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Cisco ASA Firewall vs Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall comparison

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Executive Summary
Updated on March 16, 2022

We performed a comparison between Cisco ASA Firewall and Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of Cisco ASA Firewall say if you are familiar with Cisco products, the deployment is easy. However, if you do not have experience using their products, it can be complex. In contrast, almost all user reviews of Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall mentioned that the initial setup was easy and straightforward.
  • Features: Valuable features of Cisco ASA Firewall include intrusion prevention, intrusion detection, application control, URL filtering, stability, command-line interface, good reports, great visibility, remote VPN, ACL, and role-based access. Some of the features that users mention are lacking include better encryption, a less overwhelming user interface, stronger policy-based routing, and better configuration.

    Valuable features of Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall include Unified Event Viewer, a fantastic UI, backup VTI tunnel, Dynamic Access Policies, Dynamic Objects, AnyConnect, Next-Generation Intrusion Prevention System, its stability, its speed, and ease of use. Features that users feel are lacking include its limited data storage, the fact that it is missing some older ASA firewall codes, the slower speed at which policies are deployed, and slow load times.
  • Pricing: Users of both Cisco ASA Firewall and Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall say the pricing is expensive.
  • Service and Support: Users of Cisco ASA Firewall mention that service and support is excellent, noting that you have access to it 24/7. Likewise, users of Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall say that technical support is brilliant, and that they do everything they can to help you.
  • ROI: Cisco ASA Firewall users confirm that they have seen an ROI by avoiding attacks and protecting their network. Comparably, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall users say they have seen a lot of value from the product, not just a monetary value.

Comparison Results: Based on the parameters we compared, Cisco ASA Firewall and Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall are similarly well-thought of. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall seems to be slightly more popular than Cisco ASA Firewall. The major differentiation between the two is that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall seems to have a smoother deployment process.

Q&A Highlights
Question: How does Cisco's ASA firewall compare with the Firepower NGFW?
Answer: It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco ecosystem, it is very simple to handle. This solution has traffic inspection and the Firepower engine which provides good application visibility and control. Cisco ASA gives you full details, traffic monitoring, and threat monitoring. Cisco ASA has very solid encryption and multi-factor authentication. This solution is a great option to enable work-from-home options seamlessly. The front-end configuration with Cisco ASA can be tough, though - there are too many steps in this process. It would also be better if there was a clear view of the integrations and the easiest way to complete them. In inexperienced hands, the Cisco ASA interface can be pretty daunting. An improved GUI would make this product much more user-friendly and competitive with other products. This solution can also be very expensive. In the security technology space, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is one of the fastest, if not the fastest. This gives us confidence in knowing that the moment an attack comes online, we will be protected immediately. We also like the intrusion policy that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall provides. We are able to see active users vs. inactive users, which has helped increase productivity through visibility. We get proactive notifications if there are issues with our throughput. If you know your way around the Cisco ecosystem, things can be pretty simple to set up and manage. Deployment with Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall takes too long, though. Other products are much faster. Additionally, when you have too many IPS rules, it slows down and impacts overall performance. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall does not have email security, and this is an important function we would like to see added with future upgrades. Conclusion These are both amazing products and in some situations, we have these two solutions working together. Overall, we found Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall to have better flexibility and more granular access control. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall has some great micro-segmentations functionalities with regard to east-west and north-south traffic control, which is exactly what we wanted.
Featured Review
Buyer's Guide
Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall 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 clusters in data centers are great.""The most valuable feature is the access control list (ACL).""I like them mostly because they don't break and they have great diagnostics.""The solution is excellent for enterprise-level networks.""The product is quite robust and durable.""Cisco ASA provides us with very good application visibility and control.""Cisco ASA works very nicely from an administration perspective. The management of the device is very nice. The ASDM (Adaptive Security Device Manager) is the software that we use and it is very easy to configure using the GUI.""Technical support services are excellent."

