HPE Aruba Intros SSE, ZTNA Capabilities As It Looks To Command The Secure Networking Market

“Our philosophy has always been to build security into network infrastructure and that’s the starting place for zero trust. SASE is the poster child for how those two organizations come together,” HPE’s Larry Lunetta told CRN of the joint Aruba/Axis Security innovations on display at Black Hat 2023.


HPE Aruba Networking has had a legacy of secure networking. That’s why the networking specialist is ready to show off at this week’s Black Hat 2023 event some of the security features the company gained following its acquisition of Axis Security earlier this year.

HPE announced its acquisition of Security Service Edge (SSE) provider Axis Security in March 2023 in a deal that CEO Antonio Neri said would give the company the “most comprehensive edge portfolio in the industry.”

While competing security vendors typically address one area of security, HPE Aruba’s perspective is that the network is the security solution. Zero Trust starts at the network layer, said Larry Lunetta, vice president of portfolio solutions marketing for HPE Aruba Networking, in an interview with CRN.

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“This really goes back to our roots. Security has always been a differentiator for us, and secure networking is a position that we believe we command,” Lunetta said.

Chris Hines, vice president of strategy for Axis Security at HPE Aruba Networking and former CMO for Axis before the acquisition, said the company is working toward the network becoming the best indicator of security insights.

“Our position is now better than anyone else in this idea of being able to actually bridge the networking and security teams and how we [can] help them transform on the network side, as well as on a security side,” Hines said.

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The Latest Features

HPE Aruba on Tuesday revealed a local deployment capability to its SSE Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) offering that lets enterprises extend their granular, zero trust policy-based access control to on-premises workloads, regardless of how a user or device connects to the network. Locally deployed ZTNA extends the same control that protect cloud applications to all workloads within the corporate environment. It also eliminates the need for the user to go out to the internet when trying to reach a premise-based resource, Hines said.

“This creates a much faster user experience,” he said. “We work with employees all over the world and some of them are located in countries where there may be inconsistent internet infrastructure. What this localized broker allows us to do is provide continuity of business, even in the event of an internet outage,” he said.

It’s also useful for organizations with compliance requirements who have historically been unable to adopt fully cloud-hosted infrastructure, Hines said.

On the SSE side, HPE Aruba took to Black Hat 2023 to introduce its new sandbox feature that lets businesses test suspicious files in a safe virtual environment and destroy malicious files before they cause damage. The company also showed off some of its newly acquired SSE features from Axis, including Secure Access to AI data with HPE Aruba Networking ZTNA, which provides secure access to large language model data, and secure web gateway (SWG) technology to block access to AI sites, like ChatGBT, based on a company’s policies.

“[With] the hybrid aspect where people work from Airbnbs, etc., we can make the internet safe for work and we think that that combination is going to be quite key for organizations out there,” Hines said.

A Focus On Secure Networking

Network security has shifted away from focusing on the network the enterprise owns, to the cloud-based network that enterprises don’t own and workloads that have moved outside of an organization’s perimeter. With that shift in mind, HPE Aruba has been building out its security portfolio via its 2020 Silver Peak acquisition for SD-WAN, and now the Axis Security portfolio for its cloud-based SSE platform.

The combination of Axis’ SSE expertise and HPE Aruba Networking’s edge-to-cloud security portfolio is helping the company develop a unified Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) approach, while ensuring Zero Trust security controls can be applied to people and devices, no matter where they connect, Lunetta said.

“It’s not that we don’t work with technology partners anymore [for SASE], that’s still an important go-to-market strategy, but our channel partners and customers are increasingly coming to us saying: ‘We want a single-source solution.’ That’s driving this bigger picture we’re seeing that networking and security is overlapping more [and] what we’re doing now is just increasing that overlap,” he said. “Our philosophy has always been to build security into network infrastructure and that’s the starting place for zero trust. SASE is the poster child for how those two organizations come together.”