Originally aired on March 7 @ 4:00 AM - 4:30 AM EDT
Welcome to Cloudflare Impact Week 2022!
Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. We believe a better Internet can be not only a force for good, but an engine of global sustainability. This week we'll be highlighting an array of initiatives inspired by these optimistic ideals, as well as stories from partners who share them.
Tune in all week for more news, announcements, and thought-provoking discussions!
Read the blog posts: For more, don't miss the Cloudflare Impact Week Hub Oc. Hi everyone. My name is John Levine. I'm the product manager here at Cloudflare, Very happy to be joined today by Melissa Star Zach Wilson. Do you want to introduce yourself? Sure. Hi John. I'm Melissa Star. Zach. I'm Cloudflare global head of public Policy and Happy Impact Week. John Happy Impact Week. All right. Well, we have 30 minutes today. I thought what we would do is talk all about what is impact, what is impact week? What are a little preview of some of the things we're going to be announcing. So, yeah, let's just start there. Tell us about what is Cloudflare impact. Well, thanks. So one cluster impact week is one of my favorite weeks of the year. So there you go. But Cloudflare Impact is actually a program we started last year formally. But what we realized was that, for a long time, Cloudflare has done a lot of things that are good for the Internet and good for the world. And so what we wanted to do is really talk about them comprehensively as a program and then figure out if there are other areas we needed to work on. So we started looking at the programs that we've had, like Project Galileo and the Athenian project, but also sort of thinking about areas where we can could improve in corporate social responsibility or in environmental, social governance topics. And so really thinking about them comprehensively. So that's what Cloudflare impact is. It's really looking at all of those different initiatives, trying to make sure that we measure up in all of the good areas, but also thinking about really talking about all the things that we do together in one place. So it's something that we're really excited about. Yeah, Yeah. And it makes me really proud to work here as an employee. And it's and it's a privilege to be able to represent this and impact so well. In fact, we get such a good example of it, right? It's this idea that everybody comes together, comes up with a new initiative that we can talk about and really thinks about how we can do good as a company and do the right thing as a as a company. So it's it's super exciting week. For sure. Yeah. So if folks aren't aware we have innovation weeks. Oh, man. Five, six times a year. And this one's a special one. So most of our innovation, if you if you follow Cloudflare, they're very focused on lots and lots and lots of product announcements. And of course, this wouldn't be an innovation week if we didn't have a bunch of product announcements cued up. So don't worry, they're coming. But this week is really a little different because it's more focused on kind of what we're doing as a company across so many different teams, not just not just product and engineering, but you're going to be hearing from, you know, obviously from Melissa's team, our policy team, our legal team, but also like our people team or the team that helps build out our offices or purchases our hardware. So many people are contributing to this. So that's that's really cool to see. So I thought I would. Just yeah, I have a question for you on that. So. So obviously you're a PM here. So what is it like to work on Impact Week as opposed to other things which are not which are which is a little less product based and uses cross functional things? Well, it's a really nice complement to our what you might think of as our day job, which is rolling out new products and obviously talking to our customers and working with teams across the company. But it's just a reminder that there's so many things that are happening that benefit the world, which is awesome. So it's been it's been really nice and it's definitely been inspiring getting to work on us. So that's great. That's great. Cool. So go ahead. Yeah, I thought what I thought we do is talk a little bit about some of the big, big themes of Impact Week. And then we could maybe also we could you could tell me more about some of the specific announcements behind some of those themes. So. So the first thing we wanted to highlight is we put this week together was sustainability. So the basically the idea that no matter what kind of technology you're using out there, if you put Cloudflare in front of that, you are helping to save the environment. So obviously we have a lot of customers who are using the cloud or their on prem data centers. But if you add Cloudflare to the mix because of how we run our network, you are helping to save the planet. And the basic idea here is that we run our network very efficiently. We have very high utilization, we have we have things like caching. And so just adding Cloudflare to the mix kind of helps make things more efficient. And so we have we have a pretty cool announcement coming out later this week about that and of course many other announcements relating to sustainability. The second big announcement we have is about our big theme, I should say, is about democratizing Zero Trust. And you just saw that many of those announcements blogs went out today. I think everyone