Jure Martinčič - PeerSpot reviewer
Engineer Specialist at Telekom Slovenije
Real User
Top 20
Keeps our environment secure and helps reduce firewall-related operational costs
Pros and Cons
  • "With Cisco, there are a lot of features such as the network map. Cisco builds the whole network map of the machines you have behind your firewall and gives you insight into the vulnerabilities and attributes that the host has. Checkpoint and Fortinet don't have that functionality directly on the firewall."
  • "The only drawback of the user interface is when it comes to policies. When you open it and click on the policies, you have to move manually left and right if you want to see the whole field within the cell. Checkpoint has a very detailed user interface."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use it as a corporate, perimeter firewall for traffic to the internet and back, for surfing. We also have some site-to-site connections with customers.

How has it helped my organization?

So far, there hasn't been any breach, so we are very happy.

It has also helped to reduce the operational costs of our firewall. There is a report that is automatically generated. You don't have to search for and prepare everything by yourself. You don't need staff to prepare the information because it is automated. We only go through this report once a week and if there are some special events, we can take care of them.

What is most valuable?

The next-generation features, like IPS, among others, are the most valuable. IPS is mandatory in modern networks for protection against malicious attacks and network anomalies.

Also, it gives you great visibility when doing deep packet inspection, but you have to do HTTP inspection. If you don't do HTTP inspection, the visibility is not complete. That is the case for every firewall vendor.

What needs improvement?

The ease of use, when it comes to managing Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewalls, is getting better because the UI is improving. It was a bit cumbersome in previous versions. Checkpoint, for example, has one of the most intuitive user interfaces, and now Cisco is really improving.

The only drawback of the user interface is when it comes to policies. When you open it and click on the policies, you have to move manually left and right if you want to see the whole field within the cell. Checkpoint has a very detailed user interface. Cisco is getting better and becoming more and more user-friendly.

Cisco needs a more intuitive user interface. When you know what to do, it's easy. Otherwise, you need training. You can install it and do the initial configuration, but if you don't have the proper training it's also possible to configure it the wrong way. If that happens, some things might pass through that you don't know about.

Buyer's Guide
Cisco Secure Firewall
December 2022
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Secure Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2022.
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For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Cisco Secure Firewall for about five years, from the beginning of the Cisco Firepower 2100 Series.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We were on version 6.2.2 but now we're up to version 7.7.0, and it has really improved. It was not hard to implement but there were many bugs in the earlier version and some were serious, but now it's stable. There are no more bugs. It's really getting better. I would recommend Firepower to every customer now because it's stable. It's a really nice firewall.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The model we have is okay for our environment, so it's scalable. We haven't seen any problems in that regard. There are 50 or 60 devices behind it and about 500 clients. It is used in a very specific environment for a large Slovenian system.

The device has achieved its purpose. We won't implement any other features.

How are customer service and support?

Cisco support is the best, especially if you compare it to other vendors. Cisco may be a bit expensive compared to other vendors, but the support is really good. When you open a case they're really responsive and they resolve every case. This is my personal experience, not only when it comes to Firepower but for the whole Cisco portfolio, which I have been working with since 2005.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The initial configuration was done within a few hours, but getting all the policies in place took about a month. That was not related to the firewall, it was related to all the requirements from management and from other people as well. But the configuration to get it set up initially was straightforward, nothing special.

What about the implementation team?

My colleagues and I did the deployment. We are an internal team. We are integrators, so we were able to do it by ourselves.

What was our ROI?

When it comes to XDR, the cost-effectiveness of this firewall depends on the use case because you don't always need XDR functionality. SecureX is included free of charge, so from that point of view, maybe Cisco is not that expensive compared to other vendors.  Other vendors' XDR products are not free of charge. 

But if you just look at just the firewall functionality, Checkpoint is expensive but Cisco is not the cheapest. Fortinet is cheaper.

Where we have seen ROI is due to the support, time savings, ease of management, and the reporting.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Aside from the user interface, which is getting better, Cisco is at the top for functionality and in all other respects. We work with Fortinet, Checkpoint, and we used to work with Juniper, in addition to Cisco.

