AI News sat down with Dave Barnett, Head of SASE at Cloudflare, during Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Europe to delve into how the firm uses its cloud-native architecture to deliver speed and security in the AI era.
According to Barnett, Cloudflare’s cloud-native approach allows the company to continually innovate in the digital space. Notably, a significant portion of their services are offered to consumers for free.
“We continuously reinvent, we’re very comfortable in the digital space. We’re very proud that the vast majority of our customers actually consume our services for free because it’s our way of giving back to society,” said Barnett.
Barnett also revealed Cloudflare’s focus on AI during their anniversary week. The company aims to enable organisations to consume AI securely and make it accessible to everyone. Barnett says that Cloudflare achieves those goals in three key ways.
“One, as I mentioned, is operating AI inference engines within Cloudflare close to consumers’ eyeballs. The second area is securing the use of AI within the workplace, because, you know, AI has some incredibly positive impacts on people … but the problem is there are some data protection requirements around that,” explains Barnett.
“Finally, is the question of, ‘Could AI be used by the bad guys against the good guys?’ and that’s an area that we’re continuing to explore.”
Regarding security models, Barnett discussed the evolution of the zero-trust concept, emphasising its practical applications in enhancing both usability and security. Cloudflare’s own journey with zero-trust began with a focus on usability, leading to the development of its own zero-trust network access products.
“We have servers everywhere and engineers everywhere that need to reboot those servers. In 2015, that involved VPNs and two-factor authentication… so we built our own zero-trust network access product for our own use that meant the user experiences for engineers rebooting servers in far-flung places was a lot better,” says Barnett.
“After 2015, the world started to realise that this approach had great security benefits so we developed that product and launched it in 2018 as Cloudflare Access.”
Cloudflare’s innovative strides also include leveraging NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate machine learning AI tasks on an edge network. This technology enables organisations to run inference tasks – such as image recognition – close to end-users, ensuring low latency and optimal performance.
“We launched Workers AI, which means that organisations around the world – in fact, individuals as well – can run their inference tasks at a very close place to where the consumers of that inference are,” explains Barnett.
“You could ask a question, ‘Cat or not cat?’, to a trained cat detection engine very close to the people that need it. We’re doing that in a way that makes it easily accessible to organisations looking to use AI to benefit their business.”
For developers interested in AI, Barnett outlined Cloudflare’s role in supporting the deployment of machine learning models. While machine learning training is typically conducted outside Cloudflare, the company excels in providing low-latency inference engines that are essential for real-time applications like image recognition.
Our conversation with Barnett shed light on Cloudflare’s commitment to cloud-native architecture, AI accessibility, and cybersecurity. As the industry continues to advance, Cloudflare remains at the forefront of delivering speed and security in the AI era.
You can watch our full interview with Dave Barnett below:
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