If you’re migrating your data center to the cloud, don’t overlook the network. Cloud promises flexibility, broader access and greater productivity. And, cloud migration is integral to digital transformation.

But, without the right network connections, cloud benefits could be limited. What’s needed is a network solution that offers high levels of performance, availability, scalability, security and control. In planning your network solution, there are many important factors to consider.

Maintain Performance

Reliable network performance is essential, with large numbers of users simultaneously accessing different cloud-based voice, video or web applications and services. Low latency is important. The network must deliver the lowest levels of latency to improve application performance and server utilization. It must also scale to maintain throughput under different traffic levels and minimize the risk of bottlenecks.

End users expect to access their services and applications anytime from any location. They want a service that is responsive so they can maintain or improve levels of productivity and efficiency. In that sense, network performance has a major impact on user experience with the cloud. When applications are mission-critical, network performance must be completely reliable. Downtime is not an option.

Improve Insight and Control

Without insight into the network, it can be difficult to measure overall performance or assess the performance of different cloud applications and services. So, the network solution must provide the right level of visibility and control, with analytics that help you make better decisions about your network resources.

With greater visibility, you can understand how cloud applications are being used across the network and develop application-based controls and policies to improve application performance and user experience.

Control Costs

Cost is another important consideration. While public Internet access may seem a cost-effective solution, traffic patterns may impact the costs. If you use a public Internet service, for example, cloud providers charge for the bandwidth used for data coming in and out of the cloud. With a private network, they only charge for data moving out of the cloud.

Scalability is also important in controlling costs. With the right network solution, you can scale bandwidth up or down in line with demand and only pay for what you use.

Change Security Strategy

The network solution you choose must provide the highest levels of security, particularly if your business is subject to regulatory compliance.  A study by ESG Research found that traditional network security solutions were not suitable for cloud-based services.  Respondents reported that it is difficult to get the same level of security visibility into cloud-based workloads as in physical networks. They also felt that security teams don’t have the right level of cloud computing skills to provide the same types of network security controls and oversight as it does on the physical network.

To improve their security management, respondents are focusing on collecting, processing and analyzing data to understand what’s happening with cloud-based workloads. Then they can apply appropriate security controls.

Make the right connections

Planning the right network solution is essential to get the full benefit from your data center migration. Traditional network strategies and security approaches are no longer sufficient for cloud migration.

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