity, communications and messaging capacity, network capacity and development environments.” — Software Advisory Service

Data Control

With SaaS, your data is at the mercy of the service provider, and because of this, some data security might be forfeited. Cloud computing is a little different, though.

Although the data does not exist in physical on-site servers, you can still manage the flow of data in a similar fashion. You have more control over how the data is stored, processed, and, ultimately, secured.

“Cloud Computing offers more control over your data. Though the servers aren’t local, you still manage the software and data, and can make backups. You’re able to move data out of the Cloud into your own storage as you wish.” — Software Advisory Service

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between SaaS and cloud computing, check out The Relationship Between Cloud Computing, SaaS, and ERP.