Cloudflare acquires S2 Systems to strengthen new security suite

9 Jan 2020

Cloudflare's San Francisco headquarters. Image: © Andrei/

Cloudflare intends to add the browser technology developed by S2 Systems into its new security suite, Cloudflare for Teams.

Cloudflare, the US web infrastructure and security business, has acquired Seattle-based tech firm S2 Systems. The deal closed at the end of December, with neither of the companies disclosing the terms of the acquisition.

S2 was founded in 2018 by former senior Microsoft employees with strong backgrounds in enterprise technology. Its 10 employees will move into Cloudflare’s new Seattle office following the acquisition.

Cloudflare intends to add S2’s technology to Cloudflare Gateway, which is part of a new security suite designed to protect corporate employees and data, named Cloudflare for Teams.

S2 Systems has developed browser isolation technology that executes browser code on cloud servers, rather than on a user’s device. This solution minimises security threats to the device by only sending rendering instructions to the viewer’s browser. Users can browse and navigate without adding risks posed by threats across the public internet.

Before the deal, S2 kept a low profile and had been working in stealth mode.

A deal that represents a ‘revolution’

Cloudflare said that prior to S2’s technology, existing solutions relied on “streaming video of web content (pixel streaming) or attempting to sanitise known malicious content (DOM reconstruction) that forces users to make a trade-off between security and performance”.

S2 developed its technology to avoid this “trade-off”, and Cloudflare expects that it can now use S2’s technology to protect endpoints from zero-day vulnerabilities without sacrificing speed, website compatibility or user experience.

The technology has been described by Amit Mital, former Symantec CTO and current CEO of Kernel Labs, as an “innovative approach” that “changes the fundamental calculus for remote browser isolation”. Mital said that the combination of Cloudflare and S2 Systems “represents a revolution of the browser and how we securely interact with the web”.

Building a better internet

Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, said: “The experienced team at S2 Systems has built an advanced technology that we believe surpasses other browser isolation technologies.

“When we met their team and evaluated the technology they’ve built, we knew that they had the missing piece we needed to support our Gateway product and build out our new Cloudflare for Teams capabilities. We can’t wait to integrate their stellar team within Cloudflare and utilise their remarkable technology in our platform as we continue to help build a better internet.”

Commenting on the acquisition, S2 Systems co-founder and CEO David Harnett said: “In joining Cloudflare’s team, we truly feel that we can make a difference across the whole internet, by making it faster, better and safer for all users.”

S2 Systems co-founder Darren Remington added: “Cloudflare’s team is nimble and mission-led, and we felt there were great synergies across our teams and alignment across our ambitions and goals. Their ability to run code at the edge – the way it should be run – is unlike anything we’ve seen before, and we’re excited to join our technology with their existing platform.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic