This post is all about operator login with ClearPass. I show the implementation of authenticating a network operator to Aruba Switches, Comware based switches, Aruba Controller and AirWave. For some devices, I will show the process with TACACS+. For those, which do not support TACACS+, I use radius authentication, which I describe in a later post.

Operator Login: ClearPass Configuration for TACACS+

ClearPass has built-in TACACS+ support for various devices. In the first part, I create a ClearPass configuration for general purposes. Afterward, I append rules to serve certain devices.

I assume, ClearPass is installed and you know how to configure the basics. If you struggle with this, leave me a comment and can cover this as well in a future post.

The first step is to create a new authentication service within ClearPass. I use this one for all of my operator logins. It is also possible to create different services for different devices. To create the service go to “Configuration–>Services” and click on “Add”:

Operator Login - ClearPass add Service

Operator Login – ClearPass add Service

A new screen appears and allows you to configure the type of the service, the name, and a description. Select the “TACACS+ Enforcement” for the type. Feel free with the name and the description. But make it clear what the service is doing. I do not create service rules at this stage, as I can add them later if needed:

Operator Login - ClearPass add TACACS Service

Operator Login – ClearPass add TACACS+ Service

Click “Next” to get the next screen. Here you select the authentication source. This can every authentication source from ClearPass. For my testing purpose, I use the internal user database. I place all my test users in this DB:

Operator Login - ClearPass add Tacacs Service Authentication Source

Operator Login – ClearPass add TACACS+ Service Authentication Source

Afterward, click three times “Next” and save the new service. All other screens are default, for the moment. The basics are configured.

Operator Login with Comware Based Devices

To authenticate all network operators on Comware devices with TACACS+ and ClearPass follow this paragraph. The first step is to prepare the Comware device to use ClearPass for TACACS+ authentication. On Comware based devices TACACS+ is called HWTACACS.

Log in to the device and make sure, that you did not configure your current connection type for TACACS+. If connected with SSH do not configure TACACS+ for SSH, as you could possibly log out yourself from the device.

Create the HWTACACS scheme on the device:

hwtacacs scheme cppm-tacacs
primary authentication 192.168.111.55
primary authorization 192.168.111.55
primary accounting 192.168.111.55
key authentication simple comcomcom
key authorization simple comcomcom
key accounting simple comcomcom
user-name-format without-domain

This scheme is configured with the TACACS+ server 192.168.111.55 and the key “comcomcom” for authentication, authorization, and accounting. This scheme does not send the domain with the request, as the domain is not configured on ClearPass.

The next step is to configure the domain on the device:

domain cppm
 authentication login hwtacacs-scheme cppm-tacacs
 authorization login hwtacacs-scheme cppm-tacacs
 accounting login hwtacacs-scheme cppm-tacacs

Every user, which uses this domain “cppm”, is authenticated with the ClearPass server.

To enable this kind of authentication for all incoming connections except the console, configure the following:

line vty 0 63
 authentication-mode scheme
 user-role network-operator

That’s all you need to configure on the device. Now, prepare some specifics for the authentication on ClearPass. So, head over to ClearPass.

Operator Login with Comware Based Devices Basic ClearPass Settings

The first step is to create the device within ClearPass. Go to “Configuration–>Network–>Devices” and click the “Add” button to add a new device to ClearPass:

Operator Login - Add Access Device in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Access Device in ClearPass

You see the following screen:

Operator Login - Add Access Device Details in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Access Device Details in ClearPass

You have to configure the Name and the IP address. If you have a subnet with IP address, you can configure them as well. Configure the same shared secret as the key on the device. If those do not match, the communication between the device and the ClearPass will fail.

If you have many devices of the same type, it makes sense to create device groups. I use these device groups to send different TACACS+ responses to the different type of devices, like Comware, Aruba OS Switch, and ArubaOS WLAN controller.

To create a device group go to “Configuration–>Network–>Device Groups” and click the “Add” button. This allows you to create the group. For Comware I created this group:

Operator Login - Add Access Device Group in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Access Device Group in ClearPass

To select the devices, belonging to this group, I choose the “List” format, as this allows the selection of the device from the list of configured devices. you can also choose the “Subnet” format, which allows the definition of a subnet. Makes sense, if all devices of the same type are within the same management subnet. I’ve never used the “Regular Expression” option, but this will gives you the most flexibility.

