4 min Security

“Firewalls will become like mainframes, Zero Trust is the way forward”

Zscaler CEO Chaudhry sees that Zero Trust cannot be ignored.

Insight: Security

“Firewalls will become like mainframes, Zero Trust is the way forward”

According to Zscaler CEO Jay Chaudhry, the world must move to Zero Trust to respond to today’s cyber threats. In a recent interview with the press, he revealed how he sees the market evolving toward a situation where Zero Trust cannot be ignored.

When you say Zscaler, you automatically say Zero Trust. This security approach follows the principle ‘never trust, always verify’, which proves to work especially in modern work situations. A policy is applied based on least-privileged access and strict user authentication. The goal is to achieve a simpler network infrastructure, a better user experience, and a stronger defence against cyber threats. Employees and partners can securely access applications and data from anywhere.

Protect against modern threats

“Today, everyone has to do something because these cyber issues are big issues – they are happening too often. Sometimes I wonder if we are losing a war with these bad guys,” Chaudhry said about the need for a strong defense line. He sees that victimized companies often use old technologies, such as 30-year-old firewalls and VPNs. They use such outdated technologies, while hackers adapt their attack methods to modern standards.

Chaudhry sees companies that rely on firewalls as relying on a castle-and-moat model. Everything inside the castle, in this case, the network, is secure. Threats from outside the walls, however, are dangerous. “It is like you still believe in castle and moat, and you got cannons and your air force. What is a moat going to do? It is the same kind of issue here,” Chaudhry summarizes.

Growing step by step

According to Chaudhry, the perception of the market does change. Chaudhry founded Zscaler in 2007, when it began to market Zero Trust. Initially, the company had to rely primarily on early adopters of the technology. This was followed by organizations that the CEO describes as next-level adopters and late adopters. Chaudhry: “I don’t need the entire market overnight. We are working on it for a dozen of years.”

Chaudhry contends that the attitude of companies has now changed. “Ten years ago, if I met ten CISOs, six would say: ‘You are crazy, what do you mean securing the cloud? I need security with me in my control.’  And Three would say: ‘A wonderful idea, but not for me. At least not now. I am not ready.’ And one would say: ‘What a great idea, let’s work together’. At that time, we could only handle one out of ten. We couldn’t handle any more customers. But now the market has moved on, so every customer wants to do cloud security.”

Same fate as mainframes

Chaudhry foresees that pure firewall vendors will fade into the background over time. “Now firewalls won’t fully go away; they will become like mainframes. They will be needed in some areas. But the world has to move on to Zero Trust,” Chaudhry believes. He compares the Zero Trust journey with Siebel and Salesforce, with the former being very dominant decades ago. Salesforce, however, was founded with a modern CRM approach and has become the largest provider of this type of software.

Firewalls won’t fully go away; they will become like mainframes – Jay Chaudhry

Meanwhile, the CEO and founder of Zscaler sees firewall vendors embracing Zero Trust. But, he claims, “Writing a presentation on a website is easy, building products is hard. But they go out and make the case that they are Zero Trust. Five and six years ago I used to convince customers that you need to go and embrace our cloud-based security. Today, I don’t need to do that at all. Today, some of them say: ‘My firewall company say they can do zero trust, too’. So I need to show them that you don’t do zero trust with firewalls and VPNs. Zero Trust is the opposite of that technology. Every company will come, it is just a matter of time.”

Tip: Zscaler partners with Google around zero trust