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Broad network access refers to resources hosted in a private cloud network (operated within a company's firewall) that are available for access from a wide range of devices, such as tablets, PCs, Macs and smartphones. These resources are also accessible from a wide range of locations that offer online access.
Companies that have broad network access within a cloud network need to deal with certain security issues that arise. It's a debated topic because it touches at the heart of the difference between private and public cloud computing. Oftentimes, companies choose private cloud service because they are concerned about the potential for information leaks through the gaps left open to outside networks in a public cloud.
In a private cloud, secure data is accessed only by company employees within a company's own firewall. The company operates its own infrastructure, including a data center full of servers. Public cloud computing is when companies use an outside company to host servers or other cloud services that the company accesses for its employees.
Broad network access is something that, in a way, goes against the idea of a private cloud. However, as more employees use smartphones, tablets and other devices with online connectivity, they want to access company resources and continue to work from these devices. It is possible to give access to various devices from a private cloud. However, although broad network access may not be deployed by many companies in a purely private cloud model, it is becoming more common in hybrid cloud settings.