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Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is #1 ranked solution in top Network Access Control (NAC) tools. IT Central Station users give Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) an average rating of 8 out of 10. Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is most commonly compared to Aruba ClearPass:Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs Aruba ClearPass. Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 63% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 32% of all views.
What is Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine)?
Identity Services Engine is a security policy management platform that automates and enforces context-aware security access to network resources. It delivers superior user and device visibility to support enterprise mobility experiences and to control access. It shares data with integrated partner solutions to accelerate their capabilities to identify, mitigate, and remediate threats.

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) was previously known as Cisco ISE.

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: December 2021

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Customers
Aegean Motorway, BC Hydro, Beachbody, Bucks County Intermediate Unit , Cisco IT, Derby City Council, Global Banking Customer, Gobierno de Castilla-La Mancha, Houston Methodist, Linz AG, London Hydro, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Molina Healthcare, MST Systems, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Reykjavik University, Wildau University
Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) pricing:
  • "It's an expensive solution when compared to other vendors."
  • "For the Avast virus scan, we pay around USD $95 per machine for five years which includes all updates and technical support."
  • "We are running Version 2.9 because Version 2.9 of the ISE has a persistent license — it's a one-time payment. The latest version (3.1) is only available if you do a yearly subscription."
  • "The technology is good, but to use some of the other features, and capabilities, they request that we purchase the Cisco DNA Center. As a result, the bundled price is a little high."

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) Reviews

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MA
Associate Consultant at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
MSP
Top 5
Streamlines security policy management and reduces operating costs

Pros and Cons

  • "In terms of features, I think they've done a lot of improvement on the graphical user interface — it looks really good right now."
  • "An issue with the product is it tends to have a lot of bugs whenever they release a new release."

What is our primary use case?

Our use cases are based around dot1x. Basically wired and wireless authentication, authorization, and accounting. 

In terms of administration, only our networking team uses this solution. Probably five to ten administrators manage the whole product. Their role pretty much is to make sure that we configure the use cases that we use ISE for — pretty much for authenticating users to the wired and wireless networks. We might have certain other advanced use cases depending on certain other business requirements, but their job is pretty much to make sure all the use cases work. If there are issues, if users are complaining, they log into ISE to troubleshoot those issues and have a look at the logs. They basically expand ISE to the rest of the network. There is ongoing activity there as well. The usage is administrative in nature, making sure the configurations are okay, deploying new use cases, and troubleshooting issues.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has definitely improved the way our organization functions.

What is most valuable?

In terms of features, I think they've done a lot of improvement on the graphical user interface — it looks really good right now. ISE is always very complicated to deploy because it's GUI-based. So they came up with this feature called work centers, that kind of streamlines that process. That's a good feature in the product right now.

What needs improvement?

An issue with the product is it tends to have a lot of bugs whenever they release a new release.

We've always found ourselves battling out one bug or another. I think, overall they need to form a quality assurance standpoint. ISE has always had this issue with bugs. Even if you go to a Cisco website and you type all the bug releases for ISE, you'll find a lot of bugs. Because the product is kind of intrusive, right? It's in the network. Whenever you have a bug, if something doesn't work, that always creates a lot of noise. I would say that the biggest issue we're having is with all the product bugs.

Also, the graphical user interface is very heavy. By heavy, I mean it's quite fancy. It's equipped with a lot of features and animations that sometimes slow down the user interface.

It's a technical product — I don't think a lot of engineers really need fancy GUIs. We pretty much look for functionality, but I think Cisco, for some reason, is putting an emphasis on its GUIs looking better. We always look for functionality over fancy features.

We've had issues with different browsers, and sometimes it's really slow. From a functionality standpoint, we would rather the GUI was light and faster to navigate.

ISE has a very good logging capability but because their GUI is so slow, we feel it's not as flexible or user-friendly as we would like it to be, especially when it comes to monitoring and logging. At the end of the day, we're implementing ISE for security. And that means visibility.

Of course, you can export the data into other products to get that visibility, but we would like to have a better type of monitoring, maybe better dashboards, and better analytics capabilities within the product.

