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Cisco ASA Firewall vs WatchGuard Firebox comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on August 24, 2022

We performed a comparison between Cisco ASA Firewall and WatchGuard Firebox 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. Users of WatchGuard Firebox say deployment is straightforward.
  • 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 nice if the solution had a policy-based routing feature.

    Users of WatchGuard Firebox like that the solution is user-friendly, reliable, and has good performance in addition to good management features, and good site-to-site VPN. Users would like to see the web blocker feature and the reporting be improved.
  • Pricing: Users of Cisco ASA Firewall have mixed opinions on the pricing. Some consider it to be expensive. Others say it is comparable to other solutions. Users of WatchGuard Firebox say the solution is expensive.
  • Service and Support: Users of both solutions are satisfied with the technical support they receive.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report a good ROI.

Comparison Results: The two solutions are very comparable. WatchGuard Firebox received slightly better ratings because it is easier to deploy than Cisco ASA Firewall.

To learn more, read our detailed Cisco ASA Firewall vs. WatchGuard Firebox 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
"The most valuable feature is stability.""I have integrated it for incidence response. If there is a security event, the Cisco firewall will automatically block the traffic, which is valuable.""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 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.""I have access to the web version of Cisco Talos to see the reputation of IP addresses. I find this very helpful. It provides important information for my company to obtain the reputation of IP addresses. The information in Talos is quite complete.""We get the Security Intelligence Feeds refreshed every hour from Talos, which from my understanding is that they're the largest intelligence Security Intelligence Group outside of the government.""Since the product is stable, we do not have to spend additional money to buy other firewalls. Once deployed, we can use the product for a long time. Thus, it is cost effective.""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"Even in very big environments, Cisco comes in handy with configuration and offers reliability when it comes to managing multiple items on one platform.""The Packet Tracer is a really good tool. If someone calls because they're having problems, you can easily create fake traffic without having to do an extended packet capture. You can see, straight away, if there's a firewall rule allowing that traffic in the direction you're trying to troubleshoot.""One of the best features is the ease of use. It's also easy to teach new engineers to use the ASA CLI.""I think Cisco ASA Firewall is the most stable firewall solution.""It has definitely improved our organization. It gives us remote connectivity, helps workers connect remotely, and also gives us good connectivity to our other branches.""The clusters in data centers are great.""It's a flexible solution.""The management aspect of the product is very straightforward."

More Cisco ASA Firewall Pros →

"Firebox's best feature is the access portal.""I like that this product has very few issues.""Two of the functionalities we use most are the traffic monitoring and the full panel dashboard. Those are two things that are very useful for us... In addition, it provides us with layered security. It allows us to determine what types of access, to which networks, we want to allow or deny.""The most valuable features of the WatchGuard Firebox are all the security and updated features. You are able to configure the solution from the cloud platform and the application and web interface are very nice.""The main features of the solution are the control of the site-to-site network access and the overall features.""What I found most valuable in WatchGuard Firebox is that it's a functional platform that works, and each of its features works well. The solution also has good reporting and dashboard capabilities. I also find the overall performance of WatchGuard Firebox great.""The ease of use is most valuable. You can quickly train someone who hasn't seen a firewall in life. You can get people up to speed, and in a few months, they are able to manage this product very easily. It is a very user-friendly, scalable, and stable product. Its price is also spot-on.""The ports that I have assigned appear to be unattainable to outside 'mal-actors,' unless they have an address registered on the internet that this thing is expecting. That's a layer of security."

More WatchGuard Firebox Pros →

Cons
"This product is managed using the Firepower Management Center (FMC), but it would be better if it also supported the command-line interface (CLI).""The price and SD-WAN capabilities are the areas that need improvement.""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.""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.""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.""The initial setup could be simplified, as it can be complex for new users.""Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized.""The ability to better integrate with other tools would be an improvement."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"I would like it if there was a centralized way to manage policies, then sticking with the network functions on the actual devices. That is probably the thing that frustrates me the most. I want a way that you can manage multiple policies at several different locations, all at one site. You then don't have to worry about the connectivity piece, in case you are troubleshooting because connectivity is down.""An area for improvement is the graphical user interface. That is something that is coming up now. They could make the product more user-friendly. A better GUI is something that would make life much easier.""It needs to provide the next-generation firewall features that other vendors provide, like data analytics, telemetry, and deep packet inspection.""The graphical interface could be improved. From what I have seen, Fortinet, for example, has a nicer GUI.""Lacks a good graphical user interface.""Cisco should work on ASDM. One of the biggest drawbacks of Cisco ASA is ASDM GUI. Cisco should improve the ASDM GUI. The configuration through ASDM is really difficult as compared to CLI. Sometimes when you are doing the configuration in ASDM, it suddenly crashes. It also crashes while pushing a policy. Cisco should really work on this.""Recently, we have been having an issue with the ASA firewall. We haven't found the root cause yet and are still working on it. We failed over the firewall from active to passive and suddenly that resolved the issue. We are now working to find the root cause.""I would like to see the inclusion of a protocol that can be used to protect databases."

More Cisco ASA Firewall Cons →

"The solution is lacking a professional website, they should be updated more often.""The only downside is that it is missing an API, that you can use to easily collect information from it.""It's sometimes not easy to understand and can require specialist assistance.""What could use some significant improvement in WatchGuard Firebox would be its interface and policy management. An additional feature I'd like to see in the next release of WatchGuard Firebox is the ability to modify an existing policy instead of having to recreate a policy when changes are necessary. At the moment, there's no possibility to modify the policy. You have to delete the policy and recreate it.""There should be better integration and a way to configure multiple vendors into the same data center in order to offer more flexibility.""I would like to have a little more control over access points and the ability to see the bandwidth that is passing through a specific access point. We are not able to see that. We can see what traffic is passing through the Firebox itself, but we can't identify if it is coming from a particular access point or not.""The solution can improve by adding a feature to tag a MAC address of a computer system in the policy and more IP configuration settings.""In terms of what could be improved, I would say their web blocker feature. It is still quite a confusing setup, especially when you want to filter out a particular category for granularity. For example, you do not want to filter Facebook but you do want to filter Facebook games only. It can be done, but the process to do it is very confusing."

