Cisco ASA Firewall Review

Dashboard gives us a complete analytical view of traffic behavior and anomalies

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to protect our departments. We have sub-departments or sites categorized by the number of users and types of applications. We categorize the latter in terms of small, medium, or large. Based on that, we select a firewall in terms of throughput and the number of concurrent sessions it can handle. We then deploy the firewall with a predefined set of rules which we require for inbound and outbound traffic.

We are in operations delivery and we need to support multiple clients. We have different departments where our primary responsibility is to protect our organization's assets and data and to store them in a centralized data center. Apart from that, we have responsibility to support our clients in terms of infrastructure.

All the devices are on-premise. Nothing is on the cloud or is virtualized.

What is most valuable?

One of the most valuable features in the current version is the dashboard where we have a complete analytical view of the traffic behavior. We can immediately find anomalies. 

The most important point is the detection engine which is now part of the next-generation firewalls and which is supported by Cisco Talos.

What needs improvement?

Most users do not have awareness of this product's functionality and features. Cisco should do something to make them aware of them. That would be quite excellent and useful to organizations that are still using legacy data-center-security products.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using ASAs for the last ten years in our organization.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product's stability is perfect. From my observation, the mean time to failure is once in seven years or eight years. All the hardware in the device is quite stable. I haven't seen any crashing of the operating system.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling is quite easy. 

How are customer service and technical support?

On a scale of one to ten, I would evaluate Cisco support as a ten. I get support in a fraction of time. There is no problem in getting support.

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

Since I have worked in this organization, Cisco has been the primary product that has been deployed.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is quite straightforward. It's quite simple, without any complexities. Whenever we find any issue during the primary phase, we reach out to the Cisco technical support team for assistance and within a short period of time we get support from them.

The most recent deployment we did took about three weeks.

In terms of deployment plan, we go with a pre-production consultation. We create a virtual model, taking into account all the rules, all the cabling, and how it should work in the environment. Once everything on the checklist and the prerequisites are in place, then we migrate the existing devices into production.

What about the implementation team?

As consultants, most of the time we deploy ASA by ourselves. If there is any complexity or issue, we get in touch with a system integrator or we open a ticket with the technical support team.

What was our ROI?

There would definitely be return on investment by going with Cisco products. They are stable.

What other advice do I have?

For any organization looking for a secure solution that can be deployed in their domain or infrastructure, my advice is to go with Cisco Next-Generation Firewalls because they have a complete bundle of security features. There is a single pane of glass with complete management capabilities and analytic features to understand and gather information about the traffic.

The lessons that most of our clients have learned is that in deployment it is easy to configure and it is easy to manage. It's quite stable and they do not get into difficulties in terms of day-to-day operations. 

We haven't faced any problems with this product.

Compared to other OEMs, such as Juniper and Fortinet, Cisco's product is excellent. There are no bugs and I don't see any lack in terms of backend and technical support. In my opinion, at the moment, there is no room for product enhancement.

Most of the users are system administrators working on their own domains. The minimum number of users among our clients is a team of 15 to 20 we have clients with up to 700 users at the largest site.

The product is quite extensively used in each department, to protect assets and data centers. We are using the attack prevention engine and URL filtering is also used at most of our sites. We are also using it for data center connectivity and for offloading transactions.

I would rate Cisco at ten out of ten for the functionality and the features they provide.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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