Cisco ASA Firewall Review

Great diagnostics combined with a high-security VPN

What is most valuable?

I like them mostly because they don't break and they have great diagnostics. If something is awry, you can generally figure it out. And of course, everybody has a VPN, but I like the security of their VPN.

What needs improvement?

They should improve their interface and ensure that people actually know what they're doing before they start programming; that would make me happy. But that's never going to happen — it's a total pipe dream.

Some of the next-generation stuff that Cisco is doing now allows you to add web filtering and provides more security inside the device. That's why we were looking at the Next-Generation Firewall.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since they developed it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've had a couple of issues. Way back, they had a power supply that had to be changed out. They also had some issues with the 5500 series. Other than that, they're pretty rock-solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Within their limitations, yes, they're scalable. You don't want to put a 5506 in when you need a 5525 — you'll never get it there. If properly sized, they're scalable, but you can't make a 5506 a 5525 — there're different processors and everything. You have to know where you're going. You have to know your customer first.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is good. The documentation is verbose almost to the point of being confusing if you don't know what it is you're looking for.

It's only confusing if you have somebody who is not familiar with it. They give you every option in great detail, so you can spend time searching through a manual that you might not otherwise. Here's an example: take Sophos or SonicWall — let's say the manual for SonicWall is 25 to 30 pages; that same Cisco documentation is going to be three times that size or more.

It's not that it needs to be simplified, the people using it need to be knowledgeable. It is not a novice box, we'll put it that way.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've been with Cisco for a long time. We've used their routers and gadgets for years and years.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I would guess that the market value of Cisco is going to be towards the higher-end. I don't know that it's the highest, but feature for feature, I'd say it's probably well-priced.

What other advice do I have?

Cisco ASA Firewall Is not as much of a plug and play solution as some of the others. You just need to make sure that you do your research.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give Cisco ASA Firewall a rating of nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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