With Cisco, there are a lot of features such as the network map. Cisco builds the whole network map of the machines you have behind your firewall and gives you insight into the vulnerabilities and attributes that the host has. Checkpoint and Fortinet don't have that functionality directly on the firewall. They don't give you that direct visibility into the host, such as which operating the host has.

We don't work with Juniper anymore because its user interface is really not okay. You only have the CLI or you have to use Security Director for management, which is very complex and not user-friendly. That is why we abandoned Juniper as a product.

I would rate Cisco at eight out of 10 overall, and Check Point would be a seven. Check Point fields a great solution in this space, but they have very bad support, and support is one of the most important things. Having great blogs doesn't help if support doesn't come through when you need it.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Alexander Mumladze - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Engineer at LEPL Smart Logic
Real User
Top 5
Good protection and filtering capabilities, and everything can be easily done through the web user interface
Pros and Cons
  • "I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection."
  • "When you make any changes, irrespective of whether they are big or small, Firepower takes too much time. It is very time-consuming. Even for small changes, you have to wait for 60 seconds or maybe more, which is not good. Similarly, when you have many IPS rules and policies, it slows down, and there is an impact on its performance."

What is our primary use case?

They were placed in a company on the perimeter near the ISP. There were two clusters. One cluster was at the front, and one cluster was near the data center to filter the traffic from the users to the data center and from the data center to the users and outside.

How has it helped my organization?

Our clients were completely satisfied with this firewall in terms of protection from attacks, filtering of the traffic that they wanted, being able to see inside the zip files, etc.

What is most valuable?

I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection.

Its IPS engine also works very fine. I don't have much experience with it because I am an IT integrator, and we only configured it, but the company for which we configured these firewalls used this feature, and they say that IPS works very fine. They were also very pleased with its reporting. They said that its reporting is better than other firewalls they have had.

What needs improvement?

When you make any changes, irrespective of whether they are big or small, Firepower takes too much time. It is very time-consuming. Even for small changes, you have to wait for 60 seconds or maybe more, which is not good. Similarly, when you have many IPS rules and policies, it slows down, and there is an impact on its performance.

In terms of tracking users, the Palo Alto Networks firewall is better than Cisco Firepower.

For how long have I used the solution?


What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable because it is based on the Cisco ASA Firewall hardware, which is an old-generation firewall. I have had Cisco ASA Firewall for more than 10 years, and they have been working fine till now. So, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall's performance and stability are the best. I have never seen any issues or heard from anyone that it is bad.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is very good. It was a small implementation. Traffic was maximum of 150 megabits per second. 

How are customer service and support?

I haven't worked with Cisco support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have had experience with the Fortinet FortiGate firewall. It is very easy, and it does its job very well. Both Firepower and FortiGate do their job very well, but I like the Palo Alto Networks firewall the most. I have not experienced it in a real environment. I have placed it in my lab. It is a very complex firewall, and you need to know how to configure it, but it is the best firewall that I have seen in my life.

As compare to the Palo Alto Networks firewall, both Firepower and FortiGate are simpler. You can just learn which button to use and how to write rules, policies, etc. In Palo Alto, you can not guess this. You should know where each button is, how it works, and what it does. If you don't know, you cannot get the performance you want from Palo Alto. So, Firepower and FortiGate are easier to learn.

Firepower is very good for a small implementation. If you are doing a Cisco setup, you can place kind of 16 devices in one cluster. When it comes to the real environment, you need to have maybe three devices in one cluster. If two of them are in one data center and the third one is in another data center, the third firewall does not work very well when it comes to traffic flow because of the MAC address. When you want to implement Firepower in small infrastructures, it is very good, but in big infrastructures, you would have some problems with it. So, I won't use it in a large environment with five gigabits per second traffic. I will use the Palo Alto firewall for a large environment.

How was the initial setup?

It is straightforward. For me, it is very simple. The menu is quite impressive. Everything that you want to do can be done from the web user interface. You don't need to access the CLI if you don't like it. It is very easy to make rules with its web user interface.