More WatchGuard Firebox 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 →

  • "I spent $600 or $800 on this product and I'm paying a couple of hundred dollars a year in a subscription service to keep the lights on, on it... It works out to $100 or $200 a year if you buy several years at once. It's fair."
  • "The primary reason that we went with Firebox was its cost. It is very economical and it provided us with all the security functions that we were looking for at the time. And the throughput was more than what we required, so it was a very cost-effective device to deploy on our network."
  • "I find the solution to be very affordable."
  • "It's fair pricing, but it could always be reduced."
  • "It has a very good price. It is not the most expensive one, and it is also not the cheapest one. It is just spot-on in terms of price."
  • "They have an annual subscription license. Initially, we had opted for three years. After that, we went for another three years, and after that, we have been doing it yearly. They also have a license for five years."
  • "The licensing contract we have is on a three-year basis. There aren't any costs in addition to the standard licensing fees—usually, every three years, we just purchase or renew the same license and we are okay. Every six years, we completely change the firewall, but that's the usual schema. So after three years, we just renew the licenses for another three years, and then after that particular period of time, we just purchase another firewall equivalent to the ones that we currently use."
  • "The licensing costs are comparatively lower than other providers, and I would rate the pricing as five out of five."
  • More WatchGuard Firebox Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… more »
    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:We are providing our services to all WatchGuard customers in the region. 
    Top Answer:We just use it as a secondary WiFi device. We're a small office and we needed to set up a WiFi device for a few of our… more »
    Top Answer:We're a hospital and we use it for developing our incoming and outgoing policies, and we also use it for VPN.
    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."

    WatchGuard Firebox is a unified security platform that offers organizations protection from cyber threats through a powerful network security device that controls all traffic between an external network and a trusted network. The solution is ideal for small and midsize businesses as well as for distributed enterprises. WatchGuard Firebox protects the entire network from intrusions, phishing attempts, malware, and ransomware by using cloud and virtual firewalls, AI-powered malware protection, and enhanced network visibility.

    WatchGuard Firebox Features

    WatchGuard Firebox has many valuable key features, including:

    • Policy management
    • Strong security
    • High performance
    • Network configuration for multiple clients
    • Built-in SD-WAN
    • Application control
    • Threat detection and response
    • Network discovery
    • Intuitive interface

    WatchGuard Firebox Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using WatchGuard Firebox include:

    • IT administrators can create and implement policies for content filtering, VPNs, and network inspections.
    • The solution is easy to set up, manage, and maintain.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by WatchGuard Firebox users.

    PeerSpot user Kelly C., IT Manager at a hospitality company, mentions, “One of the most valuable features is the Gateway AntiVirus. We scan all traffic as it's coming through. We also use spamBlocker to scrub spam. We use content filtering, which is critical in any corporate environment to make sure that people don't surf things they're not supposed to. WatchGuard has a very easy VPN and branch office VPN setup, so we use those pretty extensively too.It's very easy to use. In terms of performance, WatchGuard has always worked well for us. Regarding the reporting, I was in the Dimension server earlier today. It's very powerful. I like it. And the management features are easy to use. I like the fact that I can open up the System Manager client or I can just do it through the web if I'm making a quick change.”

    A Director of Information Technology at a retailer says, “Among the most valuable features is the ease of use — love the interface — of both the web interface and of the WatchGuard System Manager. It's a stable platform. The devices are pretty rock-solid.”

    Jason M., IT Director at a healthcare company, explains, “The policy monitoring and allowing different traffic flows are the most useful features for us; regulating which traffic comes in and out. In terms of the throughput and performance, we don't have a problem or any bottleneck there. We downgraded the size of our appliance because we're a small facility, and what we had before was actually too big. The one we are now going with seems to be doing a great job.” He also adds, “The management feature is pretty nice.”

    Steve R., President and Owner at Peak Communication Systems, Inc., comments, "It saves us time in the respect that we now have the template built for it so we can get in and get it done. We've had much less problems supporting Voice over IP technologies from different companies. Because our client base has grown over the years, we're probably saving 20 to 30 man-hours a month now that we've got this on a good stable level."

    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Cisco ASA Firewall
    Learn more about WatchGuard Firebox
    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.
    Ellips, Diecutstickers.com, Clarke Energy, NCR, Wrest Park, Homeslice Pizza, Fortessa Tableware Solutions, The Phoenix Residence
    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 Company20%
    Construction Company12%
    Healthcare Company7%
    Computer Software Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Government6%
    Retailer5%
    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 Business67%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise10%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise44%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco ASA Firewall vs. WatchGuard Firebox
    August 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco ASA Firewall vs. WatchGuard Firebox 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 WatchGuard Firebox is ranked 3rd in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 20 reviews. Cisco ASA Firewall is rated 8.4, while WatchGuard Firebox is rated 8.2. 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 WatchGuard Firebox writes "Competent, basic front-end; the ports that I have assigned appear to be unattainable to outsiders". Cisco ASA Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Meraki MX, pfSense and OPNsense, whereas WatchGuard Firebox is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, pfSense, Sophos XG, Meraki MX and Stormshield Network Security. See our Cisco ASA Firewall vs. WatchGuard Firebox report.

    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.