Cisco ASA Firewall Review

Syslog generation and forwarding are good but it lacks many UTM features

What is most valuable?

If you compare it with other products, other firewall products in the market, at this moment, it doesn't have that many features, no impressive feature in it, in fact. 

The one thing I like about the product is the logging features, the way it logs, the way it forwards the logs in Syslog. It generates the particular Syslog. Compared to other products, that is the only feature, I feel, that is good. I have worked with other firewall products, so I know it very well. The logs are pretty good. Then it forwards. When it forwards the logs to a third-party syslog server, it then writes the Syslog very well. That is the only feature I like about it.

What needs improvement?

It doesn't have a proper GUI to do troubleshooting, so most people have to rely on the command line.

Its a sort of legacy product nowadays. The firewalls which are the next generation have loads of features added to them, and they are all in one box.

It should have packets, deep level inspections and controls, like the features which other IPS solutions have. It just doesn't have any. It's just a box which does firewalling. 

Threat management features also should be added into it. 

So, the first thing is that the GUI has to be improved. The second thing is that the UTM features have to be added to it in a much broader way; not by relating to other third-party solutions which is how it is done right now. It should have built-in UTM features like other firewalls have now. Plus it should have the ability to analyze any packets which have malicious behaviors. Currently it doesn't have anything like that. It's just a layer-3 firewall.

Regarding the GUI, it's a very childish sort of attempt. It hasn't been improved since I started working with it. Yes, it shows the logs as they are but it doesn't have any option to do proper reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is really good, actually.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not that good, I think. Other firewalls, upgrading is a very easy task; from the graphical user interface, you just need to import the firmware versions into it and install it. In this firewall, you need to have a third-party solution in both. It's a process. It's a procedure, a hard procedure, actually, so there is no straightforward procedure for upgrading.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never called the tech support, apart from a hardware issue, but that is done through the vendor, a third-party support team.

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

I was actually using ASA and I switched to another one.

How was the initial setup?

I actually have lots of experience working on multiple firewalls and technical solutions, so for me I don't have any problem doing things by the command line. But for others, for a person who has two years of experience or one year of experience in general, they will definitely face issues working in the command line. You have to remember all of the commands, to search for the commands. If you're in a graphical user interface, you can go search somewhere and find some options. So I would say in that way it is complex.

What other advice do I have?

If I were to advise others who are looking into implementing this product I would say I don't think they will like it. They would be able to meet business requirements better with other products, other vendors' firewalls. That's what I think, that's what I know from my own experience, from dealing with customers.

If those features, which I mentioned above in the first few questions, if they can add those features into the firewall as a standalone box, it can definitely become a player on the stage. They already have a good platform, even if it's a legacy product, it has that bit of maturity. So if, on top of that very good platform, they can add those features - security, threat intelligence features - they can get back into the market.

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

author avatarAndrew S. Baker (ASB)
Top 20PopularConsultant

And this is why Cisco ultimately bought SourceFire. Probably far less expensive to get into the UTM / Next Gen Firewall space that way.

author avatarit_user809673 (Regional Sales Director Africa at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees)

Has anyone tried Cognitix next generation level 2 firewall, ?

author avatarAndrew S. Baker (ASB)
Top 20PopularConsultant

Hi Gary,

No, I hadn't seen that security product as yet. Interesting model they are trying to get on board with --- everyone wants to sell you a perpetual subscription...