March 15, 2018

Market Analysis

Riverbed and Zscaler Help Organizations Strike Balance Between Agility and Security

Originally published on

Organizations now find themselves stuck between two competing pressures. On the one hand, they are under near-constant assault by bad actors who wish to compromise their systems. The necessary response is to try to tighten access and harden the technology stack to repel and prevent security breaches.

On the other hand, digital disruption demands that organizations bob and weave to meet ever-changing customer expectations. This requires a high degree of organizational agility and adaptability.

Balancing these two critical requirements — agility and security — however, is proving quite difficult as organizations careen between these competing and seemingly contrary demands.

It is in response to these competing needs and the recognition that they should not be mutually exclusive that Riverbed and Zscaler have announced a new joint solution to help enterprise organizations strike this much needed, but challenging balance.


Late last year, Riverbed and Zscaler announced a joint solution that integrates SteelConnect, Riverbed’s cloud networking and software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solution, with Zscaler’s cloud security platform.

The companies believe that the integration will enable enterprises to accelerate their transformative initiatives by enabling greater flexibility in their branch and remote office deployments without compromising security.

Riverbed has integrated Zscaler’s solution into their application-defined policy and orchestration engine at the controller level. The SteelConnect controller communicates directly with the Zscaler controller to continually maintain awareness of Zscaler’s points of presence (PoP) configurations and locations. This dynamic connection enables SteelConnect to detect changes within the Zscaler infrastructure and continually optimize PoP use for each remote site.

This deep level of integration helps organizations strike an important balance between maintaining operational continuity and organization agility by enabling SteelConnect to automatically and dynamically route traffic to the optimal Zscaler data center for each remote site — particularly during unplanned downtime events — ensuring that organizations maintain their security posture while still maintaining high levels of organizational adaptability.

As organizations increasingly adopt a cloud-first and hybrid IT mindset — in which business needs dictate the seamless flow of workloads between on-premises, cloud and edge computing resources — they have found the rigid structures of both traditional networking and security approaches confining and limiting.

Riverbed and Zscaler believe that their integrated solution can help organizations overcome these limitations and practically embrace these modern approaches to IT operations.


Central to the companies’ integrated solution — and to the entire hybrid IT movement — is the idea of management simplicity and centralization. While realizing optimization has always been a concern for IT management teams, it takes on a heightened relevance in the context of hybrid IT operating models.

When enterprise organizations predominately managed from a systems-perspective, having siloed management approaches and toolsets, while perhaps not optimal, was tenable. In hybrid IT environments, however, there is too much fluidity and interconnectedness for siloed management approaches to work.

For organizations to go beyond the theory and actually implement and operate in a hybrid IT environment, they must simplify and centralize their management models. This is imperative in order to enable them to dynamically manage these complex, heterogeneous environments that span on-premise, cloud and remote edge locations.

The Riverbed and Zscaler integration is a good example of how this can work in practice and help organizations strike the necessary balance between agility and security.

By integrating the Zscaler solution into Riverbed’s orchestration engine, it provides enterprise organizations with a centralized, cloud-based management platform for both their network and security functions. This common administration model enables organization to stop thinking of their network and security needs as independent and discrete actions and instead makes it a single, fluid management motion.

At the same time, the integration also makes the management of both network and security functions more simple. This increased ease-of-operation makes it more likely that the organization maintains its security policies even during times of rapid change within the environment — which is exactly the balance that organizations need to strike.


As the cloud-first mindset takes hold and organizations accept the fact that they must operate a hybrid technology stack, the gravity of the management implications become clear.

Cloud technologies and the transient workloads implicit in the hybrid IT operating model introduce more architectural and management complexity — not less. While it is critical that organizations make this transition and embrace the hybrid IT approach, they must also take steps to mitigate the impact of the increased complexity that comes with it.

One of the most effective ways of taming the complexity of hybrid IT is to seek out integrated solutions that enable organizations to move beyond traditional systems-centric management approaches and instead enable them to manage these complex environments from a workload and business value perspective.

These integrated management approaches will take many forms, but cross-vendor solutions like Riverbed and Zscaler’s will almost certainly be an important part of the mix.

Enterprise leaders who wish to take advantage of the business benefits of a hybrid IT model should look for these types of solutions which enable them to manage their environments from a value perspective and strike the balance they require as they execute their digital transformation efforts.

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Riverbed is an Intellyx client. None of the other organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx clients. Intellyx retains full editorial control over the content of this paper.


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