Connectivity cloud needed to overcome IT control and security gaps

Johannesburg, 11 Mar 2024
Andy Kennedy, senior solutions engineering manager, sub-saharan Africa at Cloudflare.
Andy Kennedy, senior solutions engineering manager, sub-saharan Africa at Cloudflare.

Organisations seeking to connect, protect and accelerate their businesses need to think beyond conventional approaches and look to new cloud platforms and architecture.

This is according to Andy Kennedy, senior solutions engineering manager, Sub-Saharan Africa at Cloudflare, who was addressing a webinar hosted by Cloudflare in partnership with ITWeb.

Kennedy noted that IT priorities had changed. “In 2023, we saw a shift from reactionary steps to address the consequences of the pandemic, towards a focus on longer term initiatives to improve the way we bring applications to market and meet the needs of customers. Referencing research from Gartner, enterprise priorities now include growth, cost optimisation and efficiency, digital transformation, customer/user experience and technology modernisation,” he said.

However, most digital initiatives to bring cloud native technologies and zero trust into organisations have either run late or haven’t been delivered at all, he said.

One challenge is that when moving workloads to the cloud, organisations find their supporting infrastructure is not ready to support migration. Many find they also create new vulnerabilities and ultimately additional cost, he said.

“This can result in a complex estate of disparate technologies that don’t talk to each other and make it difficult to get insights across different data sources,” Kennedy said.

To address these transformation and security challenges, organisations should start by putting the user at the centre of everything they do, he said. This involves a holistic approach that serves the needs of all users a company interacts with - “There are 1st party users – employees, 2nd party users such as contractors, guests and BYOD employees, and 3rd party users – customers and the general internet population,” he explained.

“For each of these we have a set of technologies, but we tend to end up with groups of products and services in silos. Solution vendors tend to address the needs of only one group - usually 1st or 3rd party users, with collections of services. This leads to vendor sprawl, duplication and complexity, with increased total cost of ownership and added systems integration costs.”

Kennedy said the solution to these challenges was an integrated platform that met the needs of all user populations, and allowed organisations to secure all interfaces over which corporate communication flowed.

“We need a broader approach to address the needs of email filtering, web exploits, and all interfaces over which corporate communication flows,” he said.

Kennedy highlighted the Cloudflare connectivity cloud, built upon a philosophy of using a composable, programmable architecture to provide networking and security services to users and across cloud-enabled business infrastructure and applications.

“A consolidated platform protects all interfaces over which corporate communication flows, as well as protecting against denial-of-service attacks. With our platform-based approach, we have the scale and capacity to mitigate attacks in local geographies. We can influence the traffic, analyse it, and perform security controls, in a seamless transparent way to mitigate DDoS and common exploits,” he said.

Kennedy noted that in August 2023, Cloudflare came under its biggest DDOS attack on record due to the at-the-time zero day vulnerability in HTTP/2 (latterly referred to as the HTTP/2 rapid reset vulnerability), with a peak of 201 million requests per second, and successfully withstood the attack.

“A platform should also enable you to be able to build in ways you never could before. Cloudflare’s cloud-native platform-based approach provides a foundation for security, connectivity and developer innovation,” he said.