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Unified SASE: A Secure And Streamlined Path To Digital Transformation

  Victor Fabian     May 07, 2024

HPE Aruba Networking’s Unified SASE simplifies cloud security by combining their SSE and EdgeConnect platforms to redefine secure access, deliver network speed, and zero trust protection.Cloud adoption is transforming businesses – however, it also introduces new security challenges. Traditional network security practices struggle to adapt to the cloud's dynamic nature, exposing organizations. A key question must be asked: How can an enterprise effectively secure data and applications amid the widespread adoption of the cloud? A unified Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offers a comprehensive solution. Let’s examine the obstacles organizations encounter when securing their cloud deployments, and how a unified SASE platform can effectively mitigate these challenges.

Challenges In Digital Transformation

The digital era is characterized by two major trends: a surge in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and various enterprises’ widespread adoption of cloud services. Fundamentally, these trends demand a fundamental shift in how organizations approach security.

A recent study published in the Wall Street Journal revealed a 13% increase in the global average cost of data breaches since 2020. In 2022, it reached a hefty average of $4.35 million. This highlights the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks, which have doubled in recent years, constantly testing an organization’s defenses.

These factors contribute to the following challenges faced by organizations in the digital era:

  • Traditional data center-centric security, built around centralized firewalls, is failing to keep pace as applications migrate to the cloud and users access data from anywhere. This is especially true for organizations with hybrid work models where data and applications are scattered across various locations.
  • Legacy security methods suffer from many limitations including bottlenecks and limited scalability for geographically dispersed users. Additionally, inconsistent security policies across devices and networks increase complexity and leave vulnerabilities. Finally, traditional VPNs, designed for on-premises networks, limit cloud adoption by focusing on user access rather than securing cloud workloads.

To navigate this complexity, organizations need a comprehensive security solution. This solution should provide three key functionalities: secure and reliable user access, robust cloud application protection, and agile security management. Unified SASE stands out as an answer to these challenges, as it offers a cloud-based, integrated security framework that adapts to the changing needs of businesses.

How Unified SASE Simplifies Security

Unified SASE offers a more streamlined solution by combining SD-WAN with comprehensive network security functions like secure web gateways (SWG), cloud access security brokers (CASB), firewalls as a service (FWaaS), and zero trust network access (ZTNA). This integrated approach is designed to meet the evolving security needs of today’s digital businesses, especially those with hybrid workforces and cloud-based applications.

Think of it this way: Instead of a bulky security setup at each branch office, SASE provides a thin WAN edge with the full suite of security features delivered as a convenient cloud service. This approach unlocks a multitude of benefits to enhance your organization’s operations, such as:

  1. Streamlined Security: SASE consolidates networking and security functions into a single, cloud-delivered solution. This simplifies management and eliminates the need for multiple-point products.
  2. Unified Security Posture: IT teams can apply consistent security policies and centralized access controls across all networks, regardless of location. This reduces the attack surface, making it easier to detect and respond to threats.
  3. Reduced Complexity: SASE streamlines network and security deployment and management. Save time and resources by eliminating the need for multiple hardware appliances.
  4. Optimized User Experience: SASE ensures secure, high-performance, and low-latency connections for users accessing applications and resources. This eliminates the need for backhauling traffic through a central data center, improving overall user experience.
  5. Scalability: SASE can easily adapt to changing business needs. It can support initiatives like hybrid work, cloud migration, and the adoption of IoT and OT devices.

Exploring Unified SASE Solutions

HPE Aruba Networking understands the challenges businesses face in today’s digital world. To address these concerns, they have partnered with leading cloud security providers to offer a comprehensive SASE solution. This solution seamlessly combines HPE Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN technology with their cloud-based SSE platform. By embracing a zero-trust approach, HPE Aruba Networking empowers organizations to secure users and applications everywhere. This unified and powerful solution allows businesses to confidently pursue digital transformation with a robust and secure access strategy.



HPE offers a unified approach to SASE built on three key components:

  1. HPE Aruba Networking SSE: This solution provides both agent-based and agentless ZTNA, granting you deployment flexibility. Additionally, it offers unified policy management for streamlined control and a global network of points of presence (PoPs) for optimal performance.
  2. EdgeConnect SD-WAN: It transcends traditional SD-WAN with multi-cloud support, guaranteeing secure access to any cloud application. By prioritizing user experience, it optimizes application performance for a seamless workday.
  3. HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor and ClearPass: This combination offers a unified network access control (NAC) solution. Powered by AI, it delivers deep client insights and enforces granular access through dynamic segmentation. Continuous network monitoring identifies and mitigates threats, fortifying your security posture.

The Benefits Of HPE Aruba Networking SSE

This cloud-based platform provides robust and unified network security through zero-trust access. This minimizes potential attack points and shields your network from modern threats. Administrators benefit from enhanced control and visibility into your IT infrastructure, allowing them to prevent data leaks and unauthorized software usage.

Furthermore, intelligent global routing and centralized management ensure a smooth user experience when accessing applications and data. This translates to increased productivity and effortless scalability to keep pace with your growing business.

