Axis Security Acquisition Gives HPE The Edge In SASE Battle: Antonio Neri

The combination of Axis Security and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba porfolio creates the “most comprehensive edge portfolio in the industry” with Secure Access Services Edge (SASE), ZTNA (zero trust network access), CASB (cloud access security broker) and SWG (Secure Web Gateway), said HPE CEO Antonio Neri.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s acquisition of Israeli cloud security software maker Axis Security turns up the heat on SASE competitors by giving HPE the “most comprehensive edge portfolio in the industry,” HPE CEO Antonio Neri told CRN.

“We now are bringing together the entire connectivity layer with WiFi, LAN, SD-WAN and private 5G,” said Neri Thursday in an interview with CRN. “On top of that we are adding a consistent security framework with Secure Access Services Edge (SASE) which brings elements of the connectivity and the firewall with ZTNA (zero trust network access), CASB (cloud access security broker) and SWG (Secure Web Gateway).”

Competing vendors “only address one aspect of that security,” whether it’s firewall, CASB, or ZTNA, said Neri. “Axis Security addresses all of that together with Aruba, where you have our firewall, and obviously the most comprehensive connectivity layer,” he said.

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The Axis acquisition provides HPE with a cloud-native SSE platform that secures applications at the edge and also provides secure access to corporate and public cloud resources.

The Axis Atmos platform—which won CRN’s 2022 Tech Innovator Award for Secure Service Edge—delivers authenticated user access at the edge with SWB, CASB and a Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) capability that provides insight into user experiences. Axis was also named one of CRN’s 10 Hottest Cybersecurity Startups of 2022.

The Axis Security acquisition is expected to close in HPE’s second fiscal quarter, ending April 30. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Axis To Be Integrated Into GreenLake

The Axis portfolio—combined with HPE’s acquisition last month of private 5G provider Athonet—will be fully integrated with the HPE GreenLake on-premises pay-per-use platform. “Now we have a common security layer on top integrated with private 5G,” Neri said, noting that competitors are forced to “stitch together” multiple solutions.

“We offer this all cloud-natively through HPE GreenLake,” he said. “The simplicity and the experience will be so differentiated compared to everything else. ... You just click and deploy.”

HPE said it plans to make the integrated Axis Security solutions available to customers in its third fiscal quarter.

The acquisition opens the door for increased opportunity for partners in the Aruba intelligent edge market, a segment that grew 25 percent in the first fiscal quarter, ended January 31, said Neri.

In fact, he said, Axis Security combined with Aruba makes the HPE Aruba intelligent edge platform more attractive for the commercial, midmarket and SMB markets. “They want to buy a complete solution,” he said. “They don’t want to buy widgets or best of breed that they have to put together.”

Eli Katz, director of cloud, consumption and security New York-based PKA Technologies, an HPE GreenLake and Aruba partner, called the acquisition an “across-the-board game-changer” for HPE and Aruba.

“This definitely strengthens HPE and Aruba’s portfolio from a cloud-to-edge perspective,” he said. “With this acquisition, HPE and Aruba now have a secure connection between authorized users and business resources. That is a true game-changer that secures the entire edge-to-cloud portfolio.”

Axis ensures secure connectivity across a full hybrid cloud environment, including public cloud, said Katz. “Customers are leveraging multiple clouds, whether it is AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Azure and private cloud,” he said. “Having an agnostic approach to securing access into all these clouds helps us as partners be more strategic in supporting our customers’ needs.”

Katz said security has become a top concern for all customers. “Everyone is fair game to cyber-criminals,” he said. “Cybercrime is a trillion dollar business these days. Anything we can do to help our customers be more secure in protecting their data strengthens the relationship we have with our customers.”

Neri, for his part, said the Axis deal is another “fantastic acquisition” aligned to industry megatrends. “Customers are now approaching this [edge market] from a security layer into the networking layer versus what has traditionally been more of a networking layer up into the security layer,” he said.