Its deployment took two days. In terms of the implementation strategy, the first cluster was in the data center, and its main job was to filter user traffic going to the data center. The second cluster was on the edge. Its main job was to mitigate attacks on the inside network and to capture the traffic that could have viruses, malicious activities, etc.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed it myself, and it took me two days to deploy two clusters of Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall. 

What was our ROI?

I think our client did get an ROI. They are very satisfied with what they can do with these firewalls. It fits all of their needs.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its price is in the middle range. Both Firepower and FortiGate are not cheap. Palo Alto and Check Point are the cheapest ones.

I don't remember any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

What other advice do I have?

Our client didn't implement dynamic policies for dynamic environments because they were a small company, and they didn't need that kind of segmentation. I am not sure if it reduced their firewall operational costs because they were a small company, and the traffic was not so high.

I would rate Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall an eight out of 10.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Cisco Secure Firewall
December 2022
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Secure Firewall. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2022.
656,474 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Network Engineer at a computer software company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Enables us to create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses but the UI needs improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports."
  • "It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience."

How has it helped my organization?

I can't put Cisco on the firewall when the security landscape has changed so much in the past five to ten years. We are doing a lot more in the next generation of firewalls. We had a legacy classic firewall before we went to Firepower, and we spent a lot less time on that firewall, but we are spending more time on the Firepower because we are utilizing a lot of the features that are available in Firepower that were not available in the previous firewall that we had. I'm not going to say that we're spending less time, but we're gaining more value.

Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.

What is most valuable?

If I were to have been asked a few weeks ago, I would have said threat prevention was the most valuable feature, but the world is changing a lot, so my favorite features a few years ago might not be my favorite features today.

What needs improvement?

The visibility the solution gives when doing deep packet inspection can be complex. I really like the visibility, but it's not always intuitive to use. I also help other customers. We are a contracting company that implements their solutions, and I've found that it's not always easy to get everyone to utilize some of the visibility features. But for me personally, I think they're very valuable. 

The ease of use when it comes to managing Cisco Firepower has a lot of room for improvement. When monitoring a large set of firewall policies, the user interface could be lighter. It's sometimes heavy in use, and there could be improvements there. I know they're trying to make improvements.

It's mainly the UI and the management parts that need improvement. The most impactful feature when you're using it is the user interface and the user experience.

For how long have I used the solution?

We were an early adopter when Firepower first came out. I've been using Cisco firewalls for the last two decades.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

For newer hardware models, the stability is good. We've tried to run Firepower on some of the legacy-supported hardware as well, but with the stability issues, they are not as good. If I were to judge based on the hardware that I have, I'd say it's good. I haven't had any issues with the stability on my platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We just recently enabled Snort 3 so I'm evaluating the functionality. That's what we've considered, but we haven't done any performance testing. Our company would qualify as a small to medium business company. The average office environment is about 100 to 200 people. Performance-wise, my company is about 120 people.

Scalability is really not relevant. I know there are features that address some of those parts, like clustering and stuff, but that's really not applicable in my use cases.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is eight to nine out of ten. You can't blame them for any faults of the prototypes, but the support has been really good and really helpful when we had any issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have hands-on experience in both Fortinet and Palo Alto. So if I were to compare this to Palo Alto, for example, I would say that the user interface in Palo Alto is a lot better. But the reason that I'm working with Firepower is that we have a Cisco network as well, and Cisco ISE. We're trying to integrate different Cisco solutions. We're trying to utilize the ecosystem benefits where I can connect my Cisco Firepower to ISE and have it talk to the App Cloud. There's a benefit of utilizing Cisco Firepower in conjunction with our other Cisco solutions.

Ease of management is similar with Cisco and Fortinet, I would say similar, but it's easier in Palo Alto.

How was the initial setup?

I recently deployed a similar solution at a customer's premises, and that setup was straightforward.

The steps are fairly documented and the documentation and guides on Cisco are straightforward. You know what you're expected to configure, and it's easy to get up, running, and started. It takes some more time to check everything and get everything as you want to have it, but getting started and getting connectivity and starting to create policies was easy to do and didn't take a very long time.

It took two to four hours, including some upgrades.

What other advice do I have?

