Securing the Mobile Experience Made Simpler

October 25, 2011 - 7 Comments

It is no longer a question of “if” your organization will face the new reality of mobile device proliferation, just an ever closer “how soon.” Users expect the network to enable trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and they aren’t just using smartphones and tablets to be more productive, they are falling in love with them. For businesses, simply allowing access isn’t the answer. It’s a question of relevant, secure access across the entire network, while protecting corporate assets and delivering an optimal user experience. Cisco focuses on exactly that – how to enable a simple and secure mobility experience, with a consistent end-to-end architecture across wired, wireless and VPN access.

As a cornerstone of this wired-wireless access architecture, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) has already been helping customers like Whittier Union High School, San Antonio Water System and BlueWater Communications Group apply consistent security across the entire network through a centralized, single policy source.

Whittier Union High School District, a California high school district serving more than 13,600 students, was facing the challenge of mobile devices. Both faculty and students were bringing their personal devices on campus, many for educational apps and tools.

“It’s becoming increasingly critical to provide employees, students, and visitors access to our network and extensive educational resources given the growing expectations of our tech-savvy population,” stated Karen Yeh, Director of Information Technology, Whittier Union High School District.

Whittier needed a way to apply differentiated policy across their student and staff populations, somehow managing access for both personal and corporate devices, all without increasing IT resources. Karen called Cisco, and two weeks later her team was deploying the Cisco ISE, implementing a single point of security policy for their networks across wired, wireless and VPN. Considering that Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the US went to Whittier High School, the flexible network access enabled by Cisco ISE may be empowering the next generation of leaders, scientist or artists. But, mobile devices aren’t confined to education. San Antonio Water System, a public utility owned by the city of San Antonio, is seeing surprisingly similar issues.

“The Cisco Identity Services Engine integration with wireless has been a huge hit within our organization,” said Timothy Abbott, Senior Network Engineer, San Antonio Water System. By setting policies to enforce network access depending on the specific identify of each device, San Antonio was able to address the proliferation of mobile devices head-on.

BlueWater Communications Group, a Cisco partner, has also seen the trend in their own practice— with their broad perspective of providing services and solutions to clients across financial services, healthcare and retail. BlueWater was searching for a single, simple solution capable of defining and enforcing tailored policies across their diverse client base.

“Our customers are looking for new ways to provide secure, reliable wireless access to their employees and customers. The Cisco ISE helps us allow our customers to offer their guests high-performance wireless access without jeopardizing corporate security,” explained John Marchese, SVP, Sales Engineer, BlueWater Communications Group. “Cisco ISE and its architecture is prime for this market and solving the BYOD challenge.”

BlueWater’s customers each have unique requirements, from a museum in New York looking to provide secure guest access, to a healthcare provider tracking assets such as non 802.1x-enabled wireless scanners, all over their Wireless LAN. Through the Cisco ISE solution, BlueWater is able to solve even the most challenging of customer requirements, all while meeting a myriad of compliance needs thru a single, consolidated point of management across wired, wireless, and VPN..

“Security is non-negotiable. Through these use cases, you can see the importance of a single, centralized policy source for the entire network,” Said Pat Calhoun, VP and GM, Secure Networking Services Business Unit, Cisco. According to Pat, the ability of Cisco ISE to set context-aware security policies based on user, device, locate, time and application, enables better security across the entire organization, through more granular security policies and better alignment of security policies with business needs.  “It is not just about the mobile infrastructure.  It is about simplifying the entire integrated solution, including security, manageability, policy, wired, and wireless.” said Calhoun.

In the end, it’s about creating a user-focused network that supports the next-generation mobility experience. Cisco is building the vision for this future, with Sujai Hajela, VP and GM, Wireless Networking Business Unit: “People are falling in love with their mobile devices and want to use their own personal device at work. This is placing huge demands on networks and on IT managers who need to identify and provision access for multitudes of devices, while maintaining a high level of security, performance and control. Cisco ISE helps make this happen. It is the solution for simplifying and securing the mobile experience.” The future of Mobility is bright, is your network up to the task?

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  1. I watch the video demo and Jake W. explains in a clear and easy to understand I really enjoyed it and will talk soon with some friends on mobile security.

  2. Unification of identity management, device profiling and posture assessment leading to simplification. A great story and easy to communicate and connect to real customer needs – I GOT IT!

    • Thanks for the comment George, it really does bring a solution to life when you can showcase how people are using it today to solve real business problems. It’s our job to turn challenges like BYOD into actual competitive advantages.

  3. Nice demo. What version of the Cisco ISE and Cisco NCS are being shown? I have not been able to locate the “Registration Pages” Jake discusses in the Cisco ISE 1.04 release.

    • Hi Don,

      You can implement custom registration pages within ISE, or use per-existing templates. In terms of new ISE versions, stay in close contact with your Cisco account representative – they will let you know as soon as they are available.

      Thanks for the comment.

  4. Yeah, I do agree with you Tim, the explanation are excellent

  5. Jakes demo and explanation are excellent. Simplification and Unification are now words I plan to use in every ISE demo I do.