Analytics is one thing that's really lacking. Even if you're to extract a report, it just takes a lot of time. So, again, that comes down to product design, but that's definitely an area for improvement. I think it does the job well, but they can definitely improve on the monitoring and analytics side.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since they released the first version over ten years ago.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is pretty good, provided that you design it properly from the get-go. There are design limitations, depending on the platforms, especially the hardware platforms that you select. On the scalability front, it's not a product that can be virtualized very well — that's an issue. Because in the world of virtualization, customers are always looking for products that they can put in their virtual environments. But ISE is not a truly virtualized product, as in it doesn't do a lot of resource sharing.

As a result, it's not truly virtualized. Although they do have the VM offering, it's not virtualization in the proper sense of the word. That's one limitation of the product. It's very resource-intensive. As a result, you always end up purchasing additional hardware, actual ISE physical servers. Whereas, we would like to have it deployed in virtual machines if it was better designed. I think when it comes to resource utilization, it probably isn't optimized very well. Ideally, we would like to have a better-virtualized platform.

How are customer service and technical support?

Tech support tends to be pretty good for ISE. We do use it extensively because of all of the bugs we encounter. 

Mostly it's at the beginning of setting the whole environment up. Typically, once it's set up properly, it tends to work. But it's just that the product itself integrates with a lot of other products in the network. It integrates with your switches, with your APs, etc. So, it's a part of an ecosystem. What happens is, if those products experience bugs, then it kind of affects the overall ISE solution as well — that is a bit of a dependency. The ISE use cases are dependent on your network access devices, but that's just the nature of it. The only issue with support is you might have to open a ticket with the ISE team, but if you're looking at issues in your wireless network or switches, you might have to open another ticket with their tech team for switches. 

For customers using Cisco, end-to-end, they should improve the integration and providing a seamless experience to the customer. But right now, they have to refer to other experts. They come in the call, but the whole process just takes some time.

That's an area that they can improve on. But typically, I would say that the support has been good. We've been able to resolve issues. They are responsive. They've been good.

Overall, I would give the support a rating of eight.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is not straightforward. It's complex. You need to have a high level of expertise.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's an expensive solution when compared to other vendors. It's definitely more expensive than ClearPass. It's expensive, but the issue, again, comes down to scalability. Because you can't virtualize the product, there's a lot of investment when it comes to your hardware resources. Your CapEx is one of the biggest issues here. That's something Cisco needs to improve because organizations are looking at reducing their hardware footprint. It's unfortunate that ISE is such a resource-intensive application to begin with. As it's not a properly virtualized application, you need to rely on physical hardware to get the best performance.

The CapEx cost is high. When it comes to operational expenditure, it all depends on the features you're using. They have their tiers, and it all depends on the features you're using. The basic tier, which is where most of the functionality is, is relatively quite cheap. But if you're using some advanced use cases, you need to go to their higher tiers. So, I'm not too worried about operations costs. You need to buy support for the hardware: you need space, power, and cooling for the hardware-side. All of that adds up. So, that all comes down to the product design and they need to make sure it's properly scalable and it's truly virtualized going forward.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've evaluated other products, for example, Aruba ClearPass. There's another product, Forescout, but the use case is a bit different.

When it comes to dot1x authentication, I think it's ISE and Aruba ClearPass. Forescout also comes into the next space, but the use case is a bit different.

We prefer ISE because, I think if you're using Cisco devices, it really kind of integrates your ecosystem — that's why we prefer ISE. When it comes to NAC or dot1x products, from a feature standpoint, ISE has had that development now for 10 to 11 years. So, we've seen the product mature over time. And right now it's a pretty stable and functional product. It has a lot of features as well. So, I think the decision is mainly kind of driven by the fact that the rest of the ecosystem is Cisco as well. From a uniform figure standpoint, the other product is probably the industry leader at this point in time for network admission control.

What other advice do I have?

The main advice would be in terms of upfront design — this is where a lot of people get it very wrong. Depending on the platforms you choose, there are restrictions and limitations on how many users. We've got various nodes, so how many nodes you can implement, etc. Also, latency considerations must be taken into account; especially if you're deploying it across geographically dispersed regions. The main advice would be to get the design right. Because given that directly interferes with the network, if you don't get your design right it could be disruptive to the network. Once you've got the proper design in place and that translates into a bit of material, the implementation, you can always figure it out. Getting it right, upfront, is the most important thing.

