Once the dust has settled and a new technology becomes established, you might suddenly find that there are multiple names for the same thing. For example, this seems to apply to online applications, where terms like cloud-based, web-based, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are used interchangeably. But that is incorrect, and here’s why.

Cloud-based, web-based, and SaaS are not the same thing, but they do have common ground. That’s why the terms are often used interchangeably. But that’s not right. SaaS and cloud-based applications are by definition online, but the same cannot necessarily be said for web-based applications. And that’s only one of the differences.


The foundation for everything is, of course, the cloud. It has enabled the technology of online apps—as in ‘not local to your computer’—to make enormous strides. Everything runs in the cloud these days, and any interface that lets you use it is cloud-based. So far, so good.

But not every interface is web-based: that term is reserved for applications that run in a browser. There are also cloud applications with their own app that allow you to use the cloud service: Dropbox, SalesForce, and Evernote are well-known examples. And that’s just on the computer. You probably have dozens of cloud apps on your smartphone and tablet that are specific to your operating system.


However, this is rapidly becoming less common because the advent of HTML5 has made web apps much faster and more reliable. That means there is really no reason to create your own front-end anymore. One disadvantage of that is the need to build an application for each operating system. With a web interface, you only need to make sure that you support as many browsers as possible.

Getting back to smartphones and tablets for a moment: many apps appear to be specific apps, but on closer inspection they turn out to be an HTML5 interface. The web app phenomenon is already quite established for these types of devices.

Some services use both. For instance, Dropbox has an app for each operating system that handles the synchronization between the computer and the (cloud) storage, but your files can also be accessed through an app in the browser.

On the flip side, not every web-based application is an online app. For example, think of the app you use to manage local or on-premises installations of Microsoft IIS: it is 100% web-based and 100% offline when it comes to local services.


It’s a bit odd that many people use SaaS as a synonym for cloud apps because SaaS is nothing more than a subscription to a software service. It doesn’t have to work through a cloud-based or web-based application at all. For example, if you use a local suite of Microsoft Office applications but pay an annual fee for them, you are using a true SaaS through a ‘normal’ software package. The same goes for Adobe Creative Cloud, which has no web-based version at all (despite its name).

Easy Software Deployment

Where does Easy Software Deployment fit into this picture? Basically, it’s SaaS with its own application. So it’s cloud-based and not (yet) web-based. That’s not because we don’t change with the times, but because there are still quite a few Windows capabilities that we want to exploit locally. But anything can happen…

Start with a hybrid cloud strategy and manage your endpoints on-premises and through the Easy Software Deployment Cloud. Request a demo here and learn all about Easy Software Deployment!