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Akamai vs Zscaler: What are the differences?

Key Differences between Akamai and Zscaler

Akamai and Zscaler are both major players in the field of cloud-based security and content delivery services, but they differ in several key aspects:

  1. Cloud Security vs. Content Delivery: While both Akamai and Zscaler offer cloud services, their main focus differs. Zscaler is primarily focused on providing cloud-based security solutions, including secure web gateways, firewall as a service, and cloud sandboxing. On the other hand, Akamai specializes in content delivery network (CDN) services, helping businesses deliver web content efficiently and quickly to end-users.

  2. Architecture Approach: A significant difference between Akamai and Zscaler lies in their architectural approaches. Akamai operates a distributed CDN infrastructure with edge servers located globally, optimizing content delivery through caching and reducing latency. In contrast, Zscaler's architecture is centered around its global cloud platform, where all traffic is routed for security inspection and policy enforcement before reaching the intended destination.

  3. Web Application Security: In terms of web application security, Zscaler offers advanced protection against web-based threats through its cloud-based security stack. They provide comprehensive features like malware scanning, data loss prevention, SSL inspection, and threat intelligence. Akamai, meanwhile, primarily focuses on DDoS mitigation and CDN-based security services, offering protection against volumetric-based attacks and web application firewalls.

  4. Authentication and Access Control: Zscaler emphasizes identity-driven access controls and authentication mechanisms in its security solutions. They provide single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and integration with identity providers. In contrast, Akamai's focus is more on performance optimization and efficiency in content delivery, rather than providing extensive access control and authentication features.

  5. Traffic Routing and Optimization: Akamai has a comprehensive network optimization and traffic routing mechanism built into its CDN infrastructure. They employ dynamic routing algorithms, caching, and content pre-fetching to ensure fast and efficient content delivery. Zscaler, being primarily a security-focused platform, focuses on routing all traffic to its cloud-based security stack for inspection, potentially adding some latency to the overall network performance.

  6. Network Footprint: Another difference lies in the network footprint of Akamai and Zscaler. Akamai has a vast network of edge servers distributed globally, offering a large number of points of presence (PoPs) for efficient content caching and delivery. Zscaler, on the other hand, has a network of data centers strategically located around the world, acting as centralized hubs for traffic routing and security enforcement.

In summary, while Akamai specializes in content delivery networks and offers security services as part of its CDN infrastructure, Zscaler focuses primarily on cloud-based security services with a comprehensive security stack and global traffic routing.

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What is Akamai?

If you've ever shopped online, downloaded music, watched a web video or connected to work remotely, you've probably used Akamai's cloud platform. Akamai helps businesses connect the hyperconnected, empowering them to transform and reinvent their business online. We remove the complexities of technology, so you can focus on driving your business faster forward.

What is Zscaler?

It is a global cloud-based information security company that provides Internet security, web security, firewalls, sandboxing, SSL inspection, antivirus, vulnerability management and granular control of user activity in cloud computing, mobile and Internet of things environments.

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What are some alternatives to Akamai and Zscaler?
CloudFlare
Cloudflare speeds up and protects millions of websites, APIs, SaaS services, and other properties connected to the Internet.
Fastly
Fastly's real-time content delivery network gives you total control over your content, unprecedented access to performance analytics, and the ability to instantly update content in 150 milliseconds.
Google Cloud CDN
Google Cloud CDN leverages Google's globally distributed edge caches to accelerate content delivery for websites and applications served out of Google Compute Engine. Cloud CDN lowers network latency, offloads origins, and reduces serving costs. Once you've set up HTTP(S) Load Balancing, simply enable Cloud CDN with a single checkbox.
Apigee
API management, design, analytics, and security are at the heart of modern digital architecture. The Apigee intelligent API platform is a complete solution for moving business to the digital world.
Imperva
It provides complete cyber security by protecting what really matters most—your data and applications—whether on-premises or in the cloud.
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