What does it mean to lead? As a veteran, I often look back at my years in the service to ponder this question. In the military, leadership is closely associated with duty, and service above self in pursuit of a shared outcome. Perhaps this is why Cisco® Identity Services Engine (ISE) has maintained market leadership in the network access and control (NAC) market for the past ten years. And recently ISE was awarded by Frost & Sullivan the 2020 Global Market Leadership Award, “for continuing to lead the market with a 33.4 percent market share in 2019.” At Cisco, we are always looking at how we can change the world. This level of service to our customers and community permeates everything we do and often results in market validation.

The award is not just about grabbing a larger slice of the pie. Each year the analysts at Frost & Sullivan look beyond who is eating up most of the market and look to companies that provide customer value. Frost & Sullivan stated, “Attaining loyal customers who became brand advocates allows the company to grow and achieve a market leadership position. By committing to the customer at each stage of the buying cycle and continuing to nurture the relationship, this Award recognizes a company’s increased market share over time.” At Cisco, behind every award ISE receives is our service to our customers to enable them to provide secure network access to their customers.

Overcoming challenges and achieving the outcomes that customers desire, putting their needs above yours, is the foundation for leadership. Some of our customers’ most significant concerns are how to take a zero-trust approach as they look to connect trusted users and endpoints to trusted network resources. “There is growing demand for Zero-Trust Architecture (ZTA),” says Tony Massimini, Cybersecurity Senior Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan. “NAC is a foundational technology for ZTA. Cisco has strengthened its holistic approach to ZTA by integrating the Duo Security technology it acquired into NAC.” Zero trust isn’t about any one piece of technology. Zero trust is as much about shifting our thinking in how we achieve the desired outcome of reducing organizational risk and enabling customers to connect to the network resources as it is about the solutions we choose to meet this objective.

Service before self and lifting those around you are two qualities of what it is to be a leader. ISE integrates with Cisco and third-party products to ensure organizations are gaining visibility with the context they need in order to connect trusted users and endpoints to business-critical resources while reducing risk. With a platform approach to establishing and maintaining trust, ISE lifts passive analytics and threat intelligence solutions to be active network sensors. ISE gives them an active arm in protecting the network and allows security to be built directly into the network infrastructure to ensure that organizational policy controls are unified no matter how or where the endpoint connects. Building security and rapid threat containment straight into the network will lift your switch or router and make them the enforcer, shutting down or restricting access based on organizational risk tolerances. ISE sits in the background brokering information and issuing commands with little if no fanfare. As Harry S. Truman, president of the United States and former colonel in the U.S. Army, said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

ISE, the person on the team that makes everyone better, quietly leading from the middle of the pack lifting and enabling those around them, is how I often see ISE within our security portfolio. For our customers who continually put their trust in ISE, and who often become our best advocates for the solution, we have built a circle of trust. A circle that in a recent survey of customers resulted in 95 percent stating they are likely to recommend Cisco Identity Services Engine to solve the secure network access challenge. And as much as we humbly accept the industry accolades, knowing that you have earned your customers’ trust is what fills our motivational cup of coffee to keep driving customer outcomes and to enable secure network access.

As trends around cloud, mobility, and IoT continue to complicate building trust and controlling access, ISE is here, doing what it’s been doing for the past ten years—quietly lifting up solutions around them and serving customers’ secure network access needs so organizations can confidently connect any endpoint and any user to network resources from anywhere. And if we win a few awards along the way, that is great. But the true reward is enabling your customers to thrive in the changing world that is propelling the network forward.

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Paul Burdette

Product Marketing Manager