A connectivity cloud is a unified cloud platform that delivers secure, fast, any-to-any connectivity between networks (enterprise and Internet), on-premises environments/data centers, clouds, applications, and users.
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On-premises, cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS), and public Internet environments are intrinsically different, and the tools used to connect and protect them together typically add more complexity. A connectivity cloud is a unified platform of cloud-native services that simplifies secure “any-to-any” connectivity across IT environments. In turn, this helps organizations regain control and visibility over their sprawling digital domains.
To understand a connectivity cloud in action, consider a hypothetical retail company — Acme Inc. Acme’s offices span multiple countries, and they employ thousands of people — some whom are partially or fully remote, and some of whom are contractors. Acme operates hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores, as well as ecommerce websites in different languages. Acme’s multinational operations and hybrid workforce make secure connectivity across a variety of locations, devices, applications, and infrastructure costly and complex. However, with a connectivity cloud, Acme can efficiently secure and connect all of their digital environments on a single platform.
Although every enterprise IT environment comprises highly specific tooling, processes, and architectural configurations, a connectivity cloud platform adapts to an organization’s unique needs while still providing consistent user experiences. This gives technology leaders a customizable control plane for their entire environment — no matter where their people, apps, or data reside.
Many IT and security decision makers’ responsibilities have significantly increased and grown in complexity in recent years. Technology leaders are expected to support a broad array of responsibilities, such as:
Businesses that try to meet those demands through a combination of multiple clouds, one-off solutions, and on-premises hardware can find themselves grappling with new problems: less control over their IT environments, growing attack surface, difficulty maintaining productivity, increased vendor costs, and challenges meeting data compliance requirements.
Connectivity clouds alleviate these gaps in the IT and security landscape, and give organizations better control and visibility over applications, users, networks, and data.
Organizations that embrace digital modernization continuously launch new digital features and Internet application experiences. But engineers and web managers risk being bogged down with application sizing, security and performance integration, and other time-consuming deployment tasks. With a connectivity cloud, those considerations are either integrated or fully automated. In that way, the heavy lift of constantly improving app security and performance is ‘outsourced’ to a connectivity cloud, so that developers can focus on building and testing apps instead.
Global enterprises with multinational operations and hybrid workforces are particularly vulnerable to loss of IT control and visibility. Establishing secure connectivity across a variety of locations, devices, applications, and infrastructure can quickly become a time-sink. With a connectivity cloud, organizations can both secure and connect all of their network components on a single platform, without complex integrations and workaround — perhaps in keeping with the secure access service edge (SASE) approach.
Large enterprises can have multiple internal or external websites for their various brands and regions — in addition to multiple application programming interfaces (APIs) connecting those sites to critical third-party services. With a connectivity cloud, they can track every variety of threat from a single place — and apply new protections and policy changes across the entire portfolio.
Many cloud-based platforms offer security, networking, or developer services from the cloud. But when these platforms fail to address critical use cases, or do not provide easy connectivity to every domain in the IT environment, they can become another IT silo.
To help connect everything and everyone in an organization’s digital environment, connectivity clouds offer the following architectural qualities:
Ninety-eight percent of surveyed IT decisionmakers agree that businesses would gain value from a connectivity cloud that provides secure, performant, “any-to-any” connectivity (i.e. connectivity between more people, apps, data, devices, networks, and clouds). Also, nearly half of IT decision-makers believe this type of solution would accelerate digital transformation.
Other key benefits of a connectivity cloud include:
A connectivity cloud is fundamentally different from other cloud-based solutions in several ways:
Cloudflare is the world’s leading connectivity cloud — a unified, programmable platform of security and connectivity services across a global network spanning more than 310 cities. It empowers organizations to make their employees, applications, and networks faster and more secure everywhere, while reducing complexity and cost.
With a connectivity cloud powered by an intelligent, programmable global cloud network, Cloudflare helps companies connect, manage, secure, and accelerate their traffic and applications. Learn more about Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud.