Episode 20 – HPE Security in the New Digital Landscape

Connection
Connection

Episode 20 is the 8th installment of our National Cyber Security Awareness Month series.  Penny Conway continues discussions with the Connection TSG Cyber Security group and Jeannette Riker, HPE Product Manager. Listen as Jeannette speaks to HPE’s complete end to end security approach and learn why HPE boasts “The industry’s most secure server in the world” 


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  This is a transcript of the TechSperience podcast – Episode 20

Penny Conway:

Welcome back to another episode of Connection TechSperience. We’re here again with our TSG group, our security experts here at Connection. With a special guest, Jeannette Riker, who manages our HPE business. Which, for those of you out there, HPE is Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Jeannette, welcome to, today’s episode all about HPE and security. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your role here at Connection and how you help our customers with HPE.

Jeannette Riker:

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, guys for having me. So, I’ve been here at Connection for the past 12 years and  dedicated to covering the HPE business for the past two. So, it’s really just working with a partner and getting out to the customers exactly what they need. Just kinda with the whole digital transformation going on right now. Making sure that the technologies that they have in place are what’s needed to support where the business is going.

Penny Conway:

Awesome, and before we get to far in I wanna… ’cause sometimes we hear this in the industry. We talk to… we have a lot of partners within Connection, we talk to a lot of costumers about a lot of different solutions. And we have, sort of two similar sounding, somewhat connected vendors or partners HP Ink and HPE. So, why don’t you clear up maybe, a little confusion that a customer might have when their thinking about HP what you do, versus what the other HP Ink does.

Jeannette Riker:

Yeah, absolutely. I get that a lot when talking to friends and family. I say, “hey, I cover HPE” and it’s always like, okay, the printers, the client… like I- I have a HP laptop. But no, from the enterprise side what you’ll see is what’s supporting a data center. So, the servers, the storage, the networking. All the connectivity to make companies run.

Penny Conway:

So, basically where it all starts is HPE, that data center, the server side and then HPI is that… what everything is running on the server. The end user devices, the printers. All of that good stuff is a good way for a customer to kinda think of where both, you know, sort of takeover in their own environment.

So, HP, obviously a huge name in the- the server data center business. Why don’t you share with us, and Steve and your team can… your team can hop in here as I’m sure you deal a lot with HPE. A little bit about what the security message right now on the HPE side is. Where they’re- they’re positioning to customers, and sorta what the pain points are that they’re lookin’ to solve.

Jeannette Riker:

Right, so, security has definitely been top of mind as I’m sure it is for everyone. We see everything in the news right now about ransomwares of service and just all these trends and these hacks of different companies that have gone down with hacks to their systems, to their networks. HPE has really taken a full end to end approach, so you’ll see throughout their entire portfolio, security is the most important for each… If you look at their Gen10 servers that were announced, I want to say two years ago now. They came out with the line that it’s the most secure server in the world. The industries most standard secure server in the world. And it’s just interesting, it was such a bold claim. But that is their priority right now, so, between their Gen10 severs for storage, you still have a, acquired Nimble for their InfoSight, which is their software that does monitoring. Its predictive analytics like constantly looking at what’s going on in the entire environment, not just the storage.

And then their networking also, looking at the devices on the edge, seeing what’s on the network. Just very interesting messaging. Especially around that networking piece. So, before we’re looking at the server security, but now it’s… customers could get hacked even through like a smart light bulb that they have in the office. Things that they’re not even thinking as hackable. Like, something you would even think of and… So, it’s just neat to see that’s its being addressed from, not even just like the server, the firmware, but also to the edge devices.

Related: 5 Reasons to Consider HPE Synergy

Penny Conway:

Yeah, we were talking about that in- in a previous episode where we were saying, you know. First of all, a couple of things. All those devices out there like Rob’s Smart Light Bulbs and his Alexas and all of that. We had another guest on that had, I think over 40 IoT devices in his home. So, you have all of those IoT devices that are everywhere that need to be secured. But also, with the growing security landscape, everyone sort of buying up or partnering and merging and acquiring all of these smaller solutions to fit into their bigger one.

And I’d like to dig into that a little bit more, Steve, with you and your team ’cause I think you’re probably on the front lines of that as you look at these partners within Connection just scooping up more and more solutions to the stack. How do you keep up with something like that? How do you, know that, you know, HPEs inquiring things like Nimble to- to hit those spots that they don’t have coverage. You know from a security practice point of view. How do you guys manage all of that? The acquisitions and mergers and knowing what’s what and who’s who?