Operator Login with Comware Based Devices Service Definition

All prerequisites are done and we can start with the service definition. The first step is the creation of the “Enforcement Profile”. Go to “Configuration–>Enforcement–>Profiles” and click the “Add” button on the top of the page.

Operator Login - Add Enforcement TACACS Profile in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Enforcement TACACS Profile in ClearPass

Select the “TACACS+ Based Enforcement” as the “Template”. As I create a profile for root access, a name it accordingly. The tricky part is at the bottom. Select the created device group in the “Device Group List”. This ensures, that this profile is only used for devices which are in this group. This makes life easier later on. Click “Next” to get to the next screen.

Operator Login - Add Enforcement TACACS Profile Services in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Enforcement TACACS Profile Services in ClearPass

Select the “Privilege Level” for the user. In my case, it is 15 for read-write with full access. Also select “Shell” for the “Selected Services”. In the “Service Attribute” section you can specify different options for each selected service. I set the privilege level to 15 again. Click “Next”, to get to the next screen.

Operator Login - Add Enforcement TACACS Profile Commands in ClearPass

Operator Login – Add Enforcement TACACS Profile Commands in ClearPass

On this page, you can specify which commands are allowed for the user with this profile. In my case, I do not restrict the commands for this profile. I will cover this in a later post, as this is part of command authorization, which is a different topic.

Click “Next” to get to the summary screen and save the configuration. You should repeat those steps for every profile you need. Normally, at least one time to create the read-only profile.

The next step is to create the policy, which will assign the profile. The profile is assigned, based on user roles. In my example, I have a local user configured which has the network administrator role assigned. Based on this role, the “Comware Read-Write” profile is assigned.

To create the policy, go to “Configuration–>Enformcement–>Policies” and click the “Add” button:

Operator Login - ClearPass add Policy

Operator Login – ClearPass add Policy

Chose a name that makes this policy unique and everyone knows what it is for, by reading the name. Select “TACACS+” for the “Enforcement Type” and select the “Default Profile”. This one is used when no rule matches the request. E.g. the user is not in the user directory. Click “Next” to get to the rules page and click the “Add” button there:

Operator Login - ClearPass add Policy Rules Editor

Operator Login – ClearPass add Policy Rules Editor

You can add more rules if needed. If all rules match, the “Enforcement Profile” on the bottom is used to send the reply to the device. If you add more devices which need different profiles, you can simply add them to this list. As with the grouping function, only profiles which match the group, the device is part of, are used to send the answer. This makes it very easy to manage those rules. Click “Save” to save the rules. Add more rules, e.g for the read-only roles and accounts. Afterward, click the “Next” button and check the configuration on the “Summary” page. Then save the policy.

The last step is to add the policy, to the created services. Open the service, from the first paragraph, again and head to the “Enforcement” tab:

Operator Login - ClearPass Service add Enforcement Policy

Operator Login – ClearPass Service add Enforcement Policy

Select the created policy for the “Enforcement Policy” setting and save the service. Afterward, the authentication request from the networking device is handled by ClearPass using the created service and the profile:

Operator Login - ClearPass Monitorng TACACS+ Request

Operator Login – ClearPass Monitoring TACACS+ Request

Operator Login with ArubaOS (Switches) based Devices

The following paragraph describes the configuration of the ArubaOS switch to support TACACS+ on ArubaOS based Switches and the additional configuration tasks for ClearPass.

On the Switch, you need to enable TACACS+ authentication for SSH, or any other service you would like to use, with the following command:

ArubaOS-Test(config)# aaa authentication ssh login tacacs local

After the successful login, the user needs to authenticate to access the enable context as well with the following command:

ArubaOS-Test(config)# aaa authentication ssh enable tacacs local

The end of both commands defines the authentication method. It is best practice to define local as the second authentication option, in case the TACACS+ server is not available. This ensures that access to the device is always possible.

