HPE Aruba in action – two years on

Posted by Business Development Manager on 09-Mar-2017 08:55:23

Aruba’s at the forefront of HPE wired and wireless networking and security. Here’s how Vohkus customers are benefiting.

“HPE acquired Aruba, and Aruba acquired HP Networking”

Two years after the acquisition of Aruba by HPE – which took place in a $3 billion deal in March 2015 – the Aruba brand is prominent and growing. In fact, in February 2017, HPE acquired security startup Niara (which had been founded by two former Aruba employees) and rolled it straight into its Aruba business.

Instead of being absorbed into the broader HPE ecosystem, Aruba had been bought to take over the larger company’s wireless efforts. It was “a reverse acquisition, in the sense that HPE acquired Aruba, and Aruba acquired HP Networking,” HPE Aruba’s then-CEO noted in March 2016. “We believe that the portfolio of HP’s wired infrastructure and Aruba’s wireless plus our software is very complimentary – but equally importantly, the market segmentation coverage is very good.”

Niara was acquired to strengthen the HPE Aruba’s ClearPass proposition; its software helps enterprises detect and protect from threats that have penetrated perimeter defences. By using machine learning and behavioural analytics software to automate the detection of attacks in mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) connections, it’s claimed Niara discovers security problems in minutes that would previously often take more than a day to detect.

Keerti Melkote, general manager of HPE Aruba, said: "With over 20 billion IoT devices expected to be connected to networks by 2020, security is the No. 1 concern for our customers. Combining Niara with Aruba's ClearPass network security portfolio will deliver the industry's most complete visibility and attack detection system."

It’s clear that HPE is continuing to throw serious investment at the Aruba division. Given our customers’ experiences already with HPE Aruba and ClearPass, that can only be a good thing. Let’s look at some examples.

HPE Aruba and ClearPass in a banking environment

One of our clients – a bank – wanted to introduce more flexibility into its customer services through remote and collaborative working. It had a traditional desk-based infrastructure, so a new PCI-DSS wireless infrastructure would be essential to support the new model.

We presented a number of alternatives, from which the customer selected HPE Aruba access points with ClearPass policy management. This would provide the flexibility of cloud-based architecture with the control and reporting required to meet the client’s regulatory obligations.

We arranged a proof-of concept to make sure the service would operate correctly with the bank’s third party firewall technologies prior to rolling out the solution across several locations. We also factored in an ArubaCare package to take care of any ongoing engineering support issues.

HPE Aruba for location-based revenue services

Another client was struggling to manage an outdated wireless infrastructure, which was constraining the functionality required by its events team. Its physical estate hosts a large number of conferences and educational events, and its vision was to be able to offer delegates enhanced Wi-Fi access and to encourage interaction with – and drive increased value from – its unique collection of artefacts.

Because the main campus included a Grade 1 listed building and additional buildings with very solid walls, it was important to minimise disruption and to carefully site every access point. An initial assessment had been carried out to determine the scope of the work, but Vohkus was able to refine this and reduce the number of access points by nearly half by using Aruba high-density configurations with multiple services set identifiers (SSIDs). These would allow delegates from multiple end customers to connect simultaneously.

With many different events somewhere on the site every day, Vohkus’s client wanted to offer each end customer a wireless login using a customised, branded splash page. Through this login, delegates’ interests could be recorded. For example, there was an opportunity to provide an enhanced visitor experience using a dedicated app which would connect to Bluetooth beams adjacent to each exhibit. This would provide details and explain about how to buy related items.

HPE Aruba – it’s not just about wireless security

Security starts with understanding what’s on the network. There may be unmanaged smartphones, rogue endpoints, or IoT devices as well as all the traditional connections you’d expect. Together these all massively increase the possible ‘attack surface’.

For example, many network access control discussions have until now focused on securing the wireless network, but with many IoT devices now connected by cables the same level of attention should be given to securing the wired infrastructure. Aruba’s new ClearPass Universal Profiler is one way of cost-effectively identifying what’s on multi-vendor wired and wireless networks.

Once you have device visibility and know your risk exposure, you can automatically authenticate and enforce policies. Aruba also provides an upgrade path from the ClearPass Universal Profiler to ClearPass Policy Manager for full policy control and workflow automation, using existing switch protocols for visibility, access controls, and enforcement across wired ports.

With the addition of Niara and other products to the HPE Aruba portfolio, we think there are excellent reasons for considering an Aruba approach for any network security and management brief.


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Topics: networking, security, switches, HPE, IoT, ClearPass, wireless, aruba, connectivity