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Zscaler for Office 365: Designed for Cloud Hungry Enterprises

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

On Wednesday, cloud security company, Zscaler, announced what it calls the "360 degree solution to ease Microsoft Office 365 deployments" in the enterprise.  Based on the assumption that Office 365 is likely not the only cloud based application being used or the only application that might affect your network, Zscaler's Office 365 solution provides a traffic cop approach by prioritizing Office 365 traffic over other less essential network traffic.

As Zscaler points out, "Microsoft Office 365 creates multiple connections from the client to the Microsoft data center, increasing the load on network firewalls. As a result, many organizations are forced to heavily invest in increasing MPLS bandwidth to mitigate network chokepoints and the negative impact of increased latency on users." 

With the amount of productivity applications available in Office 365 and the required connectivity to run the hosted Microsoft Office web app versions and communication services (like Outlook and Lync), Microsoft suggests that when it comes to using all these applications, "it is important to evaluate and assess the network impact of the services."

That may be difficult to calculate with accuracy.  If you currently have Exchange onsite and are using it for all of your email needs you might be able to estimate the impact it will have once it's being used as a cloud based service.   However, some of the available hosted applications may be new to your business (for example videoconferencing and document collaboration) and it may not be possible to do more than guess what impact they might have on network traffic. At a minimum, increased traffic should be expected as users become more comfortable with cloud applications and integrate them into their daily routines.

As Zscaler states, "Zscaler for Office 365 enables any user on any device to connect directly to Microsoft Office 365 cloud services without backhauling traffic over expensive MPLS networks or mobile traffic VPNs. Routing Microsoft Office 365 traffic through Zscaler minimizes the burden of multiple connections on network firewalls. Dynamic bandwidth controls prioritize Microsoft Office 365 over non business-critical applications, such as YouTube and Facebook, delivering an enhanced user experience."

Other features identified by Zscaler in their announcement include:

About the Author

Bill Oliver has been working in Healthcare for the past 30+ years in a variety of management roles including Material Management, Purchasing, Nurse Registry, and IT. In the past 12 years his focus has been on the business end of IT Contracts, Software Licensing, and IT Purchasing.

More by Bill Oliver

 Advanced Security & Control:

  • Using policies, you can allow or block Office 365 usage.
  • Ensure compliance with data leakage prevention (DLP) controls.
  • Protect against malware-related threats using extended threat prevention.

Real-time Visibility & Reporting:  

  • Get organization- or user-level reports on Office 365 usage.
  • Monitor and obtain insight on bandwidth usage and transactions.

Windows Azure Active Directory Support:

  • Integrate Zscaler for Office 365 with ADFS and Azure AD for enterprise level authentication.

You can find more information about this product on Zscaler’s website.