Gartner Research

Maturing Support for Cisco's TrustSec Framework

Published: 12 February 2013

ID: G00245544

Analyst(s): Phil Schacter


Cisco's Trusted Security framework is maturing with growing support across Cisco's product lines. This document assesses the technical components, interoperability considerations, Cisco's progress in implementing support across its product lines, and customer deployment experiences.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • What's Different This Time?
    • Cisco's Commitment to TrustSec
    • A Broader Scope for TrustSec 2.x and 3.x
    • Cisco's Unified Access Solution
    • Better Support for Customer Deployment Projects
    • Maturity and Completeness of the Solution
    • Cisco's Identity Services Engine Gaining Momentum
  • Cisco's Strategy for TrustSec
    • The Importance of Security Context
    • Replacing the Use of Device-Specific ACLs
    • Scalable Alternative to Use of Virtual LANs
    • Independent of Physical Network Topology
    • Creating a Trusted Network
    • Use Cases
    • Customer Deployments
  • Strengths
    • Flexibility to Segregate Resources Without Physical Segmentation or Managing VLANs
    • Greater Network Operational Security as L2 Devices Mutually Authenticate
    • Reduction in ACL Maintenance, Complexity and Overhead
    • Potential for Traffic Inspection in L2 Network Devices
  • Weaknesses
    • Lack of Interoperability With Products From Other Vendors
    • Enforcement of Access Control Based on SGTs Relies on Hardware
    • Compliance and Audit Uncertainty
    • Complexity Trade-Offs and Potential for Errors Due to Lack of Familiarity
  • Implement 802.1X-Based Controls First
  • Upgrade Existing Network Identity and Policy Systems
  • Consider TrustSec When Planning Network Infrastructure Upgrades
  • Consider Alternatives While TrustSec Matures and Standardizes
  • Reduce TrustSec Project Risks
  • Recommendation to Cisco
  • Conclusions

The Details

  • Trusted Security Domains
    • Identifying Network Devices
    • Authenticating the Device
    • Security Association Protocol
    • Unique Logical Device Identifier
  • Tagging Packets
    • Assigning a Security Group
    • Using Security Group Exchange Protocol
    • Security Group Access for Server Segmentation
  • Applying Policies and Filtering Packets
    • Security Group ACLs
  • Strategies for Untrusted Networks and Devices
    • L3 Encapsulation
    • Untrusted Destination Devices
    • Untrusted Source Devices and VLAN Mapping

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