Integration platform as a service (IPaaS) is a relatively new option for cloud services clients, though integration platforms have existed for customer relationship management systems and enterprise resource planning software. This ignorance has allowed many misconceptions about IPaaS to arise. Here are eight common myths about integration platform as a service and the facts.
IPaaS Is IaaS
Integration platform as a service is different to infrastructure as a service. IPaaS allows software engineers to develop, govern, manage and integrate software applications and their underlying services. In contrast, IaaS provides virtualized computing resources. IaaS gives clients control over the infrastructure and is often used for web scale applications and software as a service.
IPaaS Only Integrates Components on the Cloud
Since IPaaS is hosted on the cloud, there are many who think it only works with cloud based components, making IPaaS impossible with legacy systems. This isn’t true. There are IPaaS solutions that can connect with proprietary enterprise systems that reside on your server or legacy software that is designed to run on desktops. Many IPaaS providers will help you move software applications designed to be run on desktop computers onto virtual servers so they are accessible via the cloud. iPaaS APIs actually make last mile integration simple, so you don’t have to build custom interfaces to make legacy software work on the cloud.
Set Up and Maintenance Is Time Consuming and Painful
You don’t have to have a sophisticated programming background to implement IPaaS; it is pre-built, though customization is usually an option. If you select the right IPaaS integration platform, set up is relatively easy because it is wizard driven. You may even be able to build data flows between systems and set up cloud integration without an IT developer on hand. The Celigo iPaaS integrator, for example, has an IPaaS system with a form based mapper for Salesforce and NetSuite, making the integration of these systems with other tools a matter of filling out some online forms. Systems this simple are just as easy to maintain.
IPaaS Limits Developers to a Single Platform
One misconception about IPaaS is that it limits developers to a single cloud platform, that of the IPaaS service. This isn’t true. You can use an IPaaS to set up a hybrid public-private cloud, heightening control and protection of key business systems that you don’t want accessible to the general public. And, IPaaS makes it possible to implement solutions across a variety of platforms, systems and software applications.
IPaas Isn’t an Option with the Software I Have
Perhaps you’re already using cloud based versions of customer relationship management software and enterprise resource planning software like SAP. This doesn’t prevent you from using IPaaS. In fact, many IPaaS vendors allow you to integrate your CRM and ERP systems with other software applications via the IPaaS system, automating data flows between them and legacy systems while making it all available through an online interface.
A side benefit of this type of integration via IPaaS is speed. You can integrate legacy apps with the cloud based apps you have as quickly as you can set them up. Software upgrades are far faster on IPaaS than trying to make certain everyone in the company upgrades the applications on their individual systems. And once you upgrade the legacy software, you can update the APIs to accept this new source of information.
IPaaS Is Not Secure
This is a common myth regarding all cloud services; if it is relatively public and used by nearly everyone, it isn’t secure. The reality is that most IPaaS providers have very strict IT security and are able to integrate apps, including those firewalled off from the internet. They actually improve IT security when the cloud service provider offers better support, real time monitoring, intrusion detection software and data recovery services than your own IT department could provide. A side benefit of IPaaS is that these vendors not only work double time to keep your data secure but provide excellent data security and secure backups. If something is compromised or hacked, they can restore a working version in short order.
IPaaS Requires a VPN to Work Wherever Our Employees Are Working
IPaaS is a middleware framework that allows databases, applications and the users’ devices to communicate smoothly with each other. That is part of the definition of integration. A VPN is not required for your employees to access their time cards or data repositories unless you choose to add this extra layer of security.
IPaaS Isn’t Worth the Cost
One myth about IPaaS is that it isn’t worth the cost. The mistake many make with this misconception is comparing the cost of adopting it against the cost of doing nothing. The reality is that they are wasting time and labor with manual data entry when their legacy systems are not integrated in IPaaS. Their IT departments have to upgrade software on a case by case basis, instead of updating it once in the cloud. They have to build and maintain custom API instead of the plug and play interfaces available through many IPaaS vendors. Then there’s the cost of trying to build web interfaces for legacy systems instead of moving them to the cloud via IPaaS. The ability to hand off IT security to IPaaS vendors or dedicate your staff to proactive security measures instead of reacting to events is invaluable.
IPaaS is quite different from IaaS, though both are cloud computing services. IPaaS is not limited to components on the cloud. Set up of the IPaaS doesn’t have to be costly, time consuming or painful, nor is it a challenge to maintain. IPaaS doesn’t limit developers to a single platform, and it is an option even when you have legacy software applications on your server or use other companies’ cloud services like ERP and CRM tools. IPaaS is quite secure, and it doesn’t require VPN in order to be implemented. Before you rule out adopting IPaaS due to the cost, consider the costs of the custom software interfaces you’ve developed or are trying to create to move software to the cloud. IPaaS may also let you reduce your IT overhead without affecting your IT security, or even improve it because you can dedicate more people to proactive IT security.