here is in the media about hacking and ransomware. And there's a lot of negativity like, oh, you know, a hospital got hacked, like what are they going to do? And what not everyone realizes is that we have products like Zero Trust products that can really help to mitigate these problems. And so one thing that's unique about Cloudflare is obviously we count Fortune 500 companies among our customers, right? Some of the biggest organizations in the world rely on us, but our solutions aren't reserved for those. We have some of the most important and vulnerable organizations on the planet, and we should definitely we'll definitely talk more about some of our social impact programs and in this call and how they're how they're using our Zero Trust products. And you can go on that one. I think that makes it so exciting. That one is one of the things that we do so well at Cloudflare is really think about how we can expand access to different kinds of tools and different kinds of technologies. And the idea that we can expand Zero Trust to lots of smaller entities and vulnerable entities. So really cutting edge new technology is just such an incredible thing. I think it's one of those things that makes me really proud. It is the idea that it shouldn't just be about big enterprises. And yes, obviously they need those tools too, but really thinking about how we can expand access for those who are vulnerable and those who are going to benefit from it. Yeah, I think it's something that really motivates the teams. You know, something really differentiates Cloudflare, I think, in this space for sure. Yeah, and. I'll go on to theme three. Armando, go ahead. Three. Theme three. No, no, it's great. Three, Three is about Internet access and human rights. So we're all aware about what's happening right now in Iran and in Ukraine. And Elissa had a really great blog post today about that, about Ukraine. And these are really extreme situations and most of us are fortunate enough we're not placed in these kind of positions. But I think day to day, sometimes we take Internet access for granted that we can just hop on a Zoom call or talk to people around the world and something we really shouldn't take for granted. Right. And if there's someone else, some external force who's trying to shut down those lines of communication, trying to suppress protest, it's just a reminder of how important the Internet is to people's lives. And something that's unique about Cloudflare is that we can just report on this. So because of the breadth of our network, we have great visibility. Folks are aware of Cloudflare radar. We'll be talking more about that this week, which can provide some of that visibility into Internet access. And we partner with human rights groups who actually use that data as part as part of their work. And the other thing is we're actually working to expand access. So we're working on, for example, at community networks or bringing access to the developing world or even just to small businesses using our Free Plan rate to help them reach a bigger audience. Yeah, I think these are things are super exciting. I think the idea that we're doing that, we're adding visibility for civil society groups so that they can report on Internet shutdowns and they can really think about what's happening in the world, that we can give a view based on all the information that we have on our network is such an important thing. I think it's it's it's hard to sort of explain that to the outside world always what how incredible it is to see what's happening on the Internet on a day to day basis. Yeah. What kind of shutdowns we see and what kind of threats we see. I think that's I think that's such an important piece of the work that we do. The Internet. So the strength of the Internet, obviously, is that it's this open, decentralized thing. But then the flip side of that is like and truly like no one no one really has like perfect visibility, which is a good thing. But I think we have a unique vantage point which is really interesting. So I thought we could do is talk through some of the announcements that are going to be happening. And we don't want to give away too many spoilers for later in the week, but we'll preview some of the things. But why don't we start talking about what what we announced already today? Also, do you want to maybe just really briefly, I mean, because we have you here, you publish a blog today about Ukraine. Maybe you want to tell us a little bit about what we're seeing there on this topic. Sure. I think one of the things that's been super interesting about Ukraine was that people were surprised when Ukraine first happened. I think there was this sense that there was going to be a cyber shock and awe and that it was going to be really a cyber war. And instead what we've seen is sort of a hybrid conflict and people didn't really know how to process that at first. They basically said, oh, cyber attacks haven't been a thing, which wasn't true at all. Right. But what we saw instead was this integration of cyber attacks as a way to potentially intimidate the community or sort of take steps that are sort of part of conflict potentially in really troubling ways. And so when we think about it from a policy perspective, it's probably one of the first really, truly hybrid conflicts that we've seen where it's really fully integrated. Cyber attacks are sort of fully integrated into the overall thing. So it's not a cyber war, it is an integrated