The cloud is top of mind for many enterprises and IT teams. But what started as an innovative new concept for storing and accessing data has evolved into a rather ubiquitous term with a variety of applications and definitions. Despite the prevalence and ubiquity of the term “cloud”, forward-thinking business leaders and IT leaders are looking beyond the question of what the cloud is to a deeper, more strategic question: How do we connect to it?

Identifying where and how enterprises access the cloud requires IT to take a closer look at their base of applications and end users. In particular, two considerations should be made before IT answers the all-important question of how to connect to the cloud.

Key Considerations for Connecting to the Cloud

1. Where do core data and applications live in relationship to their users?

The location of existing applications, whether they’re in an in-house server rack, across the street at a data center or in an off-site, hosted environment, greatly influences cloud connectivity. In addition, IT also needs to consider these applications’ proximity to end-users. Operational systems like CRM, systems that are accessed daily from users across different geos, may inhibit network performance if kept locally, challenging to move them off-site while ensuring users can access them seamlessly.

2. Which of these should be in the cloud?

Knowing where data and applications live in relation to their user base also helps IT identify which systems should be kept locally versus those that can be moved to off-site in order optimize connectivity for users. For security and reliability reasons, it may make more sense for mission-critical apps to be kept locally while shifting technologies like PBX systems to the cloud can lead to spikes in network performance, business intelligence and user experience.

How We Connect to the Cloud

Making these considerations arms IT with the insight to make a smarter investment when it comes to connecting to the cloud. During this process, IT will often be challenged to weigh the pros and cons of existing Internet access, dedicated point-to-point connections, access through a third-party cloud provider or the benefits of a solution like SD-WAN and how these connectivity options impact network performance goals and end-user experiences.

To explore cloud connectivity even more and learn other key considerations to be made when connecting to the cloud, listen to NEF CEO Mike Murphy’s latest podcast.

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