All posts by Abe Carryl

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Post Syndicated from Abe Carryl original https://blog.cloudflare.com/observe-and-manage-cloudflare-tunnel/

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Cloudflare Tunnel connects your infrastructure to Cloudflare. Your team runs a lightweight connector in your environment, cloudflared, and services can reach Cloudflare and your audience through an outbound-only connection without the need for opening up holes in your firewall.

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Whether the services are internal apps protected with Zero Trust policies, websites running in Kubernetes clusters in a public cloud environment, or a hobbyist project on a Raspberry Pi — Cloudflare Tunnel provides a stable, secure, and highly performant way to serve traffic.

Starting today, with our new UI in the Cloudflare for Teams Dashboard, users who deploy and manage Cloudflare Tunnel at scale now have easier visibility into their tunnels’ status, routes, uptime, connectors, cloudflared version, and much more. On the Teams Dashboard you will also find an interactive guide that walks you through setting up your first tunnel.  

Getting Started with Tunnel

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

We wanted to start by making the tunnel onboarding process more transparent for users. We understand that not all users are intimately familiar with the command line nor are they deploying tunnel in an environment or OS they’re most comfortable with. To alleviate that burden, we designed a comprehensive onboarding guide with pathways for MacOS, Windows, and Linux for our two primary onboarding flows:

  1. Connecting an origin to Cloudflare
  2. Connecting a private network via WARP to Tunnel

Our new onboarding guide walks through each command required to create, route, and run your tunnel successfully while also highlighting relevant validation commands to serve as guardrails along the way. Once completed, you’ll be able to view and manage your newly established tunnels.

Managing your tunnels

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

When thinking about the new user interface for tunnel we wanted to concentrate our efforts on how users gain visibility into their tunnels today. It was important that we provide the same level of observability, but through the lens of a visual, interactive dashboard. Specifically, we strove to build a familiar experience like the one a user may see if they were to run cloudflared tunnel list to show all of their tunnels, or cloudflared tunnel info if they wanted to better understand the connection status of a specific tunnel.

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

In the interface, you can quickly search by name or filter by name, status, uptime, or creation date. This allows users to easily identify and manage the tunnels they need, when they need them. We also included other key metrics such as Status and Uptime.

A tunnel’s status depends on the health of its connections:

  • Active: This means your tunnel is running and has a healthy connection to the Cloudflare network.
  • Inactive: This means your tunnel is not running and is not connected to Cloudflare.
  • Degraded: This means one or more of your four long-lived TCP connections to Cloudflare have been disconnected, but traffic is still being served to your origin.

A tunnel’s uptime is also calculated by the health of its connections. We perform this calculation by determining the UTC timestamp of when the first (of four) long-lived TCP connections is established with the Cloudflare Edge. In the event this single connection is terminated, we will continue tracking uptime as long as one of the other three connections continues to serve traffic. If no connections are active, Uptime will reset to zero.

Tunnel Routes and Connectors

Last year, shortly after the announcement of Named Tunnels, we released a new feature that allowed users to utilize the same Named Tunnel to serve traffic to many different services through the use of Ingress Rules. In the new UI, if you’re running your tunnels in this manner, you’ll be able to see these various services reflected by hovering over the route’s value in the dashboard. Today, this includes routes for DNS records, Load Balancers, and Private IP ranges.

Even more recently, we announced highly available and highly scalable instances of cloudflared, known more commonly as “cloudflared replicas.” To view your cloudflared replicas, select and expand a tunnel. Then you will identify how many cloudflared replicas you’re running for a given tunnel, as well as the corresponding connection status, data center, IP address, and version. And ultimately, when you’re ready to delete a tunnel, you can do so directly from the dashboard as well.

What’s next

Moving forward, we’re excited to begin incorporating more Cloudflare Tunnel analytics into our dashboard. We also want to continue making Cloudflare Tunnel the easiest way to connect to Cloudflare. In order to do that, we will focus on improving our onboarding experience for new users and look forward to bringing more of that functionality into the Teams Dashboard. If you have things you’re interested in having more visibility around in the future, let us know below!

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

Post Syndicated from Abe Carryl original https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-shadow-it-discovery/

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

Your team likely uses more SaaS applications than you realize. The time your administrators spend vetting and approving applications sanctioned for use can suddenly be wasted when users sign up for alternative services and store data in new places. Starting today, you can use Cloudflare for Teams to detect and block unapproved SaaS applications with just two clicks.