conflict. And then we've seen sort of the realities of infrastructure play out. So what does it mean if you're attacking infrastructure or if infrastructure gets bombed and now you have no power to run the Internet? How do we think about those pieces? How do we make sure infrastructure continues to run so that people can get information? It's a it's a big deal for people on the ground understanding, you know, you have people who's who are trying to figure out if family members are safe or are or lots of different things happening sort of on a day to day basis. So we at Cloudflare have actually really tried to do our part in that regard. And once we saw attacks coming into the Ukrainian government, for example, we offered free services. We have a huge chunk of government entities and critical infrastructure behind us. And then also through Project Galileo, we have a bunch of civil society organizations. So everything from organizations trying to help refugees to to those trying to rebuild within Ukraine, we saw a massive spike in entities signing up for us over the course of the conflict, in part because those attacks were just part of a lot of different kinds of cyber attacks that were happening. They were really taking entities down and they really needed services like ours. Well, yeah, in the local city, there's just a lot of really fascinating data about the kinds of attacks that we've seen on our own network and also visibility into things like, yeah, when there's a power outage, how does that impact Internet traffic, which is, which is really interesting to see. One of the pieces I actually found most interesting and sort of what's happened in Ukraine, that it never would have occurred to me before the conflict was the idea of routing as a possible means of the conflict. So the idea that traffic was getting rerouted through Russia, which then applies sort of Russian controls on that on Internet traffic, was really something I would not have thought about before the conflict. So being able to report on that, seeing the changes in routing, understanding what happens in sort of occupied territory has been a was has been a really interesting sort of again, bird's eye view into sort of what happens in conflict and how different how an occupying force might think about Internet access and what controls they have. So that's something that we reported on too. Yeah, that's super interesting. So Alissa, I heard you mention Project Galileo, so that'd be a good segue to talk about our social impact programs. So there's Galileo, Athenian. We had some great announcements about those today. Maybe you could just start by telling, reminding everyone, what are those programs? Tell us tell us a little bit more about those. Sure. So Project Galileo is our oldest social corporate social responsibility program. It's been around since 2014. It's something that we're really proud of. And actually it started in many ways because of Ukraine. So it seems sort of timely to come back to it. Interesting. So the story behind it at the time, we actually, Matthew, our CEO, saw an attack on a site that looked a very large DDoS attack on a free site. It turned out it was a Ukrainian news site that was trying to report on the invasion of Crimea. And it came under a pretty significant DDoS attack at the time. And because of the way our service is operated, then we didn't actually have unlimited data protection and it basically went offline because of the attack. And he looked at it and said, Hey, that's not okay. We can't do that. There are some groups that really, really need support and civil society groups in particular human rights defenders, independent journalists. There were a whole group of entities that sort of really deserved extra protection. And so at the time he went out and started talking to a bunch of. Society groups. And we came up with Project Galileo. And the idea is that we have a bunch of civil society partners that recommend groups to us and that sort of vet groups for us. And those are the ones that end up with free services under Project Galileo. Any civil society groups? Can you maybe give me some more examples of those kinds of groups? Yeah, sure. So we have everything from from human rights defenders groups. So we have we have digital rights groups. We have access now, for example, is on the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On the digital rights side, we have we have the Committee to Protect Journalists on the on the journalism side, we have we have about 40 I think we have more than 40 now partners doing a lot of different things that really are experts in their field. And our sense was that those would give us real insight into sort of who needed help and who needed protections. And they also know the world of civil society groups and journalism groups. So they've been a terrific resource for making sure we have we have groups that that we can that we can help as many groups as possible. Yeah, Yeah. Well, it's wonderful. And this week this week in the Galileo context, what we realized for a long time, it had been sort of focused on website protection. So protection from data protection and protection that you can that for the safe could be protection. But what we realize is that a lot of those are incredibly vulnerable. They have internal databases and they have they have systems where they really don't want hackers getting in because they have sensitive data. And that is the benefit of Zero