My main advice would be to utilize all the guides and documentation available from Cisco publicly and not trying to implement it using legacy thinking. Don't try to just replace something else you have. If you have a next-gen firewall, you want to try to utilize what you're getting, and getting the most out of a firewall. There are some great guides and documentation on Cisco that explains what you can do and how you can do it.

I would rate it a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
Mitku Bitew - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Network Administration Section at Zemen Bank S.C.
Real User
Top 5
Provides role-based access, helps in securing our environment, and is easy to use
Pros and Cons
  • "The remote access, VPN, and ACL features are valuable. We are using role-based access for individuals."
  • "Other products are becoming easier to access and configure. They are providing UI interfaces to configure, take backup, synchronize redundant machines, and so on. It is very easy to take backup and upgrade the images in those products. Cisco ASA should have such features. If one redundant machine is getting upgraded, the technology and support should be there to upgrade other redundant machines. In a single window, we should be able to do more in terms of backups, restores, and upgrades."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it as a firewall for our data center and headquarter. We are also using it for DR. We are using Cisco ASA 5500 Series.

How has it helped my organization?

It is a security device, and it is useful for securing our environment. It provides role-based access and other features and helps us in easily securing our environment.

It provides visibility. It has been helpful for packet inspection and logging activities for all kinds of packets, such as routing packets, denied packets, and permitted packets. All these activities are visible on Cisco ASA. There are different commands for logging and visibility.

We use Cisco ASA for the integration of the network. Our company is a financial company, and we are integrating different organizations and banks by using Cisco ASA. We are using role-based access. Any integration, any access, or any configuration is role-based. 

What is most valuable?

The remote access, VPN, and ACL features are valuable. We are using role-based access for individuals.

IPS is also valuable for intrusion detection and prevention. It is a paid module that can be added. I'm using it for security, VLAN management, segregation management, and so on.

It is easy to use. In our region and our country, Cisco is well known, and most of the companies are using Cisco products. We have been using Cisco devices for a while, and our company primarily has Cisco devices. So, we are familiar with it, which makes it very easy to use for us. Even when we compare it with other products, it is easier to use.

It is easy for us to manage it because it is a familiar product, and it has been a part of our environment. Now, other products are providing free training, free access, and free license, because of which things are changing. So, you can easily become familiar with other products.

What needs improvement?

Its licensing cost and payment model can be improved. Cisco doesn't provide training and certification for engineers without payments. Other companies, such as Huawei, provide the training for free. Their subscription and licenses are also free and flexible. Other products are breaking the market by providing such features. 

It doesn't support all standard interfaces. It is also not suitable for big companies with high bandwidth traffic. Its capacity should be improved.

Other products are becoming easier to access and configure. They are providing UI interfaces to configure, take backup, synchronize redundant machines, and so on. It is very easy to take backup and upgrade the images in those products. Cisco ASA should have such features. If one redundant machine is getting upgraded, the technology and support should be there to upgrade other redundant machines. In a single window, we should be able to do more in terms of backups, restores, and upgrades.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for almost eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. It needs to be configured based on the standards and functionality. We have one device that has been working for more than 10 years, which indicates it is stable, but it requires licenses to upgrade features.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It doesn't have an expansion card. So, it may not scalable for huge buildings. It also lacks a lot of standard interfaces. Other products are providing capacity for a data center. Other technologies are expanding their interface bandwidth from 10 gigs. In my opinion, Cisco ASA doesn't have this capability.

How are customer service and support?

Their support is very good. We have a support license, so their support is very good. They are tracing us and following up with us to solve the problem on time.

How was the initial setup?

Its setup is easy. We are familiar with Cisco ASA and other Cisco products, and they are easy to configure. A lot of resources are available on the internet, so it is easy to set up for anyone with basic training. It is easy in different types of environments, such as universities and colleges.

It generally doesn't take more than a day, but it also depends on the size of the organization. If an organization is very big and if you need a line-by-line configuration for access role and VPN, it can take a bit more time.

Cisco is constantly upgrading and providing features based on current requests. We usually plan deployments at the end of the year and at the beginning of the year. Everyone plans for new products, new configurations, and new expansions based on that.

