“We made a substantial amount of product enhancements to make sure we worked well with Office. That’s what we spent a fair amount of time and energy on, investing on the product side, and obviously that has manifested in the sheer number of customers that we have today on our cloud. We have seen a 20x increase in Office 365 traffic over the last three years.”
A better Office 365 end-user experience
Zscaler, a global cloud-based security company with more than 2,700 customers and over 15 million paying users, offers security solutions for both Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365. According to Minocha, more than 700 companies have used Zscaler Internet Access for Office 365 deployment, including AutoNation, Manulife, Jabil, Umicore, Intertek and Johnson Controls. Zscaler processes an average of 1.8 petabytes of Office 365 traffic per month and one billion Office 365 requests daily.
To attain optimum performance, Microsoft recommends that Office 365 customers break out locally into the Microsoft network. According to Minocha, there’s a need to address customer security concerns, and this is where Zscaler comes in. “Think of us as a security platform that fits between the end user and the actual destination. We have about 100 datacenters worldwide, and now we are co-located in several Microsoft data centers as well.”
Minocha continued: “We are able to get that Office traffic onto the Microsoft network as quickly as possible with as little latency as possible. That’s something that very much appeals and aligns with the Office product team, and that’s why they get energized and excited about working with us,” he said. “Customers also get excited because they’re getting a much better end-user experience with Office 365 and they have not compromised their security posture.”
Zscaler Cloud Security Platform and ZPA for Azure
One example of a customer that Zscaler and Microsoft collaborated to help was the Hartmann Group, a manufacturer of medical and healthcare products that is located in more than 30 countries with over 10,000 employees around the world. The Hartmann Group introduced Microsoft Office 365 to reduce administrative costs for its IT department, and needed to replace the security hardware at each location with a cloud-delivered platform. They decided that the Zscaler Cloud Security Platform was the best solution.
“Within the scope of our switch to Office 365, the next-generation firewall from the cloud and the simple connection to the Zscaler security cloud have made things a lot easier for us,” said Maximilian Plitz, IT Consultant for Security & LAN at the Hartmann Group.
While much of the focus over the past two years has been on their Office 365 solution, Zscaler recently announced the launch of their new platform, Zscaler Private Access (ZPA) for Microsoft Azure. Zscaler’s ZPA platform runs on the Azure Cloud to provide direct access to Azure applications, while eliminating the cost, complexity, and poor user experience of on-premises de-militarized zones (DMZ), which typically consist of multiple appliances.
“This is a solution that gives customers an optimal way to migrate their internally-focused applications and make them work seamlessly across their employee base, regardless of their location worldwide,” said Luis Mendoza, Senior Director of Business Development at Zscaler.
“Zscaler helps to simplify the enterprise journey to Microsoft Azure for both public and hybrid environments,” said Yousef Khalidi, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure Networking. “We’re excited to see them choose Azure to build out their access technologies. Zscaler Private Access gives users the choice and the benefit of secure connectivity for any authorized user to business applications over any internet connection and remote access points as if it were a SaaS application.”
A strong roadmap
According to Mendoza, working closely with Microsoft teams to understand upcoming technology developments has helped Zscaler effectively plan ahead. “We have a very strong roadmap, which is extremely valuable, because oftentimes there are questions as to what’s next. To that end, we have a very robust answer. There are a comprehensive set of incremental technologies we will be building for the foreseeable future.”
Zscaler recently achieved Microsoft Co-Sell Ready status, and Mendoza said he was optimistic about new possibilities. “We have a strong alignment with the Azure goals of enabling customers to bring their applications to the Azure Cloud. This is one of the areas where we are looking forward to co-selling more closely,” he said. “With Office 365 and ZPA for Azure, we’re doing a focused effort to drive more direct relationships across both field teams worldwide. It is a very strong set of approaches to offer our services jointly in the marketplace. I think it’s all about collaborating with one another to get there.”