March 04, 2024

Future-Ready Security with HPE Aruba Networking’s Axis Security acquisition

HPE Aruba Networking’s acquisition of Axis Security in early 2023, and more specifically, the integration of their Security Service Edge (SSE) solution into Aruba’s EdgeConnect portfolio, has proven transformative for their advanced security solutions in the rapidly expanding edge-to-cloud connectivity market. By integrating the former Axis Atmos (now HPE Aruba Networking SSE) into its security portfolio, HPE Aruba Networking has created a complete Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) solution, integrating cloud-based SSE and their EdgeConnect SD-WAN portfolio in a single offering. This now makes HPE Aruba Networking a verified security and networking vendor, supporting its “security first networking” positioning with a comprehensive solution.  

It’s fair to say HPE Aruba Networking’s security portfolio previously had some gaps in terms of cloud-native support, edge connectivity, and advanced security services such as Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Secure Web Gateway (SWG). These capabilities were provided through the acquisition of SilverPeak in 2020 (now EdgeConnect), and integrations with security vendors such as Netskope, but the integration of HPE Aruba Networking SSE delivers these capabilities in a single integrated solution with: 

  1. Cloud-native support: As organisations increasingly move their applications and services to the cloud, there is a growing demand for cloud-native solutions that cater to this shift. By acquiring Axis and its cloud-native SSE platform, HPE Aruba Networking can provide a more comprehensive security offering that covers both on-premises and cloud environments.  
  1. Edge connectivity: With an ever-growing number of IoT devices and applications relying on edge computing, the need for secure edge connectivity has never been more critical. Before the acquisition, HPE Aruba Networking offered secure solutions for managing edge devices; however, they were not fully integrated with associated cloud security and SD-WAN solutions. The Axis integration strengthens Aruba’s edge connectivity capabilities by delivering a unified SASE solution, which combines Wide Area Networking (WAN), traffic segmentation based on role and identity, edge security, and networking services into one comprehensive SASE offering. This not only allows for improved visibility and control over edge devices but also simplifies network management and streamlines the deployment of edge applications. 

It is important to note that HPE Aruba Networking remains an open network and the integration partnerships will remain – more on this below!   

The VPN Conundrum

With Axis Security’s technology, it makes it much easier for HPE Aruba Networking to offer a solution for the increasingly difficult area of VPNs.  

The shift to remote working drove a corresponding increase in the use of VPNs for remote connectivity to enterprise resources. However, VPNs have become a major attack vector for malicious activity, with a 1,500% increase in targeted VPN attacks due to remote work.

VPNs also deliver a poor user experience with traffic backhauled over long distances causing slow connection speeds and users dealing with repeated logins and network reconnects. The complexity of managing and scaling VPNs is compounded by the number of security products involved in delivering them, often from different vendors. 

Zero Trust totally changes the equation for remote access, ensuring that remote users are never placed on the network and their infrastructure and IP address are never exposed to the Internet. With HPE Aruba Networking SSE, organisations can now adopt the same access policies defined for public cloud to their on-premises infrastructure. Further, by adopting ClearPass Network Access Control internally, both users and IoT devices can be covered by Zero Trust access control policies, whether they are onsite or outside the corporate network. 

For more information on how Aruba Atmos and ZTNA work, check out our infographic.

What about Aruba Central and ClearPass?

Interestingly, this acquisition will greatly strengthen the scope and capabilities of both Central and ClearPass. 

ClearPass offers visibility, control, and response to network connectivity, and with HPE Aruba Networking SSE’s ZTNA module, ClearPass can enforce Zero Trust secure access more effectively for users, devices, applications, and data based on clearly defined access control policies.  

Aruba Central, HPE Aruba Networking’s AI-powered network management system, also stands to gain from HPE Aruba Networking SSE as part of HPE Aruba Networking’s SASE capabilities. 

As Aruba Central focuses on intelligent operation and maintenance of wired and wireless networks, the integration of SSE introduces an additional layer of security and access control, streamlining a comprehensive network solution. 

These SSE capabilities will empower Aruba Central to deliver robust, streamlined, and secured WAN capabilities of EdgeConnect and an all-inclusive Zero Trust network management system. 

Does this mean less HPE Aruba Networking investment in 3rd party solution integration?

HPE Aruba Networking has always had multi-vendor interoperability at the heart of its solutions as every environment is different and far from homogenous. So, whether it’s from Aruba’s EdgeConnect fabric or SD branch gateways, HPE Aruba Networking will continue to support the ability to integrate with various vendors.  

Similarly, if you already have your own SD-WAN or SSE solution, HPE Aruba Networking will continue to have full support for those integrations. 


The integration of the HPE Aruba Networking SSE platform has essentially expanded HPE Aruba Networking’s security offering by providing a more robust solution for managing and securing access to corporate and public cloud resources.  

HPE Aruba Networking can now offer a unified SASE solution that integrates SSE and SD-WAN into a single-as-a-service platform.  

It’s also allowed HPE Aruba Networking to incorporate three fundamental services – Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), and Secure Web Gateway (SWG) – to advance its already robust security solutions further, providing more comprehensive, integrated, and advanced network features.  

Test Drive SSE

I invite you to explore the capabilities of HPE Aruba Networking SSE in this demo video. If you like what you see and would like to test drive SSE in your own environment, or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me using the contact form below.