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Q&A with John Graham-Cumming, CTO, Cloudflare

Q&A with John Graham-Cumming, CTO, Cloudflare

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As organisations strive for Internet security, performance and reliability, we hear from John Graham-Cumming, CTO, Cloudflare who talks us through the Cloudflare services which are enabling the continued Digital Transformation of businesses globally.

Can you give us a high-level overview of Cloudflare and today’s problems that the company solves?

Cloudflare is a global cloud platform designed to make everything you connect to the Internet secure, private, fast and reliable. Our mission is to help build a better Internet.

John Graham-Cumming, CTO, Cloudflare

For us, that means providing services that improve the security, performance and reliability of Internet properties (websites, apps, APIs, etc.) so that more people have secure, fast and reliable access to the Internet. We’re blocking an average of 117 billion cyberthreats each day for the millions of Internet properties that rely on us.

For us, that means providing services that improve the security, performance and reliability of Internet properties (websites, apps, APIs, etc.) so that a majority of people, public organisations and businesses can benefit from safe and fast access to the Internet.

In the past, to deliver Internet security, performance and reliability, an organisation needed to buy rooms full of expensive network appliances, ‘boxes’ and hire IT teams to manage them. While some companies could afford this, the cost was prohibitive for many. Cloudflare represents the next step of Internet infrastructure: a global cloud platform to manage the security, performance and reliability of any Internet property (your website, app, API etc.), along with any combination of cloud services and on-premise hardware, from a single dashboard.

Rather than having to buy and manage all of that hardware, you can deploy it as a service and it can be available to anyone in a way that’s easy to use, flexible, scalable across the platform, gives you one consistent control plane regardless of where your applications are running-in the cloud, on-premise, or somewhere hybrid between those. It’s one integrated platform that solves all the problems that you used to have to solve with on-premise boxes.

How many customers does Cloudflare currently have globally and could you give us some insight into the geographical spread of these customers?

Cloudflare has millions of customers of which more than 154,000 are paying customers and protects millions of Internet properties on its network, like websites, remote teams, APIs and mobile apps.

Cloudflare is protecting 1M storefronts on Shopify, financial institutions like SoFi and billion dollar businesses like Glossier, Hubspot, 23andMe, Zendesk, tech giants like Adobe and IBM, fashion and beauty brands like AllSaints, L’Oreal and many others.

In this region Cloudflare works with important customers that include governments and leading healthcare and energy companies. Cloudflare is looking forward to building a strong network of partners.

In terms of geographical spread, we have paying customers in more than 160 countries and last year, 48% of our total revenue came from outside the United States. This is because our customers are all over the world pulling us into new regions and countries. No one customer is larger than 5% of our revenue, so there’s no concentration in our customer portfolio either. In order to serve those customers, our network spans 270+ cities across more than 100 countries and 95% of the Internet-connected developed world is within 50 ms of Cloudflare’s network. We will continue to build and expand our network as our customer base continues to grow.

How does Cloudflare differentiate itself from competition?

Cloudflare was born on the Internet and built organically. We stand apart because of our network, which spans 270+ cities across more than 100 countries. It’s flexible, scalable and gets more and more efficient as it expands. We designed and built our network to be able to grow capacity quickly and inexpensively; to allow for every server, in every city, to run every Cloudflare service; and to allow us to shift customers and traffic across our network efficiently.

We also provide an alternative to customers who want more options and want control. We prevent the situation where people move their data into the cloud and become trapped. Therefore Cloudflare created the Bandwidth Alliance to dramatically reduce egress fees. We always want to provide the best solutions in a flexible and scalable way so that our customers have choice.

How has Cloudflare navigated the COVID-19 pandemic?

Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet and the world is leaning on the Internet more than ever before. Our scalable global network is solving Digital Transformation needs for our customers in hours or minutes, faster than hardware could even ship to vacant offices.

We are fortunate that, because of the breadth of our product offerings delivered across our unified platform, we’re often able to cost-effectively bundle services together and help our customers replace legacy vendors. Our competition, with their narrower sets of offerings, does not have this luxury. We feel very fortunate with our results in the short term, we remain relentlessly focused on the long term. Long term, we believe we are well positioned to be one of the few networks that will help run a large portion of the Internet.

In addition, Cloudflare to support the COVID-19 effort from a healthcare perspective, Cloudflare initiated Project Fair Shot. As we watched the world struggle to fairly and efficiently distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, we wanted to lend our technologies and expertise to help. Under Project Fair Shot, Cloudflare is providing Waiting Room technology to any government agency, hospital, pharmacy and other organisation facilitating the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine for free until at least July 2022.

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