We performed a comparison between Cisco IOS Security and pfSense based on real PeerSpot user reviews.Find out in this report how the two Firewalls solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
"We definitely feel more secure. We have more control over things going in and out of our network."
"All the rules are secure and we haven't had a significant malware attack in the five years that we've been using ASA Firewall. It has been a tremendous improvement for our network. However, I can't quantify the benefits in monetary terms."
"The configuration capabilities and the integration with other tools are the most valuable features. I really like this product. Cisco is one of my favorite brands, and I always think Cisco solutions are very reliable, easy to configure, and very secure."
"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."
"The configuration was kind of straightforward from the command line and also from the ASDM. It was very easy to manage by using their software in Java."
"I like all of the features."
"It is pretty stable. I haven't seen many issues during the past four years."
"The clusters in data centers are great."
"The most valuable features of Cisco IOS Security are the plenty of functionality it provides, many people are IT certified the usage, and the user interface is good."
"It is less expensive than alternative firewalls."
"The security is very good."
"One of the main features is that the hardware is extremely reliable."
"Cisco IOS Security has many good features, but compared to other solutions, it has a more user-friendly interface with steps to apply and manage rules. Another good part of the solution is that it's more straightforward."
"Cisco Technical Assistance Center works on a follow-the-sun concept and gives real 24x7 customer support, which is a great advantage when you have a service contract with them."
"The most valuable feature of Cisco IOS Security is posturing."
"One of the valuable features of the solution is its flexibility and it performs great."
"Content protection, content inspection, and the application level firewall."
"I'm the expert when it comes to Linux systems, however, with the pfSense, due to the web interface, the rest of the staff can actually make changes to it as required without me worrying about whether they've opened up ports incorrectly or not. The ease of use for non-expert staff is very good."
"Technical support is perfect, excellent."
"The initial setup is straightforward."
"The main features of this solution are customization and ease to use."
"The initial setup is not complex."
"Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than it was when I first encountered Cisco."
"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. Did you forget a printer port? Most attacks at the moment are happening through printers, and they can tell you immediately that you forgot to close the port of the printer. There are more than one million printers that are in danger, and everybody knows that hackers are using them to enter the network. So, you can download plugins to protect your network."
"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."
"Sometimes my customers say that Cisco Firewalls are a bit more difficult compared to Fortigate or Palo Alto. There is complexity in the configuration and the GUI could be improved."
"One issue with Firepower Management Center is deployment time. It takes seven to 10 minutes and that's a long time for deployment. In that amount of time, management or someone else can ask me to change something or to provide permissions, but during that time, doing so is not possible. It's a drawback with Cisco. Other vendors, like Palo Alto or Fortinet do not have this deployment time issue."
"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."
"It is my understanding that they are in the process of discontinuing this device."
"The reporting and other features are nice, but there is an issue with applying the configuration. That part needs some improvement."
"Licensing is complex, and I'd like it to be simplified. This is an area for improvement."
"It is hard to control the bandwidth of end-users with a Cisco Firewall. That is the main issue I've faced. I used Mikrotik for many years for this very reason. Mikrotik has the option to set a bandwidth restriction for a single IP or complete segments. Cisco should add this option to their firewall."
"Cisco IOS Security could improve by having more compatibility with other Cisco solutions."
"The configuration should be easier in the solution."
"While Cisco IOS Security is stable and scalable, I would like to see it improved to be even better."
"It takes too much time to deploy a policy to FMC. It takes around eight minutes. You can't afford any downtime when you're changing policies."
"It would be ideal if the solution had more capacity."
"The graphical user interface or the GUI could be better. Beginners can use some devices with the GUI, but some security devices are configured using CLI. It would also be better if it had its own Intrusion Protection Service and Intrusion Detection Service on the server."
"Cisco IOS Security could improve its security features. There are competitors that have some additional security features, such as Fortinet FortiGate. Additionally, there should be better synchronization with Cisco IOS Security and other vendors, and improved AI features would be beneficial."
"The configuration and reporting interfaces need a lot of improvement. It needs to be more accessible forsolide without a strong technical background. If you had a simplified dashboard, the lower-level techs could manage the solution and provide services. Cisco IOS Security requires someone who is highly trained to operate it."
"It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting."
"The access control aspect of the product could be improved."
"It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue."
"Their support could be better in terms of the response time."
"The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT background can use the application. I would like the ability to manage the on-premise appliance from the cloud. When I'm not in the office, it would be great to connect to the pfSense server and administer the network remotely."
"The usage reports can be better."
"I tried pfSense, and it has a big issue with file system consistency, and this is what drove me to OPNsense. The file system stability is quite a big issue for us. We have a lot of outages related to power issues, and OPNsense is much more stable on this side."
"Also, the GUI is helpful, but it's not user-friendly. It's complicated. It should be more intuitive for the average user and have an excellent graphical view. Of course, the user will typically know about network administration, but it still should be easy to understand."
The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow.
From your data center, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world class security controls everywhere you need them.
Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic. Further, integrations with other Cisco and 3rd party solutions provides you with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, all working together to correlate previously disconnected events, eliminate noise, and stop threats faster.
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 Key Features
pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:
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."
Cisco IOS Security is ranked 20th in Firewalls with 14 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 52 reviews. Cisco IOS Security is rated 7.8, while pfSense is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Cisco IOS Security writes "Great security and automation with helpful technical assistance". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Cisco IOS Security is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Meraki MX, Zyxel Unified Security Gateway, Fortinet FortiManager and OPNsense, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Sophos UTM. See our Cisco IOS Security vs. pfSense report.
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