What drives innovation in organizations? When people ask me this question, my answer is always the same: business strategy. It's simple - to deliver innovation at scale, organizations must develop a strategic vision of what they are trying to achieve, with a clear understanding of how technology can support their goals. And by modelling secure infrastructures for highly mobile and decentralized organizations, Zscaler can underpin these transformation initiatives.
If organizations embrace the ideal scenario of an innovation cadence, they can completely reimagine the way they build their companies. Innovative organizations have already started thinking 10 years ahead with their technology life cycles and many predict the end of buying infrastructure or even owning warehouses; replaced by a renting service model in a warehouse that builds, packages, and ships products to customers.
The foundation of this bold vision is to utilize dynamic solutions as a service. Computation knowledge and technology infrastructure are no longer just a technology function but an output of a business logic flow. The flexibility of a service approach allows organizations to move their business forward into the future much faster and dynamically, freeing them from the administrative burden of owning technology.
Thinking out of the box
Making such a bold move may seem challenging, and most organizations will push back, claiming it's not feasible or too burdensome. This is like the response we receive when introducing the concept of Zero Trust security to decision-makers. Organizations often don't know where to start in making the shift to a new security paradigm that is relevant for the age of the cloud. They have too many systems, complexities in their infrastructure, and get lost in detail that appears to be relevant to for a cloud-first transformation journey for a highly decentralized workforce.
An easy tabletop exercise helps organizations get started on their Zero Trust journey (as well as their innovation vision). For Zscaler, Zero Trust is not just a technology upgrade to another box; it is a continuous evolution towards more agility, simplicity of infrastructures, and greater resilience. It all begins with gaining insight into the roles and responsibilities of employees as the foundation for access privileges to required apps and services.
My recommendation to business functions today is to review their business continuity plan and ask themselves what they would do if they had to rebuild everything from scratch. This exercise helps them identify their core assets easily. In the next step, decision-makers need to determine who needs access to those core assets. This establishes a logical flow that can be used to implement Zero Trust. Although few organizations voluntarily take this strategic step, many enterprises are forced into running a tabletop exercise when they experience a ransomware attack. They then have to follow a similar routine of gradually granting access to apps in order of business priority to re-establish access permissions to their core systems.
All organizations can innovate, but often take the easy route and innovate with what they already know. The IT team is usually tasked with maintaining the technology stack and leading the process. However, organizations fare better when they innovate as a unit, considering the requirements of all business units and pursuing a multithreaded path. Innovation requires coordinated efforts to bring all stakeholders to the round table.
When all forces are combined, a new strategic direction for the business logic can be mutually decided. If the future involves procuring many services, it is essential to ensure that those services are interconnected to establish the logic layer. This understanding serves as the starting point for organizations' innovation initiatives: the ability to build a logical business flow that is consistently available whenever required.
This brings us to the Zero Trust debate. Security must be an integral part of the innovation exercise. As technology evolves and becomes a result of the business strategy, securing that strategy becomes equally important in the journey. To protect a service-oriented business model effectively, it should be implemented from scratch to avoid creating an attack surface for the hostile outside world. Companies that excel in initiating the innovation process toward Zero Trust have realized the necessity of disconnecting from existing infrastructure in order to innovate and transition to Security as a Service.
The pandemic and current macroeconomic conditions have clearly demonstrated the innovative potential of organizations. At Zenith Live 23 in Las Vegas and Berlin, we are bringing together innovative brands that have successfully harnessed their innovative forces to transform their organizations. This event enables peers to learn from each other's best practices. At Zscaler, we will also be discussing the future of security innovation. Our services portfolio already encompasses a significant amount of innovative power, and we are excited to unveil our AI innovations that are driving transformation for our customers.