Trust. The model is it's actually the maybe the most the most important thing. Right? Right. I mean, it's such an amazing thing that we can do to help protect those groups. And there they are, just as they come under just as much threat in some cases. Even more often, you have nation states that might have an interest in trying to figure out what they're doing. And so it's a really it's a really important thing that we can offer to them, and that is that we can offer to them. It's super interesting to me from the product perspective. I think if you followed Cloudflare for a long time or not very long time, you may notice that we're constantly rolling out new products. And it's I forgot that you mentioned in 2014 we did not even offer unlimited DDoS protection, which is now a standard feature of our Free Plan Free. Plan. Of our free plan, right? And so that actually just kind of illustrates how back in the time, you know, we offer SSL certificates, right? Caching. Obviously these are a relatively small set of services, right? And as we've added more things to the portfolio, obviously for Enterprise, but we've also we've kind of made the Free Plan better for everyone too. But it's really interesting how this kind of illustrates how we're constantly rolling out new things that. Are really vital to running organizations like this and just kind of illustrate how if you if you think about an organization like the ones you're talking about, how important it is to have something like Zero Trust Services, super interesting. Yeah, it's actually one of the things that we try to do on the impact side a lot. We try to think about as we roll out new products. Are they things that could be useful to civil society? Are there? Are there tutorials we can give? How can we actually expand them? Because we think those are the most amazing use cases, right? So that the descriptions of how someone uses Zero Trust, it becomes real to people. When you talk, when you think about sort of how you protect an internal database that has incredibly sensitive information, you. Know, war. Crimes or you name it. Right, right. There's a very different world that society standpoint. And it's interesting that the sometimes the adversaries are very clear, like these are these are these are organizations that are like an advanced, persistent threat, quite literally. Right. That we know is out there. So, yeah, super interesting. So we've been talking about Project Galileo. Do you want to tell us also about our other our other programs? I would love to. So we in 2017 we launched the Athenian project. It's something I am personally super proud of because I was involved from the very beginning and it is a project to protect elections essentially. So what we saw in 2016 was a huge amount of threat for elections specifically. So this idea that in the US in particular, which is where we started, we have a lot of state and local entities that are small, they're often not well funded and they're really, you know, if you're sort of a small entity, you're not often thinking about all the security things that come along with it. And certainly that was a challenge for us in 2016. I think we've come a long way since then. But what we realized was that if we could offer a set of free services for state and local government election officials or entities that ran election websites, we could do a lot of good. And it was something that was really important to protecting our democracy. And one of the things that's super interesting in the election space is that it's all based on trust. So we have this idea of a website going down, for example, and this is how the Athenian project started, a website going down. People don't know from the outside why it's gone down. So it's a completely like not a problem, not something that was problem that is that in any way compromised anything. But people from the outside start to question and they start to raises questions about trust in government. And so we realized at the time that it was really important to protect that infrastructure. And if there was something that we could do that we should do it. We've since expanded internationally as well. So we've done some international protection of elections as well. And then we also expanded into the world of political campaigns using a using a nonprofit. So a lot of political campaign issues come under federal election requirements. So you have disclosure requirements. For example, we're trying to do things in a completely nonpartisan way. And so what we did is partner with a nonprofit who then donates a set of services based on what is donated to them, and they do all the reporting on it. So super exciting, I think, over the course of this year, again, similar to similar to the world of Galileo, we realized that those same entities would really benefit from Zero Trust type services, and we've seen that already. We have. We have we've had some government entities on us using our area. One solution, for example. So our email security spend, which is sort of often the first way in phishing, is the first sort of challenge for organizations. So being able to expand to email security for those entities is a huge deal and I think people are really excited about it. Yeah, it's interesting. Well, it's something I was thinking about as you're talking is maybe for folks in international context, I mean, or even Americans may not realize just how many organizations are involved here that we're