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The Top 3 Lessons We’ve Learned from Embracing the Zero Trust Exchange

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When you’re in the business of producing confections that bring a ray of sunshine into people’s everyday lives, disrupting your manufacturing operations to recover from a malware attack is unacceptable. That’s why we turned to Zscaler to improve our security posture at Baker & Baker a little more than five years ago.

After our initial deployment of Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA) and, later, Zscaler Private Access (ZPA), we’ve progressively expanded our Zscaler deployment to protect and streamline our enterprise, including Industry 4.0 processes on our shop floors. Along the way, we learned important lessons that we continue to apply today. In this blog, I’d like to share our top three takeaways in hopes that they can assist you during your Zscaler journey.

Lesson one: invest in premium support services – it’s totally worth it

Although Zscaler solutions are amazingly easy to deploy, we discovered that properly preparing our policies and our IT environment paid significant dividends. We gained this insight because we elected to invest in premium support from the start, which netted as a Technical Account Manager (TAM).

Like all Zscaler TAMs, ours is drawn from a pool of experienced senior support engineers and functions as an extension of our internal team. He immediately took a deep dive into our IT environment and then provided us with invaluable advice.

We credit our TAM with ensuring we could complete our initial ZIA deployment within a month across 4,500 users and 48  countries worldwide. That’s fast by any enterprise technology measure and we strongly recommend taking this path at the outset.

Lesson two: remember your end users deserve great security experiences too

Deploying ZIA and ZPA was life-changing for our IT and InfoSec teams. Threat incidents plummeted, management frustrations melted away, and infrastructure savings skyrocketed. As technologists, our experiences were nothing short of amazing.

However, we also realized our existing troubleshooting tools couldn’t give us sufficient insight into user experiences for us to isolate issues or proactively fine-tune experiences. So we turned to our TAM for an answer.

When we learned Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) was in the pipeline, we made plans to adopt it as soon as it became available. To say it’s been everything we’d hoped for is an understatement. ZDX enables us to reduce days, weeks, and, in some cases, months of issue troubleshooting to minutes or seconds. ZDX even helped us get to the root cause of a long-term performance challenge at one of our locations.

In short, deploying ZDX has been an investment that’s rewarded us—ensuring there’s no tradeoff between user experience and security.

Lesson three: keep building out your platform to maximize business and IT value

At the start of our Zscaler journey, we set out to solve two pain points: getting beyond the limitations of firewall technology to ensure our workers could securely access cloud-delivered applications (ZIA) and eliminating VPNs to significantly improve worker productivity while reducing our attack surfaces and protecting against lateral movement within our network (ZPA).

However, as the wins mounted with each new Zscaler adoption, we experienced the benefits of taking a platform approach and embraced the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange. We’ve demonstrated the value to our company leadership – not just upon deployment, but continuously over time as new needs have arisen – and we intend to stay the course.

If you’re new to Zscaler, we encourage you to look beyond the individual use cases for securing your IT infrastructure—whether cloud-based or a hybrid—and consider your situation holistically. This reduces the likelihood you’ll adopt point-based solutions that add cost and complexity. Instead, you get fully-integrated solutions with innovations that are manageable from a single intuitive dashboard.

In good company

As we’ve watched Zscaler spread to many more world-class enterprises, from some of the most venerable brands to rapidly-expanding start-ups, we’ve also benefited from the robust user community that Zscaler supports at every level, from engineers and infrastructure administrators to technology directors and CXOs.

Overall, the Zero Trust Exchange platform has proven to be a game-changing solution at our enterprise that has delivered consistent performance, scalability, and measurable value. We fully expect Zscaler’s pace of innovation will continue and can’t wait to see what comes next.

To learn more, I invite you to read the accompanying case study about how our zero trust journey in partnership with Zscaler is helping us achieve our business goals.

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