In this Sunday’s Welcome to CIO Week blog, we talked about the value for CIOs in finding partners for long term digital transformation initiatives. As the adage goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
As Cloudflare has expanded into new customer segments and emerging market categories like SASE and Zero Trust, we too have increasingly focused on expanding our relationship with go-to-market partners (e.g. service providers, implementation / consulting firms, system integrators, and more). Because security and network transformation can feel inherently daunting, customers often need strategic advice and practical support when implementing Cloudflare One – our SASE platform of Zero Trust security and networking services. These partners play a pivotal role in easing customer adoption by helping them assess, implement, and manage our services.
This blog is primarily intended for prospective and current Cloudflare go-to-market channel partners and highlights how we have grown our partnership program over the past year and will continue to, going forward.
Cloudflare One: fastest growing portfolio among Cloudflare partners
Over the past year, adoption of Cloudflare One services has been the fastest area of growth among our customer base. Investments we have made to our channel ecosystem have helped us capitalize on increased customer demand for SASE platforms, including Zero Trust security and cloud-delivered networking.
In the last year alone, we’ve seen a 3x increase in Cloudflare One partner bookings. At the same time, the number of transacting partners has increased 70% YoY.
Partners repeatedly cite the simplicity of our platform to deploy and manage, our pace of innovation to give them confidence in our roadmap, and our global network to ensure scale, speed, and resilience as key differentiators that are fueling strong customer demand for Cloudflare One services.
Migrating from legacy, on-premise appliance to a cloud-delivered SASE architecture is a journey. For most customers, partners help break that journey into two categories, broadly defined: network layer transformation and Zero Trust security modernization.
Transforming the network layer
Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architecture are increasingly the norm. As enterprises embrace this approach, their networking infrastructure will likewise need to adapt to be able to easily connect to a variety of cloud environments.
Organizations that have traditionally relied on SD-WAN and MPLS based technologies will turn to cloud-based network-as-a-service (NaaS) offerings like Cloudflare’s Magic WAN (part of our Cloudflare One platform) to increase flexibility and reduce costs. This will also drive revenue opportunities for a new generation of cloud networking experts and advisors who have the skills to help organizations migrate from traditional on-premise hardware to a NaaS architecture.
For some organizations, transforming the network may in fact be a more attractive, initial entry point than beginning a Zero Trust security migration, as NaaS allows organizations to maintain their existing security tools while still providing a strategic path towards a full perimeter-less architecture with cloud-delivered protection in the future.
Implementing a Zero Trust architecture
For many organizations today, modernizing security for employees, devices, data, and offices with Zero Trust best practices is an equally critical priority. Trends towards hybrid and remote working have put additional pressure on IT and security teams to re-imagine how they secure access to corporate resources and move away from traditional ‘castle-and-moat’ architectures. Zero Trust promises enhanced visibility, more granular controls, and identity-aware protection across all traffic, regardless of origin or destination.
While the benefits of moving to a Zero Trust architecture are undeniable, implementing a full Zero Trust architecture is a journey that often requires the help of third parties. According to a recent report by iVanti, while 73% of companies plan to move to a cloud based architecture over the next 18 months, 46% of these companies IT security teams lack the confidence in their ability to apply a Zero Trust model on their own which is why 34% reportedly are relying on third party security providers to help them implement Zero Trust.1 This is where partners can help.
Announcing the Authorized Services Delivery Partner Track for Cloudflare One
Cloudflare is hyper focused on building the most compelling and easy-to-use SASE platform on the market to help accelerate how organizations can transform their network and security architectures. The scale and resiliency of our global network – which spans across 275+ cities in 100+ countries and has 172+ Tbps of network capacity – ensures that we can deliver our protections reliably and with high speed, regardless of where customers are around the world.
Just as our physical network of data centers continues to expand, so too does our strategic network of channel partners, who we rely on to deliver professional and managed services that customers may require as part of their Cloudflare One deployment. Cloudflare is actively working with partners worldwide to build advisory, migration, and managed services with the goal of wrapping partner services expertise around Cloudflare One engagements to ensure 100% customer adoption and satisfaction.
To help partners develop their Cloudflare One services expertise and distinguish themselves in the marketplace, today we are excited to announce the limited availability of a new specialization track for Authorized Services Delivery Partners (ASDP). This track is designed to authorize partners that meet Cloudflare’s high standards for professional services delivery around Cloudflare One.
To become an Authorized Partner, partners will need to go through a rigorous technical validation process and will be assessed on the merits of the security, performance, and reliability of their services delivery capabilities. Partners that achieve the Authorized Service Partner designation will receive a variety of benefits, such as:
- Engagement in Cloudflare One sourced opportunities requiring services
- Access to named Cloudflare One partner service delivery managers who can assist partners in the building of their services practices
- Access to special partner incentive funds designed to ensure that authorized partner services are actively used in Cloudflare One customer engagements.
To support this new partner track, we are also announcing advanced enablement and training paths that will be available in both instructor-led training and online formats via our partner portal, as well as advanced lab environments designed to help partners learn how to implement and support Cloudflare One deployments. Partners that successfully complete the ADSP requirements will also be given opportunities to shadow customer deployments to further their capabilities and expertise.
For current and prospective Cloudflare partners interested in this track, we are launching a new Cloudflare Authorized Service Delivery Partner Validation checklist, which includes details on the application process.
If you are an existing Cloudflare partner, you can also reach out to your named Channel Account Manager for additional information.
1 iVanti 2021 Zero Trust Progress Report