Increasing Shadow IT usage

SaaS applications save time and budget for IT departments. Instead of paying for servers to host tools — and having staff ready to monitor, upgrade, and troubleshoot those tools — organizations can sign up for a SaaS equivalent with just a credit card and never worry about hosting or maintenance again.

That same convenience causes a data control problem. Those SaaS applications sit outside any environment that you control; the same reason they are easy for your team is also a potential liability now that your sensitive data is kept by third parties. Most organizations keep this in check through careful audits of the SaaS applications being used. Depending on industry and regulatory impact, IT departments evaluate, approve, and catalog the applications they use.

However, users can intentionally or accidentally bypass those approvals. For example, if your organization relies on OneDrive but a user is more comfortable with Google Drive, that user might decide to store work files in Google Drive instead. IT has no visibility into this happening and the user might think it’s fine. That user begins sharing files with other users in your organization, who also sign up with Google Drive, and suddenly an unsanctioned application holds sensitive information. This is “Shadow IT” and these applications inherently obfuscate the controls put in place by your organization.

Detecting Shadow IT

Cloudflare Gateway routes all Internet bound traffic to Cloudflare’s network to enforce granular controls for your users to block them from unknown security threats. Now, it also provides your team added assurance with a low-effort, high-visibility overview into the SaaS applications being used in your environment.

By simply turning on Gateway, all HTTP requests for your organization are aggregated in your Gateway Activity Log for audit and security purposes. Within the activity log, we surface pertinent information about the user, action, and request. These records include data about the application and application type. In the example above, the application type would be Collaboration and Online Meeting and the application would be Google Drive.

From there, Gateway analyzes your HTTP request in the Activity Log and surfaces your Shadow IT, by categorizing and sorting these seemingly miscellaneous applications into actionable insights without any additional lift from your team.

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

With Shadow IT Discovery, Cloudflare for Teams first catalogs all applications used in your organization. The feature runs in an “observation” mode first – all applications are analyzed, but default to “unreviewed.”

Your team can then review the applications found and, with just a couple clicks, designate applications approved or unapproved — either for a single application or in bulk.

This allows administrators to easily track the top approved and unapproved applications their users are accessing to better profile their security posture. When drilling down into a more detailed view, administrators can take bulk actions to move multiple newly discovered applications at once. In this view, users can also filter on application type to easily identify redundancies in their organization.

Another feature we wanted to add was the ability to quickly highlight if an application being used by your organization has already been secured by Cloudflare Access. You can find this information in the column titled Secured. If an application is not Secured by Access, you can start that process today as well with Access for SaaS. (We added two new tutorials this week!)

Introducing Shadow IT Discovery

When you mark an application unapproved, Cloudflare for Teams does not block it outright. We know some organizations need to label an application unapproved and check in with the users before they block access to it altogether. If your team is ready, you can then apply a Gateway rule to block access to it going forward.

Saving IT cost

While we’re excited to help IT teams stop worrying about unapproved apps, we also talked to teams who feared they were overspending for certain approved applications.

We want to help here too. Today’s launch counts the number of unique users who access any one application over different time intervals. IT teams can use this data to check usage against licenses and right size as needed.

Without this feature, many administrators and our own internal IT department were losing sleep each night wondering if their users were circumventing their controls and putting them at risk of attack. Additionally, many administrators are financially impacted as they procure software licenses for their entire organization. With Shadow IT Discovery, we empower your team to anticipate popular applications and begin the assessment process earlier in the procurement lifecycle.

What’s next

We’re excited to announce Shadow IT and can’t wait to see what you’ll do with it. To get started, deploy HTTP filtering for your organization with the Cloudflare for Teams client. In the future, we’ll also be adding automation to block unapproved applications in Gateway, but we can’t wait to hear what else you’d like to see out of this feature.

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Post Syndicated from Abe Carryl original https://blog.cloudflare.com/the-teams-dashboard-behind-the-scenes/

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Back in 2010, Cloudflare was introduced at TechCrunch Disrupt as a security and performance solution that took the tools of the biggest service providers and made them available to anyone online. But simply replicating these tools wasn’t enough — we needed to make them ridiculously easy to use.

When we launched Cloudflare for Teams almost ten years later, the vision was very much the same — build a secure and powerful Zero Trust solution that is ridiculously easy to use. However, while we talk about what we’re building with a regular cadence, we often gloss over how we are designing Cloudflare for Teams to make it simple and easy to use.

In this blog post we’ll do just that — if that sounds like your jam, keep scrolling.

Building a house

First, let’s back up a bit and introduce Cloudflare for Teams.