What was our ROI?

Any security product provides a return on investment. Any gap in security may cost an organization more.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is expensive. There is a cost for everything. There is per year license cost and support cost. There is also a cost for any training, any application, and any resource. Things are very costly to do with Cisco.

Other brands are cheaper. They are also more flexible in terms of training, subscription, and licensing. They give lots and lots of years free. They provide more than Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise understanding its features, advantages, and disadvantages as compared to other solutions. It is simple, but its cost is a negative point. 

I would rate Cisco ASA Firewall an eight out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Joseph Lofaso - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Network Engineer at Pinellas County Government
Real User
Top 10
Platform provides solid stability as well as easy logging and management
Pros and Cons
  • "The user interface is very easy to manage and find rules. You can do object searches, which are very easy. Also, the logging is very simple to use. So, it is a lot easier to troubleshoot and find items inside the firewall."
  • "The one thing that the ASAs don't have is a central management point. We have a lot of our environments on FTD right now. So, we are using a Firewall Management Center (FMC) to manage all those. The ASAs don't really have that, but they are easy to use if you physically go into them and manage them."

What is our primary use case?

A lot of them are used for campuses. Basically, it is HA pairs so it is just used to firewall off different networks from the internal network, i.e., security. 

We also use them for DMZs, where there are untrusted networks coming into trusted networks, managing traffic between the two zones.

Currently, we have almost 100 firewalls spread out all across our county. Our ASAs could be anywhere in any building, wherever there is a purpose. So, if we need to firewall off a network that we don't want touching our internal network, where we want it controlled, then it would be there. All our campuses have some form of that.

How has it helped my organization?

It is easier to protect our internal network and identify unknown networks. We can put descriptions on what they are, thus we are able to see different traffic coming from different networks. So, there is better visibility.

What is most valuable?

The user interface is very easy to manage and find rules. You can do object searches, which are very easy. Also, the logging is very simple to use. So, it is a lot easier to troubleshoot and find items inside the firewall.

What needs improvement?

The one thing that the ASAs don't have is a central management point. We have a lot of our environments on FTD right now. So, we are using a Firewall Management Center (FMC) to manage all those. The ASAs don't really have that, but they are easy to use if you physically go into them and manage them. 

I would like ASAs to be easier to centrally manage. Currently, in our central management, we have almost 100 firewalls in our environment, and it is almost impossible to manage them all. ASAs are now about 20% of them. We have been slowly migrating them out, but we still have some. Normally, what we would do with ASAs is physically go into those devices and do what we need from there, whether it is find rules, troubleshoot, or upgrade.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have had ASAs in our environment for 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The ASAs are solid. They have been around a long time, so there is a lot of documentation out there. They are easy to manage and make it easy to look at logs.

They have been in the environment for 10 years. They are still running and doing their job. 

The only time that we really touch them is if we need to do a rule or code upgrade. We check vulnerabilities a lot to make sure that nothing major has come out. If something has, then we go ahead and patch the firewalls. This is done by network groups, e.g., network engineers or analysts. We usually look at security. We are alerted to any new security advisories that come out from Cisco. For anything that is critical or high, we definitely will address it if we need to. Sometimes, we go three months or months without an upgrade. Other times, we could upgrade in a month. It just depends on what comes out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use them for smaller campuses. Though, if we need to upgrade a model, then we go ahead and do that. For example, with our bigger campuses, we need to have a bigger model. They have specs out there that you can kind of line up with what you need.

How are customer service and support?

Cisco tech support is spotty. Sometimes, we get good support. Other times, it is not so good. It is very up and down.

It seems like they have been short staffed recently. We have been waiting a long time for some of our tickets now, though they aren't critical tickets. However, that is one of the big issues which Cisco has going on right now - their staff shortage. We can open a ticket and keep following up, following up, and following up, but it might take weeks to resolve an issue. These aren't critical issues. For critical issues, we escalate and they are able to help us right away.

They handle it appropriately. Though, it depends on the time and on what they need. Sometimes, in one session, issues are resolved. Other times, you need to do multiple sessions for them to resolve it. However, for anything critical, those are resolved pretty fast.

