Aruba Has Eye On Cisco As It Launches 360 Security Fabric, Touting 'Openness' As Key Differentiator

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Aruba is entering a new era with the launch of a security fabric filled with analytics, networking and Internet of Things technologies as it looks to turn up the heat on Cisco Systems.

The Aruba 360 Secure Fabric provides an analytics-driven attack detection and response offering to reduce threats with an open approach unmatched in the market today, said Larry Lunetta, vice president of security solutions marketing at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

The centerpiece of the fabric is Aruba's new network-agnostic IntroSpect UEBA (User and Entity Behavioral Analytics) offering, which integrates with Aruba ClearPass to enable policy-based attack response. ClearPass is the vendor's flagship network access control and secure policy management product.

"If you get under the covers with some of the Cisco security solutions, if you don’t have their technology it doesn't work. That's not the case with ClearPass and IntroSpect and how they operate. This is a very open fabric. Openness is big for Aruba," said Lunetta in an interview with CRN. "We are doubling down on security. This is a strategic initiative at the highest level."

Lunetta said a vital part of the 360 Secure Fabric is that customers can start anywhere. "We can start with Aruba infrastructure or if a customer doesn't have Aruba infrastructure, ClearPass and IntroSpect work just fine," he said. "The solutions work with other products and other vendors. … Clearly, the pieces together, the fabric together, adds tremendous value, but individually there's also a lot of value as well."

Aruba's IntroSpect UEBA offering was gained from HPE's acquisition of security analytics software provider Niara earlier this year. The software continuously monitors for attacks and includes a new entry-level model that uses machine learning to spot changes in device behavior that indicate attacks have evaded traditional security defenses.

Justin Tibbs, chief security officer at Draper, Utah-based Red Sky, an Aruba partner ranked No. 278 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500 list, said the new fabric leverages Aruba security technology like never before.

"Aruba already had a lot of security built into their products but never really leveraged it. Bringing in something like IntroSpect to continuously monitor and use machine-learning scenarios to spot the anomalies makes perfect sense," said Tibbs. "They're investing quite a lot here around security, and the money is in security right now."

As part of the 360 Secure Fabric, Aruba is injecting ClearPass and IntroSpect into the foundation of all of the vendor's Wi-Fi access points, wireless controllers and switches, including the new Aruba 8400 Core Switch Series.

"We've had these technologies that make devices secure and the traffic secure for a while, but we've now opened them up so the analytics can leverage this infrastructure more productively," said Lunetta.

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