To avoid the need to double authenticate and access the enable mode with the first login, use this command:

ArubaOS-Test(config)# aaa authentication login privilege-mode

The last step is to configure the TACACS+ server on the Switch:

ArubaOS-Test(config)# tacacs-server host 192.168.111.55 key comcomcom

Repeat this command for every TACACS+ server you have.

The next step is to add the switch to ClearPass. It should look like this:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch

Afterward, create the device group for ArubaOS switches:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Device Group

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Device Group

You also have to create the profiles for the ArubaOS switches. This is the summary screen for one the profiles:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Profile

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Profile

The last step is to add the profile to the policy. The policy can be the same as before, which is used for Comware devices:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Policy

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Switch Policy

Afterward, the authentication for ArubaOS switches should work.

Operator Login with AirWave

AirWave also has the ability ao authenticate against a TACACS+ server. To use TACACS+ for authentication go to “AMP Setup–>Authentication” on the AirWave server:

Operator Login - AirWave Enable TACACS+ Authentication

Operator Login – AirWave Enable TACACS+ Authentication

Select “Remote” for “Authentication Priority”. The local account will always be accessible. This makes sure, that you can log in, even when the TACACS+ server is not available. Also, configure the details for the TACACS+ server. Afterward, click save to apply the settings. That’s all on the AirWave part.

Now, head over to the ClearPass part. First, create the device, in this case, the AirWave server:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add AirWave

Operator Login – ClearPass Add AirWave

Afterward create the device group for AirWave:

 

Operator Login - ClearPass Add AirWave Device Group

Operator Login – ClearPass Add AirWave Device Group

Next step is to create the profile for AirWave:

 

Operator Login - ClearPass Add Profile for AirWave

Operator Login – ClearPass Add Profile for AirWave

As the service, select “AMP:https” for this profile. For full access select the predefined “Admin” role. You can also use any other role name, previously defined in AirWave.

Add the profile to the previously used policy and you can use TACACS+ for authentication on your AirWave server.

Operator Login with ArubaOS Controller

ArubaOS for WLAN controller supports TACACS+ as well. For this test, I use the brand new ArubaOS 8 version.

To configure ArubaOS for TACACS+ authentication, the first step is to create the Authentication Server Group. I demonstrate the configuration for the managed devices, but the same applies to the virtual mobility master. Go to “Managed Network–>Configuration–>Authentication–>Auth Servers” and press the “+” button, to add a new server group:

Operator Login - Add Auth Server Group to ArubaOS

Operator Login – Add Auth Server Group to ArubaOS

Press the submit button, to save the new group. Afterward, select the new group and press “+” button in the lower box to add a new server to this group:

Operator Login - Add Auth Server to ArubaOS

Operator Login – Add Auth Server to ArubaOS

Press the “Submit” button to save the new server. Now, select the server in the lower box and configure the secret key for the connection:

Operator Login - Add Auth Server Key to ArubaOS

Operator Login – Add Auth Server Key to ArubaOS

Submit the changes and deploy the changes to all nodes.

The last step on the controller is to apply the authentication server group for management authentication. Head over to “Managed Networks–>Configuration–>System–>Admin–>Admin Authentication Options”. This brings up the following page:

Operator Login - Admin Authentication Options

Operator Login – Admin Authentication Options

The important options are those within the red square. The default rule is used for authentication request where no rule is returned. Do not use MSCHAPv2 with TACACS+, as this will not work. The rest is self-explaining. Submit the changes and synchronize them to all nodes.

The last step is to configure ClearPass to support the authentication of ArubaOS based controller. First, create the device within ClearPass:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Controller

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Controller

Afterward, create the device group:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Device Group for Controller

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Device Group for Controller

Then, create the profile for the ArubaOS controller:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Profile for Controller

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Profile for Controller

And finally, add the profile to the policy:

Operator Login - ClearPass Add ArubaOS Profile for Controller to Policy

Operator Login – ClearPass Add ArubaOS Profile for Controller to Policy

That’s the configuration and afterward, log on using TACACS+ should work.

That post includes a lot of examples on how to use TACACS+ for operator login. In the next post, I will concentrate on authorization after the login.

Feel free to write me your opinion below as a comment. I appreciate any discussion about the topic.