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Bastien Migette
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee





In this Document we will see how to setup inline posture with an ASA and an ISE. Versions used are 8.2(4) for the ASA and for the ISE.


The ISE provide a lot of AAA Services (Posture, Profiling, Authentication etc). While some Network Devices (NAD) supports Radius Change Of Authorization (CoA) that allows to dynamically change the authorization profile of an end device based on its Posture or Profiling result, some other NADs like the ASA doesn't support (Yet) this feature. This means that we need an ISE running in Inline Posture Enforcement mode (iPEP) to dynamically change the network access policy of an end device.


The base principle is that all user traffic will go thru the iPEP ISE, and this box will also act as a Radius Proxy, meaning the general steps are the followings:


-VPN User logs in

-ASA Sends the request to the iPEP ISE

-the iPEP ISE rewrite the request (it adds some Cisco AV-PAIR attributes to indicate this is iPEP Auth) and sends the request to the Policy ISE

-the Policy ISE replies back to the iPEP which will forward to the NAD

-If the user is authenticated, the NAD HAS TOsend an accounting-start request (see CSCtz84826). This will trigger the session initiation on the iPEP. At this stage basically, the user is redirected for posture. Additionally, we need to enable interim-accounting-update for tunnel established from the WEBVPN Portal, as the ISE Expect to have the attribute framed-ip-address in the radius accounting, but when connecting to the portal, the VPN IP Address of the client is not yet known, as the tunnel is not established. This will ensure that the ASA will send interim updates, like when the tunnel will be established.


-The user goes through the posture assessment, and then the policy ISE will update the session via CoA on the iPEP based on the Posture Result.


Inline PEP Client Authorization Flow












ASA Configuration



The ASA Configuration is simple IPSEC Remote VPN, therefore I won't go through it in details:


interface Ethernet0/0

nameif ISE

security-level 50

ip address


interface Ethernet0/1

nameif outside

security-level 0

ip address


access-list split extended permit ip any


aaa-server ISE protocol radius

interim-accounting-update !Mandatory if tunnel established from WEBVPN Portal

aaa-server ISE (ISE) host! this is the iPEP IP

key cisco

crypto ipsec transform-set TS1 esp-aes esp-sha-hmac

crypto ipsec security-association lifetime seconds 28800

crypto ipsec security-association lifetime kilobytes 4608000

crypto dynamic-map DMAP1 10 set transform-set TS1

crypto dynamic-map DMAP1 10 set reverse-route

crypto map CM1 10 ipsec-isakmp dynamic DMAP1

crypto map CM1 interface outside

crypto isakmp enable outside

crypto isakmp policy 1

authentication pre-share

encryption aes

hash sha

group 2

lifetime 86400


ip local pool VPN


group-policy DfltGrpPolicy attributes

dns-server value ! The VPN User needs to be able to resolve the CN from the ISE HTTPS Certificate (which is sent in the radius response)

vpn-tunnel-protocol IPSec svc webvpn

split-tunnel-policy tunnelspecified

split-tunnel-network-list value split

address-pools value VPN


tunnel-group cisco general-attributes

address-pool VPN

authentication-server-group ISE

accounting-server-group ISE ! Doesn't work without this (see introduction)


tunnel-group cisco ipsec-attributes

pre-shared-key cisco


route outside 1

route ISE 1 !We need to make sure the traffic to the local subnets are going through the inline ISE



ISE Configuration


iPEP Configuration


The first thing to do is to add an ISE as an iPEP Node. You can find additional info about the process here:


Here's basically what you have to configure in the various tab (the screenshots below are illustrating this):

-Configure untrusted IP & Global IP settings (in our case, untrusted IP is

-Deployement will be routed mode

-Put a static Filter for the ASA to be allowed to go through the iPEP box (otherwise Connectivity to/from the ISE thru iPEP box will be dropped)

-Configure our Policy ISE as Radius server and our ASA as radius client

-Add a route to the VPN Subnet pointing to the ASA

-Set the Monitoring ISE as the Logging Host (port 20514 by default, in our case the policy ISE is doing monitoring too)


Basic Configuration






Deployment Mode Configuration






Filters Configuration






Radius Configuration







Static Routes











Authentication and Posture Configuration



There's is 3 posture states:

  • Unknown: Posture is not yet made
  • Compliant: Posture is made and the system is Compliant
  • Non-Compliant: Posture is made, but the system failed at least one check


So now we have to create the authorization profiles (which will be Inline Authorization Profiles: This will add the ipep-authz=true attribute in the Cisco AV-Pair) that will be used for the differents case.


Commonly, the Unknown profile returns the redirect url (posture discovery) which will forward the traffic of the user to the ISE and will ask to install the NAC Agent. If the NAC Agent is already installed, this will allow its HTTP Discovery request to be forwarded to the ISE.


In this profile, we put an ACL that allows HTTP Traffic to the ISE and DNS at least.


The Compliant and Non compliant profiles usually returns a Downloadable ACL to grant network access based on the user profile. (Non compliant profile can allow the users to access a web server to download an Antivirus for example, or grant limited network access).


In our example, I will only create the unknown and compliant profile, and I will check for the presence of notepad.exe as requirements.


Posture Profiles Configuration



The first thing to do is to create the Downloadable ACLs and profiles:

I will have the following (Note: This is not mandatory to have the dACL name matching the profile name)

  • Compliant
    • ACL: ipep-unknown
    • Authorization Profile: ipep-unknown
  • Non Compliant
    • ACL: ipep-non-compliant
    • Authorization Profile: ipep-non-compliant


See the screenshots below:


Unknown dACL






Unknown Profile






Compliant dACL






Compliant Profile






Authorization Configuration



Now that we have our profile, we need to match the Radius Request coming from our iPEP and apply to them the right profiles. I have defined my iPEP ISEs with a special device type that I will use in my Authorization rules:













Note: if the agent is not installed on the machine, you may define Client Provisionning rules. Ok, now we're all set, let's go testing!







And i'm now prompted to install the agent (as I have client proviosionning already set):




Some output at this stage:



ciscoasa# show vpn-sessiondb remote


Session Type: IPsec


Username : cisco Index : 26

Assigned IP : Public IP :

Protocol : IKE IPsec

License : IPsec

Encryption : AES128 Hashing : SHA1

Bytes Tx : 143862 Bytes Rx : 30628

Group Policy : DfltGrpPolicy Tunnel Group : cisco

Login Time : 13:43:55 UTC Mon May 14 2012

Duration : 0h:09m:37s

Inactivity : 0h:00m:00s

NAC Result : Unknown

VLAN Mapping : N/A VLAN : none


And from the iPEP


w-ise-ipep-1/admin# show pep table session


Current Sessions (IP, MAC(if available), Profile ID, VLAN (if any)): 00:00:00:00:00:00 2 0

w-ise-ipep-1/admin# show pep table accesslist normal



deny tcp any host eq 80

deny tcp any host eq 443

permit ip any host

permit udp any any eq 53


Once I download and install the agent:



The agent should automatically detects the ISE and runs the posture assessment (assuming you have the posture rules defined already, which is another subject). In my case I have succeeded the posture, and I can see the following:









Note: There's in fact 2 authetications in the screenshot above, but since the iPEP box caches the ACLs, it is not downloaded every time.


And now on the iPEP:


w-ise-ipep-1/admin# show pep table session


Current Sessions (IP, MAC(if available), Profile ID, VLAN (if any)): 00:00:00:00:00:00 3 0

w-ise-ipep-1/admin# show pep table accesslist normal


permit ip any any




deny tcp any host eq 80

deny tcp any host eq 443

permit ip any host

permit udp any any eq 53



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