Cisco ASA Review
Streamlines lockdown and the management of that aspect of security


What is our primary use case?

The primary use is that it manages all of our incoming and outgoing VOIP transmissions as well as data transmissions between our branches and our third-party bank processor. It has performed well.

How has it helped my organization?

The ASAs are very stable firewalls, and they've been very good at protecting our assets here at the bank. They have done exactly what they were purchased for. They have done a great job.

What is most valuable?

I've always looked at as Cisco products as being the industry standard. They're wonderful at being able to lockdown and manage that. 

What needs improvement?

The only con that I have really seen with it is the reporting structure. FirePOWER is good. It has been a great help because, before that, it was not good at all. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is very good. We use the 5600 models and the lower 5000s. We were able to upgrade as needed. We added a ton of VPN tunnels to them and they handled all that traffic quite well.

How is customer service and technical support?

Support has been very good, very professional, got right to the point. My third-party administrator got stuck on setting up some tunnels. We called ASA support and they walked him right through how to do it. That was good.

How was the initial setup?

The third-party did all of the setup. I told him what I wanted and he set everything up and got the tunnels for us as well.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost of keeping the licensing up on the ASA is very expensive. It has a lot of positives, but the cost of going with it is really starting to be a major negative right now.

What other advice do I have?

Talk to your peers in the industry, find out what they use and why, and then look at exactly what you're using it for. We changed a great deal of our infrastructure, adding a lot of extra tunnels, so that made a complicated product even harder to manage. Look at what you're comfortable in managing with their interface.

We start looking at upgrade cost, our constant licensing cost. I look at other products that rank very high in industry ratings. Now I'm looking at similar products that are a little bit easier to manage. That is another fault of the ASA. They're very complicated to manage, but that’s because they have so many features. It's a very feature-rich product.

When selecting a vendor the most important factors are

  • Security - obviously that is number one because we are a financial institution
  • stability of the vendor
  • how the product is ranked in the market.

In terms of security, right now is a really tough time for us because, even as a smaller community bank, we’re targeted. We have huge targets on us right now from hackers. I have to have a product that is stable, that will hold up, from a reputable company. I'm looking at companies that are top-tier.

I would rate the ASA equipment itself a nine out of 10. The software and manageability would rate a seven and the reason for that is the complexity of it. It is extremely complicated, even for our Cisco-certified person who manages it for us.

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

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