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Unprecedented Cloud Resilience and Disaster Recovery from Zscaler

August 04, 2023 - 4 min read

Zenith Live ’23 was chock full of announcements about ongoing innovations shaping the worlds of cybersecurity, data protection, and network transformation. Zscaler has a track record of reimagining these areas and transforming businesses for the better with modern cloud native solutions. As the cloud security leader, we secure traffic and data for more than 40% of the Fortune 500, making Zscaler a critical component of the technology stack. On any given day, the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange processes over 300 billion requests as we strive to make our customers more agile, efficient, and secure.



Fig. 1: Misha Kuperman, SVP of Cloud Operations for Zscaler, presenting at Zenith Live 2023


Resilient by design

The reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) of our products is a top priority. We designed our hardware systems from the ground up with over-provisioned processing capacity and redundancy to provide the foundation for high resilience. Combined with our cloud native multitenant data center architecture and carrier-neutral connectivity, this ensures the Zscaler cloud stays resilient in the face of network or workload stresses.

In addition, we’ve perfected a set of equally resilient operational processes through our experience operating our inline security cloud—the world’s largest—for over 15 years and counting. This is why our products have a long history of near-perfect uptime, backed by industry-leading service level agreements (SLAs).

Detecting local issues at global scale

Having a robust architecture for the cloud allows Zscaler to offer services at scale without downtime. However, what really keeps our operations resilient day in, day out is our unique proactive cloud monitoring and incident management approach, which ensures that any disruption (at Zscaler or otherwise) is handled quickly and elegantly to minimize disruption for our customers. After all, unforeseen events such as natural disasters or nation-state attacks can impact even the most robust systems.

Most cloud technology providers observe and monitor disruptions in their cloud operations at the macro level in a centralized location. This time-tested method works for most scenarios, but at Zscaler, we take it a few notches higher, adding in the on-device monitoring capabilities of Zscaler Client Connector to get precise, near-real time feedback on any traffic interruptions or delays. This precision also lets us take highly targeted measures to quickly address or switch to optimal alternatives to keep customers functioning normally.

At Zenith Live ’23, we demonstrated the use of Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) in cloud operations for identifying performance bottlenecks and quickly zoning in on problem areas before resolving them. You can read about how we’ve already applied it to address several real-life incidents in this blog.



Fig. 2: ZDX showing global trends of network issues, helping the support team quickly narrow down and resolve them


Dynamic path optimization and Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities

While most issues we see and address are related to traffic handling between the Zero Trust Exchange and a target application, customer traffic can sometimes have trouble getting to the Zero Trust Exchange to begin with. This could be due to blackouts (e.g., data center outage), brownouts (e.g., connectivity issues), complete outages during natural disasters, and more. Mitigating blackout issues could be as simple as switching to an alternate carrier or data center provider, or leaning on the over-provisioned capacity of the data center itself. However, brownouts and disasters can be more challenging and can prove costly, in terms of both lost productivity and revenue.

To address these scenarios, Zscaler announced a robust set of capabilities to enhance the resilience of Zscaler cloud earlier this year. Read this blog for additional details, and check out this webpage for more information.

At Zenith Live ’23, we demonstrated two capabilities, Dynamic Service Edge Selection and Disaster Recovery, with our longtime customer Charles Schwab. Dynamic Service Edge Selection helps customers quickly recover from brownouts with automated latency-based path selection, which ensures that at any given time, user traffic chooses the lowest-latency path to the Zero Trust Exchange. In catastrophic scenarios where the Zero Trust Exchange might be impacted, Disaster Recovery ensures that access to SaaS and internet apps is restricted to certain critical applications only, while private applications are still accessible via Zscaler Private Service Edge, where the most updated security policies are still applied. 


Unprecedented resilience from an unmatched cloud


Fig. 3: Unparalleled growth in daily transactions secured by Zscaler


Today, Zscaler is a cloud security leader with a reputation for peerless innovation and execution. When customers engage with Zscaler solutions, they get not only our best technology, but also solutions built on the most resilient security cloud—with architecture and operations that have been perfected across more than 15 years. At Zscaler, we will continue to innovate and offer differentiated solutions to our customers, but the greatest differentiator is the Zscaler cloud itself, upon which we build and deliver our solutions. As Misha Kuperman, SVP of Cloud Operations at Zscaler, likes to say: “There’s no compression algorithm for experience.”

We hope you were able to join us at Zenith Live ’23 in Las Vegas or Berlin to celebrate innovation, collaboration, and succeeding together. If you missed it, you can still catch up: watch select innovation and insight sessions on demand.

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