December 9, 2023

Zscaler Inc. is doubling down in its drive to dominate the market for “zero trust” security frameworks with its second acquisition in about six weeks.

The cloud security specialist is acquiring Edgewise Networks, a four-year-old Boston area startup focused on securing communications among applications running in cloud and datacenter networks.

The acquisition of Edgewise Network addresses growing enterprise requirements to detect security threats that can spread rapidly across a network from a single compromised server. The startup’s tools focus on securing so-called “east-west,” or lateral, network traffic by verifying application software and other services.

The result, Zscaler said, is a zero-trust environment in which no one inside or outside a network is trusted by default. The security approach is said to reduce cloud and datacenter attack surfaces, thereby reducing data breaches and application hacks.

The startup’s zero-trust approach discovers individual applications and their legitimate communication patterns. AI and machine learning algorithms are then used to automatically enforce authorized communication to provide a security layer called application segmentation. That approach isolates distinct service tiers from one another within an application to create security boundaries that reduce exposure to attacks originating from other applications.

“Edgewise is highly innovative technology that enables application segmentation without having to do traditional network segmentation which is often done with virtual firewalls,” .

The zero-trust security framework is geared to the growing number enterprise multi-cloud deployments that increasing use micro-services to deliver distributed applications. The many moving parts create more opportunities for security breaches via compromised servers and applications.

The Edgewise framework uses a technique called software identity verification to secure network traffic carried across public and hybrid clouds, datacenter and application containers.

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