We launched Cloudflare for Teams in January, 2020. With Teams, we wanted to alleviate the burden Cloudflare customers were feeling when trying to protect themselves and their infrastructure from threats online. We knew that continuing to rely on expensive hardware would be difficult to maintain and impractical to scale.

At its core, Teams joins two products together — Access and Gateway. On the one hand, Access acts as a bouncer at the door of all your applications, checking the identity of everyone who wants in. It’s a Zero Trust solution that secures inbound connections. On the other hand, Gateway is a Secure Web Gateway solution that acts as your organization’s bodyguard — it secures your users as they set out to navigate the Internet.

Over the past year, we’ve been rapidly shipping features to help our customers face the new and daunting challenges 2020 brought around. However, that velocity often took a toll on the intentionality of how we design the Teams Dashboard, and resulted in a myriad of unintended consequences. This is often referred to as a “Feature Shop” dilemma, where Product and Design only think about what they’re building and become too resource-constrained to consider why they’re building it.

In an interface, this pattern often manifests itself through siloed functionality and fractured experiences. And admittedly, when we first began building the Teams Dashboard, many of our experiences felt this way. Users were able to take singular features from inception to fruition, but were limited in their ability to thread these experiences together in a seamless fashion across the Dashboard.

The duplex problem

Here’s an example. In the early days of Cloudflare for Teams, we wanted to provide users with a single pane of glass to manage their security policies. In order to do so, users would need to onboard to both Access and Gateway. Only one problem, we didn’t have an onboarding pathway for Cloudflare Access. The obvious question became “What do we need?”. Inherently, the answer was an onboarding flow for Cloudflare Access.

Just like that, we were off to the races.

In retrospect, what we should have been asking instead was “Why do users need onboarding flow?” By focusing on what, we polluted our own ability to build the right solution for this problem. Instead of providing a seamless entryway to our dashboard, we created a fork-in-the-road decision point and siloed our customers into two separate paths that did not make it easy for them to approach our dashboard.

From an experiential perspective, we later equated this to inviting our users to a party. We give them an address, but when they show up at the doorstep, they realize the house is actually a duplex. Which doorbell are they supposed to ring? Where’s the party? What will they find if they walk into the wrong unit?

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

Leading with Design

That’s where Design fits in. Our design team is hyper-obsessed with asking why. Why are we throwing a party? Why should anyone come? Why should they stay? By challenging our team to lead with design, we take a questioning attitude to each of the features we contemplate building. With this approach, we do not assume a feature is valuable, intuitive, or even required. We assume nothing.

During our “Feature Shop” days, we had a bad habit of providing “bad mockups” or outlining a solution for Design to prototype. This is often referred to as “solution pollution”. For example, if I tell you I need a fast car, you’re probably going to start designing a car. However, if instead I tell you I need to get from point A to point B as quick as possible, you may end up designing a bike, scooter, car, or something entirely new and novel. Design thrives in this balance.

Now, we begin at the beginning and gather contextual data which drove us toward a given feature hypothesis. Together, Product and Design then research the problem alongside the users it may impact. More importantly, once the problem space has been validated, we partner on the solution itself.

With this new approach in mind, we revisited our onboarding experience, and this time, the solution we arrived at was quite different from our initial prototypes. Instead of creating two divergent pathways we now proposed a single Cloudflare for Teams onboarding flow. This solved the duplex problem.

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

This flow prioritized two key elements; preparing users for success and emphasizing time-to-value. During initial research, Design was able to identify that users often felt overwhelmed and underprepared for the configuration required during an early onboarding. Additionally, due to this sentiment, users failed to reach an initial “Aha!” moment until much later than anticipated in their user journey. To address these concerns, we truncated the onboarding process to just three simple steps:

  • Welcome to Teams
  • Create a Team Name
  • Pick a Plan

As simple as that. Then, we created a Quick Start guide which users land on after onboarding. Let’s call this our inboarding flow. Next, we created a variety of “Starter Packs” within the guide which automate much the laborious configuration for users so they can start realizing value from Cloudflare for Teams almost instantly:

The Teams Dashboard: Behind the Scenes

What’s next

Moving forward, we will continue to expand on the Quick Start guide adding more robust starter packs and enhancing the opportunities for continuous learning. We’re also looking to incorporate intelligent recommendations based on your environment. We’ll also be releasing other improvements this quarter which apply the same underlying concepts found in our Quick Start guide to other areas of the UI such as our Empty States and Overview pages.

