Zscaler has officially released its SD-WAN solution, solidifying its presence in the expanding and competitive single-vendor Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) market. As a leader in Security Services Edge (SSE), Zscaler has collaborated with major SD-WAN vendors, emphasizing a multi-vendor SASE approach.
The security provider has declared the widespread accessibility of its Zero Trust SD-WAN solution and a range of plug-and-play appliances. These offerings are crafted to assist customers in modernizing secure connectivity for branch offices, factories, and data centers, simultaneously removing the reliance on ineffective firewalls and VPNs.
What’s now included
At the Zenith Live 2023 event, Zscaler unveiled a networking appliance as the hardware component of its Zero Trust Branch Connectivity product. The vendor asserts that the new Zero Trust SD-WAN, housed in a single device, offers secure inbound and outbound connectivity, featuring the following:
- Z-Connector appliances, with plug-and-play functionality, streamline deployment at branch offices. They support zero-touch provisioning, eliminating the necessity for extra routers or firewalls.
- Integration with the Security Services Edge (SSE) solution, known as Zero Trust Exchange. This integration consolidates Cloud Access Security Broker, Data Loss Protection (DLP), Secure Web Gateways (SWG), and zero-trust capabilities.
- Cloud-based management is centralized for streamlined policy control across users, locations, and clouds, augmenting visibility and control for IT teams.
“Users and organizations want a café-like branch experience to empower hybrid work,” said Naresh Kumar, VP of product management at Zscaler. “Hybrid employees expect the same seamless and secure access they would have in an office setting, whether they are at home or on the go, without having to access their applications over a slow, cumbersome VPN.”
“Zscaler Zero Trust SD-WAN will connect and secure users, devices, sites, and clouds using our single-vendor SASE platform, without the risks of traditional SD-WAN,” he added.
The competitive single-vendor SASE market
The single-vendor Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) market has experienced notable growth, with an almost 60% year-over-year increase. This surge accounts for over half of the SASE market in the third quarter of 2023, as reported by Dell'Oro Group.
Mauricio Sanchez, Senior Research Director for Enterprise Networking and Security Market Research at Dell’Oro Group, recognized HPE Aruba, Aryaka, Cato Networks, Check Point, Cisco, Forcepoint, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, Palo Alto Networks, Netskope, Versa Networks, and VMware as vendors providing single-vendor SASE, encompassing both SD-WAN and Security Services Edge (SSE).
Zscaler’s previous single vendor/multivendor hybrid approach
Sanchez also observed that Zscaler's offering was unique, being a single-vendor SASE product but with a multivendor SD-WAN component. In an earlier interview, Mauricio highlighted that Zscaler, despite being a multivendor SASE, is the largest SASE vendor and has demonstrated remarkable growth rates.
In Gartner's inaugural Magic Quadrant for Single-Vendor SASE, the firm acknowledged the swift transformations within the single-vendor SASE market. It anticipates a surge of over 50% in the number of vendors by 2025 compared to mid-2023.
Palo Alto Networks was recognized as the sole leader, while Cato Networks, Versa Networks, and Fortinet were categorized as challengers in Gartner's assessment. Cisco and Forcepoint were designated as visionaries, and VMware and Juniper Networks were acknowledged as niche players.
During Zscaler's earnings call in September, when asked about the company's exclusion from Gartner's Single-Vendor SASE Magic Quadrant (MQ), Zscaler Chairman and CEO Jay Chaudhry supported the vendor's approach, emphasizing the significance of their multivendor SASE and Security Services Edge (SSE) strategy. He said, “We’re not in that MQ. We are about changing the world, not really propagating the old world, and we are very successful in doing so.”
Nevertheless, numerous industry analysts have anticipated Zscaler's entry into the single-vendor SASE market by enhancing its network capabilities. In a prior interview with SDxCentral, Sanchez mentioned that some Zscaler customers have raised apprehensions about the company's existing networking capabilities, including limitations in its Internet protocol architecture and certain difficulties in managing traffic to or from Zscaler. In response to these concerns, the company has been working to simplify the on-ramping of traffic into its cloud.
However, Zscaler is confronted with a paradoxical challenge: as it ventures into offering networking services, it risks transitioning from a collaborative stance with existing SD-WAN vendors to a more competitive one. Presently, a considerable portion of Zscaler's SASE sales is routed through its networking partners. “It’s like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario, Sanchez said then.