talking about. And obviously you could speak to this much better than I could, but elections in the US, I mean, it's just such a very distributed infrastructure. Right. And so it's really interesting just how many organizations there are that need these services and how many kind of opportunities there are for that. Yeah, there are more than 8000 in the US alone, so there more than 8000 jurisdictions that run elections, in part because we have a very distributed election infrastructure. And the structure of the American government. Right, is. Yeah, I mean we have states and local governments and sometimes a county runs and sometimes a municipality runs it, and it varies state by state. It's it's incredibly complicated. And sometimes you have a small county that's got one part time person who works on I.T. Issues. Exactly. And they're expected to do cyber stuff, stuff too. So it is a very, very diverse, very diverse universe of election officials. But they all care. They all care about making sure that things are secure. And it's such an interesting it's a really interesting fit for Cloudflare. This is kind of something we're really good at, is making these tools really easy to use for. Yeah, that one overworked person in the election department who just wants to make sure it's secure. And I'm really glad you mentioned area one. I talked earlier about how it's cool, how we're obviously constantly rolling out new products or in the case of everyone, it was an acquisition that closed recently. And I have to remind folks how important email security is, making sure that the emails you get don't contain phishing links, for example. Right. So just yeah, super vital and really important to see. Great to see how that can benefit these kind of institutions. Yeah I think it's we talk about that a lot. It's so nice to have sort of something that feels like a comprehensive way of addressing potentially addressing threats like phishing, which is obviously a big, big deal for election officials and for civil society. Awesome. So I wanted to make sure we spent a lot of time. I mean, so many great announcements today. There's going to be more TV segments later today. Just about today's announcements, which are super interesting. But I did want to give a bit of a preview of what's coming up this week. I didn't mention some of the themes, but tomorrow. Spoiler alert, the focus is going to be about Internet access and a lot of really interesting things happening. We'll be talking about some really interesting technical projects. We're going be talking about expanding our network. We're going to be talking about the impacts of COVID. We're going to be talking about our free services. I don't know if there's any of those. If you wanted to expound on any of those, the benefit of our free services. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, I think one of the things that makes us most unusual is our free services. So the idea that anybody can have a website online, sign up for service and get and get protection from attack is a really big deal. And I think that we one of the things that we believe on the policy side that we certainly talk about a lot on the policy side is that it shouldn't be no one should be subject to cyber attacks. And so the idea that we could potentially get rid of certain kinds of attacks altogether is just a huge, huge deal. And with the free services side, what we often see is that we don't even fully understand the full benefits that it brings to people. So we're going to be talking a little bit about small businesses and what it means to be a really small business trying to have a website online and how you sort of can protect that. And then the impact potentially of when something goes wrong, because it really is important to have a set of tools that are easily accessible for those kinds of businesses. And they're not the kind of businesses that people are focused on in the big conversations, but they matter a lot to individual communities, and they certainly matter a lot to the small business owners who are actually trying to protect their business and trying to keep something going even in sort of pandemic times. And one of the challenges has been, I think that the Internet really was a lifeline during the pandemic. We've been we've been talking obviously about, you know, very, very weighty, very serious issues, you know, election security, the conflict in Ukraine. But, you know, your humble local flower shop or bakery very likely has a website. Obviously, you have the last couple of years, if they were able to stay open, they did that with the help of the Internet. Right. And it's something I think interesting about Cloudflare is that it's you know, it just gotten so hard because some of these things you mentioned, it's gotten so hard over the years to just have a website and it's pushed people, I think, onto these larger services. Now, these larger services can be really helpful. They can help consumers find these businesses, but they also involve giving up a degree of control. Right. And so for people to kind of continue to operate their own presence, I think Cloudflare is a really a really big part of that. And so I hope for this for this story, which we're going to tell tomorrow, help pull some of the numbers of like how many times do we stop, how much money do we save people through caching and things like that, which I won't spoil. But, you know, I was just struck by how big the numbers