Cisco’s Identity Services Engine was first released in May of 2011 as version 1.0 and they recently released version 1.3. That doesn’t sound like much of a change, does it? But regardless of version numbers, the product has continued to evolve since its initial release to accommodate the changing network-wired, wireless and remote access VPN strategies. Well, the release of ISE 1.3 is no exception.

Cisco has completely reengineered the guest experience in ISE. They took the feedback from customers and made the experience easier for everyone involved. If you’re a network administrator, you’ll love the new portal builder, which makes it easier to create, customize and preview the portal before publishing. If you’re an employee or a sponsor for guests in your workplace, there are more options and a better workflow for creating and managing users, including native SMS integration and the ability for guests to create requests with all their user information pre-populated. Of course, it’s also important for your guests to be able to use the services from any device, so the mobile experience has been improved to provide support for many types of devices.

ISE 1.3 also introduces a new Certificate Authority (CA) feature that allows it to either integrate with an existing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) or act as a standalone CA to push certificates out to your BYOD devices. This will come as a relief to those who have set up and worked with the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) servers in the past – and know what a pain in the you-know-what they can be to both set up and maintain.

Other enhancements include Cisco’s pxGrid, support for up to 50 Active Directory Domains, support for OVA installations on virtual machines, authorization enhancements and many more too lengthy to list. Check out these release notes to make sure you’re in-the-know of all of the latest ISE enhancements.

ISE 1.3 continues to build on the stability and performance improvements we saw in 1.2, while adding many new features and functionality. It’s clear that Cisco listened to their customer feedback from administrators, users and guests alike that make it well worth an update.