As users work remotely, the quality of their experience when accessing private applications is an absolute priority. A better experience equals better productivity.
Since COVID-19, the number of unique Zscaler Private Access (ZPA) users has increased more than 13x! This has made ZPA one of the most popular zero trust remote access solutions in the world, already helping such customers as Johnson Controls, TT Electronics, MOWI, National Australia Bank, Ciena Bank, and so many more.
To continue to help our customers deliver the fastest and most secure user experience, we are always innovating and making Zscaler products more efficient. For the folks who are already familiar with ZPA, I think you’ll love these four enhancements we’ve recently added:
We created the concept of dedicated instances within ZPA. This means that the customer application cache is now stored in dedicated instances. Since Zscaler is a multitenant cloud for some of the largest customers in the world, dedicated resources for large customers won’t impact other customers. Any performance degradation is limited to the customers within a cluster, which minimizes customer impact by containing any potential problems.
We have sped up communication between different components of the ZPA service. ZPA Service Edges, which stitch together app-to-user connections, now have the ability to load-balance across different instances in the Central Authority (the brains of the Zscaler cloud). ZPA Services Edges can scale more effectively and minimize any delays during application access. Put simply, more efficient connections between different components equals faster application access.
The golden rule of real estate—location, location, locations—also applies to cloud services. ZPA has always been designed to direct traffic to the closest ZPA Service Edge (BTW, over the last few months we have added new ZPA Service Edges in Melbourne, Toronto, Milan, Zurich, Warsaw, New Delhi, and Miami, and beefed up ZPA capacity in Shanghai, Mumbai, and Cleveland). But if the admin configures the geo DNS suboptimally, it could result in a less-than-ideal user experience. For example, if a user is located in China, the application, the App Connector, and the Service Edge would also, ideally, be in China. However, if the DNS query was set to resolve in Texas, then the ZPA Service Edge in Dallas, Texas, might be selected to perform the user-to-app connection. Obviously, not ideal, especially when it comes to data residency laws. ZPA's new override of the geo DNS helps network admins avoid such issues. In the earlier example, ZPA would now automatically ensure that a ZPA Service Edge in China is selected to broker the user-to-private app connection.
NOTE: ZPA can now select Service Edges for App Connectors based on the Service Edge’s utilization.
ZPA has the ability to perform health monitoring and discover previously unknown applications (shadow IT) as remote users access them. IT can then apply granular policies to lock apps down. If thousands of applications are being discovered, this of course means lots of checking to see if the app, and its underlying infrastructure, is up and running. A new enhancement allows App Connectors to provide access without having to always report the health of applications being discovered—less traffic volume speeds up application access. We also released new documentation for monitoring App Connector performance.
The great thing about these cloud features is that all ZPA customers automatically have it by default! There are no appliances to update.
This is the power of a cloud service.
Remote work won’t be going away anytime soon. To support users as they work from anywhere and everywhere, you’ll need to be wary of technologies, such as VPN, and select cloud-delivered products that help you scale, remain secure, and, most importantly, BOOST productivity—the game changers! Not every cloud service is equal. So, when selecting one for accessing private apps, make sure it’s got the goods to get the job done. Or, more accurately, help your USERS get their jobs done.
Chris Hines is a director of product marketing for Zscaler Private Access