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SASE Week 2023: Your SASE journey starts now!

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Maximize Productivity, Performance, and Security: Unleashing the Power of Netskope and Zoom

Aug 16 2023

Your Workers Need Fast Connectivity – You Need Strong Security. Can You Have Both?

Zoom is firmly a part of everyday work. The modern workspace is no longer a corporate office—it’s anywhere an employee accesses corporate data and applications. With the widespread adoption of hybrid work, there has been a hard shift towards communication platforms like Zoom that allow you to connect, share ideas, and get projects done together in real time, regardless of your physical location. Rich functionality in video conferencing and chat platforms makes it possible to stay in touch, no matter where your coworkers live and work. Zoom notes that today, over 46% of meetings take advantage of screen sharing—the “conference room” is wherever we choose to view it.

Netskope, a leader in secure access service edge (SASE), and Zoom have teamed up to deliver superior collaboration experiences with optimized performance, security, and compliance—helping fine-tune the Zoom experience and drive even better, more reliable connection than public internet service. This integrated solution uses Netskope Borderless SD-WAN and Netskope Intelligent SSE to optimize both connectivity and security of Zoom voice and video communications for users working from home, in a cafe, in a branch office, or any other location. Intelligent SSE provides critical security capabilities, including cloud access security broker (CASB) API, CASB Inline, and SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) to identify and block movement of sensitive data, alert on suspicious activities, and ensure regulatory compliance. Here’s a deeper dive on what makes this solution work and why it is key for transforming enterprises:

Network transformation paved the way for modern unified communication 

Delivering the required quality of experience (QoE) with unified communication as a service (UCaaS) solutions like Zoom requires reliable, available, and highly performing networks. Unfortunately, public internet service may occasionally be disrupted by network congestion, jitter, and latency. These factors can impact usability of SaaS applications, but they are particularly disruptive to users of UCaaS services who require real-time voice and video to be productive. Turning off the video feed to improve the connection is not an ideal solution when research tells us that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. Factors like the location, the local ISPs, or even the time of day can affect whether a call can be successfully run. As a result, the ability to collaborate may be largely left to best efforts given the variables and changing circumstances, and that’s no way to run a business effectively.

Can you hear me and see me now?

Trusted relationships between employees, partners, and customers are best built through communications where both parties can see and hear each other in real-time without disruptions. This is why UCaaS solutions like Zoom continue their rapid pace of growth and popularity with organizations. However, network and security teams must address a variety of challenges to keep real-time voice and video communications seamless and secure:

  • Poor reliability: While broadband internet provides easy, cost-effective access, it can also introduce packet loss, jitter, and latency, resulting in unpredictable call or meeting quality. 
  • Elevated cybersecurity risk: Users and sites that communicate directly over the internet are exposed to cybersecurity risks, including sophisticated cloud-based attacks, malware, data exfiltration, and unknowing or accidental sharing of sensitive data. 
  • High operational costs: Increased IT costs can result from troubleshooting on-premises devices like Zoom Phones with a personal dispatch, typically known as a truck roll. 
  • Compliance regulations: Organizations need to make sure that the management of their UCaaS service adheres to compliance requirements and privacy regulations. 

Make Netskope Borderless SD-WAN the dial tone for your Zoom users

To solve these challenges, Netskope Borderless SD-WAN ensures highly reliable, optimized access to Zoom and delivers consistent high-performance access for users working from home, or from a branch office, or from a non-office location such as a coffee shop. As part of the Netskope platform, Borderless SD-WAN employs a unique approach to deliver high-quality performance for all business critical applications, including voice and video that is used for increased productivity via remote collaboration while simplifying overall operations. Netskope Borderless SD-WAN:

  • Provides full visibility by identifying Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone, and Zoom Rooms connectors among traffic from tens of thousands of different workloads regularly egressing from an organization’s network. It also has insights into per-user AppX score and knows if a user is having a good experience or a bad experience from minute-to-minute. 
  • Ensures application performance without compromising payload security, even over a single, unstable broadband internet connection.
  • Offers smart defaults for more than 60,000 applications that automatically prioritize traffic and minimize latency, jitter, and loss to deliver consistent QoE.
  • Further, organizations can simplify remote maintenance of Zoom Phone by making it easy for administrators to access and manage remotely. This is because Netskope Borderless SD-WAN includes a built-in secure inbound access service, which can be used for device maintenance. 

