In November 2021, we announced the achievement of 100% renewable energy being used to operate our offices and data centers, which is a critical milestone for us, our customers, and the future impact on the environment as our market share continues to grow. In this blog post, I’d like to provide some detail on our approach to building a greener security cloud, which includes many initiatives to embed environmental sustainability into how we operate.
When customers entrust their cybersecurity to our cloud, they have the ability to improve their environmental impact by removing on-premises hardware, which also reduces—or even eliminates—activities like shipping, handling, and business travel associated with installing and maintaining stacks of security appliances. But that’s not all. Our teams have taken the initiative to build a cloud that is environmentally conscious and can demonstrate this with concrete achievements.
To start, the underlying architecture of our cloud platform was built from scratch and designed to efficiently scale, knowing we were going to support the entire network traffic of major enterprises, including companies in the Forbes Global 2000. “Zenith of Scalability” is our mantra, and our engineering team is laser-focused on optimizing processing efficiency. Our multi-tenant cloud architecture enables better utilization of resources. Innovations, such as our patented “single-scan multiple action,” drastically reduce the number of compute cycles when compared to the service chaining approach of legacy platforms that requires workloads to be passed along multiple servers for the same set of security actions. This is an absolute must since we process more than 200 billion transactions per day for our customers.
As part of the cloud operations team, we are responsible for building and running the global infrastructure and pride ourselves on the ability to scale in advance of our customer needs with a focus on quality and reliability. The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange operates in more than 150 data centers globally to provide security and a great user experience to our customers around the world.
In building our cloud, we select data center providers that are exceptionally connected with the highest level of security, close to users, and operationally reliable. We are continuously innovating to push the boundaries of resource and energy efficiency. This includes partnering with data centers that prioritize the use of renewable energy wherever possible and green practices such as motion-activated LED lights, automated controls, use of recycled water for cooling, and other PUE (power usage effectiveness) optimizations.
We updated our data center procurement process to incorporate sustainability as a key factor in the selection and renewal criteria. We push improvements and monitor progress during regular business reviews with our data center providers and hold our partners accountable during renewal periods. Through this engagement approach and the actions of our data center providers, we were able to achieve more than 75 percent renewable energy in powering our cloud. We also engage in education initiatives in parts of the world where renewable energy is still not top of mind.
“Zscaler has built the largest and most scalable security cloud in the world,” said Misha Kuperman, SVP Cloud Operations at Zscaler. “I am proud that this was done with sustainability in mind!”
In partnership with the Zscaler Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) team, we sought to understand how to improve the environmental impact of the balance of non-renewable energy usage of our cloud. By calculating our contracted energy use and building on the information reported by our data center providers, we were able to quantify where there was room to improve.
We looked at different approaches and determined that Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) were the best fit to source the balance of renewable energy for all the global locations of our cloud infrastructure and our offices. RECs are a way to track renewable electricity and is the globally recognized mechanism for owning the environmental benefits associated with the generation of renewable energy. Working with 3Degrees, we sourced high-quality RECs from solar and wind projects around the world, in countries where we have operations, to reach 100% renewable energy.
“It is great to see our engineering and operations teams embrace the challenge of building a better security cloud that is less impactful on the environment,” said Victor Wong, Senior Director ESG, Zscaler. “We see this as another benefit to our customers as they work to achieve their own ESG goals - particularly as they seek to quantify and reduce their upstream emissions.”
As we look forward to building infrastructure to support our company’s commercial growth, we will continue to keep in mind our environmental impact -- as we know that this is what is right for our company, our customers, and the planet.
To learn more about Zscaler ESG initiatives, read: