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Cisco ASA Firewall vs Sophos XG comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on August 4, 2022

We performed a comparison between Cisco ASA Firewall and Sophos XG 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 Cisco ASA Firewall share mixed reviews on deployment. Some find it easy while others say the setup is not straightforward. Sophos XG users agree that deployment is easy.
  • Features: Users of both solutions are happy with the products’ stability and scalability.

    Cisco ASA Firewall users like that the solution has good security and filtering and good application visibility and control. Users say they would like to see an improved interface and better logging functionality, and that it would be good if the solution had a policy-based routing feature.

    Sophos XG reviewers say the solution is intuitive, has a strong VPN, and includes impressive firewalling. Users would like to see more integration options with other systems, and also say that the SD-WAN needs improvement.
  • Pricing: Users of both solutions have mixed opinions on the pricing. Some consider it to be expensive. Others say it is comparable to other solutions.
  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions are satisfied with the technical support they receive. A few Sophos XG users say response times could be faster.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report a good ROI.

Comparison Results: The two solutions are very comparable. The only major difference between the two is that some users of Cisco ASA Firewall consider the deployment to be somewhat complex.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Sophos XG report (Updated: August 2022).
635,162 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"I like the firewall features, Snort, and the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).""The implementation is pretty straightforward.""One of the nice things about Firepower is that you can set it to discover the environment. If that is happening, then Firepower is learning about every device, software operating system, and application running inside or across your environment. Then, you can leverage the discovery intelligence to get Firepower to select the most appropriate intrusion prevention rules to use for your environment rather than picking one of the base policies that might have 50,000 IPS rules in it, which can put a lot of overhead on your firewall. If you choose the recommendations, as long as you update them regularly, you might be able to get your rule set down to only 1,000 or 1,500, which is a significant reduction in a base rule set. This means that the firewall will give you better performance because there are less rules being checked unnecessarily. That is really useful.""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.""Cisco's technical support is the best and that's why everybody implements their products.""Provides good integrations and reporting.""The most important features are the intrusion prevention engine and the application visibility and control. The Snort feature in Firepower is also valuable.""We have not had to deal with stability issues."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"The interface is user-friendly.""The most valuable feature would be the IP blocking. It gets rid of things that you don't need in your environment.""The initial setup was not complex.""The remote access, VPN, and ACL features are valuable. We are using role-based access for individuals.""It is extremely stable I would say — at least after you deploy it.""To be honest, all of the features that are provided, all the other vendor will also have. One feature we did find valuable was the CLI, it is more accurate. Additionally, I was happy with the customization, dashboards, access lists and interface.""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.""Cisco ASA Firewall is a well known product. They're always updating it, and you know what they're doing and that it works."

More Cisco ASA Firewall Pros →

"Sophos is a stable solution, and we haven't had any bugs or limitations.""Because of the pandemic, the VPN is the most valuable feature.""In my experience, the solution was easy to use, has lots of features, and is easy to configure.""Sophos XG deployment is easy and rapid.""The most valuable feature of this solution is flexibility.""The installation is easy. There is a wizard that can be used for a single connection making it simple and if you have multiple connections you can configure it manually.""The initial setup is pretty simple.""Some of the most valuable features are filtering and application control. The DDoS detection also shows traffic jamming and traffic shaping."

