Zscaler Zenith Live 2023 spanned four days of keynotes, training and certification sessions and more than sixty breakouts that covered zero-trust implementations, data protection, cloud application security, digital experience and more. I attended the final two days of the event and had the opportunity to spend time with founder and CEO Jay Chaudhry and some of his executive leadership team. It’s no surprise that the event showcased the company’s zero-trust leadership and longer-term vision for artificial intelligence.
New services validate Zscaler’s zero-trust architecture
Chaudhry opened the event by pointing to the nearly $220 billion in global spending annually on cybersecurity solutions. It’s a staggering number, akin to the gross domestic product of a small nation. In my experience speaking with enterprise customers, many of those dollars are earmarked for point solutions that don’t integrate well beyond basic API calls. This scenario creates an untenable management situation for security operations pros, one that manifests in coverage gaps and blind spots. Consequently, many enterprises are consolidating security tools to maximize protection and consolidate budgets.
Zscaler is well-positioned to address this trend. It claims to operate the largest security cloud on the planet, processing on average 300 billion transactions daily. That volume, according to Zscaler, exceeds the average daily number of Google searches. Leaning into its scale, the company announced four new services at Zenith Live to drive its sales momentum further.
- Zscaler Risk360 is a framework that visualizes and quantifies cybersecurity risk. Other solutions exist in the market that assign scores, but none ingest the same volume of data. Cybersecurity insurance is often a nuanced evaluation when determining policy premiums, and it often depends on self-reporting. What I like about Risk360 is that it provides credibility based on a mature architecture that Zscaler has developed over the last fifteen years. It also makes prioritized recommendations for faster remediation.
- Zero Trust Branch Connectivity is a first for Zscaler in that it includes a new appliance designed to simplify zero trust branch deployments. The company is partnering with Equinix to deliver a plug-and-play offering that has the potential to streamline operations and reduce costs through a standard broadband connection. I also like the fact that in partnering with Equinix, Zscaler can offer a host of additional edge and related services that are highly scalable.
- Zscaler Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) aims to provide real-time identity and credential monitoring, target misconfigurations and remediate issues and threats quickly and easily. Identity hacks are commonplace, orchestrated through social engineering that is difficult to thwart beyond improved training and security hygiene. Zscaler can deliver significant value to organizations of all sizes to help put a stop to these hacks.
- ZSLogin is a dashboard that aims to centralize entitlement management, provide passwordless multi-factor authentication (MFA) and provide automated administrator identity management in concert with other identity management solution providers. This process is often manual and time-consuming, leading to errors that expose organizations to high cybersecurity risks. Zscaler can help close that gap with this capability.
Leaning into generative AI
Generative AI is in vogue, and Zscaler recognizes its potential to thwart bad actors who are adopting it, too. To this end, Zscaler talked about three available solutions: Data Protection for AI, AI Visibility and Access Control and AITotal. The names of the first two products describe what they do; you can read more about them here. AITotal assigns a risk score to the ever-increasing number of AI applications, allowing enterprises to make informed decisions related to adoption. I believe that AITotal could serve as an effective guardrail given generative AI’s growing popularity.
Zscaler also announced three solutions in beta or preview that further leverage the power of generative AI. Security Autopilot enables AI engines to continuously learn from dynamic cloud-based policies and logs and recommend new policies that mitigate potential breaches. Zscaler Navigator is a natural language interface that has the potential to simplify the management of the company’s solution portfolio. Finally, Multi-Modal DLP aims to bolster data loss protection by analyzing video and audio formats, which extends functionality in an area that has historically been text-only. On the surface, all three are very promising.
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I continue to be impressed with how Zscaler is maturing its security cloud, underlying architecture and zero-trust offerings. In the process, the company continues to deliver incremental value for its customer base, as evidenced by the announcements at Zenith Live.
I also spent time with Zscaler’s New Initiatives and Take-Off team leadership, tasked with incubating forward-looking solutions. Unfortunately, I can’t provide details because those discussions are bound under non-disclosure. However, I can say that if Zscaler executes on what it is planning, I expect that it could fuel deeper penetration into its install base and the broader enterprise services market. In my opinion, that’s a smart zero-trust path.