Today, we published our newest round of evaluations for the Zero Trust eXtended (ZTX) ecosystem, “The Forrester Wave™: Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem Platform Providers, Q3 2020.” When we embarked on this journey, Research Associate Alexis Bouffard and I started with roughly 130 potential vendors. We narrowed that down to 38 vendors for the “Now Tech: Zero Trust Solution Providers, Q2 2020.” After that, we worked the list down to only 15 vendors using very specific inclusion criteria. And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for us, this occurred right around the time a major push for work from home began due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has proven to be a “crisitunity” for Zero Trust (ZT). The old arguments about the ability to defend the perimeter and that corporations were relatively safe in their high-walled castles was obliterated like a pile of leaves in a hurricane. The timing for this evaluation couldn’t have been more applicable or more critical for the global ZT initiative.

A postpandemic world demands that organizations shift to a ZT landscape more so than ever before. ZT has had over 200% growth in the past year. Following that, our research for this evaluation examines the vendors that demonstrated that they provide a variety of Zero Trust-related offerings, including a secure remote workforce, ZT mission completion, and easy-to-use technology to deliver true ZT to their customers.

Together, Alexis and I spent over 100 man hours on this singular report: Demos from vendors alone equated 22.5 hours. After you tack on the fact-checking process, the report-writing process, and time dedicated to analyzing the questionnaires we received and scoring each vendor, somewhere around 120 hours were dedicated solely to this Forrester Wave. Alexis alone handled over 600 emails throughout the process. Added to that were the hours spent looking at market data and crawling over 400-plus inquiries, advisories, and customer workshops for the last year. It was quite a load to get through, but we think we got it right.

The bottom line is that this stuff matters to me. And I think the market indicates that it matters to “it.” The living hell we have been in for the past nine months has shown that there are those of us who are moving toward a more intelligent application of security technology based on strategy, and that we are doing so now. I would be lying if I said I never griped about the work, but luckily, I have folks like Alexis who keep me on task. Collectively, we got it done. It was our pleasure to dive into this topic and analysis. Analyzing a space I am passionate about and seeing the sea change that is occurring in the technology that is available makes the time we dedicated well worth it.

(Written with Alexis Bouffard, research associate at Forrester)