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Azure Firewall vs Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls comparison

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Executive Summary
Updated on March 17, 2022

We performed a comparison between Azure Firewall and Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of Azure Firewall overwhelmingly agree that the initial setup is easy and straightforward. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls users say the initial setup is easy, but it can also be complex if your organization has a complicated environment or will be using a large number of the features.
  • Features: Valuable features of Azure Firewall include the intrusion detection and prevention system, network filtering, integration, security, connectivity, threat intelligence, virtual IP addresses, and auto scaling. However, reviewers feel that Azure Firewall could benefit from better scalability and a more user-friendly interface and that their reporting, logging, and monitoring features need improvement.

    The features Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls users find most valuable are its stability, its unified platform, application identification, antivirus, vulnerability protection, URL filtering, SSL VPN, IPsec VPN, DNS security, and its machine learning capabilities. Despite all of these amazing features, reviewers say some features are buggy, their documentation could use improvement, and that its next-generation capabilities come with limitations.
  • Pricing: Users of Azure Firewall agree that the pricing is fair while users of Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls say it is definitely an expensive investment.
  • Service and Support: Users of Azure Firewall mention that service and support is usually very good. However, there are some users who indicate that the response time can take a bit longer than desired. Most users of Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls agree that the support is very good, some even giving it a rating of 8 out of 10.
  • ROI: Azure Firewall users have seen cost benefits, stating that you get better value for your money. Multiple Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls reviewers have reported an ROI - some mentioning it has provided more efficiency and cost savings, and others saying it has given them complete visibility in the environment in terms of security. Still other reviewers of Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls stated it has effectively reduced the workload on all of their networks and security tools, specifically because of its unified platform.

Comparison Results: Based on the parameters we compared, while Azure Firewall is certainly a solid option, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is equally good. Users of both products have been happy with the ROI results. What differentiates the two products is the stark difference in pricing, which may ultimately sway an organization’s purchasing decision.

Q&A Highlights
Question: What is a better choice, Azure Firewall or Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls?
Answer: Azure Firewall Vs. Palo Alto Network NG Firewalls Both solutions provide stellar stability and security. Azure Firewall is easy to use and provides excellent support. Valuable features include integration into the overall cloud platform, autoscaling, and the ability for users to create virtual IP addresses. The cost of the solution is also competitive. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewall is easy to configure and easy to upgrade, offering very good content control. It offers a parallel processing data plan, which makes the overall processes more efficient. Palo Alto offers blocking of undesirable URLs and also offers some threat hunt capabilities, which makes it better than other vendors. However, pricing can be high and support response can be a bit slow. Also, it only offers a cloud-based solution. For Azure Firewall you have to specify each IP address used. We also found Azure to be challenging to implement from region to region, as it does not currently offer a universal approach across regions. Conclusions Although Azure Firewall is very user-friendly and offers good support, it can be very limiting if your operation is more global. We found that even though it costs more, Palo Alto Network NG Firewall was a better fit, as it offers a cloud-based solution and has threat protection capabilities that make it a better overall investment for our business needs.
Featured Review
Buyer's Guide
Azure Firewall vs. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Azure Firewall vs. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
598,116 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy.""The customer service/technical support is very good with this solution.""Being able to determine our active users vs inactive users has led us to increased productivity through visibility. Also, if an issue was happening with our throughput, then we wouldn't know without research. Now, notifications are more proactively happening.""If you compare the ASA and the FirePOWER, the best feature with FirePOWER is easy to use GUI. It has most of the same functionality in the Next-Generation FirePOWER, such as IPS, IPS policies, security intelligence, and integration and identification of all the devices or hardware you have in your network. Additionally, this solution is user-friendly.""The most valuable features of this solution are the integrations and IPS throughput.""The Firepower+ISE+AMP for endpoint integration is something that really stands it out with other vendor solutions. They have something called pxGrid and i think it is already endorsed by IETF. This allows all devices on the network to communicate.""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.""You do not have to do everything through a command line which makes it a lot easier to apply rules."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"The feature that I have found the most valuable is the control over the network permissions and the network.""Among the most valuable features are the DDoS protection that protects your virtual machines, the threat intelligence, and traffic filtering.""It's auto-scalable, which is a great feature.""I can easily configure it.""In terms of the reporting, it's beautiful. It integrates with Azure monitoring and with Azure policies. That piece is a big help. You can set governing policies and you can use the application firewall, as well as the Azure Firewall, to enforce those policies.""Microsoft's technical support is very good. They're quite knowledgable and responsive.""Azure's cost-effectiveness is its major advantage.""The most valuable feature is threat intelligence. It is based on filtering and can identify multiple threats."

