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Cloudflare partners with Microsoft to protect joint customers with a Global Zero Trust Network


5 min read

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Cloudflare partners with Microsoft to protect joint customers with a Global Zero Trust Network

As a company, we are constantly asking ourselves what we can do to provide more value to our customers, including integrated solutions with our partners. Joint customers benefit from our integrations below with Azure Active Directory by:

First, centralized identity and access management via Azure Active Directory which provides single sign-on, multifactor authentication, and access via conditional authentication.

Second, policy oriented access to specific applications using Cloudflare Access—a VPN replacement service.

Third, an additional layer of security for internal applications by connecting them to Cloudflare global network and not having to open them up to the whole Internet.

Let’s step back a bit.

Why Zero Trust?

Companies of all sizes are faced with an accelerating digital transformation of their IT stack and an increasingly distributed workforce, changing the definition of the security perimeter. We are moving away from the castle and moat model to the whole Internet, requiring security checks for every user accessing every resource. As a result, all companies, especially those whose use of Azure’s broad cloud portfolio is increasing, are adopting Zero Trust architectures as an essential part of their cloud and SaaS journey.

Cloudflare Access provides secure access to Azure hosted applications and on-premise applications. Also, it acts as an on-ramp to the world’s fastest network to Azure and the rest of the Internet. Users connect from their devices or offices via Cloudflare’s network in over 250 cities around the world. You can use Cloudflare Zero Trust on that global network to ensure that every request to every resource is evaluated for security, including user identity. We are excited to bring this secure global network on-ramp to Azure hosted applications and on-premise applications.

Also, performance is one of our key advantages in addition to security. Cloudflare serves over 32 million HTTP requests per second, on average, for the millions of customers who secure their applications on our network. When those applications do not run on our network, we can rely on our own global private backbone and our connectivity with over 10,000 networks globally to connect the user.

We are excited to bring this global security and performance perimeter network as our Cloudflare Zero Trust product for your Azure hosted applications and on-premises applications.

Cloudflare Access: a modern Zero Trust approach

Cloudflare’s Zero Trust solution Cloudflare Access provides a modern approach to authentication for internally managed applications. When corporate applications on Azure or on-premise are protected with Cloudflare Access, they feel like SaaS applications, and employees can log in to them with a simple and consistent flow. Cloudflare Access acts as a unified reverse proxy to enforce access control by making sure every request is authenticated, authorized, and encrypted.

Identity: Cloudflare Access integrates out of the box with all the major identity providers, including Azure Active Directory, allowing use of the policies and users you already created to provide conditional access to your web applications. For example, you can use Cloudflare Access to ensure that only company employees and no contractors can get to your internal kanban board, or you can lock down the SAP finance application hosted on Azure or on-premise.

Devices: You can use TLS with Client Authentication and limit connections only to devices with a unique client certificate. Cloudflare will ensure the connecting device has a valid client certificate signed by the corporate CA, and authenticate user credentials to grant access to an internal application.

Additional security: Want to use Cloudflare Access in front of an internal application but don’t want to open up that application to the whole Internet? For additional security, you can combine Access with Cloudflare Tunnel. Cloudflare Tunnel will connect from your Azure environment directly to Cloudflare’s network, so there is no publicly accessible IP.

Secure both your legacy applications and Azure hosted applications via Azure AD and Cloudflare Access jointly

For on-premise legacy applications, we are excited to announce that Cloudflare is an Azure Active Directory secure hybrid access partner. Azure AD secure hybrid access enables customers to centrally manage access to their legacy on-premise applications using SSO authentication without incremental development. Starting today, joint customers can easily use Cloudflare Access solution as an additional layer of security with built-in performance, in front of their legacy applications.

Traditionally for on-premise applications, customers have to change their existing code or add additional layers of code to integrate Azure AD or Cloudflare Access–like capabilities. With the help of Azure Active Directory secure hybrid access, customers can integrate these capabilities seamlessly without much code changes. Once integrated, customers can take advantage of the below Azure AD features and more:

  1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  2. Single sign-on (SSO)
  3. Passwordless authentication
  4. Unified user access management
  5. Azure AD Conditional Access and device trust

Very similarly, the Azure AD and Cloudflare Access combo can also be used to secure your Azure hosted applications. Cloudflare Access enables secure on-ramp to Azure hosted applications or on-premise applications via the below two integrations:

1. Cloudflare Access integration with Azure AD:

Cloudflare Access is a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solution that allows you to configure precise access policies across their applications. You can integrate Microsoft Azure Active Directory with Cloudflare Zero Trust and build rules based on user identity, group membership and Azure AD Conditional Access policies. Users will authenticate with their Azure AD credentials and connect to Cloudflare Access. Additional policy controls include Device Posture, Network, Location and more. Setup typically takes less than a few hours!

2. Cloudflare Tunnel integration with Azure:

Cloudflare Tunnel can expose applications running on the Microsoft Azure platform. See guide to install and configure Cloudflare Tunnel. Also, a prebuilt Cloudflare Linux image exists on the Azure Marketplace. To simplify the process of connecting Azure applications to Cloudflare’s network, deploy the prebuilt image to an Azure resource group. Cloudflare Tunnel is now available on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace.

“The hybrid work environment has accelerated the cloud transition and increased the need for CIOs everywhere to provide secure and performant access to applications for their employees. This is especially true for self-hosted applications. Cloudflare's global network security perimeter via Cloudflare Access provides this additional layer of security together with Azure Active Directory to enable employees to get work done from anywhere securely and performantly.” said David Gregory, Principal Program Manager
- Microsoft Azure Active Directory


Over the last ten years, Cloudflare has built one of the fastest, most reliable, most secure networks in the world. You now have the ability to use that network as a global security and performance perimeter to your Azure hosted applications via the above integrations, and it is easy.

What’s next?

In the coming months, we will be further strengthening our integrations with Microsoft Azure allowing customers to better implement our SASE perimeter.

If you’re using Cloudflare Zero Trust products today and are interested in using this integration with Azure, please visit our above developer documentation to learn about how you can enable it. If you want to learn more or have additional questions, please fill out the form or get in touch with your Cloudflare CSM or AE, and we'll be happy to help you.

We protect entire corporate networks, help customers build Internet-scale applications efficiently, accelerate any website or Internet application, ward off DDoS attacks, keep hackers at bay, and can help you on your journey to Zero Trust.

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Kenny Johnson|@KennyJohnsonATX

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