What is our primary use case?
This solution is running behind the infrastructure and behind the hypervisor itself. We have two firewalls and two nodes in the cluster environment.
This solution is suitable for both cloud and hybrid-cloud deployments. I have implemented a cloud project, and one hybrid as well. The hybrid was between a public and a local cloud.
What is most valuable?
The Cisco security rules are very strict and very strong.
I like the Cisco ASDM (Adaptive Security Device Manager), which is the configuration interface for the Cisco firewall.
What needs improvement?
When comparing this solution to other products, the Fortinet UTM bundle has some better features in their most receive product. For example, there are better configuration features, the Sandbox is better, and so is the web censoring. These are currently in the Cisco solution, but they are better in Fortinet. The Sandbox and the Web Censoring in this solution need to be improved.
This solution has to be more secure from the cloud. The current trend is moving towards private cloud and hybrid cloud, so it is very important to consider the cloud security aspects when the solution is installed. This includes things such as IoT and the existence of user connectivity on the cloud.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for two years, but Cisco technology, generally, for more than eight years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability of this solution is great. The Cisco name and hardware are enough. The product is used in tier four data centers, so it is very trusted and very dependable. If you compare Cisco to others, the high industry and high workload have gone to Cisco. Stability is very, very high.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This is a scalable solution.
In terms of the number of users, it depends on the customer. A small customer may have less than twenty users. A larger customer can be complicated by having different branches with different users and different security rules. This means that you can reach up to the hundreds.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support for this solution is good. Most of the technicians are technical people that have certifications such as CCNA, CCNP, CCIE, and CCISP. I think that they are well knowledged and well educated about the Cisco culture, industry, and products.
The Cisco distributors are everywhere, even if I'm speaking about the Middle East. I can find distributors everywhere in Dubai. Here in Dubai, the support is great, including for firmware updates, and even replacing the hardware when the firewalls crash.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup of this solution is straightforward.
The deployment does not take much time. It is just a matter of installing the firewall and configuring the basic system to get it up and running. That's it.
There are, of course, different models of deployment, like deploying customers, that have to be considered. However, for the most part, deployment time is not an issue at all.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing for Cisco products is higher than others, but Cisco is a very good, strong, and stable technology. If we compare Huawei or FortiGate or others then the prices are lower, but the higher Cisco price is acceptable because of the stability, trust, and reliability.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
This is my first recommendation for firewalls, and my second recommendation is Fortinet FortiGate.
What other advice do I have?
This is the number one firewall product that I recommend.
I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.