Zscaler teams with CrowdStrike for remote access security

The partnership offers application access control based on real-time device security analysis

Zscaler and CrowdStrike have partnered to provide extra protection for companies using Zscaler's remote access products.

The product allows companies using Zscaler Private Access to constantly scan the security of their users' endpoints and use that data to make decisions about application access.

Under the agreement, Zscaler has configured its Zscaler Private Access remote access service to integrate with CrowdStrike's Zero Trust Access (ZTA). Zscaler offers the ZPA product as an alternative to traditional VPNs. The difference is ZPA doesn't provide remote users with network access. Instead, it focuses on application-level access.

By decoupling applications from the physical network, the product also allows users to access applications wherever they are, including in the cloud. Zscaler released a report in February suggesting that increasingly complex VPNs were not keeping up with the complexity of serving many remote users in pandemic conditions.

CrowdStrike announced its ZTA feature last October. It's the company's implementation of zero-trust security, a model that uses identity and behavior to assess a user's security posture. CrowdStrike argues that most zero-trust implementations don't take the endpoint device itself into account. ZTA rectifies that by assessing each device's real-time security posture, the company said.

The integration enables ZPA to grant conditional access to remote users’ applications based on the security score that ZTA gives the user's endpoint. It does this by integrating both companies’ agents on the endpoint (the CrowdStrike Agent and Zscaler Client Connector). The partnership supports Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

ZPA references these scores against access policies administrators have set in its admin panel. Admins can set a minimum threshold for a CrowdStrike security score to grant an application access and can vary this on a per-application basis depending on risk and compliance needs. ZPA checks the security score and compares it against the policy whenever a new request is made to allow for any device security or compliance changes over time.

The integration also offers automated threat intelligence and telemetry, enabling the two products to thwart zero-day attacks, Zscaler said.

The announcement extends a 2019 partnership between Zscaler and CrowdStrike, when they integrated CrowdStrike's Falcon X platform with Zscaler’s cloud security platform to automate policy enforcement. 

Falcon X is part of CrowdStrike's cloud-based system that marries antivirus, endpoint detection and response, and threat intelligence to protect systems in the cloud. It includes automated investigation of cyber security events and works with Zscaler's Internet Access product, a cloud-based platform that protects companies accessing public-facing websites and applications.

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