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Cloudflare's Plan to Protect the Whole Internet Comes Into Focus

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The internet infrastructure company Cloudflare is adding an Internet of Things security service to its already long list of offerings. And though it that may seem unrelated to the free DDoS mitigation[1] or expanded web browsing protections[2] the company already provides, it's another incremental step that helps reveal a clearer picture of the company's overall approach to security. If Cloudflare is going to manage and optimize customer data flow around the world anyway, the thinking goes, it might as well also take the opportunity to act as a middleman between customer systems and the Wild West of the open internet.

In this vein, Cloudflare today announced a new enterprise service known as Spectrum, aimed at taking the protections the company has added for internet services like websites and web applications and extending those defenses to anything else a corporate customer is running that has an internet connection—from email or gaming servers to IoT devices.

"Our traditional customers have been people who are doing something on the web, whether that’s a website, an online application that you run in your browser or a mobile app," says Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince. The idea of Spectrum, though, is to let systems that connect to the internet, but aren't part of the web, still virtually sit on Cloudflare's network to benefit from DDoS defense, and Cloudflare's initiatives to add data encryption to legacy protocols that can't independently support it.

During the milliseconds when customer data is passing through Cloudflare's network, the company can offer security services like temporarily interrupting connections to confirm that they're secure, creating encrypted digital tunnels to safely escort data across the web, screening incoming traffic to catch anything malicious before it can cause damage, and scrubbing out the bad apples.

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