More Azure Firewall Pros →

"The feature that I like the most is its IPS model, the WildFire model. I really like how the whole threat protection model functions, including the vulnerability and anti-spyware aspects. That is really awesome.""The most valuable features are application inspection and sandboxing. Application inspection decides where traffic is transmitted. If I have a perimeter report for a particular service, then other services or malicious services cannot use an open port. In this way, application inspection is doing a fantastic job. We also have a very good sandbox with almost no rate limit. It will inspect any file that comes in and goes out in a dedicated patch to identify malware. Therefore, these two things help me to protect our organization from any bad actors.""It is pretty important to have embedded machine learning in the core of the firewall to provide inline, real-time attack prevention, because all these different attacks and threats are constantly evolving. So, you want to have something beyond just hard pass rules. You want it to learn as it is going along. Its machine learning seems pretty good. It seems like it is catching quite a few things.""Everything is easy in Palo Alto Networks NG Firewall. It is very stable, easy to configure, and easy to upgrade. It is also very easy to create custom policies and applications. Everything can be done with the click of a button. It is also good for the protection of web services. Nowadays, they have a rather new DNS security feature, which is pretty good and functional. We did a one-month trial, and it is the best product for the firewall network.""Application control, IPS, and sandboxing towards the cloud are the most valuable features. It is a very user-friendly product with a very easy-to-use interface.""The interface is very nice. We generally like the UI the product offers.""We have not had to replace hardware routers nor purchase additional hardware. So, that has provided a little bit of an ROI.""Palo Alto NGFW provides a unified platform that natively integrates all security capabilities, which is very useful. This prevents us from having to go to a lot of different systems, and in some cases, many different systems in many different regions, because we are a global company with 60 remote offices around the world in 30 different countries. Its centralized platform is really what we look for in all services, whether it be security or otherwise."

More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Pros →

Cons
"We're getting support but there's a big delay until we get a response from their technical team. They're in the USA and we're in Africa, so that's the difficulty. When they're in the office, they respond.""There is limited data storage on the appliance itself. So, you need to ship it out elsewhere in order for you to store it. The only point of consideration is around that area, basically limited storage on the machine and appliance. Consider logging it elsewhere or pushing it out to a SIEM to get better controls and manipulation over the data to generate additional metrics and visibility.""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.""Its interface is sometimes is a little bit slow, and it can be improved. When you need to put your appliance in failover mode, it is a little difficult to do it remotely because you need to turn off the appliance in Cisco mode. In terms of new features, it would be good to have AnyConnect VPN with Firepower. I am not sure if it is available at the moment.""The visibility for VPN is one big part. The policy administration could be improved in terms of customizations and flexibility for changing it to our needs.""The maturity needs to be better.""FlexConfig is there as a bridge for features that are not yet natively integrated into Firepower. It is a way of allowing you to be able to configure things that wouldn't otherwise be possible until the development team can add them into Firepower's native capability. There is still some work that needs to be done around FlexConfig. There are still quite a few complex things, like policy-based routing, that have to be done in FlexConfig, and it doesn't always work perfectly. Sometimes, there are some glitches. It is recommended that you configure FlexConfig policies with Cisco TAC. It would be good to see Cisco accelerate some of those configurations that you can only do in FlexConfig into the platform, so that they are there natively.""The initial setup was a bit complex. It wasn't a major challenge, but due to our requirements and network, it was not very straightforward but still easy enough."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"It would be nice to be able to create groupings for servers and offer groups of IP addresses.""For larger enterprises, they need to adjust the scalability.""It needs a lot of improvement, especially on intruder detection. They are working hard on that.""It is a cloud service, but the lending speed for each region is not always the same. For example, in China, the speed is slow. They need to think about how to make sure that the service pace or speed is always the same in all regions. It would be a great improvement if they can provide the same pace worldwide.""An Azure firewall is not a real firewall.""It has fewer features than you can get from other firewalls, like anti-spam and anti-phishing. Those kinds of things are not included. It only includes IDS and IDB.""They can improve the pricing of Azure Firewall.""Azure Firewall definitely needs a broader feature base. It should be able to go all the way up to layer 7 when looking at applications and things like that."

