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Device posture tracking using certificates with Cisco ISE and Meraki Systems Manager

Device posture tracking using certificates with Cisco ISE and Meraki Systems Manager

Relying on the device's Wi-Fi MAC address for device tracking has become impractical on modern mobile platforms, as devices may change their MACs exposed on the network via MAC randomization privacy. The good news: administrators can now leverage Systems Manager to install certificates on enrolled devices which Cisco ISE identifies to accurately track devices during 802.1X EAP authentication. This guide will show how to configure setup Cisco ISE with SM MDM enrollment and then how to create a Wi-Fi profile for secure EAP-TLS security with this ISE tracking technique.

For more information about how to configure Cisco ISE with Cisco Meraki please review the knowledge base documentation

Meraki MDM to ISE setup

In a Meraki Organization where Systems Manager is enabled, go to Organization > MDM and find the ISE settings. Set your enrollment network and make note of the Setup URL, Username, Password, and download the SCEP CA. All of these will be added into the Cisco ISE portal.

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ISE setup

Add Meraki SSL to Cisco ISE as Trust Certificate

Go to, and download the current Meraki SSL certificate. This can be done from a web browser by click on the secure lock icon in the URL and selecting More Information. 



Select the * SSL certificate, and choose Export so it can be downloaded. Now, upload this same certificate into Cisco ISE in Administration > System > Certificates > Trust Certificates > Import. 

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Upload the Meraki SSL certificate and click Submit

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Add Meraki SCEP CA to Cisco ISE as Trust Certificate

In Cisco ISE, navigate to Administration > System > Certificates > Trust Certificates > Import

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Click Choose file and upload the Meraki SCEP CA .pem certificate (downloaded from Meraki SM Dashboard Org> MDM in the steps previously). 


Click Submit to save this Meraki SCEP CA .pem can be saved as a Trusted Certificate in Cisco ISE. 

Add ISE Trusted Root CA in Systems Manager

In order to have ISE's root CA trusted for a 802.1X EAP authentication to take place, it must be downloaded from ISE and added into the Systems Manager profile for network authentication. To download this certificate from ISE navigate to Administration > System > Certificates > System Certificate. Export the certificate "used by" EAP authentication. Save this exported certificate as we will upload it to Meraki Dashboard in a minute. 


Enable Cisco ISE External MDM for Meraki Systems Manager

In Cisco ISE, navigate to Administration > Network Resources > External MDM

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Create a new External MDM in ISE. Fill in the Setup URL, Username, and Password previously gathered from Meraki into this new External MDM configuration. 

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When creating this, make sure to set the Device Identifier as Cert - SAN, URI, GUID. This is extremely important because it allows ISE to track the devices via a certificate which will be installed on enrolled devices via Systems Manager. 


Create the Cisco ISE enabled EAP-TLS Wi-Fi profile

In order for ISE to property track the device authenticated via Wi-Fi, SM can now create and install a Wi-Fi profile containing a ISE tracking certificate payload enabled along with the required ISE certificates.

To create the Cisco ISE Wi-Fi payload via Meraki Systems Manager, navigate to Systems Manager > Configure > General > ISE settings. Here we can add configurations for ISE Wi-Fi profiles. 


Click on Add Config


Copy down the Setup URL, Username, Password, and download the current SCEP CA certificate. To add this certificate into Cisco ISE follow the instructions above


Give the profile a name, and define an installation target scope


Note: when using an Owner variable, such as $owner email, please ensure that devices have Owners defined, or else this value will be nil and may not assign the policies appropriately. To enforce owners upon initial device enrollment, use Enrollment Authentication. Or manually assign Owners after enrollment. 

Give the SCEP certificate a name. Using the default configuration will make the ISE API lookups to Meraki simple. You can customize this further, if desired. For example, you may want to use the $SM device ID variable instead of the $owner email for the subject's common name. This subject name and subject alternative name are the values ISE will see on their side to uniquely track the devices/users. 


Upload the ISE CA certificate used for EAP authentication. This is the ISE Trusted Root CA which can be downloaded from your ISE portal (steps above)

Set the SSID name and WPA security settings for the Wi-Fi profile. 

Click Submit to save the profile. At this point the profile will start installing on all device in-scope of this profile configuration. And then in ISE, you will be able to view the devices to track further based off of the SM device compliance.