I would rate the technical support as seven out of 10.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before I started, they also had Juniper SRXs. The big issue with them was the logging. It wasn't as good. We switched to ASAs for better stability, better management, and easier logging.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was pretty straightforward. It was very simple to deploy and replace. We did a lot of replacing, which was just copying the rules over from the old one, then deploying it in kind of the same manner.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing was pretty comparable to other solutions when we purchased it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at what we had and saw that Cisco was much better.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate them as nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Ryan Page - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Network Manager at MLSE
Video Review
Real User
A very dependable, long-standing product that you can trust
Pros and Cons
  • "It brings us the ability to work from anywhere and has allowed us to work remotely without having to incur a lot of other costs. If we didn't have this type of solution, since we have so many on-prem services that are required, we would have likely lost money and been unable to deliver. We have a video services team who helped build the content for our sporting events. When you are watching a Leaf game and those swipes come by as well as the clips and things, those are all generated in-house. Without the ability to access our on-premise resources, we would have been dead in the water. So, the return on that is pretty impressive."
  • "We are still running the original ASAs. The software that you are running for the ASDM software and Java application has never been a lot of fun to operate. It would have been nice to see that change update be redesigned with modern systems, which don't play nicely with Java sometimes. Cybersecurity doesn't seem to love how that operates. For us, a fresher application, taking advantage of the hardware, would have been a better approach."

What is our primary use case?

It is primarily our VPN solution. Initially, it was used in our firewalling. Then, we transitioned it into just our standalone VPN service for the company.

It is on-prem. We have it in two different data centers: our main data center and our backup data center.

How has it helped my organization?

With what is going on in the world, e.g., hybrid work and work from home, and everything that happened, VPN was everything to us. Without it, we wouldn't have been able to operate.

Typically, before COVID hit, we were a very much work-in-the-office type of environment with five to 10 people on our VPN solution. We quickly ramped up to 500 people when COVID happened, which is the majority of our full-time users. Onboarding our entire company onto this solution was pretty cool.

What is most valuable?

It is very good at what it does. It is a very dependable, long-standing product that you can trust. You know exactly how it works. It has been in the market for a lot longer than I have. So, it is great at its core functionality.

What needs improvement?

We are still running the original ASAs. The software that you are running for the ASDM software and Java application has never been a lot of fun to operate. It would have been nice to see that change update be redesigned with modern systems, which don't play nicely with Java sometimes. Cybersecurity doesn't seem to love how that operates. For us, a fresher application, taking advantage of the hardware, would have been a better approach.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been with the company for seven years, and we have had it the entire time. Cisco Advanced Services came in in 2013, which was two years before I joined. They did a deployment and installed it then.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There is your regular day-to-day maintenance, e.g., the patches and updates. Because it sits at the edge, it is exposed to the world. With threats always being of concern, you often have to patch and update. However, it is nothing more than regular maintenance

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have never had to ramp up more than a small- to medium-business use case. For that, it has been great. Limitation-wise, we would run into challenges if we ever hit 2,000 to 2,500 users. We would then have to move onto hardware. Its scalability is only limited by the size of the appliance. So, if you ever have to exceed that, then you just have to buy a new box.

How are customer service and support?

ASA has always been great because it has been such a longstanding product. There is a lot of knowledge in-house with Cisco. I always know if we call to get help, it is great. I do wonder in the future, as the product gets close to the end of its life, if those people will move onto other things and it gets lost a bit. However, it has always been easy enough to find that help.

For the ASA specifically, probably nine.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were just looking for a different feature set. We found that ASA was rock-solid as a VPN piece. We wanted to separate the VPN from our firewall policy management, so we just moved it over to VPN as a solution.

We had a partnership with Cisco. They came in and redid the entire environment. Before that, there was no Cisco environment whatsoever. So, they came in with the Nexus switching and Catalyst Wireless solution, then the VPN came with that as well as the ASA.

How was the initial setup?

I have never found it hard to deploy. We didn't have a BCP solution set up as our secondary when COVID hit, which was something that we had to scramble to put together. However, it was something like a couple of days' work. It wasn't really a big deal or really complicated. It was a fairly straightforward system to separate and manage.