More Azure Firewall Cons →

"Over the past one or two years, Palo Alto Networks has added a lot of features into the NG Firewall products. I think this is becoming more complicated for our customers. Therefore, we could use some best practices, best practice tools, and implementation guides for some of the complicated features.""Palo Alto could do better with integrating the Palo Alto Next-Gen Firewall with SD-WAN. The biggest issue with Palo Alto is that they are expensive. They are very expensive for what they offer. They should improve their pricing.""Support should be improved, wait times can be long.""Need improvement with their logs, especially the command line interface.""I would like to see better integration with IoT technologies.""It's not so easy to scale out your security capabilities.""We have a lot of the older firewall models, i.e., the PA-220. It seems that with newer operating systems the PA-220 is becoming slower than when I first bought it. It is not really an issue for users who are passing traffic through the firewall, but more from the management access of it.""I would like them to bring in some features that would encourage traffic shaping or bandwidth routing, like other UTM firewalls, because the solution should be capable of limiting the bandwidth for rules."

More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Azure Firewall is more expensive. If Microsoft can make Azure Firewall cheaper, I can see that all clients will think of using it. One client used FortiGate because it is much cheaper. Some clients ask me for Cisco, but in the cloud estimate, I found its cost is the same as Azure Firewall."
  • "Azure Firewall is quite an expensive product."
  • "The licensing module is good."
  • "The total cost of ownership is much less than Palo Alto, Cisco, or any other brand."
  • "It is pay-as-you-go. So, you pay based on the usage. If I remember it well, there is a basic fee, and there is a traffic fee. It is not per month. It is per hour or something like that. It is not so expensive."
  • "Azure Firewalls operate on a pay-as-you-go model, similar to cloud services."
  • More Azure Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price of this product should be reduced."
  • "The pricing is competitive in the market."
  • "This is an expensive product, which is why some of our customers don't adopt it."
  • "The product is expensive compared to competing products but uses a similar type of pricing model based on hardware, software and maintenance."
  • "It is a little bit expensive than other firewalls, but it is worth every penny. There are different licenses for the kinds of services you want to use. When we buy a new product, we go for a three-year subscription."
  • "It is a little bit expensive."
  • "The NG firewall is an expensive solution."
  • "This is an expensive product and there is a subscription cost."
  • More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Palo Alto NGFW, Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall, Palo Alto Networks PA-Series
    Learn More
    Overview

    Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that provides capabilities beyond those of a standard firewall and delivers comprehensive, unified policy management of firewall functions, application control, threat prevention, and advanced malware protection from the network to the endpoint.

    Cisco NGFW Firewalls include advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from small offices to high-performance data centers and service providers, and are deployed in leading private and public clouds. Available in a wide range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.

    Key Features of Cisco NGFW Firewalls

    • Breach prevention and advanced security: Prevent attacks before they get inside. Cisco provides its firewalls with the latest intelligence to stop emerging threats and employs filtering to enforce policies on hundreds of millions of URLs. Cisco NGFW offers built-in sandboxing and advanced malware protection that continuously analyzes file behavior to quickly detect and eliminate threats.

