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Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs Sophos XG comparison

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Executive Summary
Updated on April 10, 2022

We performed a comparison between Palo Alto Networks 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: Some Palo Alto Networks users say the initial setup is straightforward, while others say it is complex. Most Sophos XG users say that the initial setup is straightforward.
  • Features: Reviewers of both products are happy with their stability, security, and scalability. Palo Alto Networks users say that it performs well and is easy to use. Several Palo Alto Networks users would like to see the solution’s logging and reporting improved. Sophos XG users say it is user-friendly and has good reporting and VPN features. A few users note that the user-interface is outdated.
  • Pricing: Palo Alto Networks reviewers feel that it is an expensive product. In contrast, most Sophos XG users feel that the price of the product is fair.
  • ROI: Reviewers of both products report seeing an ROI.
  • Service and Support: Palo Alto Networks reviewers are satisfied with the level of support they receive. Many Sophos XG users say that the support is good, but some say it could improve.

Comparison Results: Palo Alto Networks comes out on top in this comparison. It is robust, performs well, and has good support. Sophos XG does, however, do better in the Pricing and Ease of Deployment categories.

To learn more, read our detailed Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs. Sophos XG report (Updated: May 2022).
Buyer's Guide
Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs. Sophos XG
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs. Sophos XG and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
608,713 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: Which is better - Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls or Sophos XG?
Answer: As a Sophos specialist, I can tell you that XG Firewall will cover all that you'll need with a more affordable way.Sophos XG firewall will not disappoint you with its performance, resources or features.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"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.""I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection.""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem.""Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.""I like that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is reliable. Support is also good.""There are no issues that we are aware of. It does its job silently in the background.""The most valuable feature would be ASDM. The ability to go in, visualize and see the world base in a clear and consistent manner is very powerful.""The most valuable features of this solution are the integrations and IPS throughput."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"I like that they are more stable than the previous ones, and they allow a lot of other features.""It's one of the best products I've worked with. It's typically a market leader on Gartner. It's a very respected brand.""The technology's very good. We have had a lot of good experience with this solution.""I like all the functions and features.""URL filtering and WildFire features are most valuable. It is very user-friendly. It is a very solid product, and it definitely works.""Flexible and integrates well with apps and other security tools.""Some of the valuable features in this solution are traffic monitoring, GUI functionality, and it very easy to troubleshoot if there is any problem that happens.""Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls have a Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) Architecture, which has a different kind of code doing the work. It increases the packet processing rate. Whereas, without the SP3 Architecture, you are waiting for each job to complete, even if you have 100 jobs assigned."

More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Pros →

"The solution is a next generation firewall and we have gotten good customer feedback.""The most valuable feature is web filtering.""It is stable, flexible, and easy to use. It has got a web management portal that can be accessed from anywhere.""In terms of the functionality, I think it's pretty straightforward. It's easy to pick up. It's also user-friendly.""In my experience, the solution was easy to use, has lots of features, and is easy to configure.""What we found valuable is the way they deal with emails, as well as the way the bandwidth usage is shown.""Reporting is the most valuable feature.""The performance is good."

More Sophos XG Pros →

Cons
"Cisco Firepower is not completely integrated with Active Directory. We are trying to use Active Directory to restrict users by using some security groups that are not integrated within the Cisco Firepower module. This is the main issue that we are facing.""My team tells me that other solutions such as Fortinet and Palo Alto are easier to implement.""The maturity needs to be better.""Report generation is an area that should be improved.""Implementations require the use of a console. It would help if the console was embedded.""A major area of improvement would be to have more functionality in public clouds, especially in terms of simplifying it. The high availability doesn't work right now because of the limitations in the cloud.""Its interface is sometimes is a little bit slow, and it can be improved. When you need to put your appliance in failover mode, it is a little difficult to do it remotely because you need to turn off the appliance in Cisco mode. In terms of new features, it would be good to have AnyConnect VPN with Firepower. I am not sure if it is available at the moment.""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 →

"The solution could be simplified.""Over the past one or two years, Palo Alto Networks has added a lot of features into the NG Firewall products. I think this is becoming more complicated for our customers. Therefore, we could use some best practices, best practice tools, and implementation guides for some of the complicated features.""The solution has normal authentication, but does not have two-factor or multi-factor authentication. There is room for development there.""It's not so easy to scale out your security capabilities.""This is a difficult product to manage, so the administrator needs to have a good knowledge of it, otherwise, they will not be able to handle it properly.""I think automation and machine learning can be improved to make bulk configurations simpler, easier, and faster""The solution could offer better pricing. We'd like it if it could be a bit more affordable for us.""Sometimes some of the applications the customer has do not respond as they normally should."

More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Cons →

"It is already secure but it could be better in terms of other breaches that may occur.""Their tech support is not great.""They can simplify its interface so that it is mostly drag-and-drop. There was an SQL injection attack on some Sophos devices. They just need to harden their devices a little bit so that they can't be hacked very easily.""They need to improve the SD-WAN feature.""The first area that needs to be improved is customer support.""There should be web caching to improve bandwidth utilization. It should have a very good caching feature. That's because we are in a very poor continent, and the connectivity cost is very high. We have low bandwidth, and the intensive usage of bandwidth is not easy here in Africa. If they improve services for web caching, it would be better.""The VPN features can be improved. Due to covid-19, we have a lot of employees that work from home and we need better VPN capabilities.""Support for this product is something that is really important, and it needs to improve."

