Cloud Security , Governance & Risk Management , Legacy Infrastructure Security

Cloudflare Boosts Cloud Connectivity With Nefeli Acquisition

Deal Simplifies Multi-Cloud Networking and Security Policies for Global Enterprises
Cloudflare Boosts Cloud Connectivity With Nefeli Acquisition
Annika Garbers, director of product, Cloudflare (Image: Cloudflare)

Cloudflare purchased a multi-cloud networking startup founded by a former Cisco executive to enable better network and security management within the cloud.

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The San Francisco-based internet infrastructure company said its acquisition of Nefeli Networks will help Cloudflare offer a unified platform for network services, fulfill client demand for consolidation and simplify network and security functions across multi-cloud environments, according to Annika Garbers, director of product. She said customers have so far found multi-cloud security very challenging.

"The public cloud providers invested a whole lot in the storage and compute features because that's the foundation," Garbers told Information Security Media Group. "But then network and security was an afterthought. And so for a really long time, there just weren't those features or capabilities in order to manage your cloud networks in the way that you would manage a traditional data center network."

Terms of the acquisition, which closed at the end of 2023 and was disclosed publicly on Wednesday, weren't disclosed. Nefeli Networks, founded in 2017, was led by longtime Cisco and Hewlett-Packard executive Eugenia Corrales and employed around 20 people. Cloudflare customers traditionally managed multi-cloud networking through traditional data center backhauling or orchestration tools such as Terraform (see: CEO Matthew Prince on Why Cloudflare Got Into Email Security).

Enterprises With Multiple Public Clouds Seek Relief

Garbers said Cloudflare plans to make Nefeli's multi-cloud networking capabilities part of the company's existing customer dashboard for a seamless experience that takes advantage of the unified object model that spans multiple cloud networking constructs. The deal improves operational efficiency for Cloudflare customers by simplifying management, lowering costs and delivering unified security and cloud visibility.

"It makes sense to include multi-cloud orchestration capabilities with the rest of our network services portfolio," Garbers said. "Customers really want a one-stop shop to manage all of this stuff. We keep hearing over and over again that consolidation for network and security functions is a huge theme."

Nefeli's offering appeals most to global, enterprise-level organizations managing multi-cloud or hybrid cloud networks across verticals such as financial services, healthcare, education and government, she said. Cloudflare aims to include Nefeli's functionality within its existing network services bundles without raising prices to simplify connectivity and security for the company's existing customers, Garbers said.

"Customers really want a one-stop shop to manage all this stuff."
– Annika Garbers, director of product, Cloudflare

Deal Should Help Cloudflare Capture Business-Critical Traffic

Going forward, Garbers said, Cloudflare customers will be able to manage security policies and network connectivity from a unified control plane that oversees all traffic running through the network edge. It's relatively simple for organizations to transition their storage and compute from the data center to the cloud world, but duplicating their security policies and network connectivity in the cloud can be difficult.

"Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to connect to Cloudflare and then use our network solutions and enable security functions easily," Garbers said. "Our expectation is that the general available product will be just bundled into existing networking services components."

From a metrics standpoint, Garbers said, Cloudflare will measure the success of the Nefeli Networks acquisition through increased network traffic, adoption rates and the use of security services enabled by the integration. The company will specifically track the extent to which business-critical traffic that previously ran over a dedicated private line is now routed through Cloudflare, she said.

"If you use multi-cloud networking to orchestrate your networking components, you actually improve your security posture by default," Garbers said. "The more you're able to think about it as a converged solution as opposed to multiple separate solutions from different vendors that you glue together as an afterthought, the better you'll be positioned for the way traffic and architecture are going to evolve."

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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