More Sophos XG Pros →

Cons
"We only have an issue with time sync with Cisco ASA and NTP. If the time is out of sync, it will be a disaster for the failover.""Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized.""I would like to see improvement when you create policies on Snort 3 IPS on Cisco Firepower. On Snort 2, it was more like a UI page where you had some multiple choices where you could tweak your config. On Snort 3, the idea is more to build some rules on the text file or JSON file, then push it. So, I would like to see a lot of improvements here.""FirePOWER does a good job when it comes to providing us with visibility into threats, but I would like to see a more proactive stance to it.""The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore.""The reporting and other features are nice, but there is an issue with applying the configuration. That part needs some improvement.""In a future release, it would be ideal if they could offer an open interface to other security products so that we could easily connect to our own open industry standard.""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."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"It would be nice if you didn't have to configure using a command-line interface. It's a bit technical that way.""The virtual firewalls don't work very well with Cisco AnyConnect.""Cisco still has a lot of work to do. You can convert an ASA over to a Firepower, but the competitors, like Palo Alto and Juniper, are coming in. And believe it or not, they are a little bit more intuitive. Cisco has a little bit more work to do. They're playing catch up.""The user interface isn't as good as it could be. They should work to improve it. It would make it easier for customer management if it was easier to use.""It can probably provide a holistic view of different appliances because many customers do not have only one brand, besides the traditional SNMP protocols, to cover all their devices. There are some specific requirements in terms of configurations or actions that sometimes have to be done in a very manual way because of the different versions or brands in a customer's infrastructure. It could also have some additional analytics capabilities. It has some very interesting ways to monitor the traffic and identify false positives from the architecture and the environment. It would be good if there is a way to patch with some other industry-specific solutions and synchronize some of the information, such as what other customers experience in their operations and probably share some additional information that could be leveraged or shared among the industry. Such information would be something interesting to see. It could have AI capabilities related to how the appliances could benefit from learning the current environment and different exposures.""The ASAs are being replaced with the new Firepowers and they have a different type of structure in the configuration to be able to migrate from one to the other.""They should improve their interface.""I think the ASA layer is thin. It's always Layer 3 or Layer 4 source controller and doesn't control the Layer 7 traffic. It's important, and you'll need an additional firewall."

More Cisco ASA Firewall Cons →

"The only area that requires improvement is scalability.""Technical support is difficult to access.""While it is possible to configure between two of the solution's devices in the same model, the high available usually fails.""The solution is tied to the US dollar. You need to pay whatever the equivalent is in your own currency, and, if the exchange is bad, it can really add to the cost.""Everything is working as expected at this moment, but the anti-spam solution in Sophos XG needs to be improved. It needs more granular features and more stability. The anti-spam solution currently doesn't have many features, and we would like to have more features. At this moment, there is no expression filter for anti-spam. We need something to be able to filter subjects or attachments in emails based on the keyword. Sometimes, there is an issue with anti-spam, and Sophos XG suddenly stops processing incoming or outgoing emails. The only solution for this issue is to restart the appliance. Their support should be improved. It takes a long time to escalate a support case from level one to level two.""The MTR feature needs enhancing.""We are not very happy with the customer support they provide — it's quite slow.""For the moment, managing the Sophos interface is a little bit challenging."

More Sophos XG Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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."
  • "The price is comparable."
  • "It definitely competes with the other vendors in the market."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "I'd say it's probably well-priced."
  • "The product cost is a little high. It is a little bit on the high side, and it should be a little bit cost-friendly."
  • "We pay about €2,000 ($2,400 USD) per year for licensing."
  • "If we compare it with FortiGate and the co-existing ASA, FortiGate is better in price."
  • "They seem to be at the top end in terms of pricing, but they are worth the price. They are probably a little bit lower than Palo Alto. If the customers are relying on Cisco products and they are thinking more in terms of scaling to another layer in a year, it is pretty much in a good price range."
  • "We're using the smart license for this firewall. The models that we have require licensing for remote access."
  • "There are licensing costs."
  • "I just bought it off the shelf, and I'm using it with my previous one, so I have not spent that much."
  • More Cisco ASA Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The pricing is flexible. Sophos looks at a country's economy and offers flexible pricing. This is how they have managed to penetrate the market."
  • "It's approximately $6,000 for each device."
  • "It is not expensive, it's a reasonable price,"
  • "The issue of a recurring license is a hassle because every year, we have to subscribe."
  • "It is not very expensive."
  • "We prepaid in advance to get the max discount."
  • "Sophos XG isn't expensive compared to Check Point."
  • "The price is in the mid-range and it is very good for small to medium-sized businesses."
  • More Sophos XG Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
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    Top Answer:It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer:One of our favorite things about Fortinet Fortigate is that you can deploy on the cloud or on premises. Fortinet… more »
    Top Answer: Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) software is the operating software for the Cisco ASA suite. It supports… more »
    Top Answer:When looking to change our ASA Firewall, we looked into Palo Alto’s WildFire. It works especially in preventing advanced… more »
    Top Answer:From my experience regarding both the Sophos and FortiGate firewalls, I personally would rather use FortiGate. I know… more »
    Top Answer:Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls have both great features and performance. I like that Palo Alto has regular threat… more »
    Top Answer:Hi Arvind P ,  The Sophos XG firewall has a number of models right from XG86 to XG135w under the 1U Desktop Form… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv
    Learn More
    Cisco
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    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. "

    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."

