Zscaler Internet Access Review

A stable, infinitely scalable solution with excellent protection features


What needs improvement?

The solution is a cloud service, so when you have Zscaler Internet Access, you still often require firewall appliances at the edge to act as gateways to Zscaler. There are certain elements that you can't necessarily ever extract at a network level, which makes it difficult to go completely appliance-less.

You could see it as a downside, but if there's an unavoidable reality of how networking is addressed at this point, and I think that's the only thing that for us is unfortunate, having to always retain some type of alternate firewall or router capability inside the network in order to get to Zscaler, as an example.

We've noticed a trend of Linux support being available at a mobile and workstation level, which isn't available from Zscaler yet, but we are expecting it soon. Zscaler also doesn't offer easy Cisco Meraki integration, which is also on the roadmap, even though we've seen it becoming very common. If we try and use Zscaler with Meraki, it's a fairly manual process to get Meraki to connect to Zscaler, whereas in all other SDware products, there's a lot more automation. 

The only other thing we would love to see in Africa would maybe be an additional Zscaler hub in another strategic location like Kenya to really round out Africa because there are only two hubs in over 30 countries on the continent. One is in South Africa and one is in Nigeria. Africa is kind of a black hole for all cloud providers, which makes life tough for us because there are performance issues when delivering cloud-related services. A little bit more penetration into Africa would help with this.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 1.5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

At a platform level, it's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

One of the primary features of Zscaler is that it's obviously infinitely scalable. That's one of the reasons we like it. It takes away the bottlenecks that we've seen in appliances historically. You can typically grow quite fast.

As long as the platform that they have, that we're connected to, is scaled property, which is their responsibility, then it should be very good. We did hit a problem a while back where they didn't scale properly and we had some major issues. We just hope that it'll never be repeated. It's all about how they manage it, however.

We have about 80,000 users right now. We're selling to more customers, so we're trying to double that number in the next 18 months.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been generally very responsive at picking up the tickets in a fairly short amount of time. My experience has been very good.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We didn't previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The biggest thing for us was to build our own policies. The deployment itself was only a few hours.

What about the implementation team?

We are an integrator and a service provider for Zscaler in the region, so we handled the implementation ourselves.

What was our ROI?

We have seen an ROI, but the return of investment isn't really as strong as we would like. That has more to do with the reality that South Africa is a very unique and difficult market and the rand depreciation has made all global services expensive in this market. Zscaler, however, leads the local market in value versus functionality. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Roughly, we might spend $70,000 a month on the solution.

We don't pay for anything beyond the standard licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We work with the customers that use a range of different types of proxy services. In my personal experience, I've only ever used Zscaler.

What other advice do I have?

We use the ZIA Business Suite, a version of Zscaler Internet Access.

We use the public cloud deployment model.

The solution is very straightforward. That's what we like about the cloud - all the capabilities that are there, and that are available immediately.

There are things customers really have to have before they integrate the Zscaler. They need to understand ADFS and have it integrated properly into their own network. As long as the customers that you work with do the work required of them before integrating Zscaler, then it's seamless. The problems we encounter happen when customers don't get to the point they need to in order to take it on as a product. 

I would rate the solution nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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