Understanding Zscaler for Secure Digital Transformation

As companies speed up digital innovation, they need new approaches securing data and users across complex environments spanning cloud platforms, SaaS apps, internet gateways, and remote worker endpoints vulnerable to cyber threats. Zscaler meets those emerging business challenges.

This guide explains core Zscaler components, how the platform operates as secure access service edge (SASE), common customer use cases, unique advantages over legacy models, and industry analyst commentary on market leadership. Read on to see why enterprises rate Zscaler essential for secure digital transformation.

Zscaler Overview

Zscaler was founded in 2008 by CEO Jay Chaudhry as a cloud-based security platform built on zero trust principles. The Silicon Valley firm went public in 2018 and now serves over 5,000 global customers.

The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange aims to securely connect users, devices, and applications across distributed IT ecosystems using micro-segmented access control, robust threat prevention, and full encryption aligned to four solution pillars:

  • Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA):
  • Cloud platform securing web gateway tra c to block threats and safely enable internet use
  • Zscaler Private Access (ZPA):
  • Zero trust network access product allowing remote users authorized application-level access without exposing entire networks
  • Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX):
  • User experience monitoring for identifying application or network-based glitches degrading performance
  • Zscaler Cloud Protection (ZCP):
  • Inline cloud security posture management and data protection across IaaS and SaaS environments

Architecturally, Zscaler functions as globally distributed carrier-grade cloud nodes performing security scanning on tra c instead of legacy hub-and-spoke models funneling

data flows through centralized hardware appliances. This cloud-native advantage brings simplicity, flexibility, resiliency and scale.

How Zscaler Enables Zero Trust and SASE

Zero trust framework in cybersecurity assumes no users, devices or networks inherently

trustworthy. So Zscaler verifies every access attempt via granular rules assessing parameters like user identity, device security posture, authentication factors, data classification types requested, and threat environment context signals. Only the precise access required gets dynamically granted per policy.

Meanwhile, Gartner coined the “secure access service edge” (SASE) concept in 2019 describing convergence of wide area networking (WAN) and network security functions into unified cloud-native platforms like Zscaler’s.

SASE principles enable identity-based secure access layers fostering business mobility, cloud adoption and internet use because data flows route through distributed access points rather than force-tunneling back to fixed broker appliances. Zscaler embodies SASE for simplifying IT complexity amidst expansion.

Common Customer Use Cases

  • Direct-to-internet tra c routing (web/SaaS):
  • Send internet-bound data directly through Zscaler rather than legacy firewalls, gaining cloud security scanning unavailable traditionally on-premises. Simplifies architectures.
  • Microsoft O ce 365 optimization:
  • As customers migrate o ce productivity suites to Microsoft’s cloud, routing via ZIA improves user experience globally through optimized connectivity while boosting security.
  • Remote/mobile workforce enablement:
  • ZPA secures devices o -network through zero trust access to internal apps without wide VPNs increasing attack surfaces. Enables work-from-anywhere flexibility.
  • Cloud workload protection:
  • Inline ZCP defenses across IaaS environments like AWS and Azure watch workloads, preventing threats, data leaks, misconfigurations and compliance gaps. Bolsters DevSecOps.
  • Digital experience monitoring:
  • ZDX sensors distributed across networks supply user-based metrics identifying application latency impacts or network issues degrading business connectivity. Streams telemetry for troubleshooting.

Advantages Over Legacy Security Models

Zscaler contrasts sharply with appliance-centric approaches ill-equipped for dispersed environments, emerging threats, and overburdened security teams needing simpler management. Benefits encompass:

  • Consolidates security stacks into one cloud platform with broader, faster threat protection
  • Frictionless inline security without network performance downsides of hardware chokepoints
  • Elastic scalability across global networks with easy spin-up of new security nodes Faster security delivery keeping pace with business via cloud updates
  • Granular access controls following users across devices and locations

With over 150 global data centers filtering tra c nearby users, Zscaler fosters digital innovation safely.

Industry Recognition and Commentary

TrustRadius: 2021 award for Best Feature Set based on 950+ verified Zscaler reviews highlighting capabilities securing digital transformation

Gartner: Named Zscaler a Leader in its Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateways for 13 consecutive years – top right positioning

Forrester: Identified Zscaler as a Leader in its New Wave: Zero Trust Network Access report – among highest scores in current o ering category and strategy

IDC: Worldwide Secure Web Gateway Vendor Assessment profiles Zscaler as o ering “broadest set of internet security capabilities” with “very high-performance architecture”

A Leader across analyst assessments, Zscaler enables organizations to progress securely into emerging digital realities.

Looking Ahead With Zscaler

Demand grows for distributed and mobile-first security models fit for cloud scale. Zscaler’s platform navigates those frontiers e ectively as enterprises digitally transform.

SASE convergence remains early despite accelerating adoption. By 2024, Gartner predicts 40% of enterprises will have explicit strategies for SASE up from less than 1% in 2018 – a massive leap in just a few years. Zscaler sits centrally within that growth story as cloud-based security, networking and edge access management merge.

Through cloud-native foundations enabling zero trust connections, holistic visibility and control across infrastructures, and a future-ready architecture meeting businesses wherever they lead, Zscaler sustains technology leadership amidst the cybersecurity expansion necessary to support digital innovation securely.

FAQs About Zscaler

How does Zscaler contrast with traditional firewall security models?

Unlike legacy hub-and-spoke firewalls inspecting tra  c at centralized chokepoints after backhauling data flows through MPLS or VPNs, Zscaler distributes security checks into the cloud globally nearer users for faster, broader protection and simpler management without uprooting hardware each product change.

Can Zscaler watch user experience metrics?

The Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) module tracks application responsiveness, network connectivity, and other telemetry creating a quality scoring model assessing what performance issues degraded business productivity at any location. IT teams leverage the data  pinpointing  problems.

Is Zscaler a next-gen firewall replacement?

It potentially could be since ZIA handles key firewall capabilities, but also consolidates extra overlapping products for stronger, simpler security. With SASE adoption, ZIA is best positioned as cloud security gateway routing internet tra  c directly to web while next-gen firewalls focus on internal east-west data flows.

Does Zscaler integrate with SOC workflows?

Absolutely – native and via APIs. ZIA feeds blocklists, security logs and threat telemetry into SIEMs, SOARs and XDRs for correlation, alerts and remediation playbooks. ZPA access logs and anomalies also flow to networks and endpoints for holistic monitoring. Tightening integrations enhance security workflows.

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