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Forescout Platform Alternatives and Competitors

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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
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Abbasi Poonawala
Vice President Derivatives Ops IT at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Advanced all-in-one endpoint security

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was very straightforward."
  • "They should include easy-to-use connectors to make it easier to connect to SIEM."

What is our primary use case?

We use Trend Micro to build our entire, CI/CD pipeline. In short, I check out the code from my VCS (Version Control System), then I run a static code analysis as the first job in the pipeline.

From that point onward, I can do multiple scans in multiple environments. For example, I can have the code checkout from my Dev environment, run the static code analysis, then I can do a folder scan. I perform the scan in my Dev environment, in the integration environment, and in the UAP environment. These are the multiple scans that you can run and enter on your application.

All the static code analysis is on the application-side, and the rest of the workflows can be triggered in several places throughout the pipeline and on the infrastructure side as well. I can use it to do VAPT (vulnerability assessment and penetration testing) throughout the entire pipeline.

Broadly speaking, it means adopting the DevOps culture of Trend Micro. DevOps culture is well adopted in Trend Micro. It's very comparable to Prisma Cloud. Palo Alto has recently informed me about their Prisma Cloud offering regarding CI/CD deployment.

We develop and deploy the CI/CD pipeline in the free workflow, using various tools like GitLab.

Palo Alto is a big competitor of Trend Micro.

Within our organization, there are roughly 1,000 plus users, using Trend Micro.

We definitely plan on using Trend Micro in the future. They are one of our preferred vendors, along with Forescout.

Forescout handles the initial stages of threat discovery and it integrates with SIEM.

If we are going to continue with Trend Micro as our endpoint security solution, then we need to have a SIEM solution, like IBM QRadar, ArcSight, Forescout, Micro Focus ArcSight.

What needs improvement?

Trend Micro does region-based scanning — the threats are shown in different regions.

I did some workshops based on tracking zero-day vulnerabilities, etc.

Trend Micro's coverage and scans can be broadened to encompass different types of classified threats based on different parameters.

For example, say I want to filter out all of the threats in The United States. In this case, I will see the US region and I will see the number of threats that are present on my infrastructure. This is referred to as threat intelligence.

When I was in this workshop, the filters always recommend that we start with the region as a first parameter. Once you get into the region (the US region), you might look at the different data centers within the US, then within the different data centers, you can drill down on the folder — on the number of hosts.

The host can then be extracted from the region and the region can be marked red. Red means there are a lot of vulnerabilities in a particular region. If Multiple hosts have multiple vulnerabilities, then the entire region will be marked red. Trend Micro somewhat shows this on their dashboard. In other words, the parameters should be improved, including zero-day filtering.

They should include easy-to-use connectors to make it easier to connect to SIEM. The integration environment has to be available so it can easily connect to SIEM. 

Also, you should be able to perform more scans.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Trend Micro for two years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Trend Micro is both scalable and stable.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are satisfied with the technical support. They are available 24/7.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. I did the installation by myself.

Regarding deployment topologies, whether it's on-premises, a hybrid cloud, or a public or private cloud, installation is quite easy. It will be up and running within a couple of hours.

Once we deployed it, we had to connect the console to the dashboard. Once the dashboard was up and running, we could filter out threats by connecting to the Trend Micro Data Security Operations Center, which has a threat intelligence ability that highlights all of the threats. The data comes from the CMDB database and It shows us the CVS4 of each threat.

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

If you buy Trend Micro, you will also need to purchase a SIEM solution which is often quite expensive.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend Trend Micro to other potential users.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Trend Micro a rating of eight.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Get our free report covering Cisco, Aruba Networks, Fortinet, and other competitors of Forescout Platform. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.