A common theme we hear from organizations utilizing a cloud delivered web proxy, either standalone or part of an SSE or SASE platform, is the frustration caused by website localization issues, a common trade-off when using services hosted in different geographies to the user. This is more acute the larger the customer is and the wider the distribution of employees beyond their home country or smaller organizations located in countries with no large scale data center (DC) infrastructure. Users’ traffic processed via a web proxy or filter originates from an IP associated with the country that the DC is located within. This leads to websites altering content or language, assuming that is where the user is located. In some extreme cases sites even prevent access completely due to tight access restrictions.
With Netskope’s coverage across 71 metro regions globally, and in conjunction with NewEdge Traffic Management 2.0, our dynamic DC selection process, users, no matter their location, maintain fast access to applications and websites. In fact with 68 of our 71 regions carrying no surcharges, we surpassed key competitors in terms of full compute locations. With NewEdge Traffic Management 2.0, users are connected to the data center that offers the best overall performance and lowest latency, not simply utilizing DNS load balancing and the perceived “closest” location. Even with our best in class coverage, we wanted to design a solution to improve content localization.
There are various methods to achieve this, one such method is to add Virtual Points of Presence (vPoPs) in countries with no real compute locations, but this type of PoP is simply a front door for users to access the web proxy in another location. This leads to overly complex routing and increases latency and therefore decreases application performance. vPoPs also don’t make sense for small countries or for overseas territories such as Réunion, with just a handful of users.
Another alternative is to deploy “exit nodes” in every country, where egress traffic is routed internally from the DC undertaking filtering to a node in the egress country, before exiting onto the open internet. This has similar drawbacks to the vPoP approach, with significantly added latency and crippling performance, but without “masking” the processing DC location from the customer.
In February 2023, Netskope introduced Localization Zones, a method that allows user traffic to egress from an IP allocated to the Localization Zone country, but without the need to route traffic between geographies and solving the issues with the previously outlined methods—removing the common trade-off between security and performance. With this approach, the user connects to the most performant full compute NewEdge data center and outbound traffic is stitched to an IP assigned to the Localization Zone of the user with no backhaul, no added latency, and no trade-offs!
Today we have announced that our Localization Zones now span more than 200 countries and territories around the globe, underpinned by the NewEdge security private cloud that delivers always-on, always-available and performant security. So, no matter where your users are located, from Andorra to Zimbabwe, they will receive local content, in local language as if they were accessing directly from their location.
With Localization Zones, Netskope’s global coverage is unmatched by any other SASE vendor now offering a localized experience for more than 220 countries and territories. Combined with native support for network features like Dedicated Egress IPs, Netskope meets the most demanding requirements of enterprise customers moving to the cloud and looking to consolidate multiple disparate security functions in a single unified platform.
This is the culmination of 18 months of work from our Platform Engineering team, also growing our global footprint of regions powered by full compute data centers by more than 40%, now standing at 71 regions globally. To help meet customer’s data sovereignty requirements and compliance obligations, we also significantly expanded our global Management Plane footprint, more than doubling the number of regions supported over the last 12 months. This is a critical requirement to service customers located in regions including the EU, US, UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Switzerland, all with strict data sovereignty requirements. We discussed the importance of providing regional Management Planes in a blog earlier this year.
Customers often ask me why we claim to have the best coverage, and I provide the example of SASE vendors using public cloud. One well known provider states they have well over a hundred edge locations, but the traffic is then routed to a much smaller number of regions that actually have full compute for data processing (<40), with the routing and backhaul adding tens of milliseconds of added latency. The best coverage has to be a combination of full compute data centers at the edge offering the lowest on ramp latency plus tailor the content, language and application access to the location of the user for a seamless digital experience.
With the introduction of Localization Zones, one thing remains true: we are committed to offering best in class security with no performance tradeoffs. This is why we will also continue to deploy full compute data centers, to increase our capacity and redundancy, each with a complete SSE stack including CFW, SWG, inline CASB, and ZTNA. Coupled with our platform improvements is our promise to deliver deeper insight into the overall digital experience for our customers, one such example being the recent launch of the next tier of our Proactive Digital Experience Management solution, providing end-to-end insight from client to application.
But what does this mean for your organization? A better digital experience leads to better productivity and users not bypassing security control to improve their experience. And for your operations teams, a reduction in operational overheads and better efficiency.
I’m often asked by customers what questions to ask when they are trying to understand the “real” coverage provided by SSE and SASE platforms. So, I will leave you with my top three:
- Ask whether the locations/DCs/PoPs listed by a vendor contain full compute and provide full services for every component or if they use vPoPs?
- Understand if traffic has to be routed to different locations, backhauled within the cloud providers network, for traffic processing, encrypted traffic inspection and policy enforcement, and how (and where) traffic egresses from the provider’s network
- Ask how users in countries where the vendor does not have coverage maintain a local experience without impacting performance. Ask for performance numbers on on-ramp latency!
More information on Netskope NewEdge and Localization Zones can be found on our NewEdge microsite.