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Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs Sophos Network Access Control comparison

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Buyer's Guide
Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs. Sophos Network Access Control
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs. Sophos Network Access Control and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The WiFi portal in Cisco ISE is very useful for WiFi customers.""I love the policy sets, they are really nice and dynamic.""For my use cases, the in-depth troubleshooting into why a client can't connect or why they failed, is very valuable. I can go back to someone and say, 'Hey, it's not my network. It's their certificates or user error,' or something else.""The implementation is very simple.""The user experience of the solution is great. It's a very transparent system.""The RADIUS Server holds the most value.""In terms of features, I think they've done a lot of improvement on the graphical user interface — it looks really good right now.""The access policies, and all of the policies in Cisco ISE, are important to us."

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"The wifi control is fantastic and makes it very easy to administer.""The installation is very straightforward.""It is intuitive in the sense that I don't have to struggle with the configuration.""The pricing is very reasonable and you can negotiate on the price.""Sophos' technical support is great, very fast and responsive, and they always know how to fix the problem."

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"I would like for the next release to be easier to implement and to limit its dependencies around ISE, Windows, the network as a whole, etc.""An issue with the product is it tends to have a lot of bugs whenever they release a new release.""The user interface could be more user-friendly.""One of the issues that we used to have was with profiling because we're working with a service provider that uses a lot of bring your own devices.""Profiling is a really good feature. However, it sometimes is a challenge for customers when there are issues with the remediation part. I would add a built-in remediation solution. That would be a very nice feature.""There are always some things that I would request.""It does a good job of establishing trust for every access request. We have had a little bit of a challenge with profiling, but we are probably about 80% there.""The software is a little bit complicated to understand in the beginning, meaning the implementation. It needs proper documentation so that we can understand the options more easily."

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"I would like to see mobile administration capabilities in the next release so that we can administer the device from a mobile device.""I would say that anything that makes it easier to use and obtain statistics and metrics on any issue is always welcome. Anything that provides more information or insights into what is going on on the network would be beneficial.""In order to provide better management, it would be ideal with they offered better plugins for their firewall.""The interface on the cloud could be a bit better - just to give more performance on it.""An area that could be improved is the information about licensing, which is fairly confusing at present."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "For the Avast virus scan, we pay around USD $95 per machine for five years which includes all updates and technical support."
  • "The price for Cisco ISE is high."
  • "The price can be lower, especially for subscriptions. It should be a lot cheaper to have a wide range of customers. The price should be comparable to competitive products like Forescout or Fortinet FortiNAC. Forescout is cheaper for customers looking for a cloud solution."
  • "There are other cheaper options available."
  • "The price is okay."
  • "I think licensing costs roughly $2,000 a year. ISE is more expensive than Network Access Control."
  • "I think the price is okay."
  • "Its price is probably good if you use all of its features and functionalities to protect your environment. If you use only a part of the functionality, its price is too high. It is just a question of value and the functionality you use."
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    610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: Aruba ClearPass is a Network Access Control tool that gives secure network access to multiple device types. You can adapt the policies to VPN access, wired, or wireless access. You can… more »
    Top Answer:OK, so Cisco ISE uses 802.1X to secure switchports against unauthorized access. The drawback of this is that ISE cannot secure the port if a device does not support 802.1x. Cameras, badge readers… more »
    Top Answer:Cisco ISE uses AI endpoint analytics to identify new devices based on their behavior. It will also notify you if someone plugs in with a device that is not allowed and will block it. The user… more »
    Top Answer:Sophos' technical support is great, very fast and responsive, and they always know how to fix the problem.
    Top Answer:We have to get a license. Pricing is competitive. It is the most competitive option in the market because the other alternative is Fortinet solutions, which are a little more expensive. I don't have… more »
    Top Answer:An area that could be improved is the information about licensing, which is fairly confusing at present. I've also had some issues with disabling ports.
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    Also Known As
    Cisco ISE
    Learn More

    Cisco ISE is an all-in-one solution that streamlines security policy management and reduces operating costs. Cisco ISE delivers visibility and access control over users and devices across wired, wireless, and VPN connections.

    Identity Services Engine enables enterprises to deliver secure network access to users and devices. It shares contextual data, such as threats and vulnerabilities, with integrated solutions from Cisco technology partners. You can see what is happening in your network, which applications are running, and more.

