Cisco ASA Firewall Review

Keeps costs low and provides granular control using appliances familiar to the team

What is our primary use case?

Whatever you have that’s potentially public-facing, you need to protect it. As our technology moves to the cloud, so our need for security transfers from physical appliances to virtual ones. This is the classic Cisco ASA device, virtualised.

How has it helped my organization?

Ease of spinning one up: The hourly charge has made demos and testing better because it’s a truer representation of a real-life situation.

It has allowed us to reduce costs and to make sure we provide rounded, secure products to customers.

What is most valuable?

Top features:

  • Easy to deploy for staff to use VPNs
  • Ease of setup
  • Integrated threat defence
  • Great flow-based inspection device
  • Easy ACLs
  • Failover support
  • Each virtual appliance is separate so you get great granular control
  • Has own memory allocation
  • Multiple types of devices: 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, 2 Gbps
  • License control
  • SSH or RESTful API

What needs improvement?

We didn’t find any huge issues. Obviously, there are always vulnerabilities that come up and there was one in early 2018 but this was patched with software updates.

Admin rights need to be given out carefully as they give overarching control to all devices - but that’s the same for everything.

How was the initial setup?

We went with this solution via the AWS Marketplace because it’s been made so easy to use an ASAv on AWS with simple drop downs to set it up. Our demo machines were also in AWS so we wanted a one-stop shop where we could spin them up or down as needed and configure the ASAv before it was launched.

What other advice do I have?

Almost all IT staff have used, or can easily learn how to use, the Cisco ASA appliance because it’s been around for years and is so popular (with good reason). For us, we stuck with what we know. It was an easy sell to get it signed off by higher-ups as they’d also heard of the ASA device from their time in IT.

This solution gets an eight out of ten because it is easy, has the features we need, keeps costs low, and provides granular control using appliances that are already familiar to the team.

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