Blog Post

Security is No Excuse for Bad Performance

The abundance of cloud providers makes security a critical factor in every business strategy, but it doesn't mean your performance has to suffer.

These days, no matter what task you’re trying to accomplish within your online properties, chances are there’s at least one cloud solution that provides it. However, with so much of our personal and business data living now online, there’s perhaps no functionality more important than cloud security. With cyber attacks more prevalent than ever, it’s imperative that organizations – regardless of their size and scope – protect both themselves and their clients from nefarious individuals who prey on unsecured networks and data.

According to CSO, cyber crime will account for over $6 trillion annually by 2021, making it the biggest risk to just about every company in the world. Correspondingly, the amount of money spent on cyber security has grown by 7% annually since 2016, and is projected by Gartner to grow again by the same amount next year. And for organizations that are most frequently tasked with collecting and utilizing sensitive consumer data such as Social Security numbers, credit card and bank accounts, and health care information, the responsibility to protect that data in the face of new and more dangerous cyber threats grows every day.

However, many organizations are hesitant to make changes to their cyber security, even after falling victim to a successful attack. In fact, a little less than a year ago, Barkly reported that of all the companies which acknowledged suffering from a successful attack in 2016, fewer than half of them planned on making any changes to their security protocols in 2017. While most of these are due to budgetary restrictions, there is also real concern about the effect that security filters can have on end user experience.

This is why a good cloud security firm such as Zscaler will always include user experience among its top priorities. After all, a cloud security solution is no good if it consistently disrupts the customer experience, as those customers will eventually take their business to a competing bank, health care provider, ecommerce retailer, etc.

This is done most efficiently by deploying a digital experience management (DEM) solution which can accurately replicate the end user experience through synthetic monitoring, and then provide solutions whenever a performance issue such as excessive latency arises. Catching these potential disruptions and alerting the operations team of them before they can have a negative impact on the business’s revenue streams is, of course, one of the most crucial aspects of this process.

For a company such as Zscaler, which has clients and end users based all around the world and on networks of varying speed and capability, it’s imperative that they can access that outside view of the customer experience, as opposed to just the view from within their own network. A synthetic monitoring solution such as the one provided by Catchpoint is able to provide them with performance data from every portion of the path between the enterprise application and the end user; since Zscaler lies within that path, this allows them to ensure both themselves and their client that they are not the cause of any performance degradations, and quickly detect and resolve any issues for which they are the cause.

There are two aspects of this solution which are crucial to Zscaler’s monitoring and customer experience efforts. One is the ability to conduct synthetic tests from as close to the end user(s) as possible, as the inconsistencies between different public cloud networks and ISPs from region to region can muddy the view of what the end user is actually experiencing. By testing directly from the appropriate network using Catchpoint’s industry-leading global node network, they can trust that the data they’re collecting is as relevant as it needs to be for purposes of latency detection and resolution. And because the Catchpoint nodes are static, it also allows Zscaler’s operations team to filter out noise over which they have no control, such as congested WiFi networks.

The other aspect is the ability to differentiate between different first- and third-party components within the software architecture through data filtering and display capabilities. In the world of cloud performance monitoring, there are many different components which make up a company’s service delivery. Therefore, it’s important for Zscaler to be able to show their client’s direct performance alongside their performance when going through Zscaler. In doing so, they are able to prove that they’re not having an adverse effect on the end user experience.

Striking the right balance between security and user experience is undoubtedly a big challenge for both large enterprises and small businesses. Yet with a proper DEM solution in place, it doesn’t have to be quite so daunting.

Network Reachability
Workforce Experience

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