In the current economic climate, it is not surprising that the majority of IT leaders are actively looking for ways to shore up their organizations to weather financial downturns, while also strengthening their security postures. In our blog series, “How to Cut IT Costs with Zscaler,” we are examining IT cost challenges and how organizations around the world are solving them with zero trust. In the first blog of this series, we discussed how to curb the rising cost of data breaches. Next, we looked at how organizations can optimize technology costs to drive economic value. In this third installment, we’ll explore how increasing operational efficiency reduces costs, and why perimeter-based security approaches fail to deliver the desired results. Let’s dive in.
The rules have changed
For the majority of businesses around the world, the pandemic propelled organizations from a slow and steady walk toward embracing digital transformation to an all-out sprint to make the shift to remote work and deploy cloud applications and services to enable their employees to work from anywhere. This transition changed the rules around where data and applications are accessed, how they are accessed, and on what devices. And in this new paradigm where data, users, and applications are broadly distributed, the risk increases exponentially. The result is a complicated dynamic where organizations must enable users to access a multitude of applications hosted in the cloud—connecting from personal devices that neither users nor businesses intended to ever connect to the corporate network—all while being provided consistent protection, regardless of their connection location.
Things have gotten complicated
This foundational shift has left organizations that use perimeter-based architectures to secure their hybrid workforce more vulnerable to attack. In addition to increased risk and the high CapEx investment required (as described in earlier blogs in this series), using a perimeter-based model that leverages firewalls and VPNs leads to a number of significant costs and challenges related to operational efficiency.
Operational complexity of managing multiple hardware solutions
Perimeter-based security models utilize a wide range of appliances at each internet access point to provide security and connectivity. Sometimes the appliances are physical hardware, sometimes they are virtualized, but often you find a mixture of both. Regardless of the form factor, you can’t simply set it up and forget it. Managing a perimeter-based security architecture is a hands-on sport that requires significant overhead to deploy, configure, provision, and test solutions, and then troubleshoot issues post-deployment. That doesn’t even take into account the cost and complexity of patch management, security updates, software upgrades, and constantly refreshing aging equipment as organizations grow, users and applications become more dispersed, and the variety of solutions expands. It’s enough to exhaust even the largest and most efficient IT teams. The bigger the network, the more operational complexity and time required.
Duplicating and updating policies across disjointed security tools
On top of the operational complexity mentioned above is the challenge of uniformly applying consistent security policies across your organization. It requires manually replicating policies in multiple dashboards across disjointed tools with varying capabilities, and ensuring that they are continually kept up to date. At best, it’s an extremely onerous exercise. In truth, it places an unrealistic burden on your IT teams to tailor policies to each individual solution—a costly burden that ultimately leaves the company with fragmented policy configurations, soaring operational costs, and considerable security gaps.
Tedious management oversight from skilled and expensive labor
Addressing both of these challenges requires a team of highly-skilled employees who know the ins and outs of getting disjointed tools to work together. In the current market—where this skillset is in high demand—it is going to cost organizations a lot of money. Otherwise, businesses will be left asking already stretched IT teams to do more. That simply isn’t a sustainable option.
Tackling these challenges with the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange
Fortunately, organizations can tackle these challenges and reduce costs by increasing operational efficiency with a zero trust architecture. The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange is an integrated, cloud-delivered platform of services that delivers direct-to-cloud connectivity that enables organizations to consolidate point products and eliminate security appliances.
Figure 1: The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange
According to a recent ESG Economic Value Report, organizations can eliminate up to 90% of their security appliances by implementing the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange. Minimizing the number of point product appliances using the cloud-based Zero Trust Exchange dramatically reduces the operational complexity of policy management and appliance maintenance requirements.
Figure 2: How Zscaler Cuts Operational Costs
This, combined with the fact that Zscaler handles change implementation like patches and updates in its cloud and automates repeatable tasks, further simplifies operations and frees up 74% of an admin’s time to focus on more strategic projects that drive value to the organization.
Figure 3: Practitioner Time Savings
Stats based on customer experiences–results may vary
To further illustrate these benefits, let’s take a look at two Zscaler customers. Baker & Baker reduced their administrative and overhead costs by 70% over firewall and VPN infrastructure with the Zero Trust Exchange. Similarly, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) reduced infrastructure complexities by 90% and achieved a 30% reduction in management overhead. Ultimately, embracing a zero trust architecture with Zscaler helps customers reduce operational complexity and costs, contributing to the average customer achieving an ROI of 139%.
Take the first step
Discover how a zero trust architecture can help your organization reduce costs through improving operational efficiency by downloading our white paper, “Delivering Unparalleled Security with Superior Economic Value: The Power of the One True Zero Trust Platform.”
Also, explore how Zscaler customers like you have reduced operational complexity and eliminated inefficiencies to capture real economic value with the Zero Trust Exchange in our ebook, “How Companies Reduce Costs with the One True Zero Trust Platform.”
Click here to read Part 4 of this blog series, where Jacob Serpa will explore how Zscaler delivers superior economic value by enhancing productivity and collaboration.