Small Business 101: Explaining Platform as a Service

As a small business, it’s super important to be able to accept payments securely and safely. That’s your starting point. But you’ll also want to have the option to grow your business into new territories by accepting multiple currencies. And you’ll need the flexibility to accept new and alternative payment methods as and when they arise, to keep up with consumer demand and market changes.

With the right payment platform, you can. In most instances this will be powered by Platform as a Service (PaaS), but what is PaaS? In this quick guide for small businesses, we’ll run through exactly what that means and how it can impact your business.

What is PaaS?

PaaS provides a complete, flexible, and cost-effective cloud platform for developing, running and managing applications. It is a cloud computing model that provides customers with a complete cloud platform including hardware, software and infrastructure. It reduces the cost, complexity and inflexibility that come with building and maintaining a platform on-premises.

Everything, from the servers, networks, storage, operating system software, databases etc. are hosted by the PaaS provider at their data centres. Customers can then tap into what they need in a way that suits their business.

Who are the customers of PaaS?

As a small business, you may be wondering whether PaaS is something that will benefit your operation. And it is, but you’ll likely not be engaging with the PaaS provider directly.

Your direct line of contact will likely be with an independent software vendor (ISV) that will provide you with a payment ecosystem to enable you to take payments, accept new payment methods, process them, and access data to better understand your customers. You’ll look for factors like a payment gateway to accept online payments, POS terminals for in-person payments and P2PE for data security.

The importance of PaaS is that it enables your ISV to provide you with flexible functionality to tailor the platform around the needs of your business.

The benefits of PaaS for an ISV

Independent software vendors enjoy several benefits from PaaS, including:

  • Faster time to market: ISVs don’t need to invest in all the hardware and software needed to maintain the environment. They simply tap into the provider’s PaaS.
  • Flexibility and scalability: ISVs can simply purchase additional capacity from the PaaS provider to scale up their capabilities. With on-site premises, scaling can be expensive, whereas it is much cheaper with PaaS. Development teams also have the flexibility to develop new apps in a shared development environment.
  • Quick and seamless integration: New payment providers can simply be plugged in through the use of APIs.
  • Lower costs: By opting for PaaS over building and scaling their application platform, ISVs spend less and can focus on providing the solutions their merchant customers require.

The benefits of this for merchants

As a merchant, you want the flexibility to be able to move with customer demands for new payment methods. And you also want to be able to scale your business and quickly respond to challenges in the market. Opting for a software vendor, powered by PaaS, enables you to do this. You have the following business benefits:

  • You can access everything you need for payment processing in one easy-to-use cloud-based payment system.
  • You can accept payments in multiple languages and grow your business into new territories.
  • New payment methods can easily be plugged into your payment infrastructure via simple API integration.
  • You can access a multitude of third-party apps that can seamlessly integrate into your payment ecosystem.
  • You will have instant access to your data.
  • You can make price updates or check sales figures as you go.
  • You can provide the omnichannel payments experience that your customers demand, improving customer retention and revenue.


As a small business accepting payments, PaaS is just one factor you need to be aware of. In our series of Small Business 101 guides, we’re looking at the entire payment ecosystem to help you understand everything you need to know about payments. Discover how to take card payments, how to choose the right payment gateway and more.

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