23 June 2021

Cloudflare, on a Mission to Help to Build a Better Internet

Harnish Kanani
Cloudflare
8 min
Serving 4 million customers around the world, Chief Customer Officer, Harnish Kanani of Cloudflare is on a mission to build a better Internet for all

Leveraging its people and empowered by critical partnerships, Cloudflare is on a mission to help build a better, safer Internet. As one of the world’s largest networks, Cloudflare believes its duty is to help protect the most vulnerable voices and most critical institutions on the Internet. 

It’s a mission Chief Customer Officer, Harnish Kanani, takes to heart, nurturing and empowering a successful team by ensuring they have the tools they need to proactively service some of the world’s biggest companies around the clock and the globe. His aim is to provide not only the best service but, as he puts it, the most awesome service.

“At Cloudflare, I have the opportunity to serve our customers and deliver the most awesome customer experience possible. I see my role at Cloudflare in three prongs. Number one, I have to get into the shoes of my customers. I have to feel their pain. I have to imagine what they are going through when solving a business problem or their companies or environments are under attack. It's the only way for us to understand what they are going through,” says Kanani.

“Number two, once we understand what our customers need from us, the next part of my role includes working with my team members, mentoring and coaching them to go beyond the status quo”. 

“The third part of my role is to make sure that we have systems, processes, technology, and tools that allow my team to get proactive in delivering that awesome experience”. 

“What is also important as we build organisations and teams around the world is to make sure we incorporate the right culture. What's most important to us is that we serve our customers in a proactive manner and that we optimise their experience. What that entails is that every day when you come to work, you wake up to serve your customers in the best possible manner”.

“We are in a subscription economy, which means that the customer always has a choice either to leverage applicational services from us or from our competitors for cybersecurity and networking solutions, and they are coming to us. When you are building a global culture, you need to make sure that your customers are taken care of 24/7 around the world because their people, their customers, and the people who use the services and products are around the world and at all times of the day.  So it’s important to wake up every day to serve our customers. And that culture of customer success is what we are trying to build around the world”.

Cloudflare, Bringing Safety to the Cloud

Today, approximately 17% of the Fortune 1000 companies are customers of Cloudflare. Each and every day, Cloudflare blocks approximately 70 billion cyber threats each day and powers approximately 25 million Internet properties. 

“Cloudflare has a very simple yet ambitious mission. Our mission in life is to make the Internet environment better for everyone. There is no question that the Internet is the lifeblood of every business. We use the Internet for collaboration. We use the Internet for commerce, and we use the Internet for communication. The Internet was brilliantly architected, no doubt about it. However, it wasn't architected for today's performance, security, and reliability considerations”. 

Kanani says that for decades there were many hardware vendors who designed hardware boxes that were meant to alleviate the problems that the Internet had around performance, security, and reliability. These hardware boxes could be put on-premise situations, behind firewalls, or in data centres, and were in theory meant to alleviate the problems of the Internet. Until ‘the cloud’, when companies suddenly began to move security and work processes to the Internet. “As that began to happen, more attacks began to happen, and things began to get more complex”.

Suddenly, these hardware boxes that at one point in time were serving the needs of enterprises around the world could no longer handle the traffic or the complexity of the attacks. It began to build an architectural shift at the network layer, and culture was at its forefront. What Cloudflare did is build a highly scalable and efficient global network platform that delivers secure network services. This network became the backbone of our platform. The job of Cloudflare’s network service is to make sure that cloud applications are secure and that they are delivered in a fast and efficient manner. They are highly scalable, and they are reliable”.

“We are now able to deliver applications, products, and services in a very seamless manner and with less cost. All of this helped to alleviate the industry problems that the hardware boxes brought to the cloud and to the transformation journey. There is no other solution that can help customers deliver their applications and Internet properties in a fast, reliable, and secure manner”.

“Today, approximately 17% of the Fortune 1000 companies are customers of Cloudflare. We block an average of 70 billion cyber threats every day and have approximately 25 million Internet properties powered by our network. We are proud to be in this business”.

“I can't emphasise enough the importance of cloud security solutions. Take, for example, the Colonial Pipeline attack that suddenly exposed millions of people worldwide to the impact cyber threat has on our day-to-day lives. It's a really big concern of mine right now that we see more and more of these cyber attacks on a regular basis. In the last six months, I would say we've seen a real uptick in the global attacks that specifically are happening around critical infrastructure. We are obviously working around the clock to make sure our customers are safe. We are making sure that we can become thought leaders in the industry and guide the industry as well”.

Gainsight, a Key Partner in Customer Success

“The partnership with Gainsight is of premier importance to Cloudflare. Around the world, people want to make sure that we are delivering our services in a very proactive manner and that we are there for our customers 24/7. As a result, my customer success team needs to have all of the information around a particular customer in a centralised place. Gainsight is one of those technologies that we use and have embraced because Gainsight allows us to pull all of that data in one central place”.

“We use Gainsight to have visibility into how our customers have purchased our services and products and ultimately how they're utilising these offerings and the return on investment they're getting from our offerings. We also use it for tracking usage and adoption of our services by our customers. Gainsight helps us to see how connected they are, who their customers are, and what the engagement is like with our company. That allows our customer success team to proactively reach out to customers around the world. When a situation arises with a customer that we need to connect with, Gainsight provides us critical centralised data, repositories, and reporting dashboarding so we can effectively serve our customers. The best part is, we are alerted when something is wrong with a particular customer situation. We have gained a lot of insights so far, and we continue to embrace the technology. It's a critical part of making our customer service team efficient and scalable around the world”.

Cloudflare, Nurturing Businesses of the Future

Cloudflare believes in helping to nurture startups and helping to create businesses of the future. Partnering with organisations such as DigitalOcean and the Hatch program, which helps developers create, launch, and scale their startups, Cloudflare for startups offers cloud-first services for up to 12 months free.

Project Galileo

June is the seventh anniversary of Cloudflare’s Project Galileo, which offers free cybersecurity services for nonprofits or organisations working in the fields of arts, human rights, civil society, journalism, or democracy. “All of these organisations around the world have a voice on the Internet, but it is possible that without Cloudflare services, these voices could be suppressed on the Internet. We have approximately a thousand members and participants and have literally stopped millions of cyber attacks and cyber threats on these Internet properties such as their websites. And we are proud to be in partnership with them”.

The Athenian Project

Election websites serve a powerful role in democratic elections, yet election websites are often the targets of attacks and face vulnerabilities. Helping to meet Cloudflare’s mission of creating a better, safer Internet, the Athenian Project protects against these vulnerabilities.

Cloudflare created the Athenian Project to ensure that state and local governments have the highest level of protection and reliability for free so that their constituents have access to election information and voter registration.

The COVID-19 Response

Kanani says COVID-19 has been a test for the cyber resilience of corporations around the world. “There are no longer walls to a company. As companies began to work from home, cyber attackers started to become more sophisticated and skilled in their capabilities and tactics. They adapted. Attackers no longer go after website properties. What we've begun to see is that they've begun to infect and attack the critical infrastructure behind each of the companies. As employees work from home, they bring increased vulnerabilities and an increased level of attacks”.

“This put a strain back on the IT and the security teams. Cloudflare responded by providing information and messaging through blog posts and, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, began to offer a borderless security access product for free. We’ve seen huge demand, and it was no surprise that on-premise networking and security solutions have now moved to the cloud at a much faster speed. Security models have to evolve in this cloud-first world, and Cloudflare is here to help lead the way”.

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