Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has announced the next milestone for its SD-Branch solution that is claimed to enable more secure, streamlined and simplified deployment and management of large distributed retail networks.
A critical component of the company’s Edge-to-Cloud strategy, Aruba’s SD-Branch solution integrates Aruba Branch Gateways with the Aruba Central cloud management platform to provide a single point of control and management for SD-WAN, wired and wireless networking to enable secure, simplified branch connectivity at scale. The innovations include:
- An expansion of Aruba’s unified branch defence capabilities to provide unique, identity-based attack detection and intrusion prevention to deliver zero trust in-store network security;
- New enhancements to the SD-WAN Orchestrator in Aruba Central to deliver unified edge-to-cloud management and secure connectivity to cloud workloads;
- New branch gateways that provide non-stop connectivity via built-in cellular, including LTE.
Retail IT teams are under tremendous pressure to drive digital transformation within brick-and-mortar locations and “place the store at the centre of their customer experience” in order to compete with online merchants and marketplaces. To achieve this, they are leveraging next generation technologies to enable personalized, immersive experiences within the stores, but are consistently challenged by the lack of on-site technical staff at branch locations. As such, IT staff responsible for connecting, securing and managing retail locations must rethink the way they architect their branch networks. A unified edge-to-cloud architecture that automates and secures LAN, WAN and cloud connectivity is paramount to driving operational efficiency and addressing the lack of IT staff.
“As we continue to grow our retail stores internationally, we are laser-focused on using technology to deliver our customers a truly unique shopping experience,” said Stewart Ebrat, CIO at Vera Wang. “With Aruba’s SD-Branch solution as the solid foundation for a secure, easy-to-deploy and centrally managed infrastructure, we will also be able to better engage with our customers by identifying them via their mobile phones so that store associates can help personalise and transform their in-store shopping experience.”
Delivering Zero Trust Security to the Retail Branch
While retailers are embracing digital technologies – such as mobility and IoT – to enhance the shopper experience, they are also facing new security threats and an increased attack surface. Traditional security techniques were simply not designed to handle these new and evolving threats; as a result, many IT teams are adopting a Zero Trust Security framework, an architecture that dictates that no one within or outside the network is trusted.
Key elements of a Zero Trust Security framework include a policy engine/trust broker, the ability to dynamically segment traffic on the basis of identity and role, and continuous monitoring for changes in security status with the corresponding real time adjustment of access policies. In addition, IT teams gain enhanced security by employing a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) approach, which combines network security functions with WAN capabilities to support the dynamic secure access needs of organizations.
Aruba has long supported the principles of a Zero Trust Security framework with its market-leading role-based access technology and Dynamic Segmentationwhich provides unified, software-defined micro-segmentation across the network, in branch and campus environments, to isolate users, devices and applications from one another based on role, not the type or location of the network connection. Aruba is advancing its unified branch defense capabilities with new IDS/IPS functionality that integrates with Aruba’s ClearPass Policy Manager and Policy Enforcement Firewall. By leveraging role-based access, Aruba adds a new identity-based detection dimension to traditional intrusion detection and prevention, enabling security teams to focus on alerts that matter.
Aruba’s unified branch defense also includes:
- One-click integration with cloud-based security solutions;
- Threat visibility and trend analysis;
- Correlation of security events with sites, clients, applications and network infrastructure;
- Out-of-box policies for enforcement and incident response;
- Security event streaming to third-party Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions;
- ClearPass Policy Manager for global access policy development and propagation.
Aruba’s unified branch defense capabilities deliver a complete solution for security and connectivity at retail locations, defending against a myriad of threats, including phishing, denial of service (DoS) and increasingly widespread ransomware attacks.
Seamless Zero Trust from Edge-to-Cloud
As adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and virtual private clouds (VPCs) continue to rise, so has the complexity of maintaining security and control over the data, traffic and users accessing the cloud. Aruba is extending its Zero Trust Security model to the cloud with the enhanced SD-WAN Orchestrator in Aruba Central, making it easier for branch network operators to deploy flexible and secure overlay topologies in a large-scale edge infrastructure, securely connecting thousands of remote locations to applications in data centres and the cloud.
Aruba Virtual Gateways, available for AWS and Azure, combined with orchestration, cost-effectively extend network and security policies to workloads running in the public cloud while the new SaaS Express prioritization feature continuously probes hosting locations for SaaS applications to ensure application performance.
Ensuring Non-Stop Operations at Every Retail Location
To help ensure a seamless shopping experience, retailers need a highly reliable network infrastructure as the foundation for digital transformation. Built-in cellular access in the Aruba 9004 Series Gateways gives customers the option to use the connection as a primary or secondary uplink or in a load shared active-active mode with other broadband links. Further, for cost control purposes, retailers can selectively use the cellular uplink for certain applications in any of these modes.
Embedded cellular provides retailers with reliable, high performance backup connectivity with seamless failover that can be centrally managed. IT staff are able tune and optimize connectivity by defining SLA policies across a combination of MPLS, Internet and cellular links enforced with dynamic path steering in real-time with the ability to select the preferred cellular link. The cellular link can also be used for remote locations or to accelerate the deployment of a new store until the dedicated MPLS or Internet links are installed.
“Aruba pioneered the SD-Branch solution, creating a new category beyond pure-play SD-WAN offerings that gives retail IT the ability to face the higher-level challenges of remote branch connectivity, such as reducing device footprint, unified management across WAN and LAN, and security,” said Kishore Seshadri, vice president and general manager of SD-WAN Solutions at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Today’s advancements extend Aruba’s SD-Branch solution to further support retail network operators with new, integrated in-store security capabilities, public cloud workload orchestration, and resiliency that retailers need for non-stop operations.”
 Forrester Research, US Retailers: Adapt Your Stores to Compete with Marketplaces, December 2019
 Gartner, Say Hello to SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), December 29, 2019