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Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs pfSense comparison

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Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs. pfSense
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
620,600 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
"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.""Provides good integrations and reporting.""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.""There are no issues that we are aware of. It does its job silently in the background.""The most valuable features of this solution are advanced malware protection, IPS, and IDS.""Feature-wise, we mostly use IPS because it is a security requirement to protect against attacks from outside and inside. This is where IPS helps us out a bunch.""The customer service/technical support is very good with this solution.""IPS and Snort are very important because they also differentiate Cisco from other vendors and competitors."

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"The most valuable features of pfSense are the reports, monitoring, filtration, and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.""The solution is very easy to use and configure.""The GUI is easy to understand.""I especially like the VPN part. It works like a charm.""pfSense is easy to use, has user-friendly dashboards, and useful blocking features.""At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.""It is a stable solution. It is also easy to install and can be deployed and maintained by one team member.""Sophos Intercept X is scalable. Currently, we have almost 30 people using it in our company."

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Cons
"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.""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.""My team tells me that other solutions such as Fortinet and Palo Alto are easier to implement.""The change-deployment time can always be improved. Even at 50 seconds, it's longer than some of its competitors. I would challenge Cisco to continue to improve in that area.""I'm not a big fan of the FDM (Firepower Device Manager) that comes with Firepower. I found out that you need to use the Firepower Management Center, the FMC, to manage the firewalls a lot better. You can get a lot more granular with the configuration in the FMC, versus the FDM that comes out-of-the-box with it. FDM is like Firepower for dummies.""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.""They could improve by having more skilled, high-level engineers that are available around the clock. I know that's an easy thing to say and a hard thing to do.""An area of improvement for this solution is the console visualization."

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"Lacks instructional videos.""We are at the moment looking to use it as a proxy service so that we can limit what websites people go and view and that sort of thing. That's an area I've struggled with a little bit at the moment and it could be a bit easier to set up.""The integration of pfSense with EPS and EDS could be better. Also, it should be easier to get reports on how many users are connecting simultaneously and how sections connect in real-time.""The technical support needs to be improved.""We had training from an advisor for the configuring of this solution and it was not difficult. However, if we were not trained it would have been not as easy.""Could be simplified for new users.""The usage reports can be better.""In an upcoming release, the reporting could be more user-friendly. For example, the reporting in graphs and charts for the host can be cumbersome."

More pfSense 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 →

  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • "We are using the open-source version which is free. We are testing the solution to see if we are going to go to the enterprise version which requires a license and is not free."
  • More pfSense 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 usage at large. In my opinion, Fortinet would be the best option and l use… more »
    Top Answer: The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers that fact, it is all the more impressive that the setup is a fairly… more »
    Top 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… more »
    Top Answer:You don't really specify what type of router you are looking for but if you are talking about a gateway router I recommend PFSense. This software solutions can be installed on youf own hardware or you… more »
    Top Answer:Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate both cost-effective and efficient. One of the features we like most is that… more »
    Top Answer:Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and client, Open VPN and client, and PPTP client. Both also have intrusion detection and… more »
    Ranking
    5th
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    Reviews
    46
    Average Words per Review
    957
    Rating
    8.2
    2nd
    out of 48 in Firewalls
    Views
    100,226
    Comparisons
    83,981
    Reviews
    58
    Average Words per Review
    468
    Rating
    8.6
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
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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. "

    pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.

    In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.

    pfSense is:

    • Robust
    • Powerful
    • Easy to use
    • Secure
    • Scalable

    pfSense Key Features

    pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:

    • Strength and accuracy: pfSense is able to always follow either default or custom rules, making it a stronger firewall than some of its competitors. It also filters traffic separately, whether it’s coming from your internal network of devices or the open internet, allowing you to set different rules and policies for each.

    • Flexibility: pfSense can work both as a basic firewall and as a complete security system because it gives you the flexibility to integrate additional features as code where necessary.

    • Open-source: Because it is open-source, not only is pfSense free to use, but community members can contribute to the code to make it a better software.

    • User-friendly: Usually firewall products are not user-friendly because they often include complex settings, options, and features that require fine-tuning. pfSense’s interface is simple, direct, and easy to use.

    • WireGuard Support: Instead of building your own VPN using pfSense, or settling for a commercial VPN provider, you can directly integrate WireGuard with the pfSense firewall.

    • Speed Management and Fault Tolerance: pfSense’s multi-WAN feature allows your system to continue operating in case components fail.

    • Well-supported: pfSense regularly has security and feature updates. It also has a documentation site and a well-informed and knowledgeable support forum.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.

    Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."

    Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is."

    T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."



    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about pfSense
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government13%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    University12%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm10%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider41%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Government6%
    Educational Organization4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise35%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise50%
    Buyer's Guide
    Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs. pfSense
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    620,600 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is ranked 5th in Firewalls with 53 reviews while pfSense is ranked 2nd in Firewalls with 58 reviews. Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is rated 8.2, while pfSense is rated 8.6. 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". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Cisco ASA Firewall, Meraki MX, Palo Alto Networks WildFire and Azure Firewall, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway. See our Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall vs. pfSense 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.