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"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.""I have integrated it for incidence response. If there is a security event, the Cisco firewall will automatically block the traffic, which is valuable.""The most valuable features of this solution are advanced malware protection, IPS, and IDS.""One of the most valuable features is the AMP. It's very good and very reliable when it comes to malicious activities, websites, and viruses.""The most valuable features of this solution are the integrations and IPS throughput.""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.""Web filtering is a big improvement for us. The previous version we used, the AC520, did not have that feature included. It was not very easy for us, especially because the environment had to be isolated and we needed to get updates from outside, such as Windows patches. That feature has really helped us when we are going outside to pull those patches.""The integration of network and workload micro-segmentation helps a lot to provide unified segmentation policies across east-west and north-south traffic. One concrete example is with Cisco ACI for the data center. Not only are we doing what is called a service graph on the ACI to make sure that we can filter traffic east-west between two endpoints in the same network, but when we go north-south or east-west, we can then leverage what we have on the network with SGTs on Cisco ISE. Once you build your matrix, it is very easy to filter in and out on east-west or north-south traffic."

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Cons
"Cisco ASA Firewall could improve by adding more advanced features such as web filtering, which is available in the next-generation firewalls. However, the Cisco ASA Firewall I am using could be old and these features have been updated.""You need to have a little bit of knowledge to be able to configure it. Otherwise, it would be very difficult to configure because there is no GUI. The latest software available in the market has a GUI and probably zero-touch provisioning and auto-configuration. All these things are not available in our version. You need to manually go and configure everything in the switch. In terms of new features, we would definitely want to have URL-based filtering, traffic steering, and probably a little bit steering in the bandwidth based on the per-user level and per-user group. We will definitely need some of these features in the near future.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say the UTM part should be more integrated for one price, because if you buy ASA from Cisco, you need to buy another contract service from Cisco as a filter for the dictionary of attacks. In Fortinet, you buy a firewall and you have it all.""The cost is very high. Most organizations cannot afford it.""It is hard to collaborate with our filtered environment.""They need a user-friendly interface that we could easily configure.""Whenever you require an upgrade, there are multiple pieces of software that you have to upgrade. Extensive planning is required, because if you upgrade one piece of the software it has to be compatible with the others as well. You always need to check the compatibility metrics.... upgrading is a very extensive exercise, both when you're planning it and when you are doing it.""If they want to add better features to the current Cisco ASA, they can start by increasing the encryption. That is the only thing they need to improve."

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"I believe that the current feature set of the device is very good and the only thing that Cisco should work on is improving the user experience with the device.""The initial setup can be a bit complex for those unfamiliar with the solution.""We cannot have virtual domains, which we can create with FortiGate. This is something they should add in the future. Additionally, there is a connection limit and the FMC could improve.""Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized.""The product line does not address the SMB market as it is supposed to do. Cisco already has an on-premises sandbox solution.""Deploying configurations takes longer than it should.""They need a VTI. I know it's going to be available in the next software version, which is the 6.7 version. However, the problem with that is that the 6.7 is going to deprecate all the older IKEv1 deployment tunnels. Therefore, the problem is that we have a lot of customers which are using older encryptions. If I do that, update it, it's not going to work for me.""The performance should be improved."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "There is room for improvement in the pricing when compared to the market. Although, when you compare the benefits of support from Cisco, you can adjust the value and it becomes comparable, because you usually need very good support. So you gain value there with this device."
  • "When it comes to Cisco, the price of everything is higher. Cisco firewalls are expensive, but we get support from Cisco, and that support is very active."
  • "Cisco is expensive, but you do get benefits for the price."
  • "It's a brilliant firewall, and the fact that it comes with a perpetual license really does go far in terms of helping the organization in not having to deal with those costs on an annual basis. That is a pain point when it comes to services like the ones we have on Fortigate. That's where we really give Cisco firewalls the thumbs up."
  • "The licensing is a bit off because the physical firewall is cheaper than the virtual one. We only have the physical ones as they are cheaper than the virtual ones. We only use the physical firewalls because of the price difference."
  • "Always consider what you might need to reduce your wasted time and invest it in other solutions."
  • "Cisco is considered to be an expensive solution."
  • "It's very competitive with other products."
  • More Cisco ASA Firewall 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 →

