What Are Cloud Services, and Why Use Them?

4min read



You'd be hard-pressed to find a single business that doesn't use a private or public cloud service. If you spend time online, you're also likely using cloud services yourself.

From saving family photos and sending personal emails to managing sensitive accounting for a Fortune 500 company, tasks that make modern life possible are frequently linked to the cloud.

“Cloud services” is an umbrella term describing technology, software, and infrastructure you access and use via the internet. Businesses use cloud services for various purposes, including efficiency and cost savings. Electronic data interchange (EDI) is one of many business functions that can exist almost solely within the cloud.

Here’s how cloud services empower seamless operations that benefit businesses and users.

Top benefits of using cloud services

Cloud services let you delegate much of the work of your technical infrastructure. When you aren't absorbed in developing and building that infrastructure, you can focus on using the technical tools to create more efficient business processes and better serve customers. Some top benefits of cloud services include:

  • Support for scalability: When you use cloud services, you pay for the resources you need when you need them. Instead of building infrastructure to suit your needs, you can readily access it as you grow — often instantaneously. This scalability increases organizational agility, whether you’re experiencing viral growth or need to reallocate resources for seasonal fluctuations.
  • Reduced infrastructure costs: With cloud computing, many organizations share an expert vendor’s resources, significantly cutting costs compared to developing or purchasing the resources in-house.
  • Lower maintenance costs: You don't typically maintain the hardware and software that supports cloud resources; that responsibility falls to the vendor, further reducing the long-term costs of technical resources.
  • Added flexibility: Cloud services often support greater flexibility. For example, modern remote work capacity is only possible thanks to the cloud. Businesses of any size can remain competitive using limited physical resources when they leverage cloud-based opportunities.
Four types of cloud services to know

Cloud services are highly varied. Facebook, Gmail, Slack, Dropbox, the patient portal at your local hospital, the IRS payment site, and your mobile banking app all employ cloud services. Most can be categorized as one of four types.

When it comes to understanding the basic differences between SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and XaaS, here’s what you should know: 

What is SaaS?

SaaS stands for “software as a service.” This model delivers software solutions, such as programs and apps, via the cloud. You don't need to download the program onto your device or computer; most of the service’s data remains in the cloud. Services that employ SaaS include Slack, Salesforce, Amazon RDS, and Shopify.

What is PaaS?

PaaS stands for “platform as a service.” These platforms are cloud-based and used to develop third-party software and technical solutions and deliver them to others. Examples of PaaS include Amazon Web Solutions, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud Platform.

What is IaaS?

IaaS stands for “infrastructure as a service.” This model offers infrastructure essentials, such as storage, computational power, and networking solutions, via the cloud. Examples of PaaS include AWS, Google Compute Engine, Cisco Metacloud, and Microsoft Azure.

You probably noticed some of these examples are repeated from the PaaS examples. When comparing IaaS versus PaaS, the distinction is simple: IaaS is limited to infrastructure resources, such as storage, whereas PaaS assists in execution (how stored data is archived or accessed).

What is XaaS?

XaaS stands for “anything as a service.” It's a catch-all category for the various cloud services.

Leading use cases for cloud services

Cloud services include tools designed for a wide range of uses. Here are some of the primary reasons people and businesses use cloud services:

Data storage and backup

One of the first widely adopted cloud uses was for data storage and backup. You can store a virtually unlimited amount of data in the cloud, whereas physical drives and servers are limited — and expensive at scale. System integration ensures data stored on the cloud is easily accessible for everyday business processes.

Cloud storage also provides peace of mind via redundancy. Your hardware may get destroyed in a flood or fire, for example, but your business and customer data are safe.

Big data and analytics

Today, many organizations work with massive quantities of data. Fortunately, the cloud provides the necessary computational power to manage and analyze these vast data banks.

From managing immense relational databases to using artificial intelligence to find patterns in raw data, the cloud powers enormous computational endeavors.

Application hosting and development

Cloud integration makes it possible to design, develop, host, and deliver apps and other solutions within the cloud. For example, a bank can create cloud-based web and app solutions that support account holders with the same tools that let an e-commerce entrepreneur quickly launch a Shopify store.

Collaboration and communication

Communication is one of the most common uses for cloud services. If you use email to communicate with clients or staff, you're probably using the cloud — certainly so if you leverage Slack or Microsoft Teams to conduct business. The cloud is prevalent in this arena because it's fast, easy, inexpensive, and almost infinitely flexible.

Implement cloud-based EDI with Orderful

Cloud services can simplify your processes today by reducing the burden of EDI on your organization. Orderful’s cloud-based EDI solutions make electronic transactions more efficient and reliable, so you stay ahead of the competition.

If you’d like to know more about how Orderful can help your organization better use its electronic data, contact us and speak to an expert in cloud-based EDI solutions.


Go live with new trading partners in days, not months. Orderful’s modern EDI platform standardizes integrations and streamlines testing, getting your business connected with partners 10x faster than other solutions.

Learn More
Prefooter medium illustration

Join us on the journey to change the way the world trades EDI

Talk to an EDI Expert today

Join us on the journey to change the way the world trades EDI

Schedule a Demo

Schedule a Demo