    Sophos XG Firewall is a complete firewall solution that provides all the real-time security and insights you need to protect your network from ransomware and advanced threats. Sophos XG Firewall provides visibility into suspicious users, unknown and unwanted apps, encrypted traffic, and other threats. With its advanced artificial intelligence capabilities, Sophos XG Firewall immediately identifies potential risks and intrusions on web servers and networks.

    Sophos XG Firewall Features

    Sophos XG Firewall offers a wide range of security features, including:

    • Application control: Prevent widespread infections with XG’s Security Heartbeat. XG Firewall automatically identifies the source of an infection on a network and automatically prevents it from accessing other network resources.

    • Synchronized user ID: Eliminate the need for client or server authentication agents by sharing user identification between the endpoint and the firewall through Security Heartbeat.

    • Centralized management: Easily manage all activities with Sophos Central. The XG cloud management platform allows users to easily set up, manage, and monitor XG firewalls along with other Sophos products. Some of Sophos Central’s features include alerting, backup management, one-click firmware updates, and rapid deployments of new firewalls.

    • Lateral movement protection: Automatically isolate compromised systems at every point in the network to stop attacks dead in their tracks.

    • Network protection: Protect networks from attacks and threats while providing secure network access.

    • Web protection: Gain clear visibility and control over all users’ web and application activity.

    • Web server protection: Solidify web servers and applications against hacking attacks while providing secure web access.

    • Email protection: Consolidate email protection with anti-spam, DLP, and encryption. XG’s Live Anti-Spam provides protection from the most recent spam campaigns, phishing attacks, and malicious attachments. Data Loss Prevention automatically triggers encryption on sensitive data in outgoing emails.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Sophos XG Firewall stands out among its competitors, among other reasons, for its intrusion detection capabilities, its user-friendly management platform, and in general, for being a complete and robust firewall solution.

    Niranjan P., a network & system support engineer, writes, “Sophos is a comprehensive solution which allows me to configure all the attendant products, such as Sophos's firewall, endpoint, and encryption features. A nice feature of Sophos is that it offers in sync and heartbeat security. When my clients have a perimeter involving Sophos firewall and endpoints with Sophos Endpoint, they can communicate with each other.”

    Antonio D., sales manager at INFOSEC, notes, “The product has a console that is based in the cloud for all their products. In this console, they have email security, firewall security, endpoint security, et cetera. All of the products on offer in the console are very useful for us. The solution is stable. The solution works well for enterprises and large-scale organizations.”

    Antony M., ICT/HMIS supervisor at a healthcare company, writes, “The VPN feature is the most valuable. It has come in handy during this period when people are working from home. The filtering feature is also valuable because you can easily filter the sites that you don't want to visit. You can also set timely surfing quotas”

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Cisco ASA Firewall
    Learn more about Sophos XG
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    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.
    Information Not Available
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government13%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Government8%
    Educational Organization5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm15%
    Comms Service Provider12%
    Computer Software Company9%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider32%
    Computer Software Company18%
    Government6%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company11%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Healthcare Company8%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Computer Software Company18%
    Government6%
    Media Company4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise35%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business28%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise42%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise22%
    Large Enterprise51%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business62%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business33%
    Midsize Enterprise21%
    Large Enterprise45%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Sophos XG
    August 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Sophos XG and other solutions. Updated: August 2022.
    635,162 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco ASA Firewall is ranked 4th in Firewalls with 87 reviews while Sophos XG is ranked 6th in Firewalls with 141 reviews. Cisco ASA Firewall is rated 8.4, while Sophos XG is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Cisco ASA Firewall writes "Includes multiple tools that help manage and troubleshoot, but needs SD-WAN for load balancing". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos XG writes "Light and stable with excellent real-time control ". Cisco ASA Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Meraki MX, pfSense and SonicWall TZ, whereas Sophos XG is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, pfSense, OPNsense, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls and SonicWall NSa. See our Cisco ASA Firewall vs. Sophos XG 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.