“How Security As a Service (SAAS) helps SME mitigate digital transformation (DX) risks” – Dave Barnett, Cloudflare in an Interview with iT360 Magazine.

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On the 9th of November, 2022 iT360 Magazine held an interview with the head of SASE Business EMEA Email Security, Cloudflare. in an Interview with iT360 Magazine.

The interview was scheduled to analyze how digital transformation has challenged the castle-and-moat approach to security and closely look at how Cloudflare is changing the narrative, by helping SMEs save money and time while businesses focus on their core competence.

Diving into the interview iT360 Magazine began by asking the Dave Barnett some questions.

1. Can we meet you, please? 


My name is Dave Barnett, the head of SASE Business EMEA Email Security, Cloudflare. Cloudflare is a global security provider. We operate in 400 locations globally. We are located in 21 cities in Africa, and 275 cities around the world. Cloudflare is one of the world’s largest and most widely distributed global cloud networks. We’re focused on making the Internet more secure and allowing everyone who connects through devices to have access to a safer, faster and private Internet. 

2. What is your assessment of the cybersecurity rate in Africa? 


In a recent survey,  Cyberedge asked how many organizations were successfully breached in the last year globally. They report that on average 85.6% of organizations were successfully breached. That’s not a success, but rather the failure of the castle-and-moat approach to security that our competitors have made their business. 

This is where digital transformation will help by avoiding the need to buy expensive technology in a rigid location which is typically the way security is being provided. We want to provide security as a service to everyone on earth. 

Our customers are seeing their businesses grow as they are able to leverage technology that is Internet native and avoids the pitfalls of on-premise technology.

3. Why Security As Service? 


Digital transformation has challenged the traditional way of securing data and files on-site which is known as the Castle-and-moat Model”. But Cloudflare has come to change the narrative, by helping organizations save money and time while businesses focus on their core competence. Our security as a service model delivers zero trust network access to our customers regardless of their business locations. 

4. Looking at the benefits of zero trust network service offering, how affordable is it? 


Our solution is very affordable and it is free for starters. In fact, Cloudflare has millions of customers, of which more than 156,000 are paying customers.

Customers can start with the free plan, which gives them the nurturing they require to develop the business – to build the app and website in our environment and get the needed support or features to scale their businesses. As they grow, they can access the premium plans and support they need to meet their growing needs. 

5. With Cloudflare, how quickly can customers get back to work in case of a security breach? 


We try to drive simplicity here and customers are telling us that our one system really helps them understand what has happened, whether the attacker is still present in the network, and how to coordinate the hardening of the defences. We make the turnaround time for security breaches extremely easy. Customers appreciate that in the event of a breach where email is an attack vector our email security service can be configured for testing purposes within 5 minutes in order to get back to work as soon as possible. If customers identify a threat, phishing, business compromise or ransomware, they need to speak with our team and configure the email in about five minutes. It is a very effective process. 

6. How scalable are your solutions for SMEs? 


We have built systems that help reduce friction when scaling from one system to another. To scale, organizations may have issues with identity, locations and suppliers and cash flow. So, all of these needs could be resolved or met by consuming security (and development environment) as a service. 

Our superpower is that we have a single system that operates about 30 separate functions, ranging from an edge development environment to the most advanced Zero Trust-based security. Given that we operate just one system, the administrator then doesn’t have to learn and use multiple products or face integration problems/patches/buying more capacity. Our single, always-on service is accessible to all Africans and indeed every person in the world and that is why we are unique in the marketplace. 

8. How CAN customers connect to your system? 


Well, you can connect to our services in multiple ways, to start you can connect your DNS service to It is a DNS available to anyone on earth. 

You could connect through an appropriate medium to access our services. Typically businesses can connect to our WARP client, which is an agent that sits on the machine that will hand connections to the Internet and internal app for zero-trust network customers. There are many other on-ramps for our customers to use our Zero Trust and SASE services

9. Is there any security compliance that monitors/inspects your operations? 


In the real world, nothing is perfect about security. But we do our best and adhere strictly to security compliance standards. We adhere to standards and we believe that privacy is incredibly important as well. We strive to stay at the forefront of any new global standards around privacy and make sure to adhere to them to better service our customers. 

