It's really hard to find fault with Zscaler which, with no hardware to install or software to maintain, is an incredibly easy to use yet very effective web security solution. In essence all you have to do is pay a monthly subscription and point your web browsers at Zscaler's proxies to filter out viruses and spyware, and selectively block access to a range of web sites and applications. It's very quick and very easy to manage with a web-based console that's soon mastered. Comprehensive analysis and reporting tools are another key feature, making it possible to spot trends and find out exactly who's doing what. We'd definitely recommend looking into this one. It may not be a total solution as you still need to protect against other sources of infection, but Zscaler will stop the most common threats before they can do any damage quickly, cheaply and effectively.
No special hardware required; flexible monthly subscription; protects fixed and mobile users; anti-virus/spyware filtering; rules for URL filtering plus access to webmail, instant messaging, social networking and data streaming services; comprehensive analysis and reporting tool.
Only secures web traffic.
$1-$5 (63p - £3.20) per user per month depending on users and services subscribed
Cloud-based web filtering and security service running on hosted servers across the world. No on-site appliances or other hardware required. Users need to be configured to use a Zscaler proxy for web access by programming browsers directly, HTTP redirection via routers (using GRE tunnels) or firewalls, or by proxy chaining from existing proxy servers (Microsoft ISA, Squid etc). One-time sign-on to service required with support for a hosted user database plus Active Directory and LDAP integration.
Security in the cloud may be the 'next big thing' but, apart from hosting existing products on servers of their own, few security vendors have done much to embrace the concept. One exception is Zscaler, which offers a unique web filtering service designed from the ground up as an answer to cloud computing security.
Zscaler offers, in effect, a secure internet connection for a simple monthly subscription. There's no need for any extra hardware, making it very easy to test. All we needed to do was configure the browsers on our test network to connect to the web via a Zscaler proxy. We did this manually and it took just a few minutes, but the process can be automated for large companies and locked down to prevent users bypassing the controls later on.
As well as being quick and easy to set up, another advantage with Zscaler is the ability to protect mobile as well as office-bound users equipped with either notebooks or smartphones. To support this Zscaler has servers in over 40 datacentres across the world, insuring fast, low latency connectivity regardless of location. Users are connected to a local proxy by default, but even when we manually attached via proxies in the US or as far away as Hong Kong we saw no real drop in performance and remarkably little impact on latency.
Security profiles likewise are maintained and applied regardless of the proxy server being used. A simple yet comprehensive web-based console is provided for management and, when a change is made, it's immediately implemented across the Zscaler network.
How it works
The Zscaler proxies inspect all web traffic passing in or out of customer networks, applying a variety of user configured filters or profiles as it goes. A default set of profiles were configured as soon as we were signed up, providing a base level of security, and a useful online getting-started guide took us through tweaking the settings to suit our needs.
We began by making sure that the built-in anti-virus and anti-spyware services were active. They were, so we immediately began trial downloads of suspect files from Eicar and other security test sites. Zscaler correctly intercepted everything we threw at it, and displayed a customisable warning to let us know what was going on.