Overall, I would give ISE a rating of eight out of ten. I don't want to give it a 10 out of 10 because of all the design issues. There is definitely room for improvement, but overall out there in the market, I think it's one of the best products. It has a good ecosystem. It integrates well with Cisco devices, but it also integrates with third-party solutions if you have to do that. It's based on open standards, and we've seen the ecosystem grow over the years. So, they're doing a good job in terms of growing the ecosystem and making sure ISE can work with other products, but there's definitely room for improvement on the product design itself — on monitoring, on analytics. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
CW
Network Infrastructure Specialist at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good posturing, good integration, and excellent technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "At the moment, ISE seems to integrate very well with a number of other technologies."
  • "This product doesn't work in isolation."

What is our primary use case?

Mainly the use case of the solution is for ensuring that the corporate staff gets access to their authorized systems. 

Another use case is for contractors to get access to the authorized systems. Those are the ones that hope to assist in the maintenance or for authorized admissions to the network.

We do also use it for remote access, for example, VPN's and also for wired and wireless access to the network.

What is most valuable?

The posturing is the solution's most important aspect. When a user connects his or her machine to the network, the first is for ISE to check whether that machine is authorized, check that that machine is compliant with respect to antiviruses, whether it complies with respect to Windows updates, et cetera. If not, a feature is on auto-remediation, so that the proper antivirus and Windows updates can be pushed to the machine.

At the moment, ISE seems to integrate very well with a number of other technologies. It integrates well with Microsoft and integrates well with other wireless systems.

What needs improvement?

In terms of the improvements I need, they've already, according to my research, done those improvements with their new versions. The features have already improved on their newer version, and that's why we need to update to that new version.

What is required is that Cisco needs to be doing health checks and following up with the customer to ensure that their Cisco partners have done the deployment right. That's something that has really helped us.

Whenever a partner comes and does any deployment, we would, later on, engage Cisco for a health check, so that Cisco could assist with their products. They would check whether it has been deployed following the best practices - or they would just alert us on which features that we have paid for and we are not taking advantage of that. 

Cisco needs to continue with that health check. That engagement with their customers to reconfirm everything is like a quality assurance that the Cisco partners have given the right stuff to their customers.

This product doesn't work in isolation. For example, when we talk of posturing the Microsoft updates, the system that does automatic updates for Microsoft needs to work in an ideal fashion. The antivirus needs to work. OF course, the antivirus is not Cisco. Those products need to work as they should so that integration of the ISE product will work as well. When all factors are held constant, Cisco works well. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution for six years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have been using it, especially during alternative working arrangements (due to the COVID-19). Using it, it's been stable. We have not had any issues. The only reason we are looking to upgrade is we didn't know the benefits that the newer version offered. When we checked with Cisco, they advised us that we were missing a few items that actually gaps caused by the partner's setup which we realized we missed during the health check.

We haven't had bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Everyone in our company is using Cisco. In terms of users, we have about 1,500, however, in terms of endpoints we have, that would be closer to about 3,000 to 4,000 endpoints, including wireless gadgets, switches, laptops, phones, and all that. We use it on a daily basis.

Scalability probably might be an issue. Before we bought ISE, we did sizing for each. We looked at the number of users in the organization, 1,500,  and then we used a factor to look at the uppermost band. We decided we would have to go for 4,000 licenses or 4,500 licenses. We multiplied by three. Based on that, we went for a certain hardware model.

This time, the hardware model we are going for supports up to or has the capability to support up to 10,000 users or endpoints. When we go for that, we will have used even less than 50% of what their hardware is capable of. Above 10,000, there's another hardware model that we're generally expected to go for. 

Basically, when you get the right model, when you do the right scaling, it will be very scalable. However, from the onset, you need to write hardware for USI.

The solution is more meant for enterprise-level organizations. It's not really for small companies, however, that has more to do with the pricing.

How are customer service and technical support?

We're dealt with technical support in the past. Their support is excellent, except for Umbrella. There is a technology called Cisco Umbrella, and they're a bit slow, however, the technical support in general, depending on the severity of the issue, is very prompt. I would say we are quite satisfied with their level of service.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've only ever used Cisco. I used to use NAC, however, they changed to ISE. I've never used any other product.

How was the initial setup?

We had a partner set up the solution, and we're not sure if they set it up correctly. The partners come straight to us, and do the deployment. Cisco only is there to be the third eye to come and check that the deployment has been done okay.

