What is Cisco ISE, and How Does it Work?

Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is a policy platform that offers centralized access control and profiling. It allows you to set up security policies that govern who has access to your network, what resources they can access, and when they can access them.

Cisco ISE also provides visibility into devices and users on your network so you can identify potential threats and take action if necessary.

An administrator can use the ISE to collect real-time data about the devices and users connected to the company’s network, such as their location, access time, and type of device.

Decisions on network security and compliance may be made using this information.

With the ISE, an administrator can also create policies that govern the usage and access of network devices. When a network device is configured to query the ISE for authorization or authentication, it can send accounting messages to the system to log its actions.

What Can Cisco ISE Do?

Cisco ISE is a full-featured platform that offers a variety of features and capabilities. This includes:

Device Administration

The ISE creates policy-based controls that allow an organization to manage the access and configuration of its network devices.

Through the TACACS+ security protocol, the ISE can perform auditing and control network devices.

Wireless Networking

You can provide secure wireless access to contractors, customers, consultants, and visitors. You can also create web-based and mobile portals that allow guests to access the company’s internal resources.

You can also assign sponsors to manage the accounts of different individuals.

External Device Management

Allows end users and employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to the company’s network.

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Through the ISE’s built-in features, end users can set their device configurations and provide predefined levels of network access.

Asset Recognition

Cisco ISE provides visibility and control over the devices and users connected to the company’s network, including VPN. It can be used to monitor the activity of the devices and users using different types of network connections.

Through its sensors and probes, the system can identify and monitor the devices connected to the network.

Protected Access

The system provides secure access to the devices and users connected to the company’s network using different authentication methods. Some of these include web-based, RADIUS, and external agent-based methods.

The use of contextual data about network devices and endpoints to facilitate secure segmentation is enabled by Cisco ISE.

Network Segmentation

The security group tags, access control lists (ACLs), protocols for accessing networks or resources within them.

And policies that define authorization are examples of how IT support can use this software to protect your organization’s assets from breaches due to these vulnerabilities without compromising user experience.

Endpoint Compliance

Posture or compliance checking is a reliable way to ensure that your endpoints are operating at peak performance and by company standards.

You can use Cisco ISE’s posture agent scanning feature to scan each device before allowing it to connect to know that it meets your company’s compliance requirements.

Containment of Threats

Cisco ISE uses adaptive network control policies to change an endpoint’s access levels depending on what it finds.

Any threats or vulnerabilities are evaluated and addressed before the original access policy is given back; this way, you can always be sure that your system stays protected.

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Sharing Sensitive Information Safely

Through the ISE’s secure sharing feature, known as the pxGrid, the system can distribute policy-based controls and configuration data to third-party vendors and other connected devices.

pxGrid is a software-defined perimeter that uses an encrypted tunnel to connect devices.

Cisco pxGrid enables cross-platform network system collaboration across your IT infrastructure. Monitor security, detect threats, and set network policy.

Why Do We Need Cisco ISE?

A company that takes its network security seriously would need Cisco ISE. With the rising popularity of bringing your device (BYOD) to work, more sensitive company data is being transferred through unsecured channels.

recent study found that 94% of organizations experienced at least one data breach in the past year, and malicious or negligent insiders caused 28% of those breaches.

In-house IT can struggle to keep up with the rate of change, leading to potential security vulnerabilities.

Cisco ISE helps to address these challenges by automatically identifying and classifying devices, applying the appropriate access policy, and enforcing compliance.

Cisco ISE also simplifies IT operations with real-time visibility into network activity and comprehensive reporting.

These features help to troubleshoot issues quickly and speed up incident response times.

Cisco ISE is a critical component of Cisco’s Software-Defined Access (SDA) solution. SDA is a network architecture that delivers role-based access control, security, and automation across the entire network from the data center to the edge.

Who Uses Cisco ISE?

The most common industries that use Cisco ISE are finance, healthcare, and education.

Banks use Cisco ISE for its comprehensive security features, including posture assessment, client profiling, guest management, and device onboarding.

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Healthcare organizations use Cisco ISE to secure patient data and comply with HIPAA regulations. The system’s real-time visibility into the network and comprehensive reporting help to troubleshoot issues quickly and speed up incident response times.

Universities use Cisco ISE to manage the increasing number of devices connecting to the network, including BYOD devices.

The system’s guest management features allow universities to offer secure guest access while maintaining control over their network.


Cisco ISE is a comprehensive security system that helps organizations protect their data from breaches, contains threats and vulnerabilities, and safely shares sensitive information.

Cisco’s Software-Defined Access solution is used by several industries, including finance, healthcare, and education.