In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters interviews Aruba's Larry Lunetta at the Aruba Atmosphere 2018 event, held in Las Vegas.
Read the related ESG Blog: In Conversation with Aruba's Larry Lunetta at Atmosphere 2018
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: It seems that indeed if people know Aruba, I think most people would think of it as a networking company.
Mark: So, what is the extent of your involvement in security?
Larry: So that's a great question because other folks who are actually perhaps more technically inclined would say, "Well, Aruba has always been in the security business." We produce wireless access and switching products that inherently are generally more secure than the competition, and that's been the case from day one. So I've had people observe that really Aruba is really a security company wrapped in network solutions.
Mark: You might be slightly biased.
Larry: I might be slightly biased but I'm slightly new as well. I've only been with Aruba a year so I'm coming in with a fresh set of eyes. And when I discover that we've shipped thousands of firewalls inside our wireless access controllers and the fact that we do IDS like functions on wireless traffic to keep out rouge traffic and man-in-the-middle attacks, and we've done that from pretty much the get-go.
So what we haven't been is recognized as a security brand. And that's part of my responsibility in marketing and generally, the overall corporate strategy is to become more associated in the security buying center with solutions as we are associated with solutions for the network buyer.
Mark: When we talked earlier, one of the things that really struck me was not just the fact that you're "in security" but you're doing some really interesting things. Give me a couple of examples of differentiation or things that you're doing that are really moving the security world forwards?
Larry: So probably the best example is how I arrived at Aruba which as via acquisition. It was a year ago. Aruba acquired the company I was with, Niara. And Niara was taking, and continues now as part of Aruba, to take a very innovative approach to attack detection using machine learning and artificial intelligence, which is very innovative. These would be the traditional signature and rule and pattern matching approach that most security products use. And the reason that's important is because the attacks that you hear about...and even today, there was a ransomware attack in Atlanta that was very serious, those bypass those traditional techniques.
So unless you use a new approach, the attackers are gonna always have the upper hand once they get inside the network. So I think you're gonna see, and you've heard across the corporation, machine learning becoming a critical technology for us, not just for security but also operational excellence and also optimizing the user experience. We've just made another acquisition, Cape Networks, that utilizes machine learning.
So the technology basically is fundamental and similar across various use cases. It's about what data you bring to the models and how you use it, which distinguishes the solution. So I think you're gonna find machine learning across the board to be a place of innovation for Aruba, and certainly for security.
Mark: Is the security within Aruba, and Aruba within HP and that within the IT business, is it mainly now about market share, gaining share or are there still innovations in the short-term that we should expect?
Larry: So, yes. For us, it's now about execution. To build a brand like Aruba into the security space, you have to have great products, great technologies, relevant solutions and you have to supply real solutions for customer problems. You have to sell products. So execution is very important to us. We've not only innovated on the technology and product side, we're innovating on the go-to-market side. We're adding security specialists in our field organizations. We're training our security partners in the products and technologies that we're offering.
So it's a very broad approach to building our security business. And we believe that our networking business will be more successful as we are more successful in security and vice versa. Five or 10 years ago, people would buy networking products to optimize for performance, for capital utilization, whatever the parameter is and the security is over here biting their nails hoping that what they were putting in place would somehow protect what the network team was purchasing.
Mark: Someone said it to me earlier, though. It's quite interesting. If you think about a networking person, particularly now with wireless and mobility, their aim in life is that everyone should be able to get anything anywhere. A security person is no one should be able to get anything from anywhere.
Mark: And I guess now, Aruba can be the company where quite a few people can get quite a lot from somewhere.
Larry: So if you think about IoT, which is another theme this week. And I talk to a lot of customers while I'm here. And it's astonishing, to me, when I ask them what their security challenges are, IOT is very high on the list how. It's almost like an explosion of awareness that what's in your building controls and...
Mark: In a real sense or in a planning sense?
Larry: No. In a real sense. We have a partnership with CBRE, which we announced this week, the largest provider of office space in the world, five billion-plus feet of space under management. And the reason they're partnering with us is they want us to provide the security for the things that are gonna be in the buildings and they want that before anybody even moves in. And that's reflected in almost every conversation I have now because it's no longer an if but a here and now.
Mark: So you've mentioned a few things and you've talked about the differentiation you have. You've just given the example of...
Larry: The machine learning and the artificial intelligence.
Mark: Yes. And the smart building if you like. Who gets advantage of this? Is this something that someone now is constrained to by Aruba or is this something that you are a separate entity that happens to have the Aruba brand name selling security? Which is it?
Larry: So it really...and it's very important for us because it's a key differentiator for all Aruba products is that we are open and multi-vendor. And if you think about the way Aruba started selling wireless access, we really had to sell in the Cisco networks. So that's in our DNA and it has been continued in our design philosophies and go-to-market philosophies. Our security products and we have them in a framework called the "360 Secure Fabric," which includes ClearPass network access control, IntroSpect for attack detection in our security infrastructure.
Each of those products, individually without any other products from Aruba, will deliver great value. And we will sell them separately if that's the way you wanna buy them, and we will leverage what else you have in your ecosystem to get the most value out of that as well. But we are obviously engineering them now to work better together. And so the idea is you can start anywhere in the fabric, anywhere with our security solutions and add as you see the needs arise and continue to see, not only the individual value but also the aggregate value.
Mark: Thank you for taking a couple of minutes to talk to me. It's good to know about what's going on in Aruba generally and specifically that Aruba the security company. Who knew?
Larry: My pleasure. It's fun to evangelize. It's a great place to be.
Mark: Thank you, Larry.
Larry: All right. Thank you.