Zendesk enables billions of successful customer interactions with the Cloudflare connectivity cloud

Over 100,000 Zendesk customers worldwide enjoy secure, reliable, and intelligent services that unlock the power of billions of consumer interactions. With Zendesk, businesses build rich, meaningful relationships with their customers. Those businesses benefit from Zendesk’s open and flexible platform, advanced AI and workflow automations, reporting and analytics, and native integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Jira, and Salesforce. Zendesk puts the right information at the fingertips of over 4 million agents in more than 160 countries and territories.

Zendesk empowers the world’s most customer-service-centric companies — including Uber, Tesco, Github, Stanley Black & Decker, Evernote, Starling Bank, Indigov, MediaOcean, Ticketmaster, and Shopify— to enhance their customer service offerings by personalizing every step of the customer journey.

Challenge: Striking a balance between performance, security, and frictionless customer service

With a client list that serves end users from nearly everywhere in the world, performance, security, and availability are critical to Zendesk’s ability to provide quality services. As a company offering exceptional services to ensure its clients can provide optimal customer and employee experiences, Zendesk is also aware of how easily even the slightest amount of friction can erode customer confidence.

Nan Guo, Senior Vice President of Engineering summarizes Zendesk’s core priorities as it delivers effective, intuitive solutions.

“Our goal has always been to deliver simple, reliable, secure solutions to our customers worldwide,” says Nan Guo. “To make that happen, we need the right tools in place to ensure that our products and customer data are secure — and that we can detect and respond rapidly to every threat.”

To achieve this, Zendesk sought an effective vendor that could:

  • Protect customer data and mitigate security threats as they evolve in scale and complexity
  • Deliver high-performing, reliable, and secure services to a growing global customer base
  • Collaborate transparently to form an effective partnership based on mutual trust

“Every year our customers have higher expectations,” says Nan Guo. “Cloudflare has been an ideal partner, helping us meet those expectations with a secure platform and reliable services.”

Solution: Mitigating evolving global threats with Cloudflare everywhere security

Zendesk first turned to Cloudflare to improve the experience of customers’ service agents and international end users by securing applications and web traffic against a rising tide of online attacks. Beginning with Cloudflare’s Web application Firewall (WAF), Zendesk harnessed the functionality of Cloudflare application security services in the connectivity cloud — Cloudflare’s unified approach to delivering secure, high-performance connectivity across on-premises, SaaS, cloud, and public Internet environments. The goal was to mitigate the increasingly virulent attacks threatening to disrupt the company’s services.

“The Internet is an extremely dynamic threatscape,” says Nan Guo. “Using Cloudflare as a front door to automatically filter out illegitimate traffic on the global network using real-time threat intelligence allows us to focus on creating better customer experience software.”

Using Cloudflare DDoS protection, bot management, and Cloudforce One threat intelligence, Zendesk reduced its attack surface against automated, malware, and socially engineered threats. At the same time, it limited administrative complexity with a single Cloudflare control interface.

As an example of Cloudflare’s efficacy, Nan Guo points to the global outbreak of the HTTP/2 Rapid Reset zero-day vulnerability. During the outbreak, which affected AWS and Google Cloud servers worldwide, Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud effectively countered attacks of unprecedented scale, stopping more than 201 million requests per second. Shielded by Cloudflare, Zendesk’s customers and services remained unscathed.

“Before our partnership with Cloudflare, we had to be constantly on alert. Attacks were on the rise and our product and security teams could barely sleep at night as they worked to protect our customer data and services,” says Nan Guo. “We saw significant security benefits from deploying Cloudflare in front of our cloud infrastructure. We knew we no longer had to worry. Cloudflare made us safe. We really appreciate that.”

Accelerating application performance and supporting rapid growth

As Zendesk secured APIs, websites, and applications with Cloudflare, the company addressed other core priorities — performance and scalability. The company is leveraging the expansive international coverage of the Cloudflare global network, which runs every service in every Cloudflare data center to provide a consistent online experience. Zendesk accelerated application performance, enhancing its customer experience in even the most remote locales through Cloudflare’s efficient, low-latency global connectivity, allowing its customers to connect to the geographically closest CDN point of presence (PoP), reducing latency substantially. Cloudflare’s effortless ability to scale with its customers played a key role in streamlining Zendesk’s rapid expansion.

“Cloudflare really stands out for the speed of their global network and exceptionally robust content delivery services,” says Nan Guo, “Cloudflare’s presence in more than 310 cities in 120 countries has allowed us to grow rapidly by over 30% without performance losses or service degradation.”

Reducing complexity — effortlessly establishing and maintaining data security everywhere

In the connectivity cloud, with Cloudflare’s granular approach to data protection and localization, Zendesk has also streamlined sensitive customer data and complies with regional requirements dictating how and where an SaaS provider can store sensitive customer data.

Cloudflare makes it easy for Zendesk to write rules once from a single control plane and apply them everywhere, helping ensure consistent data protection and security policies across all cloud environments. With Cloudflare, Zendesk preserves end-user privacy and adheres to regulations without trade-offs in security or performance.

“Data protection is very important to us,” says Nan Guo. “Because Cloudflare operates in so many countries, we can easily localize data on the global network, keeping it in the data center nearest the customer without making compromises in security or performance.”

Promoting a culture of mutual transparency and innovation

In addition to the tangible benefits of the partnership — performance, reliability, and security — Cloudflare’s culture of collaboration and innovation resonates with Zendesk.

“At Zendesk we create highly intuitive tools that are beautifully simple. Our customers do not need to be technologically advanced to implement and benefit from our solutions,” says Nan Guo. “Like Zendesk, innovation is in Cloudflare’s DNA — it mirrors our beautifully simple development ethos with the connectivity cloud, a powerful, yet simple-to-implement, end-to-end solution that does all the heavy lifting, so we don’t need to.”

When it comes to communications between the two companies, Cloudflare and Zendesk share a common Slack channel to encourage spontaneous collaboration and improve incident support and response times.

“Working in the IT industry, nothing is ever perfect, but Cloudflare has always been transparent to ensure we understand exactly what is going on,” says Nan Guo. “We talk, and we work together to solve problems. As a partner, Cloudflare stands out for their ability to communicate effectively. That transparency is extremely important to our common growth and the mutual trust we share.”

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Key Results
  • Supported Zendesk's rapid expansion of over 30% without performance loss or service degradation

  • Simplified data protection and regional compliance with granular data control on the network edge

  • Enhanced global cybersecurity posture, effectively mitigating threats such as the HTTP/2 Rapid Reset zero-day vulnerability

  • Accelerated application performance and enhanced customer experience, even in remote locations

Like Zendesk, innovation is in Cloudflare’s DNA — it mirrors our beautifully simple development ethos with the connectivity cloud, a powerful, yet simple-to-implement, end-to-end solution that does all the heavy lifting, so we don’t need to.

Nan Guo
Senior Vice President of Engineering

Every year our customers have higher expectations. Cloudflare has been an ideal partner, helping us meet those expectations with a secure product and reliable services.

Nan Guo
Senior Vice President of Engineering