are when you talk about like one year of our free plan and just the scale of that is pretty astounding. And it's just really cool to see that. Yeah, I think that the description that we get from some people is just the idea that we offer this for free is unbelievable to so many people. Because it's. Such a big help. Yeah, totally. And I think that we often inside Cloudflare, we don't always sort of fully process how big a deal is for a small business. We don't have like a dashboard in the office where we like, just put the numbers up. We should do that. I think it's a good reminder. Yeah, I was thinking about that. So yeah, so really, really cool to see that. Yeah, maybe. Let's talk a little more about some of the other days in the week. So on Wednesday, Wednesday, the big is our big sustainability day. I don't want to spoil all the announcements. We've got some really cool stuff coming out. Maybe what I thought we'd talk about is you could talk more. We're going to be following up on some things we've we've discussed in the past we're going to be following up on. I'm going to I'm going to save the really big announcements for later in the week because I want to give them their due. But we've talked before about some of our emissions reporting requirements as a company. So you're an expert on this, maybe help shed some light on what those are. And yeah, so we do a lot of things on emissions reporting. We started formally reporting our emissions last year. We have we'll be doing another round of reporting this year and we're also thinking about how we expand. So there are different ways of reporting emissions. This is a sort of evolving field in many ways, but there is a sort of straight set of emissions, which are things from our network, for example, how much power we use, how much power we use in our offices that leads to emissions, how much power our network uses, for example. And one of the things we actually committed to last year was to make sure that we did a full set of offsets. So full set of offsets for our network and including historical offsets. So making sure that we had sort of addressed anything that any type of. And of missions that we had in previous years. So we'll be following up on that one. We're also going to be talking a little bit about the future. I don't want to get too far ahead of that one. But we are thinking about we are thinking about where we go, how do we how do we continue to improve on the environmental side. And I think that we all recognize this, the challenges that we have with climate change. And we think that every company can play a part, including us. And as you said at the beginning, I think that we really we really see some of the benefits that we can bring for people, for everyone, for customers, for anyone who uses Cloudflare in thinking about sustainability overall and in thinking about reducing emissions. And that's what we're going to be focusing on Wednesday. That's awesome. Yeah, it's great to see that. And obviously what we're going to be talking about, how our products are inherently green, but great to see obviously the. Bread and butter. We have to run our data centers and efficiently run our offices efficiently. Great. On Thursday, we're going to be really talking more about this theme of transparency, providing visibility into just what actually is happening on the Internet, where it can be very hard to know more about this. And we're going to talk about some organizations that we partner with who use Cloudflare Radar. You kind of mentioned them really briefly before, but just one minute, Do you want to tell us about like what some of these organizations do, like access now that you mentioned? Yeah. So we have these amazing civil society organizations that really talk about what's happening on the Internet. So we have access now, for example, that reports on shutdowns. They report they have a they have an amazing program called Keep It On that really sort of wants to make sure that people don't suffer without Internet access because the government turns it off. And so they really do a lot of we they really do a lot of public reporting on those things. And they use our data, which is a really exciting thing. We've done a lot of work with lots of other organizations on transparency around shutdowns as well. So it's it's a super exciting set of partnerships for us, making sure that we can that people can benefit from what we see on our network to understand what's happening in the world so that they can then report on it, think more about what next steps could look like, and make sure that people around the world essentially don't lose Internet access. Advocate around that. Yeah, Matthew, our CEO, loves to remind us that our mission is to help build a better Internet. We're not doing it on our own. And this is just a great illustration of how we're helping these other organizations which are so important. Yeah, our radar team that puts information out is actually a couple of the members are parts of a variety of broader organizations, and they put out different data sets. And the idea that our data set is matched to somebody else's data set and we see the same thing is really exciting. That's awesome. All right. We're at time today. Thanks so much for joining us. Really excited about all the announcements. We have an impact week and we'll see you later on Cloudflare TV throughout the week. It's all impact week. All week, all in fact, Really awesome. Thanks.