Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cisco IOS AAA Configuration with ISE

I was trying to set up a POC (Proof Of Concept) lab to use Cisco ISE as AAA server.

IMHO, a good configuration example should meet the following:

1) Minimal
No one wants to read a 300-line example.  A minimal configuration is easy to understand.  If needed, we may add features on top of the minimal configuration.

2) Typical
The example should represent the most popular use case.

3) No Ambiguity
Though not affecting functionality, names should be picked carefully to avoid any potential confusion for readers (especially beginners).

My goal was to set up AAA on a Cisco router with Cisco ISE for IOS CLI.  Based on the username, IOS privilege level 7 or level 15 will be assigned after login.

This is a typical use case as RBAC (Role Based Access Control) is widely used.  Users with privilege 7 can run most of the "show" commands but not the "conf t" command.  Users with privilege 15 can run all commands.

I have ISE 1.4 and UNL 0.9.0-40 running on VMware Workstation.  The topology is like below:

Router IP =

Router configuration:

! -- encrypt passwords in config file
service password-encryption
! -- fallback user account in the event of RADIUS failing
username admin password cisco
enable password cisco
! -- define RADIUS server
radius server RADIUS-ISE
 address ipv4
 key secret123
! -- create AAA server group
aaa group server radius RADIUS-ISE-GROUP
 server name RADIUS-ISE
! -- creaate new AAA model
aaa new-model
! -- Configure the default login method to 'none' (no authentication)
! -- This method applies to the console by default
aaa authentication login default none
aaa authorization exec default none
! -- Configure Authentication and Authorization methods for VTY lines
aaa authentication login VTY_authen group RADIUS-ISE-GROUP local
aaa authorization exec VTY_author group RADIUS-ISE-GROUP local
! -- Configure default Accounting method, which applies to both console and VTY lines
aaa accounting exec default start-stop group RADIUS-ISE-GROUP
! -- Apply Authentication and Authorization methods to VTY lines
line vty 0 4
 authorization exec VTY_author
 login authentication VTY_authen
 transport input all

ISE configuration:

1.     Administration > Network Resources > Network Devices > Default Device

For simplicity, we use “Default Device” here.  You may create device group to have more granular control.

Enable “Default Network Device Status”.
Enter “secret123” into “Shared Secret” field.

2.     Policy > Policy Elements - Results > Authorization > Authorization Profiles

 Create two authorization profiles:
  • Shell_priv_15
  • Shell_priv_7

Attribute settings for profile “Shell_priv_15”:

Attribute settings for profile “Shell_priv_7”:

3.     Administration > Identity Management > Groups

Create two User Identify groups:
  • CLI-users-15
  • CLI-users-7

4.     Administration > Identity Management - Identities > Users

Create users and put into desired group


5.     Policy > Authorization

 Create two authorization policies on the top:
  • CLI-access-15
  • CLI-access-7

Associate corresponding user group to “Conditions” column.
Associate corresponding authorization (standard) profile to “Permissions” column.