You have to make sure that other items connected to ISE are correctly implemented and updated as well (such as the antivirus), otherwise, it won't work as you need it to. There's a lot of configuration that needs to be done at the outset.

I'm not sure how long the deployment takes, as I wasn't at the company when it was set up. However, it's my understanding that it shouldn't take too long so long as everything surrounding it is correctly aligned.

Any maintenance that needs to be done is handled by a third party. That includes patching, et cetera. We have an SLA with a Cisco recognized partner.

What about the implementation team?

We worked with a partner that assisted with the setup.

Afterward, Cisco will also come in to do a "health check" to make sure the setup is correct and they can direct users to features they should use or are not using.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco does not sell directly. They have authorized partners you need to buy through.

I don't deal directly with the licensing and therefore do not have any idea what the pricing of the product is. It's not part of my responsibilities.

It is my understanding, however, that it would be expensive for smaller organizations. Startups may not be able to afford these products.

We don't really worry about pricing, as cheap might be expensive in the long run if you don't get a product that is right for your organization, or is more likely to break down over time.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are in the process of doing a refresh and I have compared other technologies to see how they stack up. I've looked at Fortinet, for example.

I wouldn't say we are switching from Cisco. What we are doing is we were exploring other technologies that offer similar functions. Sometimes it's good to look outside as you might think you have the best and yet you don't. We are just looking for other solutions to get to know what they offer. If we feel that there is something unique that is on offer somewhere else, then we would want to check that in Cisco and see, where is this offered in Cisco's product? 

We haven't concluded that we are switching. In any case, from what I have seen so far, it is likely we won't switch. 

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We buy their products for our security and our connectivity.

We're not using the latest version. We're actually using a few versions. We have ISE, which is version 2.3. We're supposed to up to version 2.7, and that requires a refresh of the hardware.

That's why we are saying, "Should we try to look for a different solution?" That's why I have been looking for comparisons. We haven't dedicated a lot of time to that yet. From my assessments so far, however, ISE still wins the show and it's likely that the partner that was doing the deployment originally on behalf of Cisco probably missed out on a number of things. It's really about the engineers who are doing the deployment. You need to make sure you have some good ones.

I would recommend this solution to others, especially mature organizations as the smaller organizations may not be able to afford this. 

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate the product at an eight

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,873 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Shawn Connors
Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Manager at George Washington's Mount Vernon
Real User
Top 20
We've experienced first-hand the reliable protection provided against malware and ransomware

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution cuts down on the repercussions of getting malware or ransomware."
  • "The solution can lag somewhat as we have a large database."

What is our primary use case?

We have two servers and they're both VMs. Every network system is issued a certificate and each device coming onto the network has to be on the domain with an active AD user logging into it. It needs an up-to-date AMP, which is our Cisco malware and virus scan product and it also needs to have the most current Microsoft security updates and the three layers that we're using: The core VPN, the Network Access Manager and the ISE profiler. When it goes through all those different things on every port on the switch, there are commands for it to be able to go through an ACL so it knows what users are there, what server, and what devices have been put onto the domain. It can verify all that.

The user can then proceed on to the network. We've set it so that regular users are VLAN'd off and can only see the data network through ISE and are blocked from seeing the rest of the network. Depending on the department needs or other factors, we have cameras for security which are on a different VLAN, and they can see those. We also have something for O&M where the AC guy can see the AC equipment, and we can prevent all the VLAN's from being viewed by everybody.

We are customers of Cisco and I'm the infrastructure and Cyber security manager.

What is most valuable?

The solution cuts down on the repercussions of getting malware or ransomware which happened to us four years ago. We regularly took very aggressive snapshots and we were able to recover in an hour and 20 minutes without any loss of data.

What needs improvement?

Because we have a large database and 4,000 network devices, the solution can lag a bit when you're running updates or different things because of the fact that it's so big and it is such a resource hog. But the biggest problem we've encountered is that it finds errors or people are rejected or not authenticated without a clear explanation as to why. A second issue is that we're currently on 2.4 and Cisco's gold standard now is 2.7. They are a little slow with that.

I'd really like the solution to dive down a little deeper when something's not profiling. As it stands now, you have to go through and search what hasn't profiled. Microsoft, for example, gives you a direction to look at and will even be specific sometimes and tell you there is a password error, or the password hasn't been updated, or it's not meeting the policy and that's why it won't let it through. Those are very helpful because you know exactly what's required to solve a problem. 

