Home / Definitions / Cloudflare


Kelvene Requiroso
Published October 6, 2021 10:34 am

Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) that ensures the security, integrity, and reliability of a company’s IT infrastructure, applications, websites, and APIs. The vendor has a network of data centers spread across the globe, which helps speed up applications, boost scalability, and enhance the cybersecurity posture of an organization.

The platform accelerates the external properties of a website, API, or application that faces the end-users and protects it by pointing the domain name system (DNS) to Cloudflare which offers security services such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation, bot management, load balancing, web application firewall (WAF), and application programming interface (API) protection.

Cloudflare and cybersecurity

While network and data security have grown by an order of magnitude, much of the internet remains vulnerable to hacking and cyberattacks. One way to limit the impact of the attacks and protect a company’s IT infrastructure is to custom build network defenses. Doing so requires a substantial initial and ongoing investment in resources. However, the nature of cybercrime is constantly changing. DDoS attacks by Ransomeware-as-a-Service platforms, for instance, are on the rise. Thus, it becomes imperative for organizations to consider a third-party platform that offers constantly evolving data security and protection services.

How does Cloudflare work?

Cloudflare serves its users with a highly secure global cloud network located in more than 250 cities across 100+ countries, and an easy-to-use dashboard that can be configured quickly to meet a user’s needs without code-level revisions.

Built to run services across local servers and data centers, security teams can build new applications or tweak the existing ones at the edge without the need to change the configuration of the entire infrastructure. Every component of Cloudflare’s network of cloud-based data centers has built-in security, allowing a serverless code deployment.

Is Cloudflare the best remedy against DDoS?

Cybercriminals have made DDoS a common method of cyberattack, flooding target networks with malicious traffic that halts the flow of legitimate packets. The frequency of DDoS attacks keeps rising, especially with the increasing popularity of smart devices, IoT, and 5G.

Security giant McAfee reports that, “DDoS attacks are one of the more troubling areas in cybersecurity, because they’re incredibly difficult to prevent and mitigate.” The reason is that the malicious traffic comes from an estimated 12.5 million compromised devices. Unsuspecting users might not be aware that their devices are being used as attack launchpads.

Cloudflare mitigates DDoS attacks by protecting edge-computing applications. Cloud-based infrastructure means that if one data center is down, operations continue to run since data centers are connected and can almost instantaneously redirect traffic as needed.

The DDoS protection that Cloudflare offers received the highest possible scores in security operations centers, response automation, speed of implementation, product vision, and performance in The Forrester Wave’s DDoS Mitigation Solution for Q1 2021.

What are Cloudflare’s solutions and services?

Cloudflare’s security solutions include:

  • DDoS protection: Quickly identifies DDoS threats and mitigates them from the edge, preventing the attacks from penetrating the network.
  • Web application firewall (WAF): Leverages Cloudflare’s threat intelligence, network scale, and speed in deploying rule changes.
  • Bot management: Prevents bad bots from messing with a website or app, stuffing credentials, scraping content, and other similar activities.
  • API shield: Employs mutual TLS and schema validation to secure the API and keep legitimate traffic to the app or website.
  • Page shield: Lets users track the dependencies of their website’s JavaScript and protect their customers’ data from attacks.
  • Other features include networking, customer data encryption, smart routing, DNS resolution at the edge, load balancing, website optimization, caching and streaming delivery, zero trust solutions, and more.

How can businesses benefit from Cloudflare?

Cloudflare promises to speed up and secure a company’s public-facing pages of apps and websites. Built-in compliance and privacy tools help ensures that data is protected against attack. Cloudflare’s flexible and programmable network can fit both large enterprises and small businesses. It is simple to use and can be customized to match a customer’s requirements.

What are some top alternatives to Cloudflare?

Potential Cloudflare’s customers might also consider some alternatives that provide similar or better internet and security services.

Verisign is an established provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure. Then there’s Arbor Networks that offers network visibility and mitigates DDoS attacks, botnets, worms, and other network and cybersecurity threats.

For those who emphasize performance management, web application security, and globally distributed DNS services as key requirements, Oracle Dyn can be a better option. They might also consider A10 Networks that uses AI to automate DDoS protection, SSL/TLS decryption web threat liability reduction, and cloud and 5G security.