Cisco licensing has proven to be a little more complicated than originally thought. Since a few people have been confused, I thought it would be useful to provide a redacted version of the Cisco device feature key licensing process.

The first thing you need to do is to go to the license page in your Cisco account.

Activating Cisco Licenses to Get Device Feature Keys

Go to

If you have multiple licenses you want to activate – ESA Inbound Essentials SW bundle (AS, AV, OF) and ESA Advanced Malware Protection – you have to do it one at a time.

How Do I Find the Serial Number of My Cisco Content Security Appliance?

Your serial number can be identified in the following ways:

  1. GUI: Monitor/Reporting > System Status
  2. CLI: use the command: version
  3. Physical Access: On the back, there is a sticker

You may or may not get a captcha as you advance screens, either full screen or in the new licenses window.

If You Get Invalid Hostid /Invalid Serial Number Error

Please enter only 7 or 11 characters after “-” from MAC-SN. Only use part of the serial number.

There is some delay in when the feature key emails are sent.

Cisco Email Security Product License Registration Procedure

  1. After logging into the license page from the previous section, go to Product License Registration under Tools & Resources.
  2. If your order does not show, you can add the PAKs by clicking on the Add New PAKs/Tokens link.
Step 1 New Paks

3. Enter your PAK number and click on OK.

Step 2 Add New Paks

4. Next to the PAK column or action dropdown, click on Get Licenses.

Step 3 Get License

5. Click on Next to proceed.

Step 4 Select Quantities

6. Select Target Device and enter Serial number. Then complete the Captcha. Then click Next.

Step 5 Assign to Devices

7. Enter your account email in the Sent To field. Enter End User information. Then click on Submit to finish the request.

Step 7 License Finish

8. After confirmation, you can expect to see your license keys in about 30 minutes.

Step 8 License Status Request

9. Here’s what that license key email will look like. A sample email will be included in the next section.

Step 10 Feature Key Email

10. If you want, you can try to see if your Feature Keys will automatically be retrieved. Go to Feature Key Settings under System Administration.

Step 12.5 Feature Key Menu

11. If you are set to automatically check, download, and apply Feature Keys, you will see that info below. Otherwise, you can edit this configuration by clicking on the Edit Feature Key Settings button.

Step 13 Feature Key Settings

12. If this doesn’t work properly, make sure your appliance is online by going to System Status under Monitor.

Step 5.5 System Status
Step 6 ESA License

13. If you don’t want to automatically apply the Feature Keys, or if this process doesn’t work properly, you can install them manually. Go to Feature Keys under System Administration.

Step 11 Feature Keys

14. Paste your key into the Feature Activation section into the Feature Key field. Then Click on the Submit Key button.

Step 12 Feature Key Activation

15. You will then be able to see your Feature status under the Feature Keys section. You will also see the license change in your license account from step 1.

Step 9 Status Change

Sample Cisco Feature Key Email


You have received this email because your email address was provided to Cisco Systems during the registration process for Cisco Systems product license keys.  Please read this email carefully and forward it with any attachments to the proper system administrator if you are not the correct person in your organization that is working with these products.


Serial Number: SERIAL NUMBER

Type: FEATURE TYPE, apply by: DATE, expires: DATE (# months, # days)

Key: KEY




Please note the ‘apply by’ date that appears next to each license key.

You will need to apply the license key to your IronPort by this date in order to enable these features.

To apply the key(s), please follow the instructions below:

    In the Web Interface, use the System Administration > Feature Keys page.

    In the Command Line Interface, issue the command ‘featurekey’.

Virtual Appliance License Installation Instructions:

  1. From the console, note the IP address of the appliance (e.g. enter interfaceconfig)
  2. From SSH or telnet, login to the virtual appliance with admin/ironport
  3. Enter loadlicense, then
    • Use option <1> to input the license file by pasting its contents and pressing Ctrl-D, or
    • Use option <2> to load the license file that has been uploaded to the virtual appliance via FTP:
      1. Using FTP to transfer license file to appliance: ftp to appliance with admin/Ironport, cd into directory configuration, put license.xml, exit
      2. Using SCP to copy license file to appliance: scp license.xml admin@:configuration
  4. Read and agree to the End User License Agreement
  5. Enter showlicense to view the license details
  6. Log on to the web UI (http://:8080) and run the system setup wizard


Cisco strongly recommends that you immediately print this email, and store both in a safe place for future use if needed by either yourself or anyone in your organization.

If you encounter a problem with License key(s), please contact the Cisco Licensing team at 800-553-2447.


Please note that by using the attached file, you are bound by the Cisco Software License Agreement.


That’s all for now. The whole process takes maybe an hour depending on how fast your rep processes your order and how quickly the feature keys are generated.

I hope this helped clear up any confusion. Enjoy the additional appliance or additional feature sets in your Cisco Email Security Appliance.

Pin It on Pinterest