Food Company Replaces Cisco ISE with Portnox Cloud-Native NAC

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New Jersey-based Schuman Cheese has a long, storied history of delivering world-class cheese products to the U.S. market. Operating across several facilities in New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin and California, the company maintains a workforce of more than 400, with revenues topping $500 million annually.

A Deep Dive with Portnox CORE

About four years ago, Schuman Cheese went out in search of a network access control (NAC) solution to help the company manage network access across its many wired ports. Lead by IT Infrastructure Administrator, Andrew Sayegh, Schuman Cheese came across Portnox CORE while conducting research online, and determined the platform was worth pursuing. “We initially had a demo, then did a proof of concept, which was very easy to get up and running,” Sayegh went on to say. “We found that the visibility that Portnox CORE gave us for each port in use across the company was unparalleled. We really loved the platform off the bat.”

portnox versus ise

We found that the visibility that Portnox CORE gave us for each port in use across the company was unparalleled. We really loved the platform off the bat. – Andrew Sayegh, IT Infrastructure Administrator @ Schuman Cheese

Assessing NAC Alternatives like Cisco ISE

Simultaneously, Sayegh and his team were investigating Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE), a legacy onpremise NAC solution. “I had previous experience with ISE, but I still needed another engineer to help me configure and implement it. Had I done it alone, it would’ve taken me a full week or more to complete,” said Sayegh.

After some time using with ISE and comparing it to Portnox CORE, Sayegh and his team felt the choice was obvious. “If ISE ever went down, we wouldn’t know how to fix it on fly. We’d have to find a temporary solution to allow people to reconnect to WiFi and wired ports. It was just always a struggle, especially with over 200 people connecting to our wireless network everyday.”

Closing the WiFi Security Gap Where ISE Fell Short

More recently, years after selecting to deploy Portnox CORE across the company’s wired network, Sayegh and the Schuman Cheese IT security team set their sites on trying to rectify lingering access control issues related to ISE across its wireless network.

“We conducted a test of Portnox CLEAR – your cloud NAC service – for access control across our WiFi environment. It took literally ten minutes to set up with the help of Portnox’s support engineer,” Sayegh continued. “It was just so easy to use out of the gate.”

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The Pandemic & Cloud Adoption

“Since we’re a food manufacturer, we still needed to have people in our facilities and warehouses on site during the pandemic. These folks would need to be able to connect to WiFi primarily,” said Sayegh. “The implementation of Portnox CLEAR for WiFi gave us much needed access control that was flexible and easy to enforce during this period of uncertainty.”

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Sayegh and his team continued a campaign of cloud adoption when it came to new security tools – of which Portnox CLEAR fit in well. “We are making a real push to adopt cloud-based tools – that was a major factor in us bringing in CLEAR to support our access control policies across WiFi alongside CORE for wired,” Sayegh stated.

The hybrid use of CORE (on-premise) with CLEAR (cloud-delivered) for network access control has been exceptionally effective for Schuman Cheese, especially now as employees return to the office post-pandemic and increased wired network usage surges alongside continued WiFi reliance. Sayegh concluded: “It’s been very easy to work across both NAC solutions to enforce our network access control policies and keep the network secure.

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