Cisco is getting better with it, but they fail in some areas because of a network connectivity issue, or it's not getting DCAP quick enough and it fails. Those things would be more helpful to understand when it's going through, so you are able to triage it a little better. I mean, it does point you in a direction, but sometimes you have to dig a lot deeper to find the right direction and figure out what kept it from profiling. One big issue we've discovered is that people are not rebooting their machines or powering them off at night. We're trying to ensure that is done by sticking messages on screens.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for the past two years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

ISE is pretty stable. If it does have an issue then you need to call TAC and work through the bug in it. They are very responsive and very quick to help us eliminate the issue and also come up with a plan, such as how to move forward with additional issues or different things that are coming down the pipe with Cisco ISE. When you're talking to them, you feel like they are a partner and not just a disconnected entity.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is excellent, I would rate them very highly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very complex. You have to go in and manually add in all the network devices, as far as all the switches, access points are concerned. You have to go port by port and add in codes and conditions and you have to go switch by switch and add in codes and conditions. You start out with a monitor mode and then go to an impact mode and then you go towards total lockdown. Implementation took us about 18 months. We rolled it out in short bursts because we have a very small IT team and we had a consultant company come in and work with us on installing it. A lot of it was knowledge transfer from them to us.

Our consultant was Cycorp, their main focus is network security. They are a sister Cisco partner, and we had one of their CCIE's come out and help implement everything. The gentleman at the top of the CCIE, was a former Cisco employee and a beta tester for ISE. Now that we have it in, I feel it's pretty much a game changer on locking down our network so that we're not penetrated from inside or outside because everything going through the VPN has to meet a certain standard.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We did a five year deal and it was very reasonable. I think for the Avast virus scan, I think we were paying $95 a machine for five years, which nobody else could touch. And that includes all updates, technical support, etc. From the ISE side, I'm not really sure what it costs because it was all encompassed in equipment we were buying and the ISE and the AMP and the open DNS. I know that it was not more expensive than any of the things we had looked at with HP or BMC or other places. It was much more cost effective.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have looked at other products but we are a Cisco shop so having a Cisco product rides very easy on all our switches, our access points, and our Cisco servers. I believe it's the same for other companies such as HP. It's also a priority for them that the solution works better with HP switches. Given that we weren't going to change our switches, we really needed to focus on something that was going to work well with our environment.

What other advice do I have?

The important thing is to have a good game plan going into it. Prep is key for everything going on with ISE. The more stuff you have prepped and the more understanding that you have upfront of how it goes through and how it behaves, the better off you are.

I would rate this solution a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Sean Muller
IT Security manager at a energy/utilities company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
An authentication solution we can trust

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to integrate our Cisco AnyConnect connections to the active directory has been great."
  • "It would be nice if it could be configured easily by default."

What is our primary use case?

This solution ties into our Cisco Duo and Cisco AnyConnect connections to help us authenticate against the active directory and Cisco Duo multifactor authentication. It takes metrics about the connections that are connecting it and allows us to set up a rule against them. For instance, if a Windows device is not all the way up to date, we can put a message up that says, "Before you're able to connect, please do your Windows updates as they haven't been done in six months."

As this solution allows AnyConnect to authenticate with the active directory in the backend, the users won't directly use it. Still, it will be in use throughout the login process into Cisco AnyConnect as a source of authentication.

With this solution, we don't require anyone for maintenance.

What is most valuable?

The ability to integrate our Cisco AnyConnect connections to the active directory has been great. Also, as a source of authentication during the process of logging into Cisco AnyConnect has been very useful for us. 

What needs improvement?

It perfectly does everything we have been looking for it to do. I have not discovered any feature sets or items that are lacking. It's a much more functional product than the old Cisco ACS that it replaced. 

That being said, during deployment, they shipped us the Cisco ISE with the 3.1 operating system, which was incompatible with the license that we had purchased, which would only allow us to go up to version 2.9. Because of this, we actually had to do a factory reset and a reload to the operating system — to an older version of the operating system. This required a very extensive process. We had to take out the Cisco ISE and put it into a factory reset mode to get it to roll back to the old operating system. If we were doing an upgrade, this would have been very simple, but as we were doing a downgrade, it was extremely complex and very labor-intensive. I was crawling through the server room, through wires, to plug things in, to get it to connect in the way that it needed to be connected with an external device in order to actually get it to roll back.