Furthermore, Cloudflare is not only adhering to standards, but we are also enabling them for our customers. A good example is the recent Quantum Cryptography Standards that were published with 4 algorithms which we have since implemented in our system for the protection of our customers. This has helped us provide a new level of protection to our customers without additional cost. 

10. Over 679 million cybercrime-related emails were detected last year alone—with 219 million of these emanating from South Africa, How do you combat Email Security? 


Email remains an essential business tool and is the one system that everyone uses to authenticate into the systems they use.

Email security is the way most identities are stolen these days. We believe that the mail security industry is fundamentally flawed because their products were originally designed to detect spam rather than deal with identity theft – which has become a major problem in the past couple of years. The problem is only getting worse as the more we live our lives online, the more identities become a tradable commodity. 

Around 70 % of businesses have migrated their email systems to cloud systems such as O365 and G-Suite. This means the traditional on-premise email protection products are even less useful for a business as they require hardware to be maintained and for emails to be passed through them before they are scanned.  Our cloud-native service is a radically different approach to securing email. 

Cloudflare has a radical new approach that is designed to combat the threat of business email compromise and ransomware. Every single week, our systems crawl through every single item on the Internet, which means we are checking over 8 billion web pages and ‘things’ on the Internet that could potentially be harmful to our customers. We look for things such as newly created look-a-like domains and sites recently created that are hosting malicious ransomware content. This information is an essential part of the decision by our artificial intelligence engine to block an email or not. 

We look at many things that other products might miss such as over time we learn the language that the particular business uses, we learn the relationship the business has with other legitimate businesses and how communication normally flows. This behavioural approach has a massive positive effect on the possibility of the company being able to resist business email compromise and ransomware attacks

11. How do you win customers’ trust and confidence with your offerings? 


Trust is everything! We develop trust with our customers by being transparent and open, by meeting the highest industry standards, and also by ensuring our services continuously meet their security needs. If something goes wrong, we honestly and openly report it as quickly as we can. We have to be fundamentally open and honest with our customers and that is what Cloudflare is all about. 

One other thing that is slightly related to that is the level of security given to customers to access systems and this is really fundamental; it comes out of zero trust.

Given the rise of identity, theft VPNs are more and more vulnerable, if they are stolen and if they allow access to a VPN then the attacker could get access to anything that the VPN allows them to get to.. 

Therefore, a lot of customers are adopting zero trust network access to eliminate employees or trusted 3rd party client VPNs so that the person is only allowed to access the applications they need at the time they need it and provided that they meet the security requirements from the security team. Our customers are telling us that the users are seeing major usability benefits also as they no longer need to log onto a VPN and their application access is much faster. Zero trust network access is an area where we have seen massive growth among our customers globally.

12. What is the risk associated with Bring Your Owner Devices in an organization? 


Allowing people to choose devices increases and improves staff productivity. However, you need to evaluate and consider the level of risk and apply zero trust principles and ensure you assess the risk of unauthorised file sharing or transfer through personal devices. 

You may want to ask, what is the level of risk you are likely to face for allowing BYOD? A good approach would be to use principles of zero trust to mitigate risk and threats by reducing the level of access given to untrusted devices. 

13. In closing, please give us quick security tips that can help safeguard business online.


a. Identity is everything and preserving your user’s identity is your number one priority. That is also the priority of the attacker! 

b. Staying online without being compromised is absolutely challenging. So use Cloudflare products to enforce cost-effective, modern and consistent levels of Internet security. A good place to start for free would be our service which is the world’s fastest DNS resolver.

c. Finally, as you grow, don’t let technology hold you back. Use a scalable solution to ensure business continuity and customer satisfaction. 

14. How can SMEs access your solution(s)? 


Go to Cloudflare https://www.cloudflare.com/ and sign up! Begin your journey on the Internet by protecting your business assets with our solutions.