Let’s put all the capabilities of Borderless SD-WAN, to optimize voice/video traffic, to the test and see how it helps fine-tune the Zoom experience for users working from anywhere. 

Zoom and Borderless SD-WAN in action: Joint testing shows remarkable continuous user experience 

With 3% packet loss, Netskope Borderless SD-WAN demonstrates remarkable performance by remediating packet loss significantly and delivering 24 FPS share frame rate with a steady bit rate to the client machine (shown in the figure below). The Zoom client without having the Netskope Borderless SD-WAN solution couldn’t cope with the packet loss, dropped its resolution and therefore resulted in a degraded user experience.

By leveraging cloud-ready architecture and remediation technology, customers can continue to experience high-quality Zoom sessions even on degraded SD-WAN links.

In addition to networking, Netskope also helps organizations run Zoom with a high level of security operational excellence. Netskope enables several key administrative services that keep Zoom running smoothly. For instance, Netskope continuously monitors Zoom environments to discover and remediate misconfigurations. Organizations subject to industry regulations such as CIS, HIPAA, PCI, CSA, GDPR, AIPCA, and ISO, can choose from a variety of customizable out-of-the-box templates that can help ensure that they pass audits. Netskope CASB provides both inline and out-of-band protections. CASB Inline can discover and block risky behavior such as movement of sensitive data to unmanaged Zoom instances in real time, while CASB API can detect sensitive data and malware residing in cloud storage.

The advantages of a unified platform like the one Netskope offers is that it allows architects and operations teams to deliver the same level of network optimization, security, and visibility in the branch, where the Netskope SASE gateway resides, and in a remote location where the same lightweight software powers the end-user’s laptop from a unified SASE client with integrated Endpoint SD-WAN capabilities. The Netskope unified SASE client, converges SD-WAN and security service edge (SSE) capabilities so organizations can easily reduce cost and complexity, simplify connectivity, eliminate the sprawl of multiple clients and point products, and preserve network performance at any scale. Endpoint SD-WAN continuously monitors network packet loss, jitter, and latency to every destination (on-premises and cloud) and to the UCaaS service like Zoom and automates the mitigation of poor performance over the last mile connections in real time to ensure high-performance, reliable connectivity. The result is a highly granular application assurance service that delivers optimal user experience for all users at all locations.

When it comes to management, the same cloud-native orchestration and single pane of glass delivers consistent, context-aware zero trust policies and SSE integration at the branch, and to the end-user devices working anywhere remotely. 

The end result is a consistent user experience that follows the user, no matter where they go. 

These are only a few of the possibilities for rolling out Netskope Borderless SD-WAN and Intelligent SSE platform with Zoom. By using Netskope, you can take advantage of a broad spectrum of security and SD-WAN connectivity solutions that span the enterprise to cover your network transformation needs. 

To learn more about the zero trust context-aware capabilities, visit our Borderless SD-WAN page, or review this blog and solution brief. For more information on Endpoint SD-WAN please watch the on-demand webinar “Revolutionize your remote work experience with Endpoint SD-WAN”.  

Click here to contact a Netskope sales partner if you would like to arrange a demo for Netskope’s Intelligent SSE and Borderless SD-WAN solutions

author image
Parag Thakore
Parag Thakore is Senior Vice President of the Borderless WAN Business Unit at Netskope, following the acquisition of Infiot by Netskope in May 2022.

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