I don't like that the licensing structure doesn't allow us to have the 3.1 operating system — it forces us to use version 2.9. If you don't want to pay a monthly or a yearly subscription fee, either that device should have come automatically with the 2.9 version operating system, or it should have been much easier to actually roll it back. Additionally, support should have realized that our license requires us to have the 2.9 operating system instead of the 3.1 operating system, which would have saved us a lot of time. 

It would be nice if it could be configured easily by default. If you're configuring a Cisco device, you pretty much need the support of a CCNA-level technician to be able to do it. It would be nice if there was a default or a more simple way to do it. It's not really a requirement to use the device because you can purchase the premium support or you could get a CCNA in-house to do it. Just having that ability to say, "Hey, we want to set this up" without too many complications or without having to bring in support would be nice. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've only been using this solution for the past three months. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability reports that we could easily handle a million users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

I have been extensively involved with their technical support; their technical support is very good. They're more than willing to just jump on and do things for you. My only complaint is that at one point, we were trying to configure our single channel for Cisco Duo to be able to perform a password reset. Whenever we needed to look closely at another device, the support technician would say, "Hold on, let me bring in my expert on VPN; hold on, let me bring in my expert on Cisco ASA." We basically had to wait until we were able to get the Cisco Duo support agent, the Cisco ASA support agent, the Cisco VPN support agent, and the Cisco ISE support agent — all in the WebEx meeting at the same time.

As far as I'm to understand, there are CCNAs that should have been able to do it, but they brought in the experts from each item instead of just directly doing it themselves — this made the whole process take longer. Still, they were able to do everything in a way that did not affect our live environment, even though it was on the same device. That was actually very nice because it meant that we could do it in the middle of the day instead of having to do things in the middle of the night.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very simple. Everything was set up within an hour thanks to assistance from the onboarding teams from Duo and Cisco, and our network administrator. They got it set up and reviewed a bunch of options with us. It was a very easy and nice process.

What about the implementation team?

Implementation was achieved with in-house resources and premium onboarding support. The entire process only took an hour.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are running version 2.9 because version 2.9 of the ISE has a persistent license —it's a one-time payment. The latest version (3.1) is only available if you do a yearly subscription.

It's a licensed physical device; there is no subscription. If you want the latest operating system, then you'll need to get an annual license.

What other advice do I have?

If you're planning on using this solution, my advice is to be sure you review the full feature set available and select what is important to your users. This way you'll be able to ensure that you'll have everything you want and need.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would definitely give this solution a rating of nine. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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AV
Solution Architect Telecom at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Okay technical support but hard to scale and not very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "Technical support is okay."
  • "The solution is not so user-friendly."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for user authentication and wireless segmentation of users for actual radius purposes.

What is most valuable?

The actual radius is the most valuable aspect of the solution. We need to have a centric solution either on MarTech X and for the wireless user authentication. We were mainly on Cisco and we continue to use them. However, this is the time period for a refresh as the five-year lifespan is completed. We may look for other options.

Technical support is okay.

What needs improvement?

The solution is not so user-friendly. It's very difficult to navigate through different manuals. The documentation should be simplified so that it is easier to understand.

It would take time for a beginner to understand and familiarize themselves with the solution. There's a bit of a learning curve.

Cisco ISE is not very stable. They could work on that aspect. 

We'd like the pricing to be better.

The product is not easily scalable.

Currently, if you want to do something with authentication, you need to have an additional document agent, however, these are short on all Microsoft endpoints. We then need to come up with some alternate options so that I don't have to modify any native applications on it. By default, Windows should be able to support and onboard the devices. Right now I need to have a Cisco AnyConnect as an agent to be deployed for authentication.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for over five years at this point. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution needs to be improved. It's not ideal. It's lacking overall. If we have five or six items activated, the box shakes and we're scared to touch anything. When we do have to reconfigure things, it's a nightmare as it can go down and it can take us a day or two to sort things out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it needs to be reactivated, which means that I need to add more nodes. It's got its own design limitations. We had only a two-node deployment in it. We need to add more hardware and we need to reduce so many things. It's not an easy option to scale this hardware. Scaling, in general, is very difficult.

