Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Review

Easy to use and has good support but is complex to set up

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for network admission control.

How has it helped my organization?

Previously, what used to happen is that we use to have anyone - any user, a staff member or a non-staff member, consultant contractors, etc. able to connect to our line without authentication, which I think posed a security risk. We felt that whoever connected to our network should be authenticated. We should know the person. We should have visibility to see who was connecting to our network so that we can detect anomalies. Now, we have different profiles, of different users and staff and for contractors or others. So, depending on the profile, there's control on the access that you can get.

What needs improvement?

An area that could be improved is the agent. The challenge now is that agent and most of the computers have changed. They could think about agent-less deployment. Also, I've not explored MDM but if it should be integrated. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for 5 years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, I think it's scalable. Quite scalable and very intricate. Easy to use and provides good support. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had many issues with technical support but from the local vendor, we do get a lot of support which is good. The fact that we also did some training helped. We normally don't have so much trouble when we rescale. We see that we can fix it and then if there are issues, with the vendors and their help, we can rescale it.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, the setup is a bit complex but that depends on the vendor. Maybe because of the complexities around it. Sometimes I think it's about how the best project team really does it.

What about the implementation team?

The person who was put in place to implement it couldn't. So we got another vendor who was good and was a lot more experienced. It's a very new feature so we're hopeful here in Uganda. My country only has about maybe 2 or 3 clients. Those are the ones I know about, our team being one of them.

What other advice do I have?

The deployment strategy was faster than the pilot. We had to see how it works and then we had to, in a transparent manner, see how it works. Deployment took about six months. But the rollout is on-going because we keep opening branches all the time, so we just keep adding them into the solution. For deployment, we used the front liner support but for documentation, we had professional staff. For deployment and maintenance, we have a small team of maybe about five to ten. 

I would give the solution 5.5 out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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