A Look At EdgeConnect Secure SD-WAN

The EdgeConnect SD-WAN platform is designed for cloud-first enterprises, providing a secure foundation for zero trust and SASE. It combines a first-class SD-WAN with a next-generation firewall, ensuring both advanced security and an unmatched quality of experience. Whether your applications reside in the cloud or on-premises, EdgeConnect delivers reliable connectivity and protection.

Its key features include:

  • App Performance Enhancement: Utilizing SaaS and WAN optimization techniques, and path conditioning, to optimize application performance.
  • Next-Generation Firewall: This offers end-to-end security, including deep packet inspection (DPI), intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and role-based segmentation.
  • Multi-Cloud Networking: EdgeConnect seamlessly integrates with multiple cloud providers (such as Azure and AWS) to support cloud-first organizations.
  • Dynamic Routing: BGP and OSPF support ensure efficient traffic routing across the WAN.
  • Visibility And Reporting: Gain insights into application and network performance.
  • Automation And Zero-Touch Provisioning: Simplify deployment and management.
  • Unified SASE: EdgeConnect operates within the framework of the SASE model. This means it intelligently directs traffic to the cloud, eliminating the need for unnecessary backhauling of data. By strategically processing information at the edge of the network, EdgeConnect offers a more efficient and secure approach to cloud connectivity.
  • Branch Network Consolidation: Replace branch firewalls and routers, streamlining network and security functions.
  • Quality Of Experience: Prioritize mission-critical applications, including high-quality voice and video over broadband.
  • Secure IoT Segmentation: Implement zero-trust network segmentation for IoT devices, going beyond SASE-defined boundaries.
  • Integration with Multiple SSE Vendors: Tight integration with various cloud-security vendors

EdgeConnect SD-WAN Platform combines robust security, performance optimization, and cloud integration to empower modern enterprises.

An Overview On HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor and ClearPass

HPE Aruba Networking offers sophisticated AI-powered client identification and profiling through Client Insights, a feature built directly into HPE Aruba Networking Central. This eliminates the need for additional physical collectors or VM-based agents typically required by competitor solutions.

Client Insights delivers highly accurate AI/ML profiling, reaching around 99% accuracy. This enhanced visibility empowers customers to experience immediate IT efficiency gains. Automated policy enforcement based on these insights further streamlines network management. Additionally, Client Insights’ always-on AI/ML behavioral monitoring provides superior protection against security breaches.

Client Insights within HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor and ClearPass offer a cost-effective and user-friendly solution for comprehensive network visibility, automated policy enforcement, and enhanced security through AI-powered client identification and profiling.

Additionally, HPE Aruba Networking Central offers the following components as well for organizations:

  • Cloud Authentication

As HPE Aruba Networking’s built-in cloud-based NAC solution within HPE Aruba Networking Central, Cloud Auth assigns roles to users and devices for secure network access. This ensures only authorized users and devices can connect, with clearly defined access privileges. Cloud Auth integrates with common identity stores (like Google Workspace and Azure AD) for seamless user and device identification and authentication. It also simplifies management with time-saving workflows for policy configuration and user onboarding with Multi Pre-Shared Keys (MPSK).

  • HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor

HPE Aruba Networking Central NetConductor automates tasks like configuration and policy enforcement across geographically dispersed networks, simplifying management of wired, wireless, and WAN infrastructure. This streamlines setup, optimizes performance, and enforces granular access controls – the foundation of secure network architectures.

Final Thoughts

The digital landscape has fostered exponential business growth through widespread cloud adoption. While moving to the cloud creates new security challenges, SASE offers a comprehensive solution to consolidating critical network and security functionalities into a single, cloud-based platform. This streamlined approach simplifies security management while ensuring reliable data protection across all locations within your organization.

WEI’s cloud security specialists can guide you through securing your cloud environment. We combine our expertise with personalized security assessments and custom-built SASE solutions, featuring advanced technologies like HPE Aruba Networking. This empowers your business to confidently navigate your digital transformation while protecting your critical assets. Contact us today to get started.


Next steps: The acceleration of migrating applications to the cloud in addition to leveraging cheaper and flexible internet alternatives such as 5G/LTE connections drove the need for SD-WAN technology. Greater visibility and better security tools are needed to ensure the zero-trust network environment that companies desire. Additionally, hybrid networks have evolved far beyond the basic composition of a public cloud and on-prem environment. Today’s SD-WAN solutions must accommodate multiple clouds in a dynamic fashion.

WEI’s free tech brief identifies the three main components of Aruba Network's powerful EdgeConnect Enterprise platform:

  • Physical or Virtual SD-WAN Appliance
  • Aruba Orchestrator
  • Aruba Boost

Click here to access your free copy of the tech brief, SD-WAN: 3 Components To Efficiently Connect Users To Applications.

Tags  cloud security IoT HPE Aruba Networking network security SD-WAN Aruba ClearPass Automation edge computing SASE zero-trust network access

Victor Fabian

Written by Victor Fabian

Victor Fabian is a Senior Mobility and Access Architect here at WEI. He brings with him more than a dozen certifications including Aruba’s most distinguished award AMFX #8 (Aruba Mobile First Expert), and has more than a decade of solution design experience in the VAR channel, including as an Aruba Partner Ambassador. Victor is also very active with Aruba Airheads and is recognized as an MVP Guru by the Aruba Airheads Community. Stay in touch with Victor by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter (@victorfabian_dr).

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