Cisco ASA Firewall Review

Good remote access and clusters but the firewall is a bit dated

What is our primary use case?

In general, we support more public fiscal entities. Most of them are quite sizeable at 5,000-6,000 employees. We use it mostly for remote access.

What is most valuable?

The clusters in data centers are great.

We enjoy the use of the remote access VPN. We have a mechanical firewall with IPS and we have no more than these. In general, ASA is for remote access and the mechanical firewall right now is more used for data centers. 

We work to combine customers and we have a lot of customers that use networking from Cisco. They buy Cisco firewalls due to the fact that all of their networks are working with Cisco features.

What needs improvement?

It would be ideal if the solution offered a web application firewall.

We've had some issues with stability.

The solution has some scalability limitations.

The firewall itself has become a bit dated.

The pricing on the solution is a bit high.

Some individuals find the setup and configuration challenging.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for ten years or more. It's been at least a decade at this point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Normally, we don't have any problems with stability. That said, when we have problems, it may be difficult to resolve quickly. The tech from Cisco is really good. However, we have some problems that take more time. Issues haven't come up very often. We've only had two or three problems over ten years that took a while to resolve. Largely, it's quite stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We typically work with large public organizations. Our customers are quite big. Some are even up to 8,000 employees.

My view is that the ASA is for data centers. When you need more performance or something like that, this may be a problem. This is due to the fact that we don't have the ability to add more performance - more CPU or more equipment - in our cluster when we deploy the solution in a perimeter. It's complicated to expand the performance with ASA on the perimeter.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have a good relationship with technical support. They're very helpful. Sometimes we get a solution and sometimes we don't, however, they are always available to help us deal with issues.

How was the initial setup?

I have been working with this equipment for years, so for me, the initial setup is pretty easy. For customers who use the Cisco solutions for the first time, maybe it's complicated. They probably feel it would be easier to configure if there was a simpler graphical view or something like that. Often a complaint is that it's difficult to configure. However, I don't have that issue.

To deploy one solution, how long it takes depends on the customer or the size of the enterprise. For a large enterprise or large public entity, we need more time or more resources to deploy the solution. That said, it's not too difficult for us as we work a lot of time with ASA. We can go fairly quickly.

What other advice do I have?

We support ASA 5508, 5585, and 5525 - all the versions of the firewall. Again, we built a HTAB machine too.

We've worked with Cisco for many years and I love working with them.

Right now, ASA is getting older. A better recommendation may be to use Firepower, a Next-Generation Firewall, no ASA. In cases for some remote VPN access, we recommend ASA, however, for all of the deployments, the recommendation now is to use a Next-Generation Firewall from Cisco Firepower. 

Overall, I would rate the solution at a seven out of ten. That said, for remote access alone, I'd rate the product at a nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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