Cisco ASAv Review

Performance-wise, it is top-notch. However, it is a bit tough to navigate and see what is going on.


What is our primary use case?

For the AWS version, Cisco is our primary use. We have our own appliances and products, which are indicated as Cisco ASA. So, we test these product against Cisco ASA using different types of rules for new cases. During the test process, we make sure the integration works. 

We have been using the solution for two years.

How has it helped my organization?

Right now, it serves a purpose and has everything that we need. Performance-wise, it is top-notch.

What is most valuable?

It is a comprehensive suite and complete package. We have the following with the product:

  • Interest point detection
  • Firewall stuff
  • VPN
  • It's configurable.
  • It guards with its own threat intelligence. 

We find that virtual instances are helpful because they are easy to use on AWS Marketplace, as they are On Demand. We have a lot of traffic on AWS. Therefore, to monitor the traffic rather than using on-premise, we use virtual instances of Cisco ASA. This is pretty easy to use and we receive value off of it.

What needs improvement?

Cisco ASA should be easier to use. It is a bit tough to navigate and see what is going on. While I like the UI and dashboards of Cisco ASA, if you compare them to Palo Alto or Fortinet, they have much richer UIs. An analyst (or anyone) can see them, and say, "I have got all these important pointers on my dashboard." However, with Cisco ASA, we need to dig into many things and go to many views to see what is actually there.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We put a good amount of stress on it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Especially for the AWS version, we can spin up multiple instances and do load-balancing. 

We have 15 to 20 Cisco ASA switches with a couple of physical appliances and twelve machines. Our team is using four to five machines.

How is customer service and technical support?

It is all self-guided, and we were already using the physical appliances. Therefore, we knew how to use the product.

What was our ROI?

Our individual release cycle has been quicker because the entire development and testing environment has been automated because of these virtual instances. It has aligned our development workflow. This is where we have seen the ROI increase. 

For example, if you are working with a physical appliance, then you need to have a dedicated lab administrator to work with it, even to test a simple use case. This takes time because we would need to frequently reset that appliance and load all the data. It is no longer like that.

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

Purchasing from the AWS Marketplace was easy. It was just point and click.

It is pay-as-you-go, so it much cheaper than buying in the plants.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also checked Fortinet and Palo Alto, their AWS versions. 

When compared products, Cisco ASA is easy on AWS. We received a trial version. It is easy to setup and evaluate.

We also already had Cisco products. This provided a tighter integration with what we already had. Since most of our traffic stays in AWS, it made sense to use AWS Cisco ASAv.

What other advice do I have?

Once you deploy a virtual database or virtual machine for any product, like Cisco. The first thing to do with your data is test it. So, you need to be prepared with the test that you want to test before you deploy the instances. Because after deploying instances, you wait and see what the data come back with, how to configure it, and review what doesn't work. Therefore, you need to do some background homework before starting, such as what type of data you need to put into it, how to test it, and will the system process it.

We have used both the on-premise and AWS version. We started using AWS in the past six to seven months. Prior to that, we used the on-premise version. The AWS version is better as it is quick to spin up and configure. Also, with AWS, everything is preset, and it is more flexible.

We have it integrated with many other products, like threat intelligence and analytics. For example, all our logs go into Splunk, then we receive our analytics from there. We also have Splunk on AWS. Thus, all the data stays on the cloud, so there is no latency, etc.

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