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Introducing PII and Selective Logging controls for Cloudflare’s Zero Trust platform

At Cloudflare, we believe that you shouldn’t have to compromise privacy for security. Last year, we launched Cloudflare Gateway — a comprehensive, Secure Web Gateway with built-in Zero Trust browsing controls for your organization. Today, we’re excited to share the latest set of privacy features available to administrators to log and audit events based on your team’s needs.

Protecting your organization

Cloudflare Gateway helps organizations replace legacy firewalls while also implementing Zero Trust controls for their users. Gateway meets you wherever your users are and allows them to connect to the Internet or even your private network running on Cloudflare. This extends your security perimeter without having to purchase or maintain any additional boxes.

Organizations also benefit from improvements to user performance beyond just removing the backhaul of traffic to an office or data center. Cloudflare’s network delivers security filters closer to the user in over 250 cities around the world. Customers start their connection by using the world’s fastest DNS resolver. Once connected, Cloudflare intelligently routes their traffic through our network with layer 4 network and layer 7 HTTP filters.

To get started, administrators deploy Cloudflare’s client (WARP) on user devices, whether those devices are macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, ChromeOS or Linux. The client then sends all outbound layer 4 traffic to Cloudflare, along with the identity of the user on the device.

With proxy and TLS decryption turned on, Cloudflare will log all traffic sent through Gateway and surface this in Cloudflare’s dashboard in the form of raw logs and aggregate analytics. However, in some instances, administrators may not want to retain logs or allow access to all members of their security team.

The reasons may vary, but the end result is the same: administrators need the ability to control how their users' data is collected and who can audit those records.

Legacy solutions typically give administrators an all-or-nothing blunt hammer. Organizations could either enable or disable all logging. Without any logging, those services did not capture any personally identifiable information (PII). By avoiding PII, administrators did not have to worry about control or access permissions, but they lost all visibility to investigate security events.

That lack of visibility adds even more complications when teams need to address tickets from their users to answer questions like “why was I blocked?”, “why did that request fail?”, or “shouldn’t that have been blocked?”. Without logs related to any of these events, your team can’t help end users diagnose these types of issues.

Protecting your data

Starting today, your team has more options to decide the type of information Cloudflare Gateway logs and who in your organization can review it. We are releasing role-based dashboard access for the logging and analytics pages, as well as selective logging of events. With role-based access, those with access to your account will have PII information redacted from their dashboard view by default.

We’re excited to help organizations build least-privilege controls into how they manage the deployment of Cloudflare Gateway. Security team members can continue to manage policies or investigate aggregate attacks. However, some events call for further investigation. With today’s release, your team can delegate the ability to review and search using PII to specific team members.

We still know that some customers want to reduce the logs stored altogether, and we’re excited to help solve that too. Now, administrators can now select what level of logging they want Cloudflare to store on their behalf. They can control this for each component, DNS, Network, or HTTP and can even choose to only log block events.

That setting does not mean you lose all logs — just that Cloudflare never stores them. Selective logging combined with our previously released Logpush service allows users to stop storage of logs on Cloudflare and turn on a Logpush job to their destination of choice in their location of choice as well.

How to Get Started

To get started, any Cloudflare Gateway customer can visit the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard and navigate to Settings > Network. The first option on this page will be to specify your preference for activity logging. By default, Gateway will log all events, including DNS queries, HTTP requests and Network sessions. In the network settings page, you can then refine what type of events you wish to be logged. For each component of Gateway you will find three options:

  1. Capture all
  2. Capture only blocked
  3. Don’t capture

Additionally, you’ll find an option to redact all PII from logs by default. This will redact any information that can be used to potentially identify a user including User Name, User Email, User ID, Device ID, source IP, URL, referrer and user agent.

We’ve also included new roles within the Cloudflare dashboard, which provide better granularity when partitioning Administrator access to Access or Gateway components. These new roles will go live in January 2022 and can be modified on enterprise accounts by visiting Account Home → Members.

If you’re not yet ready to create an account, but would like to explore our Zero Trust services, check out our interactive demo where you can take a self-guided tour of the platform with narrated walkthroughs of key use cases, including setting up DNS and HTTP filtering with Cloudflare Gateway.

What’s Next

Moving forward, we’re excited to continue adding more and more privacy features that will give you and your team more granular control over your environment. The features announced today are available to users on any plan; your team can follow this link to get started today.