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Executive View
Zscaler is the world’s largest multi-tenant distributed cloud security platform that delivers a broad range of services without any on-premises hardware or software agents, including cybersecurity, network transformation, public cloud connectivity, and secure access to on-premises and cloud services.

1 Introduction

Zscaler is a global information security company that provides an integrated cloud-based platform for Internet security, compliance, advanced threat protection and other information security services. Founded in 2008, the company is headquartered in San Jose, California, USA, but maintains a strong global presence with several regional offices in Europe and Asia. Zscaler currently has over 1000 employees and serves millions of users from over 185 countries, including government organizations, some of the world’s largest multinational companies, as well as numerous small and medium businesses through their global partner network.

As businesses become more interconnected, the traditional notion of a security perimeter gradually ceases to exist. Protecting sensitive resources of an increasingly distributed company with a large mobile workforce is becoming a challenge that traditional security tools are no longer able to address. First, the number of potential threat vectors has increased dramatically, so a reliable Internet gateway has to combine a large number of specialized tools to cover just the most dangerous ones. Second, to protect multiple remote offices, enterprises have to either supply each location with a full stack of security appliances or route all local traffic to a central gateway. This can dramatically increase hardware costs and administration efforts, not to mention additional bandwidth losses and increased latency. Often, smaller locations and mobile users are left completely unprotected.

Zscaler provides a unique alternative approach to this problem by moving away from specialized on-premise security tools towards a unified, completely cloud-based Security-as-a-Service solution. The company’s security cloud comprises over 100 data centers around the world. Each cloud node is optimized for performing various kinds of content inspection while keeping latency to a minimum, which ensures high performance and future extensibility of the service. To use the service, traffic from an individual device or a network gateway simply needs to be forwarded to the Zscaler cloud, the rest happens automatically, without any hardware or software on the client side. Its massively scalable architecture ensures that there is never a bottleneck or a single point of failure like in a traditional central gateway even for customers with hundreds of thousands of protected users.

Thanks to the platform’s scalability and extensibility, Zscaler continues to innovate by offering new types of services for cyber threat protection, data loss prevention, network transformation and cloud adoption, both on their own and through technology partnerships. Since we’ve covered Zscaler back in 2015, several important developments have occurred that warrant the need for an updated review. In the past three years, the company has been growing steadily both in size and revenue, which culminated at a very successful IPO in March 2018; in the subsequent six months, the company has more than doubled its market capitalization.

To address multiple new challenges that arose in the recent years, such as the obstacles companies are facing in their cloud migration projects, the need to accommodate for the growing mobile workforce, as well as the latest compliance regulations like GDPR, Zscaler has substantially expanded the focus of the services they are offering through their cloud platform. Now the company provides cloud-based solutions for network transformation, public cloud connectivity, and secure access to on-premises and cloud applications.

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