Zscaler Cloud Security: Product Overview and Insight

Zscaler is uniquely positioned to help companies migrate to the cloud and keep them secure once there.

PO_ZScaler

eWEEK is building a new IT products and services section that encompasses most of the categories that we cover on our site. In it, we will spotlight the leaders in each sector, which include enterprise software, hardware, security, on-premises-based systems and cloud services. We also will add promising new companies as they come into the market.

Today: Zscaler (cloud security)

Company description: Zscaler, headquartered in San Jose, Calif., is a provider of cloud application security that was founded in 2008 by CEO Jay Chaudhry. Just as Salesforce.com was the first customer-relationship management company in the cloud, Zscaler was one of, if not the first, security solution born in the cloud.

As such, the company is uniquely positioned to help companies migrate to the cloud and keep them secure once there. This is known as a zero trust security architecture where, unlike legacy solution that trusts anything in network, everything and everyone is viewed as untrusted until identification and access has been verified. This also serves to effectively eliminate the need for VPNs, because it makes a device’s IP address invisible to anyone that has not been given access.

Zscaler went public on March 16, 2018, listing on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ZS. As part of its IPO, the company raised $192 million at a valuation of $1.87 billion.

Markets:  Zscaler has offices in the following locations: San Jose, Calif. (HQ); New York, NY; Raleigh, NC

International Operations:  Burnaby, BC, Canada; Reading, UK; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Munich, Germany; Courbevoie, France; Bangalore, India; Chandigarh, India; Sydney, Australia; Melbourne, Australia; Singapore; Tokyo

Products and Services

Zscaler Internet Access: This product transforms how enterprises deliver internet security.  Zscaler Internet Access is a security stack as a cloud service that delivers fast, secure and reliable access to the internet and SaaS apps. Unlike traditional centralized approaches, it allows organizations to connect directly to the cloud for security and minimize appliance and network infrastructure.  Built for performance and scalability, Zscaler Internet Access cost effectively delivers security to all offices or users, regardless of location, and is the best approach to enable initiatives such as SD-WAN or Office 365.

Zscaler Private Access (ZPA): This redefines private application access. ZPA is a software-defined perimeter service that was built to provide secure connectivity to private applications running in the data center and on public cloud, without ever placing users on the network. Since the service leverages the Zscaler cloud, not physical or virtual appliances, it redefines private application access and takes a user and app-centric approach versus a network-centric one. This leads to simplified management of network processes, higher application availability, real-time visibility into user access activity and a completely frictionless end user experience.

Insight and Analysis

IT Central Station has several reviews of Zscaler. (Reviews averaged 4.5 stars on a five-star scale.) Some comments from a professional user:

How has it helped my organization?  “This solution helps you establish a secure connection from your laptop to the closest Zscaler point of presence. So you have protection anywhere in the world. That's the advantage of it. You don't have to VPN all the way to your home office if you're half-the-world away. You go to the closest Zscaler connection and get your policies applied there. It’s very powerful. It’s great for anybody who has a lot of distributed work force, a lot of work from home people, or a lot of road warriors, that is where Zscaler shines.”

“It is scalable. You can easily put new users and offices on it. It is cloud-based, so you do not run into a hardware limitation like you would with other products.”

"The pricing is an issue. It is expensive if you have all of your users in the same location. It is expensive compared to other firewalls on the market.”

G2 Crowd has a number of Zscaler reviews on its peer-review site (4-star rating average, based on 15 reviews). Some comments:

What do you like best? “The portability of the security system. I was using Symantec endpoint and moved into Zscaler as a organization decision. The move was smooth and good and the portability that comes with Zscaler is amazing. Anything that needs to be done to the system can be done remote from access to management. The Zscaler controls everything from phishing emails to malign attacks.”

What do you dislike? “The performance is a pain. I could really feel that the system is much slower to boot, operate and shut down itself. The emails or communications takes its own time to get delivered to the system. The delay sometimes are even 2 minutes and more. So, yes the performance is a pain in Zscaler. Also the remote management is not instant and would require the end client user to wait a few minutes before it takes effect.”

Gartner Peer Reviews has more than 100 reviews of Zscaler products. Comments on the security gateway include:

Overall Comment: “We came from a Websense on-site web filtering, and it hadn't kept up with the demands of Web 2.0, not to mention the complexity of some of the moving parts. When our contract started to expire, we looked into cloud offerings. Zscaler was quick to offer a proof of concept trial since we had an established relationship with the sales team. Our PoC had very few hiccups and was so successful that we accelerated our installation by six months. We have been running it for more than two years with great results and minimal interruptions. The constant improvements without having to actively manage local hardware is a boon to us and freed up valuable resources. User acceptance and satisfaction is much higher than when we were using Websense. Reporting is very good and we also run a local NSS log server that feeds our Splunk for system security purposes.” (Five-star rating)

Taking into consideration the aggregate ratings of these three peer-review sites, eWEEK awards Zscaler 4.7 stars on a five-star scale.

List of current customers include: AutoNation, The Federal Communication Commission, Johnson Controls, Siemens, Michelin and Miami Heat, among others

Delivery:  Cloud subscription

Pricing:  For pricing information contact: https://www.zscaler.com/company/contact

Other key players in this market:  Palo Alto Networks, FireEye, F5 Networks

Contact information for potential customers:  https://www.zscaler.com/company/contact

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...