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How much could a large business save by moving all branches “direct-to-internet?”

June 12, 2018 - 3 min read

“How much will it cost?” This is the number one question for teams considering the switch from legacy hub-and-spoke networks to a direct-to-internet approach. The answer for large, complex businesses is always the same: “It depends.”

We know there is a net-new cost associated with the branch internet connectivity required for a direct-to-internet approach. But it’s important to clarify the trade-offs that could result in a benefit to the organization. So, to put some meat on the bones for your consideration, we’ve prepared a typical scenario with three-year projections for old vs. new approaches.

Detailed numbers and graphs are in our new white paper, “The Key to Successful IT Transformation: Transforming the Network, Transforming the Branch.” Here are the highlights:

Our scenario assumes a large, distributed organization of 5,000 users with 50 branch locations backhauling all internet traffic to one of six data centers. WAN transmission costs are typical, given an average branch office population of 80 to 100 users . Each data center’s outbound internet gateway has a typical security appliance stack with web security, SSL inspection, and next-generation firewalls.

The scenario also assumes that all branches change to a direct-to-internet approach. This is simply to make the model easier to calculate; in the real world, an organization is more likely to test and gradually phase in the conversion. Zscaler can help you adjust these calculations to match your unique requirements.

Bottom line: our research shows the potential for more than a 50 percent reduction of WAN costs over three years for customers that transform branch connectivity with Zscaler. The scenario’s $2 million in savings includes reductions in WAN costs (as a result of no longer backhauling internet traffic), and the avoidance of costs needed for future WAN bandwidth upgrades.


Your CFO will be interested in a deeper dive into the numbers. For example, continuing the old approach will result in a three-year WAN cost of $4.79 million for 50 branches. The all-cloud, direct-to-internet approach with Zscaler will cost $2.77 million during the same thee-year period.

The direct-to-internet approach also allows organizations to simplify or completely eliminate their outbound internet gateway appliances. By doing so, the organization in this scenario will save $4.3 million by avoiding the annualized infrastructure costs of the six gateways for a five-year lifecycle, including management, maintenance, and licensing.

Your Zscaler representative can shed more light on this calculation and help you adapt it to your organization’s unique scenario and requirements.

Transforming into an all-cloud model can bring tremendous operational benefits. Often, a sales pitch focuses on the utility angle. In this case, transformation also promises enormous cost savings. This win-win combination of benefits will be welcome news for your organization’s leaders who are considering an all-cloud initiative.


Jason Georgi is Director of the Value Management Office at Zscaler.

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