By Ash Surti, Executive Vice President, Technology & Security, Colt Technology Services
In 1992, a new telecommunications company in London served its first customer with pride. Thirty years later, Colt Technology Services has been on a journey of continuous modernization, always with the customer experience top of mind. Today, as an industry leader in digital infrastructure, with offices around the world, our focus hasn’t changed, but the environment has become more complex.
To deliver on our vision as the digital infrastructure company that the world’s leading businesses choose to connect with, we needed to free up time for our people to deliver the great customer experience we’re known for and to focus on projects that make a big impact. But technologically, we weren’t there. To improve our technology and connectivity, our team set out to simplify and automate access and enhance experience without compromising on security. We were able to accomplish our mission, thanks to the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform.
Evolving to meet employee expectations
The constraints on business from the pandemic changed everyone’s working reality, and for us, the lasting effects are hybrid work and an increased emphasis on attracting and retaining top talent. Delivering a great employee experience is critical to our business, so anything we can do toward this goal is high on our priority list.
Employees' expectations also changed with the pandemic. Flexible work means offices are busier on Tuesdays through Thursdays and remote work is higher on Mondays and Fridays. While some of our people will always need to be on site, we’ve prioritized making it easy to access everything our people need: enabling that securely, and making the experience seamless from anywhere.
Two big areas of focus for us are, first, to make sure that joining a meeting and accessing information is just as seamless at home or from a remote site as it is in the office, and, second, to simplify access to the applications people need to do their jobs. As a recent example, we’ve started moving our corporate intranet from a platform that was only available in the office or via VPN to one based on Microsoft SharePoint, which our people can easily access remotely and enjoy a much-improved user experience.
Even though we have fully embraced a hybrid work model, we are well aware that remote work widens the attack surface, presenting risk and complexity for IT teams tasked with delivering a seamless, consistent experience across their digital infrastructure while retaining a robust and consistent security policy.
Delivering a great user experience
So, how do you deliver a strong digital experience while keeping customers as secure as they would be at the office? For us, a cloud-resident zero trust exchange approach strikes the right balance between security and experience—that’s where our partnership with Zscaler has been so advantageous.
Working with a market leader like Zscaler has enabled us to move quickly and be more agile. When we started on our zero trust exchange journey, the Zscaler team helped us identify a set of goals: to strengthen security, improve governance, deliver a better user experience, and reduce operational cost. Each of these will help us execute on our vision.
Deploying Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA) was a huge win for us. Now, no matter where our employees work or what device or application they’re using, their experience won’t be interrupted, so they can stay productive. And our security team has real peace of mind because ZIA begins by verifying identity, device posture, and context. Our people can then connect securely directly to the internet to perform their roles safely.
Looking forward, we’re focused on improving the user experience, especially for employees who work outside the office. With Zscaler Private Access (ZPA), we can do away with the risk of VPNs altogether while also improving our security posture. We have different access needs for different functions in the business, and we are excited to be able to manage granular application and data access dynamically, with profiles that account for both user role and device risk.
Best practices for a successful deployment
With a successful ZIA deployment complete, we’ve taken a huge step forward on our journey of simplification and automation. Now, when we talk with customers about their digital transformation, we offer best practices based on our experience to help guide them along.
- Design carefully: There will be many challenges along the way (compliance regulations, cost factors, and user experience), so be sure to design with the entire process in mind.
- Invest in the proof of concept: Dedicate the time upfront to ironing out any wrinkles during the pilot so you are confident in the configuration.
- Research thoroughly: Digital transformation is a big transition in a complex landscape. Make sure you consider all possible use cases as you build your strategy.
A world-class Secure Access Service Edge solution
We’re proud to partner with Zscaler to continue delivering the highest standard in digital transformation service for our joint customers. Zscaler services alone are of huge benefit to the modern enterprise, but this benefit is multiplied when integrated with Colt’s SD WAN for a world-class Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solution.
Colt SD WAN has led the market in innovation, recognized as a Strong Performer by the Forrester Wave report. With the benefits of flexibility in setup and scalability, customer portals to manage service in real time, and secure end-to-end connections, it’s a more intelligent way to build a wide area network (WAN).
Zscaler has provided the most trusted, effective, and highly-rated cloud security service for over a decade, so it’s the best option in the market for security services in the SASE model. Together, Colt and Zscaler enable business transformation for our customers by providing stable, high-performance network services tightly integrated with comprehensive, integrated zero trust security.
To learn more about Zscaler and Colt’s partnership, check out the joint press release.