Deliver on Your NRF Vision with Aruba SD-Branch

Jeff Olson

The store of the future was a big focus at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City in January 2020, as retailers explore ways to blend physical and digital experiences to get shoppers back into stores, rather than clicking the “buy” button from the comfort of their couches.

With today’s innovative technology, retailers can create personalized experiences that make shoppers feel welcome and their unique tastes understood. With the right technology, shoppers can be guided through the store to find their favorite items, presented special offers, and have a great experience.

Bringing the Future of Retail into Focus

Aruba announced its next major milestone for the SD-Branch solution, which better secures, streamlines, and simplifies network operations for IT staff responsible for managing multiple geographically distributed retail locations. Aruba’s SD-Branch solution is a single, software-defined framework that enables organizations to meet today’s IT, user, IoT, infrastructure, and business needs at retail and branch locations with simplicity, speed, and, cost savings.

Three Ways to Deliver on Your Retail Vision

Let’s take a look at how Aruba’s SD-Branch solution helps retail IT professionals to deliver on their vision:

1. Secure the growing retail attack surface. Strong network security in a distributed retail environment has always been critical, and with retailers increasingly using the same network for front- and back-of-store connectivity, protecting against security threats becomes even more important. The number of IoT devices like electronic shelf labels, digital cameras, location sensors, and smart lighting is skyrocketing. IoT devices are an essential part of retail transformation but they’re also unproven from a security perspective. IT needs to ensure tight controls over IoT devices.

With Aruba’s SD-Branch solution, retail IT teams can adopt a scalable, zero-trust security methodology from edge to cloud, leveraging comprehensive security controls across stores, users, and devices. Retail stores are secured using critical security capabilities such as firewalls, role-based dynamic segmentation, intrusion detection systems and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and Web content filtering. Identity-based IDS/IPS performs signature- and pattern-based traffic inspection on both the branch office LAN (east-west) traffic as well as the SD-WAN (north-south) traffic flowing through the gateway to deliver embedded in-store network security. An advanced security dashboard provides retail IT teams with everything they need to manage an end-to-end zero trust, edge-to-cloud environment providing network-wide visibility, multi-dimensional threat metrics, threat intelligence data, correlation, and incident management.

Aruba’s Dynamic Segmentation solution empowers retailers to microsegment their networks to limit how and where users and devices, including IoT devices, can communicate. A policy-based approach to micro-segmentation reduces the risk of security gaps, improves network availability and compliance—and lightens the workload of a lean IT team.

2. Simplify edge-to-cloud networks with a single control point. Distributed retail networks are getting more complex with cloud, SaaS, and increasing IoT at the edge. Cloud applications and services and IoT are critical pieces of retail transformation, and with Aruba’s SD-Branch single pane-of-glass and SD-WAN orchestration, retailers can easily and seamlessly connect stores to data, applications, and SaaS residing on multiple clouds, such as Azure, AWS, GCP, and cloud security vendors—at scale.

SD-Branch also addresses the challenge of local network operations inside the store (both wired and wireless) with streamlined user and device onboarding and provisioning, role-based policies and micro-segmentation. The zero-touch provisioning app eliminates the time-consuming, manual work of network configuration and ensures uniform network and security settings. IT teams no longer have to hassle with complicated VLAN and ACL configurations or worry about static controls. That’s because SD-Branch addresses the entire remote branch experience, from the wireless and wired networks in the stores, across the WAN, and to cloud resources and private data centers, all with zero-trust security and consistent performance.

3. Ensure non-stop operations at every retail location. The importance of network uptime becomes even more important with connected stores for electronic payment processing, inventory systems and innovations like electronic shelf labels, magic mirrors, and location-based services.

With Aruba SD-Branch, IT teams can leverage automation that keeps the network running non-stop and deliver amazing experiences for shoppers, associates, and their devices. Applications perform at their best with high-performance, reliable connectivity. The SD-Branch solution includes role-based policy enforcement, dynamic path steering, and SaaS prioritization features that dynamically adjust to changing network conditions to deliver the best experience to users and devices. Aruba provides enterprise-class SD-WAN over MPLS, broadband, and LTE links. Built-in cellular LTE access in the Aruba 9004 Series Gateways gives customers the option to use the connection as a primary or secondary uplink or in a load shared active-active mode with other broadband/MPLS links.

Technology is transforming every aspect of the retail experience, from the shopping on the sales floor to the associate in the backroom and the executive offices. With Aruba SD-Branch, retailers can be assured of secure network availability, improved network operations, faster IT service delivery, and enhanced shopper experiences.

Jeff Olson is a Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. He is focused on the Aruba Software Defined Branch solution.