Netskope Building a CDN Caliber Global Network


What does a company do when they raise $400M, are a leader in CASB (cloud access security broker), have a growing product line, earned Unicorn status, and hit a roadblock when it comes to global network performance due to legacy architecture?

Hire the engineering staff of a CDN to build a CDN-caliber global network. That’s what Netskope has done. They’ve hired dozens of “hardcore” CDN engineers that have extensive experience in building large global networks.

Below is a list of Netskope engineers that have worked for the heavyweights such as Limelight Networks, and includes everyone from executive engineering talent to network architects to everything in between.

Many of the engineers on the list worked at Limelight Networks. That begs the question, what is Netskope up to and what kind of network are they building?

Limelight Networks is unique among CDNs because they have built a public network and a global private network. There are only 2 of 45 CDNs with a global private network, Limelight and Aryaka.

Therefore, we can deduce that this team is building a global private network and possibly a public network, similar to Limelight. Once the network is built, they’ll simply rearchitect the security stack and place it right on top of the global network. Building a global private network is more challenging and costly than building a public BGP network, hence the reason many CDNs have shied away from this type of network.

The primary benefits of the private network are 1) keeps traffic on the vendor network longer 2) vendors have more control over the customer’s data and 3) provides a competitive advantage over the likes of Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks, F5, etc.

Cloud Security Industry

The CDN industry continues to expand into new markets, and security is a big one. Today, a few CDNs compete fiercely against legacy security vendors such as Radware, Cisco, Arbor, and so on. The new trend in the CDN industry, build a security stack that goes beyond DDoS protection, WAF, bot mitigation, and API security.

Netskope is an interesting case study because they are expanding from the security industry into the sphere of the CDN. There is a little overlap in what Netskope, Akamai and Cato Networks are offering, but more than anything, the trio is a threat to the pure-play security vendor model.

It should come to no surprise that cloud security and network performance are inseparable. One can’t be sacrificed for the other. To do so puts that vendor at a competitive disadvantage. Cloudflare and VDMS have taken this to heart. Their stack has been modernized to examine every packet that comes into their network, at which point they can determine if it is a threat or not, in microseconds.

What’s the security-based network model of the future? Someday in the future, the security vendor will figure out that the best model is to charge a monthly subscription fee to protect each employee, and in that fee the customer gets everything – DLP, intrusion detection/prevention, WAF, CASB, VPN, next-gen firewall, ATP, RASP, DDoS protection, bot mitigation, Zero Trust, API security, etc.

Company Profile

  • Company: Netskope, Inc.
  • Started: 2012
  • HQ: Santa Clara
  • # of Employees: 780+
  • Raised: $400M
  • Investors: Benchmark, Google Ventures, SVAngel, Fuel Capital, and a few others
  • Founders: Sanjay Beri (CEO) and Ravi Ithal (Chief Architect)
  • Products: CASB, Access control, DLP, threat protection, anomaly detection, GRC, Cloud Encryption, and more

Netskope Engineers w/ CDN Background

  1. Jason Hofmann: VP Platform Architecture from Limelight Networks
  2. Joe DePalo: SVP Platform Engineering from Limelight Networks
  3. Brad Harvell: Sr. SE from Limelight Networks / Founding Principal
  4. Jake Roersma: Platform Engineering from Limelight Networks
  5. John Willbanks: Network Architect from Limelight Networks
  6. Jason Wolfe: Systems Architect from Limelight Networks
  7. Freddy Haase: Director of Platform Engineering from AWS and Limelight
  8. Zac Ceigler: Systems Engineer who worked at Limelight Network in the past
  9. Lonhyn Jasinkyj: Principal Architect who worked as SVP Engineering at Limelight in the past
  10. B Black: Systems Architect who worked at Limelight in the past
  11. Scott Leibrand: Network Architect who worked at Limelight in the past
  12. Naveen Prabhu: Principal Product Manager from Instart
  13. Jon Bosanac: Principal Architect from Nu:ubit
  14. Patrick Bohannon: VP Infrastructure from AWS
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