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 →

  • "The pricing is competitive in the market."
  • "This is an expensive product, which is why some of our customers don't adopt it."
  • "The product is expensive compared to competing products but uses a similar type of pricing model based on hardware, software and maintenance."
  • "It is a little bit expensive than other firewalls, but it is worth every penny. There are different licenses for the kinds of services you want to use. When we buy a new product, we go for a three-year subscription."
  • "It is a little bit expensive."
  • "The NG firewall is an expensive solution."
  • "This is an expensive product and there is a subscription cost."
  • "Its price can be better. Licensing is on a yearly basis."
  • More Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price is cheaper than that of some competing vendors."
  • "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."
  • More Sophos XG Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Netanya Carmi
    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:Azure Firewall Vs. Palo Alto Network NG Firewalls Both solutions provide stellar stability and security. Azure… 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:The solution is user-friendly. It's secure and easy to understand your network visibility, control the network, and… 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 »
    Top Answer:Sophos UTM is no longer being developed, according to our reseller. All the development effort is going into XG. So XG… more »
    Top Answer:The security of the solution, thanks to the built-in unified threat management, is one of its most valuable features… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Palo Alto NGFW, Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall, Palo Alto Networks PA-Series
    Learn More
    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. "

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is a firewall solution designed for security teams that provides them with full visibility and control over all networks via powerful traffic identification, malware prevention, and threat intelligence technologies. In order to determine which applications, users, and content traversing the network are safe, the solution offers companies a variety of advanced security tools and strategies.

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Features

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Secure Application Enablement (App-ID, User-ID, Content-ID)
    • Malware Detection and Prevention (threat prevention service, buffer overflows and port scans, anti-malware capabilities, command-and-control protection, and WildFire)
    • DNS Security (URL filtering, predict and block malicious domains, signature-based protection, extensible cloud-based architecture)
    • Panorama Security Management (including graphical views and analytics, manage rules and dynamic updates, customizable application command center (ACC), log collection mode, physical or virtual appliance)
    • Threat Intelligence (high-fidelity threat intelligence, priority alerts, automatic extraction and sharing of prevention indicators, native integration with Palo Alto Networks products)

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls Benefits

    There are several benefits to implementing Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Dedicated management interface for managing and initial configuration of the device
    • Regular threat signatures and updates
    • Import addresses and URL objects from the external server
    • Configure and manage with REST API integration
    • Great throughput and connection speed is fair even in high traffic load
    • Deep visibility into the network activity through Application and Command Control
    • Easy to manage and very user friendly

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls users.

    A Solutions Architect at a communications service provider says, “The product stability and level of security are second to none in the industry. We value the security of our client's infrastructure so these features are valuable to us. An example of a very valuable feature behind Palo Alto is the application-aware identifiers that help the firewall know what its users are trying to do. It can block specific activities instead of just blocking categories. For example, you can block an application, or all unknown applications.”

    PeerSpot user Gerry H., CyberSecurity Network Engineer at a university, mentions that the solution has a “Nice user interface, good support, is stable, and has extensive logging capabilities.” He also adds, “Wildfire has been a very good feature. This solution provides a unified platform that natively integrates all security capabilities, which is 100% important to us. This is a great feature.”

    Eric S., Network Analyst at a recreational facilities/services company, states, "With its single pane of glass, it makes monitoring and troubleshooting a bit more homogeneous. We are not looking at multiple platforms and monitoring management tools. It is more efficient from that perspective. It is more of a common monitoring and control system for multiple aspects of what used to be different systems. It provides efficiency and time savings."

    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 Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls
    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
    SkiStar AB, Ada County, Global IT Services PSF, Southern Cross Hospitals, Verge Health, University of Portsmouth, Austrian Airlines, The Heinz Endowments
    Information Not Available
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government13%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider28%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company24%
    Comms Service Provider21%
    Government6%
    Energy/Utilities Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company11%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Healthcare Company8%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider35%
    Computer Software Company18%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company3%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise34%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business37%
    Midsize Enterprise30%
    Large Enterprise33%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise57%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business62%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business32%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise44%
    Buyer's Guide
    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs. Sophos XG
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls vs. Sophos XG and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    608,713 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is ranked 7th in Firewalls with 77 reviews while Sophos XG is ranked 5th in Firewalls with 144 reviews. Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is rated 8.6, while Sophos XG is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls writes "The product stability and level of security are second to none in the industry". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos XG writes "Light and stable with excellent real-time control ". Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls is most compared with Azure Firewall, Fortinet FortiGate, Check Point NGFW, Meraki MX and OPNsense, whereas Sophos XG is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, pfSense, OPNsense, Meraki MX and Azure Firewall. See our Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls 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.