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Advantage makes mark as first Cloudflare Zero Trust MSSP

New Zealand’s Advantage has become the first Cloudflare partner in the Asia Pacific region to qualify for the vendor’s Zero Trust Managed Services Program, with the support of its distribution partner Dicker Data. After passing stringent criteria, Advantage is now certified to deploy and manage Cloudflare Zero Trust solutions along with first level support.

As a seasoned Managed Security Services Partner (MSSP), Advantage offers Cloudflare as a managed solution combined with the National Cybersecurity Centre’s Malware Free Networks threat intelligence feed.

American vendor Cloudflare is known for its content delivery network services, cloud cybersecurity, DDoS mitigation, Domain Name Service, and ICANN-accredited domain registration services. As of 2022, the company was used by around 20 percent of the internet for its web security services.

Advantage managing director Brad Pearpoint says the company’s singular focus on delivering ‘secure IT that just works’ has led to this Asia Pacific-wide first with Cloudflare. “While this is a decent milestone for our company, the real advantage, so to speak, is how Cloudflare Zero Trust technology benefits our customers,” he notes.

Advantage, explains Pearpoint, has added Cloudflare’s Zero Trust security platform to its arsenal to increase visibility, eliminate complexity, and reduce risks as remote and office users connect to applications and the Internet. “We’ve seen a steady and sustained move into the cloud by organisations across New Zealand. At the same time, flexible ‘work from anywhere’ arrangements have proliferated since the pandemic and are here to stay.”

This changes the cyber security challenge, with cloud-accessed applications and employees operating outside of the corporate firewall presenting new organisational risks – with hackers pouncing on emerging opportunities for compromise.

Zero Trust architectures (ZTA) are underpinned by a ‘never trust, always verify’ approach to all users, devices and applications – in contrast to the ‘trust by default’ approach typically used for authenticated users and applications connected to a permissioned network. Zero Trust rests on strong identity verification, validating device compliance prior to granting access, and least-privilege access to only explicitly authorised resources.

Continuing, Pearpoint says that the growing prevalence of ransomware and other malware, targeted supply chain attacks, man in the middle hacks, and many other cyber threats are addressed by Cloudflare’s Zero Trust solution for browsing and application access. “That helps establish the secure environments our customers need to do business from anywhere, without security concerns.”

Dicker Data Cyber-Security Business Development Manager Craig Sargent says Advantage has worked together flawlessly for the MSSP to become the first transacting partner via distribution in the region for Zero Trust. “It’s a significant development which shows how well the channel creates value in the cloud era. By enabling Advantage with Cloudflare, Dicker Data is contributing to bringing to market solutions necessary for securely doing business online.”

He adds that with risks persisting everywhere, Zero Trust delivered in the cloud is becoming necessary. “Cloudflare’s solution provides the necessary framework, with a negligible impact on application performance. In a single-pass architecture, traffic is verified, filtered, inspected, and isolated from threats, thanks to one of the world’s fastest Anycast content delivery networks which runs across more than 275 cities in 100 countries.”

Combined with the National Cyber Security Centre’s Malware Free Networks – the threat detection and disruption service providing near real-time threat intelligence reflecting current malicious activity targeting New Zealand organisations – Pearpoint says Advantage customers are equipped to transact with confidence. “There is no such thing as a completely secure system. But this, I’d say, gets about as close as is possible,” he concludes.

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