Everything You Need to Know about as-a-Service

One of the biggest buzz words in the past few years is as-a-Service. This model is changing how government runs and what roles agencies need government contractors to fill. And as someone who provides services to the government, it’s an important concept for you and your team to understand. But with new services being introduced more frequently than ever, it can be tough to keep up. 

With much of the government, including agencies that have typically relied on more traditional on-site data centers and hardware, moving onto as-a-service models, it’s critical that your company stay on top of the latest trends. We put together a quick reference guide for everything you need to know:

What is it?

Everything-as-a-Service, also known as XaaS, is a model that provides products, tools and technologies as a service and over a network instead of on-site. The benefits of this model include significantly lowering costs of hardware and simplifying deployment. By moving business functions to the cloud, companies can basically eliminate hardware and in-house IT infrastructure. The three main models are SaaS, Paas, and Iaas:

  • Software-as-aService. SaaS is a software distribution model that hosts applications over the internet. Examples include PayPal, Office365 and NetSuite. 
  • Platform-as-a-Service. PaaS is where a third-party hosts app development platforms and tools on its own infrastructure and allows subscribers to use them over the internet. Examples of this include Heroku and Salesforce.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The IaaS model is where a third-party hosts servers, storage and other cloud-based computing resources and makes them available for customers to use over the internet. Examples include AWS and Google Cloud Storage. 

A good way to think XaaS is on a continuum that runs from on-premise, to IaaS, to PaaS and SaaS. The closer an end-user is to on-premise the more the third-party manages. For example, an on-premise data center is completely managed by the vendor but when an end-user works in a SaaS program like Gmail, they manage nearly every aspect of using the application. 

Why it matters. 

As agencies continue to move away from on-site enterprise solutions and towards as-a-Service models, you will likely have to adjust the services you provide and how you deliver them. As federal agencies continue to ride the wave of IT modernization, you will increasingly see IT infrastructure upgrade projects  with the main goal of moving all systems and processes to the cloud. 

While less on-premise infrastructure means less physical overhead costs, the XaaS model also brings in unprecedented challenges including security concerns, hybrid IT models and faulty integrations. To stay abreast of these challenges, you’ll want to ensure you get a head start on developing as-a-Service offerings and put significant effort into ensuring you products and services are secure and resilient. 

The federal government’s culture has typically been resistant to change. However, more and more agencies are taking suit and following the private sector modernization efforts. While you don’t have to overhaul your business model tomorrow, you can stay ahead of the ever-evolving technological revolution by staying on top of current trends, monitoring how agencies are reacting to them and looking for windows of opportunity for your business within these changes.


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