We have roughly 9,000 users on this product currently.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is fine. However, we may need to depend on support to resolve some of our many issues. We need to spend an enormous amount of time with them and to explain so much stuff. It would be easier if we could troubleshoot the issue ourselves or if the solution was more reliable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I don't know about other alternative products. I don't have any experience with other alternative products. I've only ever used Cisco ISE.

How was the initial setup?

The solution's initial setup can be a bit complex as there are so many features that are available. It all depends, however, upon which one you want to activate. In our case, we have five or six activated and the box always shakes. It's not stable. So my colleagues are always afraid to touch the box. If it is working well and good, you don't touch it, and we don't reconfigure it. In cases where we encounter any issues, it's a nightmare and we need to spend a minimum of twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover everything.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay a fee based on a subscription model.

The pricing could always be better.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've been looking at evaluating Aruba's Clearpass as a potential replacement option for this solution. I haven't gotten too far into my research, however. I'm looking for a solution that's scalable and easy to use.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to Cisco would be to simplify as much as possible so that a normal IT guy can understand the CCD and set it up. If they can simplify the manuals, navigation, and documentation, it would be nice. It will always be difficult for a beginner, however, to, rearrange or design the network.

I would rate the solution five out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Mohd. Asif Khan
Co-Founder & Director at VSAM Technologies
Real User
Easy to configure with great functionality and good reliability

Pros and Cons

  • "From a configuration point of view, it's simple."
  • "It would be ideal if Cisco could provide some short training videos or documentation to customers to help them understand how to use the product."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is primarily used for Network management and Network Access Controls.

What is most valuable?

The general usefulness of the product is not specific to a particular feature. This is a comprehensive solution covering access to network to create a zero trust environment. It covers Network Access Control, Network Segmentation & policy control

The solution integrates well with other Cisco solutions. It works both from a single-vendor perspective and in cases where the client might have a hybrid network and multiple security solutions.

The product offers very good functionality.

From a configuration point of view, it's simple. It's not very complex. I don't see any major challenges when using the product.

The solution is reliable.

The scalability is good.

We haven't had any issues with technical support. They have been helpful. 

What needs improvement?

I have not come across any missing features. 

It would be ideal if Cisco could provide some short training videos or documentation to customers to help them understand how to use the product. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have not used this solution for ourselves but implemented it for various organisation's.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable and reliable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. The performance is good. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution can work well for large enterprises that have a larger environment, such as a distributed environment. Mostly, from my organization's perspective, we deal with SMEs.

The solution is quite scalable. 

How are customer service and support?

I've been in touch with technical support in the past. They are quite good. I am satisfied with the level of support they provide. I don't have any complaints. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not very complex. All similar solutions will have a similar type of configuration as well, so it's pretty simple to figure things out. 

In terms of how long a deployment takes, it primarily depends upon the environment the customer has. Customers might have a very basic environment wherein it might get done in a couple of hours or so. If it is a very complex environment and they have multiple policies to be deployed, then it could definitely take more time.

There aren't any challenges when it comes to maintenance. It's pretty simple. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I don't handle the licensing aspect of the product. I can't speak to the exact costs involved. 

We have not faced any major challenges in terms of getting a good price point from our customer's perspective. That said, the pricing would depend upon the perceived value of the solution rather than the actual cost of the product. If the solution is able to help the customer in mitigating its challenges many customers don't see any point in discussing the price point if POC is successful

What other advice do I have?

We are a system integrator.

The version of ISE we are using depends on the customer. 

We primarily have the solution set up on premise. 

In terms of advice, from a security standpoint, it is paramount for any organisation, to be secure, no matter its size (large or small). Having secure network access control will always make it safer & help organisation in attaining a zero trust environment 

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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RF
Cyber Security at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Easy to use with good stability and an excellent guest WiFi feature

Pros and Cons

  • "The user experience of the solution is great. It's a very transparent system."
  • "I'm working from China currently and the only real issue is that, within the country, there's some concern around Cisco and its ability to offer the solution for the long term. As the United States has banned the Huawei version in their country, we feel there may be retaliation in ours and Cisco will get banned as a countermeasure from the government. The future of Cisco in China is in question. Our local partners are worried about the situation."

