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Adapting Security for Hybrid Work: Cloudflare Calls for Paradigm Shift

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In a dynamic and insightful conversation with Express Computer, Raymond Maisano, Vice President, Head of Zero Trust & SASE, APJC, Cloudflare, and Anjali Amar, Vice President & Country Head India and SAARC, Cloudflare, share their perspectives on the evolving cybersecurity landscape, Cloudflare’s solutions, and their impact on businesses in India.

The discussion delves into the challenges and trends surrounding the adoption of Zero Trust and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions across Asia-Pacific, Japan, China, and India.

Raymond Maisano highlights the need for a paradigm shift in security approaches to accommodate evolving hybrid work environments and distributed networks. He emphasises Cloudflare’s ability to deliver security services globally, providing customers with flexibility, scalability, and granular control over their security postures.

Anjali Amar further elaborates on Cloudflare’s role in India’s rapidly growing digital economy, where businesses are increasingly reliant on the internet and cloud services. She focuses on Cloudflare’s commitment to helping Indian organisations enhance their cybersecurity postures through reliable, scalable, and performant solutions.

The conversation also addresses the challenges posed by the transition to the cloud, regulatory compliance requirements, and the imperative for organisations to adopt Zero Trust frameworks. Maisano highlights Cloudflare’s unique advantage in providing bi-directional traffic management, allowing customers to secure both inbound and outbound traffic effectively.

Discussing Cloudflare’s growth in India, both Maisano and Amar express confidence in increasing the size of their current business in the next 12 months. They emphasise their commitment to investing in people, infrastructure, and partnerships to meet the evolving needs of Indian businesses across various sectors, including e-commerce, BFSI, manufacturing, and the public sector.

As the Vice President and Head of Sales for Zero Trust and SASE in the APJC region, can you share some insights into the current trends and challenges you observe in the adoption of Zero Trust and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions across the Asia-Pacific, Japan, and China markets? 

Raymond Maisano
: There is certainly a need to really evolve the way we deliver security to all our customers and users. The traditional methods of securing organisations, such as the castle-and-moat model, are no longer sufficient due to the rise of hybrid work styles and the rise of sophisticated attacks. SASE allows us to deliver security services closer to users at the edge, enabling flexible and secure access from anywhere. Cloudflare’s extensive global infrastructure ensures reliable delivery of these services worldwide.

Could you elaborate on the specific solutions and services Cloudflare offers in the APJC and Indian markets?

Raymond Maisano: Cloudflare not only protects web assets and applications but also secures outbound traffic, including SaaS services. Additionally, our Workers platform enables customers to build and deploy applications at the edge, offering high performance and scalability without concerns about infrastructure or geography.

Organisations are facing rising volumes of cybersecurity incidents. According to the “Securing the Future: Asia Pacific Cybersecurity Readiness Survey,”  about 78% of respondents experienced at least one cybersecurity incident in the past 12 months. Moreover, about 63% of survey respondents reported that the financial impact of cybersecurity incidents on their organisations was at least US$1 million over the past 12 months, with 14% suffering a loss of more than US$3 million.

So our strategy is: How do we protect anything that is related to the internet, and how do we help secure and deliver that service through our customers as we help protect our customers’s assets, web assets, and applications?

Anjali Amar: In India, where internet usage is rapidly growing, Cloudflare’s focus is on providing fast, scalable, secure, and reliable internet experiences to businesses across various sectors, including e-commerce, DNBs, and BFSI.

With the transition of legacy systems to the cloud and the rise of remote work, how do you see the adoption of SASE and Zero Trust frameworks addressing challenges in India?

Raymond Maisano: The regulatory landscape in India, coupled with the need for compliance in sectors like banking and fintech, emphasises the importance of flexible and scalable security solutions. Cloudflare’s approach helps organisations adapt to these changes, ensuring secure access and cost-effective network connectivity.

With the advancements in technology, how do SASE and Zero Trust frameworks contribute to providing not just secure access but also ensuring strict identity verification and access controls, especially in the context of organisations operating in diverse sectors across India?

Raymond Maisano: While Cloudflare doesn’t provide identity services directly, our platform integrates with various identity providers chosen by customers. This flexibility enables organisations to implement strict access controls based on identity, reducing the risk of lateral movement within networks.

Are there specific alerts or notifications that Cloudflare provides to address vulnerabilities or threats?

Raymond Maisano: Cloudflare blocks 364 million cyber threats daily in India, specifically in Q4 2023 alone. With our extensive network coverage and real-time insights, we continuously adapt our solutions to mitigate emerging threats and protect our customers’ operations effectively.

Could you elaborate on some of the latest developments in the SASE and Zero Trust frameworks that organisations in India can leverage to enhance their cybersecurity posture? Are there specific features or innovations that stand out in addressing the current security landscape?

Raymond Maisano: Cloudflare now offers secure connectivity for customers’ branches and offices, allowing them to create private networks on our cloud network infrastructure. This capability, along with our unique bi-directional traffic management, sets us apart from competitors in the SASE space.

One of the great advantages that we have is the platform that allows customers to secure their businesses. So if we look at SASE as an individual service, it’s really about managing the traffic.

Given the collaborative effort between Cloudflare and local leadership represented by Anjali Amar, Vice President & Country Head India and SAARC, how does this partnership aim to tailor SASE and Zero Trust solutions to cater specifically to the unique needs and challenges faced by organisations in the Indian subcontinent? 

Anjali Amar: Cloudflare works closely with local partners and customers to understand their specific needs and challenges, especially in sectors like e-commerce, manufacturing, BFSI, and the public sector. Our goal is to provide tailored solutions that address India’s diverse business landscape and regulatory requirements.

Can you share insights into Cloudflare’s recent business growth in India and the APJC region? What factors do you attribute to this growth?

Raymond Maisano: The increasing digital transformation efforts across sectors in India, coupled with Cloudflare’s ability to provide scalable, secure, and reliable solutions, are driving our growth. We anticipate increasing our business in India over the next 12 months, supported by investments in people, infrastructure, and partnerships.

Anjali Amar: Additionally, Cloudflare’s focus on raising awareness about cybersecurity through customer events, partnerships, and engagements contributes to our growth by helping organisations build robust security postures.

Looking ahead, what is Cloudflare’s outlook for the Indian market? Are there specific goals or milestones that you aim to achieve in the coming years?

Raymond Maisano: We aim to further expand our presence in India by increasing our business and investing in partnerships and infrastructure. Our goal is to continue helping Indian organisations navigate digital transformations securely and efficiently.

Anjali Amar: Cloudflare is committed to supporting India’s growing economy by providing fast, secure, and reliable internet experiences to businesses across various sectors. We will continue to collaborate with local partners and customers to address their evolving cybersecurity needs.

In closing, the conversation underscores Cloudflare’s unwavering dedication to empowering organisations in India and beyond with robust cybersecurity solutions. As businesses continue their digital transformation journeys, Cloudflare remains a trusted partner, driving innovation and resilience in the face of evolving cyber threats.

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