As a concept, the remote delivery of technological capabilities has been around for years ("hosted applications," anyone?), but as new terms proliferate in the marketplace, confusion about terminology, practices, and benefits have grown. "Cloud" is often used as a broad term to cover SaaS (software as a service), IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) or any combination thereof. More important than the specific terminology, however, are the challenges and business benefits of embracing any form of off-premise computing.

SaaS models can be very different than what carriers are used to and can potentially present challenges regarding decisions, integration, licensing, lack of customization, and security.

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