What is most valuable?

To be clear, I'm not an expert in networking, so I'm pretty much like a user.

I really like the guest WiFi. Those kinds of features are pretty convenient. When I have a guest in the form of a third party, I can grant access to the guest for a certain period of time and have a dynamic password generated. It's great.

The user experience of the solution is great. It's a very transparent system.

What needs improvement?

As I treat the system basically as a user would, and am not overly technical, I can't say what features, if any, the solution is missing.

I'm working from China currently and the only real issue is that, within the country, there's some concern around Cisco and its ability to offer the solution for the long term. As the United States has banned the Huawei version in their country, we feel there may be retaliation in ours and Cisco will get banned as a countermeasure from the government. The future of Cisco in China is in question. Our local partners are worried about the situation.

For how long have I used the solution?

To be perfectly frank, I'm unsure of the exact amount of time we've used the solution. It's been a number of years. I've basically lost count.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability, from a users' perspective, is very good. I haven't encountered any issues before, and we've used it for quite a long time. It doesn't freeze. It doesn't crash. There aren't bugs or glitches. It's pretty reliable overall.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm not sure how many users are on the solution ultimately. Our reach is pretty global. I'm not with the network team, so I can't speak to the ability for the solution to scale.

How are customer service and technical support?

As I'm not a member of the network team, I've never had to reach out to technical support. I don't know if they do or how often or how Cisco's technical support ultimately is. I've never dealt with them directly. I can't speak to the quality of their service.

How was the initial setup?

I'm not a member of the network team, so I didn't participate in the implementation process. I can't speak to how straightforward or complex it was.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We're in the manufacturing industry, not IT. We don't have a business relationship with IBM.

We try to keep up with the latest upgrades, therefore, I believe we are using the latest version of the solution.

From a non-technical user-based standpoint, I'd rate the solution ten out of ten. 

I'd recommend it, however, there is this ongoing concern in China at this time that Cisco could get banned in the ongoing trade war with the United States. That should be a concern for companies here. That may not be so much of a concern abroad.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
BN
Senior Software Engineer with 501-1,000 employees
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
Good technology that works well with networks, routers and switches, but should include third-party integration

Pros and Cons

  • "When you push out the policy, it is able to populate the entire network at one time."
  • "Third-party integration is important, as well as the continuous adaptation feature which is the AIOps. It would be helpful to include the AIOps."

What is our primary use case?

We are resellers. We provide and deploy solutions for our customers.

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) helps the operation to automate.

What is most valuable?

It works very well with the network, router, and switches. It is able to enforce the policy and assigns the traffic a Security Group tag.

A Google user is able to enforce access throughout the router and switches ensuring the traffic going through has the same policy.

When you push out the policy, it is able to populate the entire network at one time.

It's quite good, the market is using this solution.

What needs improvement?

This solution has enhanced features that make it difficult to use. To make it easier, it should be made without PxGrid.

It should be able to work with third-party routers and switches. We want to work in an environment where there are multi-vendors that require PxGrid.

Their software-defined access is not easy to implement. You have to have a good understanding of how to implement it. It would be helpful if they could make it easier for the customer to adopt.

Third-party integration is important, as well as the continuous adaptation feature, which is the AIOps. It would be helpful to include the AIOps.

For how long have I used the solution?

They are currently on version 3.1.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If the customer has more than 200,000 users, the performance becomes a bit laggy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it's available on the cloud, but I have not yet tested the features on the cloud.

It is used mainly by our customers, who use it for their entire infrastructure. They have anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support could be better. They outsource the support.

We are brought all around the world, it is similar to following the sun.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Currently, I am using SD-WAN (Software-Defined WAN) from Silver Peak.

How was the initial setup?

To complete the installation, you need to be technically knowledgeable. The setup could be easier.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the content, and the technologies it is made to be a bit more complex. 

The technology is good, but to use some of the other features, and capabilities, they request that we purchase the Cisco DNA Center. As a result, the bundled price is a little high.

Once you purchase the DNA, you will need the SNA then the license, overall it's very expensive.

If, however, you implement Cisco ISE without the DNA and the SDA, the price is reasonable.

What other advice do I have?

To avoid running into any complications when getting this solution up and running, you should get technically trained and comfortable with it before applying it.

I would rate Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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