RSA Conference and Zscaler Zenith Live

I’m on the road again to paraphrase a line from that well-known song by Willie Nelson, my hero from Austin, Texas. The pandemic has done its best to cancel events and move others to virtual formats. As an industry analyst and extrovert, virtual was not an adequate substitution. There’s no doubt that video collaboration in Webex, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams is here to stay, but these platforms can never replace the value of one-on-one human interaction.

That said, over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to RSA Conference (RSAC) and in Las Vegas for Zscaler Zenith live (ZL). I want to share my thoughts on what I found most compelling at both events.

RSA Conference

Before heading into what is considered cybersecurity’s perennial event, I wrote up an overview of the RSAC. If you are interested, you can find the article here. It was a busy two days in early June as I scheduled over a dozen briefings with some of the biggest and least known names in the cybersecurity industry. The following is my recap with half a dozen that stand out from my perspective.

  • Air pocket continues to impress me with its agentless approach to network segmentation to address ransomware issues and allow enterprises to deploy Zero Trust Remote Access (ZTNA) anywhere. At RSAC, the company received the Global Infosec Award for Best Micro-Segmentation Product and was named Infosec’s Hot Company Remote Workforce Security for its ransomware detection and remediation. The latter comes as no surprise, given that Airgap’s new Ransomware Early Detection (RED) capability was announced just before the RSAC. The company may still be in start-up mode, but it is well above its weight class compared to more established security solution providers.
  • Appgate is a company that was not on my radar before the RSAC, but is now after meeting an executive. Like Airgap, Appgate takes a universal approach to ZTNA and positions its architecture as “people-defined security”. ZTNA is getting more and more crowded, but I like what Appgate is doing to enable managed service providers with a program launched late last year to accelerate the time to revenue generation through training, sales tools, marketing resources and discretionary marketing funds to develop practices. As a former sales and marketing manager, I like what he does from a partner enablement perspective.
  • arctic wolf takes a concierge approach to providing security operation as a service offering. On average, organizations manage dozens of cybersecurity point solutions, which creates complexity. The other challenge lies in warning fatigue – knowing what is exploitable and an immediate threat. Arctic Wolf solves both with a comprehensive platform that offers cloud-managed detection and response, continuous risk management, and security awareness designed to address the human element with better employee safety hygiene. I think the company differentiates itself with an easy-to-use SecOps service, which can simplify the task of cybersecurity without compromise.
  • Blackberry is redesigning itself as a provider of security solutions by building on its DNA tied to providing the most secure smartphone of the past. To that end, it’s no surprise that the company is focusing on endpoint security. Its unified endpoint security portfolio includes endpoint protection, mobile threat defense, endpoint detection and response, and secure remote access. BlackBerry also extends to embedded systems for connected cars, hospitals and even the International Space Station. Time will tell if he can successfully execute his trading pivot away from the material. Still, I found its new CTO, Shishir Singh, who brings several years of McAfee and Intel experience, takes a very pragmatic approach to success.
  • Fortinet needs no introduction. The company can presumably claim the invention of the firewall, which continues to be the company’s differentiation. In discussions with executives, Fortinet believes leveraging its FortiGate next-generation firewall can provide a more flexible ZTNA platform and an easier path to a full Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) deployment through a single agent. . On the surface, the latter seems compelling, although firewalls seem like the security tool of yesterday, given the rise of cloud and containerized architectures.
  • Hillstone Networks offers a comprehensive set of solutions that I would describe as open/best-of-breed APIs spanning edge, cloud, server, application protection, and unified security management. The company’s mantra is best summed up by See, Understand and Act, which translates into visibility, actionable insights and defense. I’ve spent time with executives before and at RSAC, contributing my ideas in a recent Press release. What I like about Hillstone’s portfolio is that its architectural design lends itself to easy integration into existing SecOps frameworks.

If I had to draw one conclusion on the RSAC, it would be that cybersecurity is a very crowded space (by most accounts, estimated at over 3500 companies in the US alone). Many solution providers are saying the same thing about zero trust, extended detection and response (XDR), and open/best-of-breed API integration, which are the three areas I frequently monitor. However, I believe the companies above rise above much of the noise perfectly.

Zscaler Zenith Live

Zscaler returned to a live event this year at the new Resorts World Las Vegas casino, filled with an epic pool, one I didn’t visit after a full two-day conference. In 2021, I attended the virtual event and summarized my ideas in an article called “In Zero We Trust”. In my opinion, this year’s event demonstrates Zscaler’s market momentum by offering one of the most comprehensive zero-trust platforms in the industry. The company made several announcements, including:

  • New AI/ML enhancements for its Zero Trust Exchange.
  • An expanded partnership with AWS to extend application and workload protection, as well as enable zero trust for private 5G networks with Wavelength, and
  • Posture control that fixes hidden security risks in cloud-native application environments.

What I take away most from Zenith Live is that Zscaler is expanding its footprint in IT environments alongside the company’s carpetless operational technology (OT). This adjacency represents a huge opportunity for any cybersecurity vendor for two reasons. First, the momentum behind private 5G networks for manufacturing use cases is undisputed, and those who get there first will reap the rewards. Second, most industrial machinery and IoT sensors are headless or integrated from a connectivity perspective and tend to increase the overall threat surface. Therefore, I think Zscaler is uniquely positioned to leverage its zero-trust success in IT to move quickly to OT.

Wrap

It’s been a long road lately, including attending RSAC and ZL conferences in successive weeks. However, I found it essential to browse the thousands of companies offering zero-trust, XDR, and API/best-of-breed solutions. I hope the ideas I’ve shared will help you and others in your organization do the same.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.

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