Network-as-a-Service vs Connectivity-as-a-Service: what's the difference?

More and more organisations of all sizes, across all industries, are looking for greater control over their IT landscapes, especially in terms of how they consume and how they pay for technology. For a number of years now, the trend towards service-based delivery models for technology applications and infrastructure has been growing exponentially.

According to a survey from Deloitte in February 2021, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS). XaaS reflects how companies across the globe are adopting the ‘as-a-service’ model for just about everything. 88% of respondents to the Deloitte survey said they believe XaaS will be crucial as their businesses recover from the pandemic.

There are a multitude of different sub-components of XaaS with the most prominent being SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) - which has very much led the way. The networking industry is however catching-up, with two relatively new concepts - Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) and Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS).

In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between these two options for network management, to help you understand which may be a better fit for your business.

An introduction to Connectivity-as-a-Service

In this guide we explore Connectivity-as-a-Service, a radically different approach to networking, focused on fast, reliable and secure connectivity.

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The basics

Network-as-a-Service enables customers to rent networking services from a cloud provider. NaaS enables you to operate your own networks without maintaining your own networking infrastructure. Like other cloud services, NaaS vendors run networking functions entirely using software, essentially allowing you to set-up your own networks entirely without hardware. All you need is internet connectivity.

This gives companies the flexibility to adapt their network, spin-up new services as they need them quickly and relatively cheaply, right-size functionality and performance to their specific needs, and outsource day-to-day maintenance to their provider.

Network-as-a-Service avoids any requirement for major investment in hardware, and can be funded from operational expenditure as businesses only pay for what they use or need. As a result, NaaS is a popular choice among new businesses, as well as smaller enterprises for whom such an investment is beyond their reach.

However, it is gaining traction with larger businesses, too, which is why the global NaaS market is expected to grow by 35% over five years.

Alternatively, Connectivity-as-a-Service takes a total approach to network management. It incorporates all of the functionality of Network-as-a-Service with a commercial model that completely eliminates any hardware purchasing costs.

It also includes services like maintenance, voice and business mobile data within the subscription to create a single, complete package of technology for a business. CaaS goes further 

The end goal of Network-as-a-Service and Connectivity-as-a-Service is ultimately the same: outsourcing network management to an expert third party who can ensure the reliability, scalability and security of the network. However, there are two important differences that separate the two approaches.

Key differences

1) How it is delivered

Under a Network-as-a-Service model, delivery is fully virtualised, and the network is offloaded to a supplier to look after remotely. Connectivity-as-a-Service, on the other hand, still leverages traditional hardware where it’s needed (or where a customer still has hardware they want to use) as well as using the cloud.

2) The scale of what's possible

Only Connectivity-as-a-Service provides a full network management inventory and a commercial model that caters for existing infrastructure through network refreshes and buy-back schemes. In essence, Network-as-a-Service provides as-a-service network management, while Connectivity-as-a-Service provides a holistic approach to network management that encompasses a range of commercial and technological support services and resources.

Key takeaways

It’s important to remember that every business is different, and so what might be right for others may not necessarily be right for you.

On one hand, Network-as-a-Service may be preferable if you are simply looking for network management that ‘works’, doesn’t cause you any hassle and allows a third party to take on the burden of looking after it.

But on the other hand, Connectivity-as-a-Service is the option that allows network management to be more closely integrated with the inner workings of a business, from how employees use devices every day, to the impact a network has on the overall bottom line.

Your decision depends on how central you consider your network to be to your business as a whole. If it really is critical, then Connectivity-as-a-Service should be your preferred option.

Learn more about how Connectivity-as-a-Service can help businesses stay in control of their networks and respond to the demands of modern business here.

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