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Cloudflare acquires stealthy startup S2 Systems, announces Cloudflare for Teams

Ron Miller

Cloudflare announced that it has acquired S2 Systems, a browser isolation startup founded by former Microsoft execs. The two companies did not reveal the acquisition price.

Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO at Cloudflare, says that this acquisition is part of a new suite of products called Cloudflare for Teams, which has been designed to protect an organization from threats on the internet. S2 developed a solution specifically to help prevent browser-based code attacks.

Prince said the company had been thinking for some time about how to incorporate this kind of technology into the Cloudflare family of products. As with many companies, it had to decide if it should partner, build or acquire a company. Prince says that when he met the founding team from S2 and tested its technology, he was impressed with the speed and execution.

The team felt like a good fit, so Cloudflare made an offer. It had to bid against some other companies (which he did not name), but in the end S2 chose Cloudflare. He sees technology like this helping to even the playing field for internet users around the world.

"We're super excited to have them on board, and we think that combining their better browser isolation technology with our ubiquitous network, we can really redefine how enterprises protect their employees, and over the long term how people generally browse the internet, where we can make it so that a low-end phone can have a similar experience as a brand new modern iPhone," Prince said. He says that's due to the tremendous processing power that can take place on its network across 200 cities worldwide, taking that processing burden off of the phone or other device.

The acquisition does not stand in isolation though. It's part of a broader announcement around a new product category called Cloudflare for Teams. This is designed to provide a set of protections that includes S2 browser isolation as well as VPN and identity protection.

There are two main pieces to Cloudflare for Teams: Cloudflare Access and Cloudflare Gateway. Access is a Zero Trust identity and access management tool designed to help companies ensure their employees are using the most up-to-date software on their devices.

Gateway is designed to protect companies and individuals from threats on the internet, which is where S2 fits in. The company offers three versions: Gateway, which includes DNS-based filtering and audit logging; Gateway Pro, which secures all internet-bound traffic; and Gateway Enterprise, which helps prevent data loss and includes the browser isolation tech from S2.

The S2 acquisition closed on December 31st. S2's 10 employees are now part of the Cloudflare team, and will remain in Kirkland, Wash. to establish a Cloudflare office there. The company was in stealth prior to the acquisition.

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