Lifetime of Achievement: Jay Chaudry, CEO & Founder, Zscaler

Jay Chaudry
From humble beginnings, Jay Chaudry’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit have propelled Zscaler to the forefront of the cybersecurity industry

With more than 25 years of security industry expertise with leading organisations such as IBM, NCR and Unisys, Jay Chaudry is an accomplished entrepreneur and business leader who has made a significant impact on the cybersecurity industry. 

As the CEO and founder of Zscaler – a pioneering cloud security company – he has played a pivotal role in revolutionising the way organisations approach network security in the modern, cloud-first world, and has a history of introducing visionary innovations to market that address the demand for securely enabling emerging technology trends.

Born in Pune, India, Jay Chaudry's journey began with humble beginnings. Raised in a middle-class family, he developed a strong work ethic and an unwavering determination to succeed from an early age. After completing his education in India, he pursued higher studies in the United States, where he earned a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati.

His professional career began in 1996 when he founded and led a startup called SecureIT, the first pure-play internet security service, before it was acquired by VeriSign in 1998.

From 2000 to 2006, Jay founded and led CipherTrust, the industry’s first email security gateway, before its merger with Secure Computing, and founded and led AirDefense, a wireless security pioneer, before its acquisition by Motorola.

In 2008, he founded Zscaler with the vision of creating a security platform that could seamlessly adapt to the rapid shift towards cloud computing and mobile workforce. At the time, traditional security solutions were ill-equipped to handle the complexities of distributed networks and remote access requirements.

Zscaler's pioneering approach to cloud security disrupted the industry by eliminating the need for traditional on-premises security appliances. Instead, Zscaler's cloud-native platform leveraged the power of the cloud to provide comprehensive security services, including secure internet access, advanced threat protection and data protection.

Under his leadership, Zscaler has grown from a fledgling startup to a global cybersecurity powerhouse. The company went public in 2018, raising over US$192m in its initial public offering (IPO) and achieving a valuation of over US$1bn. Today, Zscaler serves thousands of customers across various industries, including Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

“In the past year, Zscaler achieved a significant milestone by surpassing US$2bn in annual recurring revenue (ARR),” Jay said in a recent blog. “We take great pride in the fact that we accelerated from US$1bn to US$2bn ARR within a span of just seven quarters. Looking ahead, our sights are set on surpassing US$5bn ARR, a testament to our continuous growth and the trust placed in us by over 40% of Fortune 500 companies for their secure digital transformation.”

Jay has consistently advocated for a cloud-first approach to security, recognising the limitations of legacy solutions and the need for a more agile and scalable security architecture. Under his leadership, Zscaler has continuously evolved its platform to address emerging threats and embrace new technologies, such as zero trust network access (ZTNA) and secure access service edge (SASE).

Beyond his professional achievements, Jay is widely recognised for his philanthropic efforts and commitment to giving back to the community, particularly in his native India. His strategic vision and innovative mindset have meanwhile been instrumental in Zscaler's success, being honoured as an Ernst & Young ‘Entrepreneur of the Year (Southeast USA)’ and named one of Goldman Sachs' ‘100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.’ He has consistently advocated for a cloud-first approach to security, recognising the limitations of legacy solutions and embracing new technologies like ZTNA and SASE.

“Like many iconic technology companies, Zscaler was born out of an original idea, a lot of hard work, and the unwavering belief that this idea had the potential to change the world,” Jay said recently after Zscaler was named as one of the best workplaces in technology. “Sixteen years later, we’ve seen how cloud security has become an essential component in accelerating digital transformation initiatives and, as I look back over our company’s history, I’m reminded of all we’ve accomplished as we’ve grown Zscaler into the global cybersecurity leader it is today. 

“Every milestone adds to the mosaic that makes up who we are as a company and what we stand for. I firmly believe that our team members are our greatest strength, so as we continue to grow our ranks, it’s extremely important that we continue to invest in creating a positive culture and environment that enables our employees to do their best work and contribute in meaningful ways.”

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