We performed a comparison between Cisco Secure Firewall vs. pfSense based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.
Comparison Results: Cisco Secure Firewall and pfSense come out about equal in this comparison. Cisco ASA Firewall has a slight edge when it comes to service and support, but pfSense has an edge when it comes to pricing.
"Its security and filtering are most valuable. Every layer of data that comes into the organization goes through it. After setting up the criteria, it automatically filters the traffic. We don't have to check it often."
"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 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."
"We find all of its features very useful. Its main features are policies and access lists. We use both of them, and we also use routing."
"We have not had to deal with stability issues."
"This solution helped us to identify the key areas where we need to focus to block traffic that is malicious to our organization."
"The whole firewall functionality, including firewall policies and IPS policies, is valuable. It has all kinds of functionalities. It has IPS, VPN, and other features. They are doing quite a lot of stuff with their devices."
"One of the most valuable features of Firepower 7.0 is the "live log" type feature called Unified Event Viewer. That view has been really good in helping me get to data faster, decreasing the amount of time it takes to find information, and allowing me to fix problems faster. I've found that to be incredibly valuable because it's a lot easier to get to some points of data now."
"The VPN is my favorite feature."
"It is much simpler than other solutions such as Fortinet."
"A free firewall that is a good network security appliance."
"It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any time I want. If there is anything wrong with it, I could just reinstall the whole thing and start all over again, and I'll be up again in less than a few minutes"
"Is good at blocking IP addresses."
"I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal."
"I like pfSense's security features."
"The initial setup is not complex."
"We're getting support but there's a big delay until we get a response from their technical team. They're in the USA and we're in Africa, so that's the difficulty. When they're in the office, they respond."
"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."
"Licensing is complex, and I'd like it to be simplified. This is an area for improvement."
"The ease of use needs improvement. It is complex to operate the solution. The user interface is not friendly."
"The virtual firewalls don't work very well with Cisco AnyConnect."
"It would be nice if you didn't have to configure using a command-line interface. It's a bit technical that way."
"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."
"There is huge scope for improvement in URL filtering. The database that they have is not accurate. Their content awareness and categorization for URL filtering are not that great. We faced many challenges with their categorization and content awareness. They should improve these categorization issues."
"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."
"Other solutions provide more scope for growth. For instance, we can have only 10 to 20 employees on VPN, but other solutions can support more users. We also have more capabilities to increase the performance of the solution."
"ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved."
"There could be a way to remote to it through a mobile app. You can always browse through your browser on your mobile phone or tablet, but it would be good to have a dedicated app. I understand that iOS and Android developers are expensive, but there should be a mobile app."
"The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus."
"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."
"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."
"The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe."
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 Secure Firewall is ranked 2nd in Firewalls with 97 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 46 reviews. Cisco Secure Firewall is rated 8.2, while pfSense is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Cisco Secure 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 Secure Firewall is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Meraki MX, Palo Alto Networks WildFire, Juniper SRX and Check Point NGFW, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Sophos UTM. See our Cisco Secure Firewall vs. pfSense report.
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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.