ProLiant Server Chief David Gaston: HPE Silicon Root of Trust Is Security Game Changer

“Security is the differentiation that we and our partners are leading with,” said HPE Senior Director of ProLiant Servers David Gaston.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise has changed the server security landscape with its breakthrough “Silicon Root of Trust” firmware technology that is allowing customers to “protect, detect and recover” from cyber-attacks, said HPE Senior Director of ProLiant Servers David Gaston.

The Silicon Root of Trust – a secure foundation for all HPE Gen10 servers including ProLiant, Apollo, Synergy, EdgeLine 8000 and hyperconverged systems – is an “immutable fingerprint” that ensures HPE servers are protected from compromised firmware, said Gaston Monday in a main stage keynote address to several hundred partners at the XChange 2020 conference hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

The innovative “inside-out security” technology is providing an unprecedented “protect, detect, and recover” capability that is not available on competitor’s offerings, said Gaston. That capability has HPE labeling the ProLiant Gen10 server as the world’s most secure industry standard server.

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Silicon Root of Trust provides an “automated” capability that can check the server firmware “every single day,” said Gaston. “You don’t have to do it manually. It is automated. Your system is checking the firmware everyday. That is absolutely unique.”

If an attack is detected, customers can recover by using HPE iLo 5 advanced software or HPE OneView advanced software to recover the “last known state of safe firmware” or the original firmware, said Gaston. “That is a huge advantage,” he said. “It is unique to HPE and that iLo5 comes with your system today.”

The Silicon Root of Trust technology is resonating with partners in the field who are changing the sales conversation by focusing on what has become the “No. 1 priority” of customers today: security, said Gaston. “Security is the differentiation that we and our partners are leading with,” he said.

The Silicon Root of Trust has allowed HPE to gain a prestigious “Cyber Catalyst” designation from Marsh – one of the top players in insurance brokering and risk management. That Cyber Catalyst designation provides customers with reduced cyber insurance rates, said Gaston.

Of the 150 products and services that were submitted for testing only 17 (two from HPE) earned the Cyber Catalyst designation, said Gaston.

“Cyber-security insurance is the fastest growing market in the insurance industry today, and now we have the unique capability to negotiate preferred terms with that cyber-security insurance by having Silicon Root of Trust,” he said. “What they want is that automated checking of your firmware--that detection capability.”

HPE’s Aruba unit has also received a Cyber Catalyst designation for its Aruba Policy Enforcement Firewall, said Gaston.

HPE even has security technology that provides the capability to determine if an HPE server box that is being shipped out to a customer has been opened, said Gaston. “We can detect that and when you go to boot up the server it will signal the box has been opened, giving you the notification,” he said

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider, said he sees HPE’s Silicon Root of Trust as an SMB server game changer.

“Silicon Root of Trust is a big differentiator,” he said. “Security is the No. 1 concern of our customers at this point, and HPE is putting out a killer product.”

Goldstein said he expects his HPE ProLiant sales to be up about 20 percent this year, with a number of customers upgrading their Windows 2008 Servers in the wake of Microsoft’s decision to end support on Windows 2008 effective Jan. 14, 2020.

“What’s great about HPE is they are channel-first and they are a great innovator,” he said. “HPE is pushing it. They are our No. 1 SMB vendor.”

Keith Nelson, vice president of technology for Vistem Solutions Inc., an Irvine, Calif., solution provider, said he is a loyal Aruba partner and is now considering adding HPE servers with the Silicon Root of Trust breakthrough. “We are going to look at the whole HPE stack now,” he said.

In fact, Nelson said he sees the Silicon Root of Trust helping to protect MSPs in the wake of a barrage of security threats. “I think there is going to be a day really soon where you see a lot of MSPs drop off because they have a ransomware attack and someone sues them,” he said. “The HPE Cyber Catalyst designation is important. It differentiates you as an MSP.”

As part of its stepped-up security charge, HPE is allowing partners to offer customers a free HPE Server Security and Wellness Workshop. That workshop includes an overview of server security, iLo, InfoSight for server and Cyber Catalyst designation information. Partner sales reps are also encouraged to take the course, said Gaston.

The call to action to partners is to lead with security conversations focused on Silicon Root of Trust, said Gaston. “With Silicon Root of Trust, partners can ensure firmware is never compromised,” he said. “Partners can not only protect their customers’ systems, but detect if they have been compromised and then recover them. It is critical that partners talk to customers about it and then help them set it up and take advantage of it.”