    Features of Cisco ISE

    • Centralized management helps administrators configure and manage user profile characteristics - a single pane of glass for integrated management services.
    • Contextual identity and business policy: The rule-based attribute is a driven policy model. The goal is to provide flexible access control policies.
    • Wide range of access control options, including Virtual LAN (VLAN) URL redirections, and access control lists.
    • Supplicant-less network access: You can roll out secure network access by deriving authentication from login information across application layers.
    • Guest lifecycle management streamlines the experience for implementing and customizing network access for guests.
    • Built-in AAA services: The platform uses standard RADIUS protocol for authentication, authorization, and accounting.
    • Device auditing, administration, and access control provide users with access on a need-to-know and need-to-act basis. It keeps audit trails for every change in the network.
    • Device profiling: ISE features predefined device templates for different types of endpoints.
    • Internal certificate authority: Qn easy-to-deploy single console to manage endpoints and certificates.

    Benefits of Cisco ISE

    Cisco’s holistic approach to network access security has several advantages:

    • Context-based access based on your company policies. ISE creates a complete contextual identity, including attributes such as user, time, location, threat, access type, and vulnerability. This contextual identity is used to enforce a secure access policy. Administrators can apply strict control over how and when endpoints are allowed in the network.
    • Better network visibility via an easy-to-use, simple console. In addition, visibility is improved by storing a detailed attribute history of all endpoints connected to the network.
    • Comprehensive policy enforcement. ISE sets easy and flexible access rules. These rules are controlled from a central console that enforces them across the network and security infrastructure. You can define policies that differentiate between registered users and guests. The system uses group tags that enable access control on business rules instead of IP addresses.
    • Self-service device onboarding enables the enterprise to implement a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy securely. Users can manage their devices according to the policies defined by IT administrators. (IT remains in charge of provisioning and posturing to comply with security policies.)
    • Consistent guest experiences: You can provide guests with different levels of access from different connections. You can customize guest portals via a cloud-delivered portal editor with dynamic visual tools.


    You can get ISE as a physical or virtual appliance. Both deployments can create ISE clusters that create scale, redundancy, and requirements.


    Cisco ISE has four primary licences. Evaluation for up to 100 endpoints with full platform functionality. The higher tiers are Partner, Advantage and Essential.

    Reviews from Real Users

    "The user experience of the solution is great. It's a very transparent system. according to a PeerSpot user in Cyber Security at a manufacturing company.

    Omar Z., Network & Security Engineer at an engineering company, feels that "The RADIUS Server holds the most value."

    “Whether I deploy in China, the US, South Africa, or wherever, I can get all the capabilities. It allows me to directly integrate with 365, and from a communications point of view, that is a good capability," says Rammohan M., Senior Consultant at a tech services company.

    Hassan A.,Technology Manager at Advanced Integrated Systems, says that "The most valuable feature is the integration with StealthWatch and DNA as one fabric."

    Sophos NAC Provides comprehensive, easy-to-deploy network access control that protects enterprise networks from the threats posed by non-compliant, compromised, or misconfigured endpoint computers. The software solution is vendor-neutral and works with existing network infrastructure and security applications. Computers are permitted or denied access to the network, based on a centrally defined, policy-driven assessment - and isolated, quarantined for remediation, automatically remediated, or sent alerts. Administrators can define and manage policies uniquely for managed and guest computers, including checking their security status and ensuring that no unwanted applications are run.
    Learn more about Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine)
    Learn more about Sophos Network Access Control
    Sample 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
    Rushmoor Borough Council
    Top Industries
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Comms Service Provider27%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Comms Service Provider31%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Company Size
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise47%
    Small Business19%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise65%
    Small Business80%
    Midsize Enterprise10%
    Large Enterprise10%
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise51%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs. Sophos Network Access Control
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs. Sophos Network Access Control and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    610,229 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is ranked 1st in Network Access Control (NAC) with 64 reviews while Sophos Network Access Control is ranked 5th in Network Access Control (NAC) with 5 reviews. Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is rated 8.0, while Sophos Network Access Control is rated 9.0. The top reviewer of Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) writes "Secures devices and has good support, but needs a better interface". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos Network Access Control writes "Great security with a user-friendly interface and excellent stability". Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) is most compared with Aruba ClearPass, Forescout Platform, Fortinet FortiNAC, CyberArk Privileged Access Manager and SailPoint IdentityIQ, whereas Sophos Network Access Control is most compared with Aruba ClearPass, ExtremeControl, Fortinet FortiNAC, Ruckus Cloudpath and F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM). See our Cisco ISE (Identity Services Engine) vs. Sophos Network Access Control report.

    See our list of best Network Access Control (NAC) vendors.

    We monitor all Network Access Control (NAC) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.