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    Ranking
    6th
    out of 48 in Firewalls
    Views
    58,297
    Comparisons
    43,923
    Reviews
    58
    Average Words per Review
    564
    Rating
    8.0
    4th
    out of 48 in Firewalls
    Views
    44,639
    Comparisons
    30,482
    Reviews
    39
    Average Words per Review
    1,042
    Rating
    8.4
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Learn More
    Cisco
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    Overview

    Cisco ASA Firewall is a security device that combines firewall, intrusion prevention, virtual private network (VPN), and antivirus capabilities. Its main purpose is to provide proactive threat defense to stop attacks before they spread through the network.

    Cisco ASA Firewall Features

    Cisco ASA Firewall has many valuable key features, including:

    • Intrusion prevention system (IPS): Cisco ASA Firewall’s IPS provides contextual awareness.
    • Advanced threat protection: Gain protection against zero day threats (based on using global threat intelligence) .
    • Rapid threat containment: With Cisco ASA Firewall, you can proactively mitigate risks. If a threat is detected, additional security policies are applied to other network devices for increased protection.
    • High availability: Cisco ASA Firewall offers high availability for high resiliency applications
    • Integrated IPS, VPN, and unified communications capabilities
    • Multi-node clustering
    • Multi-site
    • High performance

    Cisco ASA Firewall Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using Cisco ASA Firewall include:

    • Superior protection from threats through CSC, IPS, and the like.
    • Better pricing means that TCO is reduced. 
    • High performance levels that can be scaled to achieve 10+ Gbps.
    • You can deploy new applications easily over secured layers.
    • Identity-based access helps you access business resources.
    • Identity-based access can be integrated with other services, such as LDAP and Microsoft Active Directory.
    • By implementing Cisco ASA Firewall, IT resources are freed up.
    • Because Cisco ASA Firewall offers effective prevention, your spyware cleanup costs decrease.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Cisco ASA Firewall users.

    A Cisco Security Specialist at a tech services company says, “All the features are very valuable. Among them is the integration for remote users, with AnyConnect, to the infrastructure. All the security through that is wonderful and it's very easy. You connect and you are inside your company network via VPN. Everything is encrypted and it's a very good solution.” He goes on to add, “The intrusion prevention system, the intrusion detection, is perfect. But you can also integrate Cisco with an IPS solution from another vendor, and just use the ASA with AnyConnect and as a firewall. Cisco ASA also provides application control. You can block or prevent people from going to certain applications or certain content.”

    Jonathan M., Head of Information Communication Technology at National Building Society, comments, "The benefits we see from the ASA are connected to teleworking as well as, of course, having the basic functionality of a firewall in place and the prevention of attacks. The standard reports allow us to constantly monitor our environment and take corrective steps.

    Eric H., CEO at NPI Technology Management, explains, “The command-line interface is really useful for us. We script basic installations and modifications through the command-line, which is considered sort of old school, and yet it allows us to fully document the changes that we're making due to the fact that we can save the exact script that was applied and say, "Here are the changes that we made."

    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. "

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco ASA Firewall
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Sample Customers
    There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Manufacturing Company9%
    Computer Software Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider36%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government5%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider21%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider34%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government6%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise40%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise54%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business42%
    Midsize Enterprise27%
    Large Enterprise30%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise64%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    598,116 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco ASA Firewall is ranked 6th in Firewalls with 63 reviews while Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is ranked 4th in Firewalls with 42 reviews. Cisco ASA Firewall is rated 8.0, while Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Cisco ASA Firewall writes "Robust solution that integrates well with both Cisco products and products from other vendors". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall writes "The ability to implement dynamic policies for dynamic environments is important, given the fluidity in the world of security". Cisco ASA Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Meraki MX, pfSense and Juniper SRX, whereas Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Meraki MX, Check Point NGFW and Azure Firewall. See our Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall 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.