Steve Nardone:

I think last count there was something like 18,000 different security products that are out there in the industry. Obviously we can’t be in tune with all of them. But the beauty of Connection is with our product management group we have, you know, really good access to the top tier vendor partners that we have. So we can… we can keep pace with that and make sure that we have the right understanding and the right messaging associated with, you know what- what we need to be telling customers.

On the other side of the coin, with all the various customers that we have, the various verticals that they’re in, the various size customers. It’s pretty much guaranteed on an even day. We’re gonna be confronted with a risk challenge that is pretty unique in the industry. So, you know, our awareness and knowledge of what we can do to help them, obviously is- is the… a- a key, you know, aspect to our success. And certainly understanding our technology is the right technology to talk to them about is something that is also very important to our success.

So, our core partners and our core vendor of technology is obviously or- or typically a part that conversation stack. Especially if they have… as we’ve talked about in some of the other podcasts, you know, good visibility across the enterprise, as well, where they play in multiple layers in the overall ecosystem.

Steve Nardone:

Earlier this week I had a conversation with a HPE architect about the servers. And you know, it was a-a update to, you know, what’s happening from a security perspective with HP servers. And you know, the comment about it being the most secure server on the planet. You know, when you’re a cyber security guy, right. That’s kinda like a challenge, but-

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Steve Nardone:

…but, but… interesting part about what I understood and- and… I’d like to talk a little bit more detail about this. The thing that I found interesting is that the chips of the technology, everything that’s been built in these servers is actually proprietary technology for Ap- HPE. That’s correct, right?

Jeannette Riker:

That is correct, yes.

Steve Nardone:

Yeah, which is, you know, I think that’s a huge investment, right? And it shows a really good commitment and awareness to building am architecture that does support security. And the ability to be able to things like, roll back to a gold standard operating system. You know, a known safe and secure version of the OS, right off of the chips that if something goes wrong in the environment. Those types of things are- are huge, you know.

Steve Nardone:

And we talked about earlier, as well, the fact that some customers don’t even know what they have in their environment. So, you know, it gives us an opportunity to take a look at when they are using HP technology and help them understand the features and the capabilities they have to help them improve their overall, again, risk management strategy. Which is what we’re all about, right? We’re helping our customers identify and figure out good strategies to keep themselves safe and secure.

Rob Di Gerolamo:

Yeah, Steve, do you know if any of that technology, even though it’s proprietary, is- is visible? Just off the shelf tools? Or…

Steve Nardone:

My understanding is it’s all, you know, built everything… All the- the entire chips in itself. Where everything, you know, from a manufacturing point of view. And if I- I think, as well, if I’m correct, it’s not being sold to other OEMs, right, it’s just being used specifically in HP technology, correct?

Jeannette Riker:

Right, and that was one of their biggest claims with the release of Gen10 is the supply chain security. Every piece, every step along the process is owned by HPE. Even to after, say the customer wants to move on from the Gen10 server, HPE will actually come on site and offer those services to clear everything out of there and make sure it’s to the standard that’s needed.

Penny Conway:

That’s really interesting. We were talking… We were talking about how where HP Ink and HPE sorta differentiate and Steve, you had asked me like, “do they all float up into the same leadership?” Where’s the sort of delineation there? And they are separate, I think, Jeannette you said what, about in 2014?

Jeannette Riker:

I wanna say it was about that time frame. This is before I started in the role, but I do remember just what big story that change was. I wanna say, for sure, it was, 14, 15.

Penny Conway:

Yeah, so, they separated their server business from their client and print business. But one of the things you see on HP Ink’s side is the same thing. The world’s most secure device. The world’s most secure printer. I’m sure that their legal team absolutely loves saying that about everything (laughs) that about everything that they manufacture. But it’s definitely been a priority of HPE and as I think overarching goal is to be the most secure in the industry. And that… closing that supply chain loop and making sure… you know, we were talking about that on the print side earlier, as well.

Penny Conway:

So where are, Jeannette, where… like… what kind of message are you delivering to customers right now in getting started with HPE? So say they’re not currently on the world’s most secure server. Where does the customer sort of start to explore that relationship with HPE and understand that you and your team brings?

Jeannette Riker:

Really, we just start looking at how valuable their information is to them. With all of it being new attacks coming out right now, how much downtime could they actually afford if they were to lose that data?

So, the biggest thing is just starting out with “do you have the correct server in place?” Like, “are you protected there?”. And then building out from there, as I said, HPE offers many security services to go through and do that risk assessment. See what their data center looks like and they’ll find the compromised areas and help transition out to where they need to be.