What was our ROI?

It brings us the ability to work from anywhere and has allowed us to work remotely without having to incur a lot of other costs. If we didn't have this type of solution, since we have so many on-prem services that are required, we would have likely lost money and been unable to deliver. We have a video services team who helped build the content for our sporting events. When you are watching a Leaf game and those swipes come by as well as the clips and things, those are all generated in-house. Without the ability to access our on-premise resources, we would have been dead in the water. So, the return on that is pretty impressive.

What other advice do I have?

We integrate it with our ISE solution, TACACS+, etc. We have a Windows NPS server for MFA through Azure. We don't have any challenges with it. It has always worked well. I can't think of a time when we have ever had problems with either of those things. It has worked just fine.

I would rate the solution as nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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JATINNAGPAL - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager/Security Operations Center Manager at RailTel Corporation of India Ltd
Real User
Top 10
Good content filtering but not mature enough and has too many bugs
Pros and Cons
  • "The content filtering is good."
  • "The maturity needs to be better."

What is our primary use case?

It is the primary data firewall for our organization and our data centers.

How has it helped my organization?

We have faced multiple issues regarding bugs with Cisco Firepower products. A running product is hit with bugs most of the time, and we had a lot of challenges in using the Cisco Firepower product, actually. In the future, we are planning to replace it, or at least use it instead as a secondary firewall.

What is most valuable?

The content filtering is good. 

What needs improvement?

The maturity needs to be better. The product is not yet mature. A running product is hit with the software bugs most of the time, and whenever we then log a case with the tech team, they're sometimes helpless with that. They have to involve the software development team to fix that bug in the next release. It's not ideal. Being an enterprise product, it should be mature enough to handle these types of issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the last three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The performance is okay, however, the product is not stable. It is all hit with CVL software bugs routinely. That portion requires attention from Cisco and the tech support in this area is somewhat delayed. An open ticket can sometimes take more than two to three months to resolve. For the production setup, it is tough to rely on the tech team alone for the closure of the case.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable. 

How are customer service and support?

Cisco support is always available. However, multiple times, it has been tough for them to fix the software bugs in the product. They have to then deploy their development team for the same ticket.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Earlier we used the Cisco ASA Firewall. Now, it has been phased out. Firepower is categorized as the next-generation firewall, however, we haven't found the utility of that level in this product. It lacks maturity at many levels.

How was the initial setup?

We have two data centers at two geographical locations. We have two firewalls - one in one data center, at the perimeter, and another at a different location.

The initial setup was okay. We had more of an in-between partner doing the installation part since the product was also new to us. The product was part of my overall product solution. We procured a firewall and another ACL fabric portion for the data center. Overall, the solution installation took over seven to eight months.

We had two people assist with the deployment process. 

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator for deployment. Overall, the experience was positive. 

What was our ROI?

There is no ROI. It is functioning as a normal firewall, as a data center perimeter, however, we expected much more than that. At times, there has been downtime with the firewall, and our custom modifications have won at a very high level. The product has to be mature when it is being used at the enterprise level.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution offers mid-range pricing. We can get a cheaper product like Fortinet, and we can get a costlier product like Palo Alto, and these are all in the same category.

There's only one license based on the support. Cisco Firepower is priced on the support of the product that we require: with SSL and without SSL. Currently, we are not doing any SSL inspection. We have an ATP report firewall.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we were looking for a product, we put it through tender and we put out specifications of the product that we required. Cisco had the lowest price. We evaluated the L1 after it was technically qualifying. That is how we acquired it.

We looked at Palo Alto, however, it was far too costly.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user. 

It was earlier named Sourcefire. Cisco acquired that company and rebranded it as Firepower.

We are actually a public cloud provider. We offer data center services to clients.

I'd advise others considering the solution that, for implementation, the product needs some stability and maturity to be offered as a next-generation firewall at an enterprise level. If a company is in need of an enterprise-level solution, they need to be aware of this.

I'd rate the solution a five out of ten. 