    • Comprehensive network visibility: Constantly monitor your network so you can rapidly spot and stop bad behavior. Cisco NGFW provides a holistic view of all activity and provides a clear picture of threat activity across users, hosts, networks, and devices, as well as information on threats and website, application, and VM activities.

    • Flexible management and deployment options: Centrally deploy, customize, and manage all your appliances.

    • Fast detection: Detect threats in seconds and detect the presence of a successful breach within hours or minutes. Cisco NGFW allows you to deploy consistent policy that's easy to maintain, with automatic enforcement across all the different parts of your organization.

    • Automation and product integrations: Seamlessly integrate with Cisco tools and automatically share threat information, event data, policy, and contextual information with email, web, endpoint, and network security tools. Cisco NGFW automates security tasks like impact assessment, policy management and tuning, and user identification.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cisco NGFW stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its extensive discovery abilities that enable you to constantly see what is happening on your network and take action when necessary, and the high level of protection it provides.

    Mike B., a director of IT security at a wellness & fitness company, writes, "It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective."

    Zhulien K., the lead network security engineer at TechnoCore LTD, notes, " The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy. Again, with that being said, I cannot shy away from giving kudos to all of the other features such as AVC (Application Visibility and Control), SSL Decryption, Identity policy, Correlation policy, REST API, and more. All of the features that are incorporated in the Cisco Firepower NGFW are awesome and easy to configure if you know what you are doing. Things almost always work, unless you hit a bug, which is fixed with a simple software update. "

    Azure Firewall is a user-friendly, intuitive, cloud-native firewall security solution that provides top-of-the-industry threat protection for all your Azure Virtual Network resources. Azure Firewall is constantly and thoroughly analyzing all traffic and data packets, making it a very valuable and secure fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability. Azure Firewall allows users to create virtual IP addresses and provides for secure DDoS protection for the virtual machines on your network. It also provides fast and efficient east-west and north-south traffic security.

    Azure Firewall is a managed, cloud-based network security service built to protect your Azure Virtual Network resources. It is a fully stateful firewall as a service with built-in high availability and unrestricted cloud scalability.

    Azure Firewall has two significant offerings, Standard and Premium.

    Azure Firewall Standard works directly with Microsoft Cyber Security and supplies excellent L3-L7 filtering and threat awareness. The proactive real-time threat awareness will quickly alert you and immediately deny all traffic to and from any known problematic or suspicious domains or IP addresses. Microsoft Cyber Security is updated continually to protect against all new and known potential threats at all times. To learn more about Azure Firewall Standard, click here.

    Azure Firewall Premium provides everything the standard version does, and additionally adds extra levels of data encryption, network intrusion detection, extended URL filtering, and Web category filters. To learn more about the added features of Azure Firewall Premium, click here.

    Key Benefits and Features of Azure Firewall:

    • High availability - You do not need load balancers with Azure Firewall; it's already built in and ready to go.
    • Self-scalability - Azure Firewall is intuitive and will auto-scale as needed based on traffic flow to be ready for peak traffic times.
    • Threat awareness - Using Microsoft Cyber Security to filter traffic, Azure Firewall will deny any known problematic threats to keep your network safe.
    • Additional IP addresses - You can securely add up to 250 public IP addresses with Azure Firewall
    • Improved web category filtering - You can set up specific protocols to allow or deny categories within websites that are deemed inappropriate for use within your network. You have the ability to organize categories based on a defined set of descriptions.

    What our real users have to say:

    Many IT CEntral Station (soon to be Peerspot) users found Azure Firewall to be very user-friendly and easy to use. They liked that it offers seamless integration to the cloud and were especially pleased with the threat filtering options.

    Regarding integration and threat intelligence, our users wrote:

    “The most valuable feature is the integration into the overall cloud platform.”

