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Startup Of The Week: Zscaler

Promising to replace a hodgepodge of security applications and appliances, entrepreneur Jay Chaudhry's new company offers security as a service.

Cloud computing gets knocked for being inherently insecure--after all, your corporate data is stored outside the firewall--but serial entrepreneur Jay Chaudhry is turning that logic on its head. Chaudhry's new company, Zscaler, has just launched security as a service, an alternative to on-premises security software and appliances.
--John Foley


Jay Chaudhry, founder and CEO

Cloud security is at an "inflection point," says Chaudhry

HEADQUARTERS: Santa Clara, Calif.

PRODUCTS: Web filtering, antivirus, and other IT security functions offered as an online service

PRINCIPALS: Jay Chaudhry, founder and CEO; K. Kailash, founder and CTO

INVESTORS: Private investors

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Hinda Incentives, Weather Channel

Enterprise security typically has involved a range of applications and appliances (firewalls, gateways, network access control, VPNs) for establishing a secure perimeter, with scanning tools (antivirus, anti-spyware) for any malware or intruders that get through. Zscaler eliminates the need for some of that gear by routing traffic through its own security infrastructure.

Two key elements of Zscaler's distributed, multitenant architecture are the company's Single-Scan, Multi-Action gateways and NanoLog log-reduction technology. SSMA minimizes latency as Zscaler's various applications filter traffic, while NanoLog compresses Web log size as much as 50 times. Together, they bring speed and scalability to the process of applying a company's IT policies to incoming and outgoing Web traffic. Zscaler functionality comes in four modules: Secure, Manage, Comply, and Analyze.

Zscaler's service addresses threats posed by "user-initiated" Internet access, including viruses, spyware, bots, phishing, and peer-to-peer networks. It also offers URL filtering to block access to prohibited sites and manage access to social networking, blogging, and other Web 2.0 sites and applications. Zscaler protects against data leakage and supports IT policy compliance by monitoring HTTP traffic. Monthly subscription fees range from $1 to $5 per user, depending on services used.

Chaudhry has started a half-dozen companies, including AirDefense, CipherTrust, and SecureIT. Kailash, who also worked at AirDefense and CipherTrust, began his career at Wipro when it was a startup.

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