"Change is uncomfortable. Fear of the unknown leads to inertia. The bold and curious will succeed." – Jay Chaudhry, Zscaler
How can we bridge the chasm between our mitigation efforts and the results they deliver?
That was the question Zscaler CEO, Chairman, and Founder Jay Chaudhry opened Zenith Live 2023 in Berlin last week, and it’s one Zscaler colleagues, customers, and partners spent the rest of the conference trying to answer. It was time well spent with encouraging results.
Why? For one, it starts with a refusal to settle for the status quo. Equinix VP of Technical Sales Vaishali Ghiya, who joined Jay on the stage for his opening keynote, summed up the endless possibility of this mindset perfectly when she remarked, “We said bye-bye to that appliance-based VPN, and it's been happily ever after ever since."
Now, her expectations have reached new heights: "I look forward to getting on an airplane, firing up Zscaler, and getting all my work done on a long flight," she said. Refusing to sacrifice productivity while in the air demonstrates an unwillingness to settle.
CompuGroup Medical is another shining example of a company that battled inertia and reaped the rewards. After organizing its IT environment around hub-and-spoke connectivity and castle-and-moat security for years, CompuGroup decided it had other options, as Jochen Klein and Tim Cottin reported to the audience.
As one of the world’s leading e-health companies, its cyber and IT operations protect customer data, accelerate business transactions, and secure developers’ access to code databases to insulate the company against supply chain attacks. Following its transition to a zero trust architecture, Jochen and Tim reported that CompuGroup vaulted into the top 2% of companies for security in independent pen testing. It can connect employees productively on day one following M&A deal closures.
"Because of Zscaler's ZPA, [third-party pen testers] were unable to penetrate our network and were not able to find any services to try to breach," Jochen said.
In addition to a strong bias for action, the willingness to continuously innovate is another key factor contributing to successful digital transformations. Not surprisingly, this urge to improve was also on full display in Berlin last week.
E.ON CISO René Rindermann, with whom I had the pleasure of sitting down for a fireside chat, spoke of digital transformation as the impetus for breaking down silos between departments at the European energy provider. By recognizing that digitization was a business priority rather than an IT priority, he said the company became more nimble in all facets, from product rollouts to enabling remote work.
While Zenith Live is always an opportunity for Zscaler to showcase the innovations it has been hard at work on, that’s truly something best done by our customers. Few do it better than our longtime collaborators at Siemens Energy. VP of IT Infrastructure Wolfgang Schubert and Head of Threat Intelligence Dusan Vignjevic were on hand to highlight some of the company's efforts.
Knowing the company is facing spikes of 30-40% in energy demand within the next 20-30 years, Siemens Energy is committed to innovating to meet this demand sustainably. As Wolfgang put it, “Technology drives decarbonization.” Specifically, he called out Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) as a tool the company uses to maximize its resources without sacrificing security.
MAN Energy Solutions CISO Elena Furini, who also took to the stage at Zenith Live, has a similar focus. "Through our products, we want to reduce global emissions by 10% by 2030," she said. As one of Zscaler’s first Zscaler Private Access (ZPA) customers, we are proud to have supported Elena and MAN on their mission by providing a means for protecting crown jewels like Active Directory, granting secure access to third parties, and acting as a secure VPN replacement.
I could not help but notice the synergies between Man Energy Solutions and Siemens Energy’s efforts and a point made by Jay in his opening keynote that Zscaler can drive a 93% reduction in carbon emissions compared to on-premise solutions. While this is ultimately a small contribution to a significant global problem, I am proud of its alignment between Zsclaler and its partners.
Sadly, cybercriminals are as committed to innovation as upstanding technology leaders. For threat actors, data is gold. Protecting that data is critical for Zscaler customers like the staffing firm Randstad, financial services provider Equiniti, and banking conglomerate Absa Group.
"For [Equiniti]," said CISO John Meakin, "knowing where the data is and where it's going is core to our business."
Enter innovations in data loss prevention (DLP). Because so much of cybersecurity boils down to ensuring data is secure and confidential, this was a major theme running through the innovations unveiled at Zenith Live. Representatives of customers who took to the stage to discuss their DLP efforts highlighted the essential need to capitalize on the advantages offered by the cloud, the risks it introduces, and the high stakes with which they are all playing based on their industry.
Knowing this is the case for many Zscaler customers, this year's innovations put a premium on distributed data protection with new features focused on LLM-related data governance issues, AI-powered cloud configuration monitoring, and forthcoming multi-modal DLP capabilities for audio and video file formats.
These were a few highlights from two truly incredible and inspiring days with colleagues, customers, and partners. If you could join us, I hope you took away important lessons and fond memories. If you missed us in Berlin, please register to watch the recorded sessions.