We also have good models in place to help maximize the value of their previous assets so they’re not completely losing the dollars there, upgrading to the latest technology. So, if they have old gear they could trade it in and get the money for that to apply towards their new purchase. And then there’s also different consumptions models available now through HPE. So, they don’t have to deal with the full cost of the upgrade right up front. They’re now offering HPE Greenlake which is their infrastructure as a service, pretty much. So, they- they could have the public cloud model, but on premise. So, it’s secure.

Penny Conway:

Yeah, we- we’ve seen that the… as a service model is becoming more and more popular. And there has been a sort of, kind of… And Steve y- you and your team might have seen this more that hesitancy maybe, of moving to the cloud. But also it being a big opportunity to do things the right way as they sort of make that transition from on premise to that you know, server or as a cloud or software as a cloud. That- that opportunity that it presents for a customer.

Steve Nardone:

Yeah, absolutely. And- and yeah. One of the things we talk about again, you know, not to- to keep harping on the same point, right? Risk ownership, risk management is really the key thing that we always focus on. It’s… everything you do is a risk based decision so, if you’re planning on moving to the cloud, right? The question you need to ask yourself is, “I have you know, services and I have data. And I have a strategy for protecting that data. If I’m gonna move it to a cloud provider, are they gonna do as good of a job or better job than I will do if I manage that myself?” And if the answer is yes, and typically, honestly, it’s better, most often because they’ve built the infrastructure. They have the personnel. They have the ability to be able to monitor and manage it much more effectively than a lot of, you know, internal IT organizations do. That’s a good basis for being able to make that decision and actually move to the cloud.

But the other thing we always talk about is there’s no such thing as risk transference. So, when you do that, it doesn’t mean you’re no longer responsible for risk oversight for those services and that data. You still own that and are still responsible to make sure that cloud provider is doing everything they can to prove to you that they’re meeting your overall expectations.

And if you do all of that, you’re probably going to save money. You’re gonna have an organization with a structure that will meet your expectations better than you possibly can yourself because they have the right people. The right trained people, the right process, and so on. And you know, it’s a good business decision if all of that plays out, you know, in that way.

Penny Conway:

Yeah. So, Jeannette, if a customer is looking to sort of make this transition to the Gen10 or take a look at the Greenlake, option, how do they get started with your team?

Jeannette Riker:

Yeah, it’s really just contacting us. Everyone on my team is fully up to skill. As I said, this has been one of our most important messages that we’ve been just training… getting the teams trained on. We have all the certifications in place, and we are ready.

Penny Conway:

Excellent. So, I’m gonna switch gears with you, just a second before I say goodbye.

If you could do anything in the world, Jeannette, other than be the HPE product manager. Or your former product manager role, what would you be doing?

Jeannette Riker:

I mean this is definitely, definitely what I wanna be doing right now. I mean what else would you possibly wanna do?

Penny Conway:

(laughs).

Jeannette Riker:

But-

Penny Conway:

(laughing).

Jeannette Riker:

Right? It… was that too much? No, but, really, I would be working with animals or something- something, something quiet, something nice.

Penny Conway:

I love it. And what is your favorite personal application that you use? Like an app on your phone.

Jeannette Riker:

That one’s tough. I don’t wanna admit it but it’s probably Instagram.

Penny Conway:

Oh.

Jeannette Riker:

(laughs). It is nice separation from everything I have going on during the day.

Penny Conway:

And what is your least favorite application. And this can be work, or personal.

Jeannette Riker:

It’s Outlook (laughs).

Penny Conway:

(laughing)

Rob Di Gerolamo:

Well done.

Steve Nardone:

Yes.

Penny Conway:

What’s really good is we have all of these answers that come through and it’s always like an application we use every day and it’s not the application itself-

Jeannette Riker:

(laughs).

Penny Conway:

…it’s what the application brings to us in the form of emails or project tasks or information of things that we have to do (laughs).

Jeannette Riker:

Exactly.

Penny Conway:

So, it’s always a fun one. Thank you so much, Jeannette for joining us and sharing a little bit about what HP has going on. And helping clarify for our- our customers sort of that difference between the two companies. It’s always good to clarify where- where we can. So if you are out there and you are looking at HPE as server resource, reach out to our team here at Connection. And of course, our security experts in TSG will help you along the way as well.

Penny Conway:

Thank you so much. Thanks, guys.

Steve Nardone:

Thanks.

Jeannette Riker:

Thank you.

Rob Di Gerolamo:

Thank you.

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