    The most valuable feature is threat intelligence. It is based on filtering and can identify multiple threats.”

    I think that one of the best features is definitely the premium version, along with the IDPs in terms of the intrusion detection and prevention system.”



    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is a firewall solution designed for security teams that provides them with full visibility and control over all networks via powerful traffic identification, malware prevention, and threat intelligence technologies. In order to determine which applications, users, and content traversing the network are safe, the solution offers companies a variety of advanced security tools and strategies.

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Features

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Secure Application Enablement (App-ID, User-ID, Content-ID)
    • Malware Detection and Prevention (threat prevention service, buffer overflows and port scans, anti-malware capabilities, command-and-control protection, and WildFire)
    • DNS Security (URL filtering, predict and block malicious domains, signature-based protection, extensible cloud-based architecture)
    • Panorama Security Management (including graphical views and analytics, manage rules and dynamic updates, customizable application command center (ACC), log collection mode, physical or virtual appliance)
    • Threat Intelligence (high-fidelity threat intelligence, priority alerts, automatic extraction and sharing of prevention indicators, native integration with Palo Alto Networks products)

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Benefits

    There are several benefits to implementing Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Dedicated management interface for managing and initial configuration of the device
    • Regular threat signatures and updates
    • Import addresses and URL objects from the external server
    • Configure and manage with REST API integration
    • Great throughput and connection speed is fair even in high traffic load
    • Deep visibility into the network activity through Application and Command Control
    • Easy to manage and very user friendly

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls users.

    A Solutions Architect at a communications service provider says, “The product stability and level of security are second to none in the industry. We value the security of our client's infrastructure so these features are valuable to us. An example of a very valuable feature behind Palo Alto is the application-aware identifiers that help the firewall know what its users are trying to do. It can block specific activities instead of just blocking categories. For example, you can block an application, or all unknown applications.”

    PeerSpot user Gerry H., CyberSecurity Network Engineer at a university, mentions that the solution has a “Nice user interface, good support, is stable, and has extensive logging capabilities.” He also adds, “Wildfire has been a very good feature. This solution provides a unified platform that natively integrates all security capabilities, which is 100% important to us. This is a great feature.”

    Eric S., Network Analyst at a recreational facilities/services company, states, "With its single pane of glass, it makes monitoring and troubleshooting a bit more homogeneous. We are not looking at multiple platforms and monitoring management tools. It is more efficient from that perspective. It is more of a common monitoring and control system for multiple aspects of what used to be different systems. It provides efficiency and time savings."

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Azure Firewall
    Learn more about Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Information Not Available
    SkiStar AB, Ada County, Global IT Services PSF, Southern Cross Hospitals, Verge Health, University of Portsmouth, Austrian Airlines, The Heinz Endowments
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider21%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider34%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government6%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Financial Services Firm23%
    Government15%
    Manufacturing Company15%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company28%
    Comms Service Provider23%
    Government6%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Computer Software Company23%
    Government6%
    Energy/Utilities Company4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business42%
    Midsize Enterprise27%
    Large Enterprise30%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise64%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise61%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise69%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise30%
    Large Enterprise33%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise53%
    Buyer's Guide
    Azure Firewall vs. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Azure Firewall vs. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    598,116 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Azure Firewall is ranked 20th in Firewalls with 16 reviews while Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is ranked 7th in Firewalls with 76 reviews. Azure Firewall is rated 6.8, while Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Azure Firewall writes "Good value for your money, good URL filtering, supports intrusion prevention, and is stable". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls writes "The product stability and level of security are second to none in the industry". Azure Firewall is most compared with Palo Alto Networks VM-Series, Fortinet FortiGate-VM, Check Point NGFW, Fortinet FortiGate and Cisco ASA Firewall, whereas Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Check Point NGFW, Meraki MX, Sophos XG and OPNsense. See our Azure Firewall vs. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls report.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.