The product needs maturity in terms of running without hitting a bug. We have used other products also. A running product is never hit with a bug. It is normally some vulnerability or something that needs to be attended to, however, a running product is seldom hit with a bug and the operation gets stalled. We rarely find this kind of thing in an enterprise scenario. That is what we ask from Cisco, to build a stable product before offering it to customers.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Daniel Going - PeerSpot reviewer
Managing architect at Capgemini
Real User
Top 20
Is intuitive in terms of troubleshooting, easy to consume, and stable
Pros and Cons
  • "The deep packet inspection is useful, but the most useful feature is application awareness. You can filter on the app rather than on a static TCP port."
  • "Licensing is complex, and I'd like it to be simplified. This is an area for improvement."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for data center security for both the north-south and east-west.

With Firepower, you get the next-generation functionality and the next-generation firewall features. Traditionally, when you have a layer three access list, it's really tricky to get the flexibility you need to allow staff to do what they need to do with their apps without being too prescriptive with security. When Firepower comes in, you get much more flexibility and deeper security. They were mutually exclusive previously but are not so much anymore.

We have, probably, 20,000 to 25,000 end users going through the firewalls. Physical locations-wise, there are four data centers in Northern Europe, and the other locations are in the public cloud, that is, Azure and AWS.

How has it helped my organization?

It has improved the organization because we now have more flexibility with deployment, and we can deploy solutions quickly and more securely. As a result, we're improving the time to implement change.

What is most valuable?

The deep packet inspection is useful, but the most useful feature is application awareness. You can filter on the app rather than on a static TCP port.

What needs improvement?

Licensing is complex, and I'd like it to be simplified. This is an area for improvement.

If we could create a Firepower solution that became like an SD-WAN or a SASE solution in a box, then perhaps we could exploit that on remote sites. We've already kind of got that with Meraki, but if we could pull out some of the features from ASA Firepower and make those available in SD-WAN in SASE, then it would be pretty cool.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for probably six years as Firepower and for about 10 to 15 years before Firepower came in.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's very stable. We've seen very few issues that aren't human-related. If I were to rate the stability, it would have to be 10 out of 10 because we haven't seen any failures.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's tough to scale because it's a firewall appliance, but in terms of the ability to deploy it virtually, it's inherently scalable. That is, as far as a firewall can scale, it's very scalable.

How are customer service and support?

I'd give technical support an eight out of ten.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Check Point previously, and the reason we switched to Firepower was that it would be a common vendor and a commonly supported solution by our team. The consistency with Cisco is why we went with Firepower.

How was the initial setup?

Our deployment model is both public cloud and private cloud. The physical devices are on-premises at a data center or virtual in an on-premises data center, and the network virtual appliances are in distributed public cloud platforms including AWS, Azure, Google, and private cloud.

We have between 20 and 50 people who are responsible for the maintenance of the solution through a various mix of ticketing systems and troubleshooting. Their responsibilities are operating the platform, that is, making sure that the connectivity works, analyzing the security, the posture that those firewalls are protecting, and implementing change.

What was our ROI?

There was no specific investment to make because there was a requirement to implement data center security. That's certainly been fulfilled, and the benefits now versus those previously are time to deliver change and having a more secure, rounded posture. Both of these are being realized.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing was fairly reasonable. It was competitive and was slightly more than Check Point was. However, when we looked at the usability and the features that we would get out of Firepower, it was certainly reasonable.

Licensing is complex, and I'd like it to be simplified.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Check Point. One of the pros was that we're a Cisco house, so having Cisco Firepower is useful.

Also, the architectural differences between Check Point and Firepower lend themselves to Firepower. The Check Point architecture is a bit more complicated.

It's a bit more complex to deploy and a bit more difficult to troubleshoot. I think troubleshooting with Firepower is much more intuitive, so it's easy for the operations guys to manage, and it's easy for people to consume.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to compare equitable vendors and see where Cisco is strong and where they're not as strong. However, take into account your wider environment. If you've got a Cisco house and the solution has the same look and feel, those who are managing the service will say that it's Cisco and that they know it. That carries a huge weight, so pay careful attention to the rest of your environment.

Overall, I'd give this product a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Updated: December 2022
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free Cisco Secure Firewall Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.