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Your Appliances are Holding You Back. It’s Time to Break Free.

July 06, 2020 - 5 min read

For more than 12 years, our founder and CEO, Jay Chaudhry, has been talking about how the cloud would become one of the biggest disruptors, changing the way we all do business. He envisioned a future where the cloud would ultimately eliminate the traditional corporate network, making the internet the new corporate network and providing organizations with greater resiliency and flexibility.

Executives, IT leaders, and network professionals at public agencies and private organizations around the globe have taken notice and begun embracing the benefits of the cloud. But some are still hesitant to abandon their legacy security appliances for the cloud, and that’s understandable. After all, it isn’t easy to move away from something you have spent so much money, time, and energy to build and maintain. And humans are, by nature, resistant to change.    

But the recent global crisis has underscored the need for organizations to become more flexible and agile so they can seamlessly enable employees to work from anywhere—at least anywhere but the office—and be ready for new business challenges the future will surely bring. Such agility is only possible with the cloud.

The evidence is clear

The move to the cloud is happening and the numbers bear this out. According to a Gartner report, worldwide IT spending on legacy data center systems is falling. Another Gartner report forecasts that 80 percent of organizations will have migrated away from on-premises data centers by 2025.

While I like reading these reports, what I enjoy more are the multitude of articles, blogs, and videos talking about the benefits organizations are seeing by moving away from their legacy appliances. Organizations of all sizes and from different industries are discovering the benefits of a move to the cloud, including cost savings, reduced risk, and more.

The problem with appliances

Security appliances were never designed for the world of mobility and the cloud, and legacy appliance vendors have struggled to pivot and embrace these technological shifts. As applications are moving out of the data center and into the cloud, and employees are off the network more than they are on it, the traditional secure web gateway has become obsolete.

As a response, hardware vendors have been attempting to spin up “cloud” instances of their hardware appliances. But, as we’ve said before, that’s like building a Netflix streaming service using thousands of DVD players. It simply can’t scale like a true cloud-built platform and it can’t perform like one. On the business side, as the legacy hardware business landscape has changed, many vendors have undergone acquisitions and leadership changes as the industry fights to stay relevant. All of these changes result in an unclear future for their products and services—and customers.

From a performance standpoint, physical appliances and virtual machines can’t inspect all content and SSL traffic at scale, while hybrid solutions don’t provide identical policy enforcement. Allowing some traffic to go uninspected, particularly the majority of traffic that’s encrypted, is risky due to the sizable percentage of attacks hiding in SSL traffic. A lack of identical security is risky, too, especially with the high number of employees connecting to their applications from everywhere using the internet.

There’s a good chance that you’ve been adding point products to your security stack in an attempt to stave off new types of attacks and provide added services and functionalities. Managing and integrating all of these disjointed point products results in unnecessary cost and complexity. And we all know that rising costs don’t go over too well in the boardroom.

The benefits of a cloud platform

Employee mobility, applications moving to the cloud, the changing face of cybercrime, and a business requirement to improve performance while reducing costs—these are the realities of business today. This landscape demands a comprehensive platform built specifically to address these issues—a platform built and maintained by a cloud security pioneer that has been innovating services and running a global cloud for more than 12 years.

IT leaders looking to securely accelerate their digital transformation are turning to the Zscaler cloud platform, built on the secure access service edge (SASE) framework, first defined by Gartner. SASE flips the security model. Instead of focusing on a secure perimeter, SASE focuses on the entities, such as users and devices, and pushes security as close to them as possible for a fast experience. Based on an organization’s defined business rules, SASE dynamically allows or denies connections to applications and services.

Zscaler’s integrated security platform is based on the SASE framework. It reduces the attack surface and provides identical protection with consistent policy enforcement everywhere users connect, as it scales security services dynamically across 150 global data centers. Users always connect to their nearest data center for a fast, local, and secure experience, and every connection is secured with a full range of services, including Cloud Firewall, Cloud Sandbox, CASB, Cloud Browser Isolation, and much more. 

The Zscaler proxy architecture delivers full content inspection at scale, even inside SSL. The Zscaler Cloud Security Platform integrates multiple point products with single-pass authentication, inspection, and policy enforcement. It reduces complexity for customers by moving all services to the cloud with a central console, and it gets 120,000 security updates per day to protect against the latest threats. Best of all, there is no hardware or software to install or manage. You simply point your traffic to Zscaler and we do the rest.

Isn’t it time?

When it comes to the security of your data as well as the user experience for your employees, can you rely on a vendor with outdated technology and an uncertain product roadmap? Or should you put your trust in an industry pioneer who has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for nine consecutive years?

It seems like an easy answer.

Still not convinced? Then join me on July 21 for a live webinar where I’ll discuss how you can easily break free from your appliances.

Steve House is the senior vice president of product management at Zscaler.

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