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ISE business value and ROI uncovered in Forrester study

Forrester Consulting recently conducted an independent analysis of five organizations using Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), the industry-leading network access control solution, to uncover the business value of ISE. The commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco, “The Total Economic Impact™ of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE),” published in March 2022, highlighted a total payback period of only 11 months within a composite organization that was built from data compiled across the participants in the research. The study showed that the composite organization received a 191% ROI over the first three years use of use, with a current returned value of $1.03 million across many categories, including:  

  • Improved security impact from breaches: 44% of total  
  • Reduced IT costs with automation: 33% of total  
  • Improved business outcomes, such as employee productivity: 23% of total  

The research by Forrester into customer utilization and the related business value comes at a time when organizations are looking to gain a more strategic focus on resources amidst unprecedented global uncertainty. In a world where everything is connected and boundaries are blurred, the report highlights how ISE is improving organizational resilience across three areas related to maintaining business continuity and securing network access: improved security, reduced IT costs, and improved business outcomes.  

NAC and security resilience  

The Forrester study states that, “Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a network access control (NAC) solution that streamlines secure network management and gives users and devices segmented access to corporate resources.” Having the level of visibility and control that ISE supplies has allowed organizations to be resilient and withstand change. One of the five organizations that were studied to compile the singular composite used in determining the final ROI is a media company in Europe with 7000 users. The director interviewed stated that, “The greatest challenge we faced during the pandemic was having 7000 people start working from home the next day. What we had in place was not good enough. We needed to add ISE, and we needed to add Software-Defined Access to handle the changes.” In an ever-changing world, ISE is providing the access controls needed to respond to change with confidence and limit organizational risk.  

Improved security  

The Forrester study noted that cost savings from improved security were the single greatest factor in the overall 191% return on investment. This was due not only to a reduction in the number of security incidents, which was 50%, but also to the business impact of the staff resources needed to respond to access-related security events, which would have required increasing security personnel by 25%. The study stated that, “Together, these benefits are worth $442,000 over three years. This benefit does not include other potential costs of a breach such as lost revenue, fines, and brand reputation damage because it varies greatly depending on the size and nature of a breach and on company specifics such as industry and size.”   

Reduced IT costs 

In addition to improved security, the study by Forrester found that, “Cisco ISE streamlined and automated activities related to network management and user and device access.” This helped IT avoid hiring additional full-time staff and equated to considerable direct savings, 34% of the total ROI. To achieve the same level of value with manual methods, the study noted that the organization would have had to increase staffing by 66%. The study stated, “Contributing factors to the time savings include better automation, less time to diagnose potential problems, fewer user-access help desk tickets, and fewer security false alerts.”  

“Without ISE, we would be spending a lot more time helping people connect. Now, we can diagnose 90% of the problems in 10 minutes. Doing it the old-school way would have taken a lot more time.” Network engineering services assistant director, higher education organization  

From the commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco, “The Total Economic Impact™ of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE),” March 2022  

Improved business outcomes 

Organizations need to supply fast, secure access to network resources. When they do, end users are more productive, and they can also increase collaboration with customers, partners, and suppliers. Forrester noted in the study that aligning to these business-driven outcomes created $236,000 in value, or 23% of total ROI. Forrester also noted that the increase in innovation and speed can deliver “improved business outcomes such as faster time to market, increased revenues, and higher customer satisfaction.” The value was achieved at scale across the different organizations included in the study. The director at the European media organization said that its “7000 employees were all more productive, which ‛is extremely important because TV productions are on a tight timeline.’” And an enterprise architect at the European higher education organization said it “onboards 45,000 to 55,000 devices per year and that 96% of the time it is a fully self-service and near-instantaneous experience.” ISE is increasing business value for organizations of all sizes and across all industries.  

Flexibility and SD-Access 

Companies are also looking to increase the value of existing solutions. A few of the organizations included in the report have matured their secure network access strategies by layering on Cisco DNA Center to deploy Software-Defined Access (SD-Access). SD-Access brings additional savings through improved policy creation and enforcement. The study cited benefits across all categories, including reducing applicable threats by 40%, reducing business user downtime, and avoiding hiring additional full-time employees. SD-Access, layered onto ISE, completes zero trust within the self-managed infrastructure, adding an additional 88% uplift and boosting a 3-year present value of $906,205.   

ISE: Trusted – Proven – Resilient  

Two things have remained constant in a world of uncertainty. The first is that change is constant, and the second is that controlling access to ensure that only trusted users and devices can gain access to trusted network resources is and will remain a top concern as organizations look to be resilient and protect the integrity of their business. Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) has been providing this trusted service with mature technology for over 10 years. The independent review of ISE has quantified this benefit, aligning secure network access to business outcomes and risk reduction. To learn more, download and read the entire study  

ISE social media kit for Forrester TEI study  

Use this go-to-market kit, and study to help move your Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) Network Access Control discussions toward the quantitative benefits and ROI of deploying ISE for secure network access control. 

Use this kit and study to help move your Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) network access and control conversations toward a more strategic one focused on zero trust for the self-managed infrastructure, or Workplace. 

Forrester Consulting conducted an analysis of five organizations to uncover the business value and ROI of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), the industry-leading network access control solution.  

Looking to deploy ISE? Forrester conducted a study to uncover the business value and ROI of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) and revealed a 191% return.  


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