Q&A with Simon Wilson, CTO at Aruba UK&I: The Networking Arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Aruba was originally founded in Santa Clara, California, in 2002 before becoming the networking arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise company in 2015. Our mission is to deliver innovative solutions that harness the power of data at the Edge – enabling and driving new business outcomes and dynamic customer experiences.
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How have the demands for networks changed with the pandemic?

They’ve changed drastically! For many of our customers, it required a total reimagination of the way they operated as the networks they had in place were built on the basis that most people would be in the office most of the time.

With COVID, all that changed, and our customers found themselves having to adapt their networks to address the new challenges and use cases presented by the pandemic. While the enforced changes were largely the same, each customer presents us with a unique challenge and each one has unique circumstances and needs for us to meet.

For example, last year we helped St. James Hospital in Dublin enable its staff to work effectively from home. Notably, the hospital’s radiology department faced issues, specifically the problem of how to allow radiologists access to the many high-resolution images – generated by MRI, CAT scans and X-Rays – stored on a Patient Archiving and Communications System (PACS) platform within the hospital.

The high resolution and the sheer volume of images created a huge amount of data as well as the various systems which radiologists need to interact with, meant that accessing the images and patient information outside of the hospital proved to be difficult.

We worked with St. James Hospital’s IT department to transplant the radiology team’s workstations from the hospital to their homes by installing Remote Access Points (RAPs) to connect them. In doing so, the team has been able to continue treating patients and maintain security, thanks to the RAP.

Looking beyond lockdown and COVID-19, businesses know the world will never be the same. One of the most notable changes is that with a greater shift to digital, the amount of data that is produced has increased dramatically, with the majority being created at the edge. From developing contact tracing apps to reinventing an omni-channel retail experience, data – and our ability to capture, protect, analyse, and act on it, wherever it is stored – will be fundamental to our recovery from this time of uncertainty. This puts artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies front and centre to support and guide this transition.

This all begs the question of just how businesses will spend limited budgets in the most effective way to out-innovate their competition. We already know that a proportion of workers will want to continue working remotely, at least for the time being. With that in mind, our focus is on how we can help make that work for the business and how can we help IT teams deliver a more distributed, robust, and secure network.


What can we hope to see from Aruba in the future?

A major focus of ours has been the launch of our cross-portfolio edge-to-cloud security integrations for the Aruba Edge Services Platform (ESP).
With business contending with the disruption brought by COVID-19 as well as the new hybrid working normal, the adoptions of cloud services will only increase. This coupled with the increase in IoT devices connecting to networks, means there are new challenges that cannot be addressed with cloud-delivered security alone.

The shift has increased the urgency to transform the conventional data centre to a more distributed centres of data model and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)-centric and VPN-based networks to a cloud-native Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture. One that features more dynamic provisioning of secure network services while protecting data from end-to-end. Through these Aruba ESP integrations, our customers will have the ability to apply granular-level, identity-based security policy from edge-to-cloud to safely connect and protect both users and devices.