Perhaps most importantly, by leading with Design we’re able to foster healthy debate early and often for the products and features we consider releasing within the UI. These relationships drive us to map risks to controls and force us to build with care and intentionality. After all, we all have the same mission: to help build a better Internet.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Cloudflare for Teams design lifecycle, stay tuned. We have three upcoming blog releases which will walk you through our product content strategy, our design vision, and an exciting new feature release where you can see this partnership in action.

Zero Trust For Everyone

Post Syndicated from Abe Carryl original https://blog.cloudflare.com/teams-plans/

Zero Trust For Everyone

We launched Cloudflare for Teams to make Zero Trust security accessible for all organizations, regardless of size, scale, or resources. Starting today, we are excited to take another step on this journey by announcing our new Teams plans, and more specifically, our Cloudflare for Teams Free plan, which protects up to 50 users at no cost. To get started, sign up today.

If you’re interested in how and why we’re doing this, keep scrolling.

Our Approach to Zero Trust

Cloudflare Access is one-half of Cloudflare for Teams – a Zero Trust solution that secures inbound connections to your protected applications. Cloudflare Access works like a bouncer, checking identity at the door to all of your applications.

The other half of Cloudflare for Teams is Cloudflare Gateway which, as our clever name implies, is a Secure Web Gateway protecting all of your users’ outbound connections to the Internet. To continue with this analogy, Cloudflare Gateway is your organization’s bodyguard, securing your users as they navigate the Internet.

Together, these two solutions provide a powerful, single dashboard to protect your users, networks, and applications from malicious actors.

Zero Trust For Everyone

A Mission-Driven Solution

At Cloudflare, our mission is to help build a better Internet. That means a better Internet for everyone, regardless of size, scale, or resources. With Cloudflare for Teams, our part in this mission is to keep your team members secure from unknown threats and your applications safe from attack, so that your team can focus on your business.

Earlier this year, shortly after we launched Cloudflare for Teams, organizations suddenly had to change the way they worked. Users left offices, and the security provided by those offices, to work from home. This accelerated the pace of IT transformation from years to days, or even hours.

To alleviate that burden, we provided Cloudflare for Teams for everyone at no cost, and with no restrictions until September 1, 2020. We also offered free one-on-one onboarding to make adoption seamless, and used those sessions to improve the product for our current users as well.

Moving forward, users will continue to work from home, and applications will continue to move away from managed data centers. While our initial free program is no longer available, our team wanted to find a new way to continue helping organizations of any size adjust to this new security model that seems to be here to stay.

The New Free Plan

Today, we are launching the Cloudflare for Teams Free plan, which brings the features of enterprise Zero Trust products and Secure Web Gateways to small teams as well.

Cloudflare for Teams Free offers robust Zero Trust security features for both internal and SaaS applications, and supports integration with a myriad of social and enterprise identity providers like AzureAD or Github. Our Free plan also includes DNS content and security filtering for multiple network locations, complete with 24 hour log retention. By offering Cloudflare for Teams Free, our goal is to empower you to take your first step on a journey to Zero Trust with us.

Zero Trust For Everyone

What You Can Do with Teams Free

With up to 50 seats of Access and Gateway, we’ve seen that the possibilities are endless. In fact, here are some of our favorite ways users are already getting the most out of Cloudflare for Teams Free today.

  • Collaborate on your startup. Build your product without worrying about security. Use Access to protect your development environment.
  • Secure your home Wi-Fi network. Point your home Wi-Fi router’s traffic to Gateway, and set up simple filtering rules to block malware and phishing attacks.
  • Protect the backend of your personal website. Lock down your WordPress admin panel pages, and invite collaborators to work on your blog by using Access’ one-time-pin feature.
  • Safeguard a guest Wi-Fi network. Shield a retail location with Gateway by enforcing your Acceptable Use Policy on your network.

Standalone and Standard

In addition to our new Cloudflare for Teams Free plan, we’re also making it easier to continue your Zero Trust journey by offering enhanced features in our standalone Cloudflare Access or Cloudflare Gateway plans.

With standalone Access, you can easily scale up or down with as many users as you need at any time for $3 per user.

Similarly, with Gateway standalone, you can safely and securely deploy DNS or HTTP security controls from 1 up to 20 different locations for $5 per user without compromising on reliability or performance.

Last but not least, we’re excited to finally give users a way to bundle with Teams Standard, which brings together everything from Access and Gateway under one simple plan at $7 per user.

Getting Started

To get started, just navigate to our sign-up page and create an account. If you already have an active account, you can head straight to the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard, where you’ll be dropped directly into our self-guided onboarding flow. From here, you’re just three steps away from deploying Access or Gateway but, in our opinion, you can’t go wrong kicking off with either.