As a new member of the ThreatLabZ, I wanted to take this opportunity to describe why I joined the Zscaler team.
Like many of you, I attended the RSA conference in San Francisco last February. At RSA I had the good fortune to run into Michael Sutton, the head of the Zscaler ThreatLabZ, and was introduced to a few members of the research team. As Principal Security Researcher at the company I worked for at the time, I was familiar with Zscaler's products. I regularly followed their blog and made use of their free tools and APIs. After discussing Zscaler’s unique approach with Michael and the ThreatLabZ team, I was eager to learn more about Zscaler technology and its research team to see if it was a potential match for a career move into something exciting and different.
I focused on several key factors to discover more about Zscaler:
- The undeniable benefits of a security solution reliant on Software/Security as a Service (SaaS);
- Verification that the underlying infrastructure supporting the product was built to handle the performance implications of inbound and outbound content analysis in the cloud;
- Research accessibility to Big Data and the ability to turn Big Data into useful contextual information that could be leveraged to automatically feed back into the product to constantly learn and defend against new threats;
- The management’s respect for the research team and support for the team to get their job done, research new threats, and help introduce new features into the product to combat those threats;
SaaS has always fascinated me and it has been a desire of mine to join a company taking a pure SaaS approach for some time. One large reason for this is because the ability to push security intelligence to the cloud is much more seamless than to hundreds or even thousands of deployed on-premise appliances or end-point desktop clients. Since attackers are constantly changing their methods and techniques, it's refreshing to be able to adapt just as quickly to combat the ever changing threat landscape.
As a researcher and a coder, implementing security detection capabilities, one thing I know is that everything has to work fast, inspection has to be transparent to the end-user. The only way that will happen is if the performance of the underlying infrastructure is finely tuned and the code is solid. Thus I spent the next few weeks discussing Zscaler’s technology with the developers, product managers, Vice President of Cloud Operations, CTO, and CEO to understand what they had built. I left satisfied that the foundation could handle the complexities of content inspection the right way.
After a few more discussions and a glimpse into the amount of data available to me as a researcher to cross correlate and link attacks, I was hooked. Management respected and understood the benefits of the research team and I was excited about the amount of potential research opportunities that lay ahead at Zscaler.
I was so impressed by Zscaler that I decided their vision was one I wanted to be a part of and I wanted to help shape the future of their product and research. The numerous free public tools released by the ThreatLabZ team, the expertise found within the team itself, and the fundamental visionary technology that supported the pure SaaS solution are the main reasons I joined the Zscaler ThreatLabZ team.
I hope to become a regular poster to the Zscaler blog, offering even more insight into the analysis of Internet threats.
If you want to reach me directly you can follow my personal Twitter feed at @StephanChenette or catch me at one of the numerous lunch and learn sessions that Zscaler presents around the country and around world.
Senior Security Researcher