Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince: Most Zero Trust Security Tools ‘Slow You Down’
In an interview with CRN, Prince said that with Cloudflare’s zero-trust security products, the ‘digital experience is going to be significantly better than any of our competitors.’
Cloudflare’s Zero Trust Push
As one of the up-and-coming challengers in the space of zero trust security and secure access service edge (SASE), Cloudflare has much to prove to partners and customers alike. But the company is making big strides in the arena, and its offerings bring major advantages that its competitors can’t easily replicate, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said in an interview with CRN.
Above all, Cloudflare’s global network remains its core differentiator when it comes to delivering zero trust-related security services, according to Prince — just as it has been for more than a decade at the company in areas such as web content delivery and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation. The Cloudflare network covers 300 cities across more than 100 countries, and offers some upsides in the delivery of security services like zero trust network access (ZTNA) that may not be obvious, he said.
For instance, while competing vendors offer tools that “provide a level of security, they actually slow your performance down pretty substantially,” he told CRN. But when partners and customers use the Cloudflare network, “we don’t slow you down, but speed you up. And that’s why I think we’re seeing more and more customers that are adopting Cloudflare’s complete zero trust security [offering].”
In other words, maybe speed isn’t always the enemy of security after all. Enabling high performance even with security tools deployed “actually makes organizations more secure because of the fact that it means that your users are going to be happy to use those products — as opposed to always trying to find how to get around using that product,” Prince said. Ultimately, “with Cloudflare’s products, regardless of what you’re doing online, the digital experience is going to be significantly better than any of our competitors,” he said.
In the recent interview with CRN, Prince also discussed how the move into zero trust security has opened up significant new opportunities for working with channel partners. Prince, who co-founded Cloudflare in 2009, said the company expects an increasing portion of its revenue to derive through the channel thanks to its newer product lines. “We may not have had that when we first started, but as we’re increasingly in zero trust and developer services, today I think we’re perfectly positioned to be a partner,” he said.
Just over a year ago, the company debuted the Cloudflare One Partner Program, which aims to enable channel partners such as resellers and system integrators to more effectively deliver Cloudflare’s SASE platform to customers. And today, “where I’m spending a lot more time is with our partners — making sure that we’ve got a robust partner program, making sure that we’re supporting that channel well, making sure that we’ve got clear pricing and that we’ve got clear ways of working with various partners around the world,” Prince said. For the 12 months that concluded at the end of March, the company’s revenue through channel partners increased 68 percent year-over-year, according to Cloudflare, above the 66-percent growth rate for the company’s direct sales during that period.
What follows is an edited and condensed portion of CRN’s interview with Prince.