Cloud Security, Zero trust, Application security

Cloudflare integration with Microsoft focuses on zero trust for remote environments

Microsoft logo
Cloudflare is integrating its platform with Microsoft's Azure AD. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Cloudflare on Thursday announced a new partnership with Microsoft where it would integrate its platform with the software giant so security teams can deploy zero trust more easily in remote environments.

The company promises to make this happen so security teams don’t have to write one line of code, can isolate high-risk users in a remote browser session, and automatically integrate with Azure AD to save manual tasks.

"When I speak with CIOs, I continue to hear that their No. 1 concern remains security, closely followed by adapting to the new hybrid world,” said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO at Cloudflare. “We want to make it easier than ever for IT leaders to deploy zero-trust security across the enterprise and keep users safe wherever they are working from. I’m thrilled that we are deepening our integration with Microsoft so we can help our joint customers easily deploy zero- trust security across some of the most used applications in the workplace.”

With this integration, joint Microsoft and Cloudflare customers can sync their two respective identity management systems: Azure AD and Cloudflare Access, explained Jack Poller, a senior analyst at Tech Target’s Enterprise Strategy Group.

“And that enables these organizations to quickly and easily configure user privileges and access policies to implement least privilege access system-wide,” said Poller. “Additionally, organizations can apply policies to ensure high-risk users can only access applications via Cloudflare’s remote browser isolation technology, which can perform continuous authentication, another zero-trust principle.”

Kevin Converse, IAM practice director at GuidePoint Security, said Cloudflare has announced an expanded relationship with Microsoft that will make Cloudflare’s zero-trust security tools easier than ever to deploy. Through a newly announced integration with Microsoft 365, Cloudflare customers can now quickly and easily configure network protection and application access rules directly in the Microsoft 365 console, explained Converse.

“The integration will allow users to protect corporate networks and devices, and provide access to corporate applications and data, with a zero-trust architecture that blocks malicious traffic and credential theft before it reaches devices or applications,” Converse said. “This integration will improve security while reducing complexity, cost and human error.”

Bud Broomhead, chief executive officer at Viakoo, said this announcement signals the maturing of zero-trust from a philosophy into a practical deployable solution aimed at how enterprises work today. Broomhead said the most challenging aspects of zero trust are at the edge and in the cloud, so by partnering together Microsoft and Cloudflare are innovating to create solutions in a difficult area.

“As this partnership highlights, organizations have changed how they work and what they are working with, said Broomhead. “In addition to these efforts in the cloud, more focus is needed on extending zero trust to IoT/OT and edge devices in general. Expect to see more announcements like this that reflect how the attack surface has shifted beyond the well-defined wall of a data center.”

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